All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace – 2 – The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts
Development of complex systems in socio-political networks. Focus is on Ecology, Jay Forrester’s use of System Dynamics in the World Dynamics model, and the global reaction to the Club of Rome’s report and later publication of Limits to Growth.
A series of films exploring the idea that we have been colonized by the machines we have built. Although we don’t realize it, the way we see everything in the world today is through the eyes of the computers.
This is the story of how our modern scientific idea of nature, the self-regulating ecosystem, is actually a machine fantasy. It has little to do with the real complexity of nature. It is based on cybernetic ideas that were projected on to nature in the 1950s by ambitious scientists. A static machine theory of order that sees humans, and everything else on the planet, as components – cogs – in a system.
But in an age disillusioned with politics, the self-regulating ecosystem has become the model for utopian ideas of human ‘self-organizing networks’ – dreams of new ways of organizing societies without leaders, as in the Facebook and Twitter revolutions, and in global visions of connectivity like the Gaia theory.
This powerful idea emerged out of the hippie communes in America in the 1960s, and from counterculture computer scientists who believed that global webs of computers could liberate the world.
But, at the very moment this was happening, the science of ecology discovered that the theory of the self-regulating ecosystem wasn’t true. Instead they found that nature was really dynamic and constantly changing in unpredictable ways. But the dream of the self-organizing network had by now captured our imaginations – because it offered an alternative to the dangerous and discredited ideas of politics.
“In an age when all the grand ideas have lost credibility, fear of a phantom enemy is all the politicians have left to maintain their power.”
The Shadow in the Cave
The Power of Nightmares Part 2: The Phantom Victory – by Adam Curtis
In the second episode, Islamist factions, rapidly falling under the more radical influence of Zawahiri and his rich Saudi acolyte Osama bin Laden, join the Neo-Conservative-influenced Reagan Administration to combat the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. When the Soviets eventually pull out and when the Eastern Bloc begins to collapse in the late 1980s, both groups believe they are the primary architects of the “Evil Empire’s” defeat. Curtis argues that the Soviets were on their last legs anyway, and were doomed to collapse without intervention.
However, the Islamists see it quite differently, and in their triumph believe that they had the power to create ‘pure’ Islamic states in Egypt and Algeria. However, attempts to create perpetual Islamic states are blocked by force. The Islamists then try to create revolutions in Egypt and Algeria by the use of terrorism to scare the people into rising up. However, the people were terrified by the violence and the Algerian government uses their fear as a way to maintain power. In the end, the Islamists declare the entire populations of the countries as inherently contaminated by western values, and finally in Algeria turn on each other, each believing that other terrorist groups are not pure enough Muslims either.
The Power of Nightmares, subtitled The Rise of the Politics of Fear, is a BBC documentary film series, written and produced by Adam Curtis. More: Adam Curtis BLOG, BBC
Its three one-hour parts consist mostly of a montage of archive footage with Curtis’s narration. The series was first broadcast in the United Kingdom in late 2004 and has subsequently been broadcast in multiple countries and shown in several film festivals, including the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.
The films compare the rise of the Neo-Conservative movement in the United States and the radical Islamist movement, making comparisons on their origins and claiming similarities between the two. More controversially, it argues that the threat of radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organised force of destruction, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is a myth perpetrated by politicians in many countries—and particularly American Neo-Conservatives—in an attempt to unite and inspire their people following the failure of earlier, more utopian ideologies.
Other Adam Curtis: Murdoch: A Portrait of Satan
Adam Curtis – Oh Dearism
Curtis completed a Bachelor of Arts in Human Sciences at the University of Oxford, where he studied genetics, evolutionary biology, psychology, politics, sociology and elementary statistics. Curtis taught Politics there for a time.
Bernays and Frued find opposition from the New Age and human potential movement
Another film from Adam Curtis, BBC