Friday, April 24, 2009

Alice meets Humpty Dumpty: A warning to world's dictators



Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses,
And all the king's men,
Couldn't put Humpty together again


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REFLECTIONS on the semantics of "developmentalism"
by Azly Rahman

Language becomes a tool of domination and colonisation of the consciousness of the people. One’s existence in the regime of truth becomes embedded in the language used. Language colonises and creates the economic condition which in turn creates the means of subsistence. National needs and wants cannot be easily differentiated.

Language no longer mirrors reality but creates subjective realities. Borrowing from the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, one lives in the habitus. Borrowing the title of a movie, we live in ‘The Matrix’.

In Malaysia there is an interesting example of how a new reality was created in the economic boom years of 1990s. This is a good example of how human beings are not only conditioned by signs and symbols that pre-exists, but become the signs and symbols of international corporate dominations themselves.

I shall now illustrate the idea of Malaysia’s twin intelligent cities.

The cities of Cyberjaya and Putrajaya, inhabited by hyper-modern, cybernetic Malaysians exemplify the primacy of language and how it creates a truth that in turns creates two ‘technoploes’ or ‘wired cities’ that define the way people in these cultural-industrial-complexes live, work, and play. The name of the city, Cyberjaya itself exemplify the glorification of the ideology of cybernetics.

Like the flow of “Arab consciousness” and notions of nationalism and supranationalism onto the minds of Malays that hence created the Islamists, cybernetics as a truth-force and an ideology is creating the new ‘cybernatic Malays’.

The citizens of Cyberjaya and Putrajaya are a product of a postmodern transplantation of an ideology that originated, no longer from one brought over by the assassin-prince Parameswara, or a Marco Polo or a Zheng He (Cheng Ho), or Arab or Gujerati trader, or a Frank Swettenham or a JWW Birch; but an ideology right out of California’s Silicon Valley.

It is a transplantation of the Stanford University-inspired form of hyper-modern developmentalist paradigm that utilises the commodity called ‘information’ as both base and superstructure of human existence.

The human self is now created anew using the signs and symbols and a regime of truth hyper-modern in character; one, borrowing from Habermas, whose truth and knowledge-constitutive interest lies in the truth produced by cybernetic and transcultural capitalism.

There is, if we may suppose, no ultimate truth. Our existence, as I have argued is constructed from ‘regimented truths’ that transforms kaleidoscopically like a Mandelbrott set. We need Chaos or Complexity Theory to understand this proposition.

Truth is produced by those who own the means of constructing and disseminating it. Such truth is called ‘the truth’ when it is actually ‘a truth’. A certain truth therefore can be advanced through gentle persuasion or through brute force.

How then do we deconstruct our understanding of what to believe when we are constantly ushered from one truth arena to another?

How might we discover the nexus of knowledge/power within ourselves as a way to become architects of our own habitat of truth and not become inmates of the prison-house of truth constructed by those who own the means of producing bigger and more fearful truths?

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