The Consumertariat: Infopocalypse and the Pathologies of Information

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The acceleration of information exchange has produced and is producing an effect of a pathological type…
– Franco “Bifo” Berardi

“The consumer society is a kind of soft police state. We think we have choice, but everything is compulsory. We have to keep buying or we fail as citizens. Consumerism creates huge unconscious needs that only fascism can satisfy. If anything, fascism is the form that consumerism takes when it opts for elective madness.”1

J.G. Ballard as usual hits the proverbial nail on the head. With the advent of the Internet of things the exchange of the world is ubiquitous and totalized, a world where signs and objects exchange themselves within the alien host we long ago vacated. Emptied of our humanity, agents of an alien empire of signs, we host a world of alien objects like coded messengers from some infinite time machine. No longer able to process the data glut around us we’ve become immersed and eviscerated in a sea of information which uses us as its site of transversal relationality in an economic game of war without end. Berardi would tell us that we must begin to understand how our capacity to process information became instead a system that assimilated and absorbed us into a larger organism that now uses our processing power as a host assemblage factory. Our consciousness is emptied of its former dreams of reason and identity, self and subjectivity, and has become the vacant site of machinic agents who feed off our biopower to further their own alien agendas.

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