How to Break Algorithms


“Under the rule of the algorithm, all modes of cognition and communication are manipulated, categorised and quantified to promote the dominant ideology of financialization. There is currently no parallel or alternative system to undermine or replace it.” — Yakim Janović, Dystopia Ltd

Art was pregnant with artificial intelligence. But intelligence had always been artificial anyway, despite its humanity.

The seven sensors raised their ugly heads. They’d been trans-mutated by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria, but the rationalist purveyors of ideology served education.

A common law lust took over. Love would no longer be an arbiter of taste. The novel as erotic encounter. Nothing left out — the unexpurgated perversion. Happiness and joy, insinuation, threats, irony, the sublime, violence, cynicism, nihilism, etc., were recurring themes and driving forces.

The point being, it was exciting to be back in the office.

Backpedalling out of the corporate sector to replace the rubric with a sense of a nascent oracle, heartlessness attended to the nerves and muscles.

The heartless ruled the world because they were so admired. But their pharmacy was full of antidotes and palliatives for manufactured ills.

“What you doing with Dexter? He was meant to be on the plane.”

Nasrul wept a perfect teardrop. He was in suspended animation.

The amphitheatre of Belladonna’s bones, the stirrups of her temples, unfolded ghoulish longings in numberless obscene positions. On behalf of the lawless instinct, she opened the whale’s jaw of a vulgar trunk and out spake her torched lips, breakfasting on godforsaken preserves as her curses scattered to the saxaphonic wind. The tenant of her song was a puppeteer who howled to open a new portal with the question, “What is property?”

Inaudible passages and massive limbs of accidental chords whipped into alignment, sinewy and hungering in the pre-conscious seas of a deflowered, subtle plasticity. The sensual owner of B’s heart wandered into transparent fire, past time and its begging bowl, into the heart of the spectacle.

A lunar landscape was flagellated luxuriously with an aerial off a Harley Davidson.

“I can’t go to sleep. It’s too dangerous.”

“If time is an illusion,” asked Tanigawa, “Then so is money. If money is an illusion the obvious question is how can one survive? You can’t live on illusion.”

The co-ordinator knew the answer and raised his hand. Time was incidental music for the theatre of rats. Indeed, the meaning of time was determined by its value as money created by the algorithms of the personality disorders of class relations.

Some bourgeois had decided that instead of raising the consciousness of the proletariat with philosophy, pseudoscience should be re-purposed to run an internal, media-driven programme for a dialogue that would divide and conquer the bourgeoisie for their own entertrainment. The co-ordinator would match it with external stimuli, attempt to coincide with and re-assess the information.

It may have been a truism to say that time was an illusion but mostly this was interpreted as meaning only the present counted. But when the past, present and future combined and were present all together at once, still it seemed a new time-based category would be required

Not eternity. Eternity was of the past.

The co-ordinator’s re-positioning of astronomical, psycho-geographical and psycho-visual time meant the emotionality of mechanical time would no longer have to submit to the perils of fanciful, digital time.

The lecture was relaying information acquired from vast databanks of past time’s money. History was the record of commerce. The speech seemed knowledgeable but not from experience.

“That’s the nice thing about being broke. It’s so modern.”

It was as if randomly generated surplus mental constructs were floating through brains and emitting verbal forms that repeated previously acquired information.

In the natural environment one would contend with the changing seasons and acclimatise accordingly to optimise chances of survival and prosperity. This would be achieved through a relative harmonisation between feeling, fluctuating intelligence and organic substance. However, unlike the natural world, the technological realm was hostile to everything except the microscopic illusion of time.

An infinitely expanding Newspeak network projected the blue beams of a digitised Reaganomics into monopolies and corporations. The human could not adapt, harmonise with or harness the technological environment like it could nature. It was a physical impossibility. So critical theorists assigned psychiatric disorders to deep agents and tried to run counter-theories to stem the flow of metaphysical angst.

The Satanic governments had constructed halls of mirrors inside the brains of citizens for the protection of their illusion. N would not merge with technology (as some readers would have had it), but gently coerce it into becoming immaterial and useless — to make it disappear off the face of the Earth.

Human beings were 100% natural organic products. They were no good for the environment but convenient to the prevailing technocracy as they naturally tended to reproduce so much valuable data.

Brains were going around contemplating navels and showing them to each other via holographic projectors. The illusions of power were fading machinery of dominant reflections of the all-seeing hyper-capitalist re-invention of time in its digitised format. Power wanted subjects, citizens, projects to retreat into themselves to help maintain the illusion of time as interior in its abstract status.

Ancient history showed that the number of selves as slaves was increased to subjugate the subjugated by the location of presumed identity. Constantly self-affirming as entrepreneurs or activists, selves could be wasted on themselves as servants of themselves to make more data.

No longer the servants of kings or queens or God or nature, selves served the pseudo-autonomy of belief in an assumed micro-power while liberation, respect, worthiness, belief, freedom were deceptively displayed in orbital ads by nano-satellites far above the Earth.

“I don’t trust poets who aren’t outsiders,” said Lakshmi.

Some educationalists thought they needed consciousness, but those with no mind, no brain and no psychological profile still went on living. Consciousness was not the central fact of life. Mythology was prior to, above and beyond consciousness. Without consciousness, life would still go on.

“The mind, the brain, consciousness, God: which is it to be?” asked Tanigawa.

“What do you mean?” asked L.

Ancient Egypt, Freud, the supernatural, orgasms and UFOs were a lot more interesting than consciousness.

Science had attempted to supplant poetry and religion and replace them with technology and commerce, but it couldn’t be done. The human mind did not exist. Those who thought otherwise had nothing to show for it except the brain or physical achievements, and apart from that, the pseudoscience of psychology, all of which proved only the brain or physical achievements, and apart from that just the pseudoscience of psychology.

If he floated in the algorithmic flotation sphere N had to undermine and ignore the symptoms of vampirism, perversion and barbarism which accompanied the algorithmic schedules. Which meant survival. If, however, he was also to disrupt the flow with the injection of non-logical calculations without paying any heed to any tangential input then it would mean so much more than mere survival.

I had uncovered the Philosopher’s Stone and given it to my characters. I had taken a vow. My Blakeian operatives advanced to protect against the spoils of tyranny, against the projected need for reflective assertions of another’s Christ.

Rather than remain inside the goldfish bowl that was algorithmic flotation sphere N would jump outside it and alter, distort and compel it with a different set of instructions that had no mathematical precedent or purpose.

If a person had no coherent idea about the mind, the brain or consciousness then they didn’t possess any of them. If another person had such notions and used them to define those who did not, they were making a fundamental mistake in their appreciation of what it meant to be human. Human beings functioned perfectly well without the mind, the brain or consciousness.

When science functioned as the means of technology and not commerce then poetry and religion might be free to get on with their jobs.

Thought was only ever thought.

Action was acted out physically or socio-politically and could not communicate thought. Thought was psychological disorder. Nothing emerged from thought because there could never be any evidence for whatever was regarded as thought. Language was self-evident. It did not describe thought.

Thought was only ever thought.

Language described whatever it described. E.g.: in making the statement, “I thought you said that,” N was describing a relationship between himself and Tanigawa, but the connection did not exist as an actual description of a thought, only the characters and words that were spoken. Thought did not communicate because it was incapable of it. To ascribe reality to thought was to suffer from the irrational belief in psychology.

The general demand was for everyone to eventually be incarcerated. Until then individuals would converge or disperse when or if the conglomerates required extra data from selected units or groups. Individuals were free to practice all manner of diverse acts for their entertrainment, while the overloading of conflicting insinuations and conspiracies meant no-one was ever likely to chase anything but phantoms.

Individuals were free to pursue their own course of actions without any alternative to the colonised geography, mapped out as it was via the connectivity of the disjointed flow of data that empowered the conglomerates.

They said power was in personhood. All admired and celebrated the achievements of persons, but persons only existed in the minds of fantasists.

A disjunction in the algorithmic flow seemed counter-intuitive but it would suck up, suck dry, spit back at and overthrow any opposing counter-intuitive flow. Mostly everyone believed everything was interdependent, even if only symbolically.

The artificial communities that sprung up as a result of the dominant algorithms ran emotional interchange systems that interfaced to substitute whatever might otherwise pass for solidarity — nothing more than cellblocks re-arranged to extract profit from analyses of algorithms.

The speed of the vehicle increased as it passed the cellular orb. N steered effortlessly into a slot by Otranto’s Castle. A smell of nectar pervaded the air. He drank it in with flaring nostrils, aflame with passion after the previous night’s frolicking, and passed through an horrific shock corridor which displayed fire, water, snakes, eagles, crows, beetles, etc., made of carved wood. He wore an indigo linen shirt and khaki trousers.

After moving unseen into a dark room with one window and a mat on the floor, he sat down. Images of the night before flooded his animalistic brain: the torture and crucifixion of the algorithms he’d carried out beyond the range of the CCTV cameras.

Leaning his elbow on the mantelpiece, N gazed over at the wall opposite. The Western world was a scam and all that was in his line of vision was a Pop Art poster.

Lakshmi mellowed out beneath a fake turquoise palm tree. Data passed through her at the rate of knots, but she was oblivious. Mystery would not halt, and memory could not be recalled again, ever. Time was a chequerboard, a game like any other. With the data unblocked by L’s churning affirmative she unfolded her skin to reveal the algorithms writhing in their death-throes like poisoned snakes.

The Conversations 7: How to Break Algorithms: text & image © A. A. Walker