Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Hakim Bey on Proliferating Images

So, I've been writing here, and elsewhere, about the Nobility of the Image, with the idea that we're all becoming artesans of images, but that a certain elite justfies their status (and wealth) through their position in the "Information economy". Essentially it's an economy based on "content". These people would be the "creative class". I suspect therefore that the usual provincial gripes about the "liberal media" are not so much political as class-based. The peasants are aware that the nobility hates them, as this hatred is beamed into their homes.

Hakim Bey has written as well about The Seduction of the Cyber Zombies

He has a different take on it altogether. A key paragraph:

"But I would prefer to focus more narrowly on the question of the image. Here we might return to Blake as our "philosophical hammer" (Nietzsche really meant a kind of tuning fork), since we are speaking of the idol, the image. I would argue that we are suffering from a crisis of overproduction of the image. We are, as Giordano Bruno put it, "in chains", entranced by the image. In such a case we need either a healthy dose of iconoclasm, or else (or also) a more subtle kind of hermetic criticism, a liberation from the image by the image. Actually, Blake supplied both---he was both an idol-smasher and simultaneously a hermeticist who used images for liberation, both political and spiritual. Hermeticists understand that the "hieroglyph", the image/text or mediated (symbolic) communication, has a "magical" effect, by-passing linear working rational consciousness and deeply influencing the psyche. This is why Blake says one must make one's own system or else be a slave to someone else's. The autonomy of the imagination is a high value for hermeticism---and the critique of the image is the defense of the imagination. The screen is an aspect of the image that cannot escape this "spectral analysis"---media as "satanic mills."

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