Ontopower: War, Powers, and the State of Perception
Brian Massumi is Professor of Communication at the University of Montreal. He is the author of The Power at the End of the Economy, What Animals Teach Us about Politics, and Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation, all also published by Duke University Press.
Power to the Edge: Making Information Pointy
What is the end point toward which the tendency animating present-day warfare moves? The answer is “self-synchronization.” This is when information is so rapidly and effectively distributed throughout the “battlespace” of asymmetrical warfare that even the lowest level “battlespace entities” (human and nonhuman) are empowered to decide autonomously. This impossible ideal is reached when the machinery of war becomes so instantaneously self-organizing that the military hierarchy becomes the functional equivalent of a purely horizontal organization. Networked information becomes “pointy”: directly translated into perception, in turn directly issuing in attack. This is achieved even though in contemporary “infowar” the “fog of war” is undissipatable. The chapter distills a how-to guide to self-synchronization gleaned from key military theory texts informing the war on terror. The concept of nonconscious priming is further developed, centering on the role of cueing. Extensive excursions into the philosophy of perception and the philosophy of time are made.