How post-society can benefit from pain

We may only guess what relationships will be established finally between plural identities in a flat dis-society of the future. What we are sure about is that society in the present forms must be remedied with the postmodern horizontal networks. Along with certain paradigm prerequisites, there are some metaphysical arguments for it.

In accordance with radical esoterism, society as a systemic phenomenon has nothing in common with any community. This is not about the survival of a group of people. Society is about power only. Society is a manifestation of dominance. Power in its turn is personified by an archetypical pharaoh (emperor, Cesar, etc) no matter whether it is a certain actually existing person or a supratemporal structure consisting of multiple powers-that-be.

Thus, any society implies a vertical hierarchy, a pyramid of power with a Supreme Being on its top. Society cannot exist without the supreme power and vice versa. Some metaphysicians equate society with the very Being — the substantial extent of the world existing around. Besides, they liken power with the Prince of the World and thereby they coincide society with the power of Satan. In the present context, Satan is not a dark spirit from hell. This is a shining creature, Lucifer, illustrious Apollo, Ishbal, Hormuzd, as well as any other image that can reflect a fullness of life and the sanctity of power.

Common people in their turn stay in a permanent delusion when they consider themselves constituent elements of a definite down-to-earth community. They call themselves society members assuming that society consists of them as a body consisting of organs for their own good and prosperity. But society, as radical metaphysicians believe, is a special interface through which the Supreme Being expropriates human vital energy to compensate the constantly decreasing energy of creation that is determined by the second law of thermodynamics — entropy. Time of our lives is what society transforms into food (or fuel) for the very Being.

Some may find only echoes of the dark mezo-cults in such beliefs. It doesn’t matter once hyper tolerance (or post-tolerance) inherent in postmodernity allows anyone to manifest any sort of metaphysical worldviews. Anyhow, the main goal of postmodernity comes to the elimination of all possible pyramids of power, the ones that provide fascist oppression of people no matter which particular type of society they live in.

Postmodernity offers self-imposed communities of independent individuals as a direct opposition to any form of vertically integrated societies. An utterly different type of interface should be created to provide communication between people in the future all-pervasive networked structures. The present bloodsucking interface of social conventions should be replaced with purely technical human-agnostic protocols through which no vital energy can be withdrawn from individuals without their freely given consent at least.

The communities of free post-humans declare an ultimatum of disobedience against the Supreme Being. They refuse to follow the social conventions which they never signed up for. It implies leaving society and disconnecting from the interface of the Matrix. This is an extreme form of conscious nihilism that requires taking responsibility for one’s own destiny. Moving into the opposition to society a postmodern individual will have to resist not just masses of the silent majority but the very ontological principle of “Being-as-good”. It turns a revolutionary pathos of postmodernity into a maximally sincere reflection of existential radicalism.

A challenge of such intensity is known in history and therefore postmodernity will follow archaic counter-liberal practices to some extent. Today, such resistance runs under the flag of political Islam in its most radical forms — ISIS, Wahhabism, Taliban. In the 20th century, some large anti-system projects emerged from famous revolutions — Iranian, Cuban, the Great October in Russia. Earlier, a similar vector could be recognized in such movements as Anabaptists, Hussites, followers of Thomas Muntzer, Cathars, Bogomils, Russian Old Believers. Diving deeper in history we can meet the most significant international protest movements — emerging Islam and Christianity. And before Christ, all prophets of Abrahamic tradition including the first prophet Adam were resisting the then societies. And every time the unified formula of their protest implied the antagonism between a community of the authentically existing passionate individuals and society with the Supreme Being on the top of the social pyramid.

We will get back to metaphysical prerequisites of postmodernity later again. Now, it is worth focusing on some objective phenomena in terms of political economy.

If we address the problem of the desirable dis-society from a rational angle, we need to investigate what could come to replace the economic fundamentals of the contemporary world order. We have already touched this topic through the prism of cryptoeconomy to a certain extent. But the fundamental pillars of the social economy are not limited to financial aspects only. We need a deeper insight into the issue of values. We should try to anticipate the new postmodern forms of relationships between individuals and wealth. Devalued human labor in a totally robotized post-economy will create a need in another system of distribution of material wealth and rewards along with a new rationale for it. We need to imagine the ways of how post-humans might be rewarded for whatever they do in the world where human labor is highly depreciated.

Let’s begin our post-economical speculations with a brief general overview.
What is the most fundamental economic value than can be monetized with money? What is the criterium with which a global economy can be measured over its entire evolution? Together with many scholar economists, we could safely claim that over the last five millennia the expropriated human labor was considered the value and the measure of wealth at the same time. The deepest understanding of this phenomenon belonged to Karl Marx. But times changed, and his definitions were gradually becoming irrelevant throughout automation in the 20th century.

Today, we are approaching the moment when human labor has to become redundant in economic relations. Moreover, a lot of human activities seem to be prohibited in the foreseeable future. We should figure out why so as well as what can replace the traditional measure of value.
Territories, material property, and human labor constituted the triumvirate of universal values that always were subject to monetization. Billions of people have been sacrificed to that triumvirate over the history of humankind. The horrible mass victim includes not only the people who were killed in furious battles — they made up just a small fraction. A much bigger human sacrifice covered all those generations who had to work their bodies to the bones getting their daily bread.

At its very limit, human labor was the energy with which all transformations have been made in human societies. It could be categorically stated that our civilization as a whole was built on the vital energy of humans. However, the energy was always extracted from hominids unequally. Social stratification was one of the consequences of such unequal utilization of human energy. This was possible in principle because humans could deliver a much bigger amount of energy than they consumed from nature to sustain themselves.
The human factor was always one of the most important aspects of either success or decay of every state, nation, as well as all the other forms of political society. However, such a situation was possible as long as a single hominid remained a basic unit of a particular amount of labor. A critical change in such a situation happened when technologies reached a certain benchmark of productivity.

Horsepower for a unit of measure of potential mechanical work was accepted for a reason. Since the invention and (more important) adoption of steam engines, the scope of labor of each particular hominid started losing its dominance in economic relationships. The industrial era or the “age of machines” has provided humanity with another vision of human labor. The intellectual properties of the human mind have surpassed the muscular energy of human bodies in value. We entered the era of knowledge.
Nevertheless, the development of sciences and technologies per se could not eliminate human labor as a compulsory element of civilizational progress. Only a certain extent of computing power along with a rapidly growing internet coverage provided humanity with sufficient capabilities for the next paradigm shift.

The present-day robotization as a complex of autonomous human-free solutions is devaluing human labor in both intellectual and manual aspects. The moment when the overwhelming majority of humans appear redundant for the global economy is already visible at the horizon.

Various AI implications based on machine learning and big data are much more feasible than all their human-controlled analogs by default. Smart machines do not make human-specific mistakes. Computers have neither emotions nor ambitions. Machines are ideal slaves in terms of control and effectiveness. A total robotization of both production and operation is a gold dream of any entrepreneur who runs a business for a profit. This is just a matter of time when the advanced AI-based machinery replaces humans at every stage of any production chain.

Machine labor is becoming much cheaper than human labor in all industries. The current market competition does not imply any sentiment — the one whose business has lower prime costs will win. Human labor, therefore, has no chance to be in demand on the market again. Truth be told, one tiny chance exists, actually: a new post-apocalyptic stone age when no machines are available.

Rational prerequisites of the postindustrial economy are supplemented with such a factor as posthumanism. One of its aspects implies a reductio-ad-absurdum concern for humans that excludes the very humans. Autonomous vehicles are safer than human-driven ones by an order of magnitude. Statistics show hundreds of thousands of victims dying in traffic accidents annually. Universal implementation of AVs can save thousands and thousands of human lives every year. Thus, a purely economic rationale (that is usually calculated on the stage of development of AVs) is complemented with a “humanistic” approach to such a profession as a driver.

Nothing prevents us from assuming that in a decade or so humans will be prohibited to drive vehicles at least in a public transportation sector. The same relates to aviation, railroads, sea shipping, and all the other segments where human drivers, pilots, and operators of various vehicles can be replaced with autopilot-like systems. Hence, millions of people all over the world will lose not just their jobs but the very profession with no hope to drive vehicles anymore. And it won’t be possible to reverse the trend as it is impossible to get back to animal-drawn carts again.

Driverless vehicles represent one of the most explicit cases when human labor is becoming not merely redundant but prohibited. Rapidly evolving smart algorithms will affect bank clerks, corporate managers, hospital staff, teachers, shop assistants, assembly workers, etc, etc. It is easier to detect those few human activities that won’t be occupied by machines than those numerous ones that will inevitably become human-free. Many contemporary scientists, bloggers, and journalists offer different lists of professions that are more or less immune to robotization.

Almost all observers agree that the activities implying human imagination, creativity, and empathy at their essence will survive in the era of total automation. Artists, writers, singers, dancers, actors, poets, nurses, priests, and whoever else applying unique human feelings to what they do will unlikely be replaced by even the smartest AI systems. Their activities are based on what any machine is incapable to grasp — the non-existing dreams rooted only in human emotions.

Any emotion is nothing but a bug, an error, a mistake in terms of programmable machine logic. Once any computer algorithm is aimed at error-free modus operandi, spontaneous and rationally unexplainable human emotions will always remain beyond artificial intelligence. That’s why a general abbreviation for the sector in which machines will have nothing to do can be defined as H2H — Human-To-Human.

Another type of activity that can be left for humans belongs to the opposite end of the spectrum of jobs. Hard manual labor is unlikely to be addressed by the developers of robotics. We can see an exemplary case of this in Congo where open-pit mining provides about 60% of the global delivery of cobalt. Few recent scandals regarding 40 thousand Congolese children intensively exploited for hard manual work at cobalt deposits for transnational mining corporations have ended up with nothing — the gap between a market price of cobalt (too important for our electric vehicles and gadgets) and a prime cost of its mining by African slaves appeared too large. This is pure capitalism with its expenses-&-profits ratio. Profits are large enough to spend some money to bribe the corrupt Congo government and make over-zealous media shut up. It happens to be more profitable than to arrange any open-pit automation. If you have dozens of thousands of starving and voiceless people around, why the heck should you spend millions of dollars for any robotized substitute for those poor manual laborers?

Humans can still be cheaper than machines if they do not demand anything beyond what they get from an employer. Colonialism and slavery have not gone anywhere because the slave trade has been invented by Western society in modernity that has been running up to now as well. The extremely anti-human aspects of modernity can appear in postmodernity as a dialectic opposition to the hyper-industrial paradigm. Moreover, postmodernity as the next phase of the development of modernity can just reveal those social contradictions that are camouflaged by the humanistic rhetoric of liberal modernity. In this regard, it should be noted that the upcoming paradigm is not about a dystopian paradise of the “green” self-sufficient megalopolises with a happy idle population. This is about a new battle for the expropriated vital energy of a maximally mobilized human factor with all the attendant problems.

But who will be the least vulnerable to unemployment in the fully robotized future? Babysitters, nurses, and orderlies can safely rely on suitable employment in the post-economy. A robotized nurse can unlikely be implemented in mass not because it is technically impossible to create such a solution. This is merely unfeasible from an economic perspective. A nurse usually deals with a great variety of quite simple caregiving tasks. Even though each separate task can be easily automated, their overall complexity combined in a unified solution makes “robo-nurse” too expensive in terms of economic feasibility.

A fully qualified neurosurgeon accomplishes very specific tasks that require special knowledge along with well-coordinated fine motor skills. But both knowledge and fine motor skills are not a problem for a machine. At the same time, assisting a bedridden patient with a diaper or, for example, putting in an IV imply a wide range of diverse movements to be made in a sophisticated scenario of rapidly changing input signals. To educate a nurse from the always available human resource is cheaper by an order of magnitude than to create a humanoid-like robo-nurse with the same capabilities. How odd it may sound, a highly skilled doctor is more vulnerable to unemployment today than an average nurse.

Of course, the level of robotization today is high enough to accomplish almost any task. But the ratio between the spent investment and the resulting profit clearly points to human labor in many cases. It concerns many jobs that do not require profound knowledge but their automation is limited by variability of input data hardly comprehensible for machines. Plumbers, electricians, equipment maintenance specs, cleaners, repairmen, and some other similar jobs will remain beyond economically feasible robotization for a long time.
Anyhow, the lion share of a world population will face unemployment due to automation of jobs sooner or later. Can this be reviewed through a positive prism?

To answer this question adequately we should figure out how many people in the world are satisfied with their jobs. Although figures can vary from survey to survey, at least 50% of the interviewed people admit that they hate what they do. They disrespect not certain unpleasant aspects of their jobs, they perceive their work as something disgusting, something they have to do involuntarily just for money. By the way, this explains well why labor resources become so mobile these days — employees do not stick to their positions being ready to change their employers at any moment if a better job appears. The largest common problem they face is the absence of meaning in their jobs, the profanation of a decent mission in their personal life.
Indeed, try to find out any decent life mission in such a job as a cashier in a supermarket. You will, probably, overstress your imagination in attempts to explain yourself what is in this activity for you as for a unique human creature. The only answer to the question of why we work comes to an opportunity to be paid with a salary. For what? To keep doing what society requires from us — to consume things.

Even if employment often implies meaningless activities, it runs on human labor. It means labor is needed as such. And here we meet one of the oldest misconceptions rooted in the outgoing modernity. Today, nobody needs our labor in principle. Any personal labor force of any average earthling is redundant now.

This idea requires to be grounded, of course. But taken for granted it can explain why any State doesn’t care too much about unemployment. Nobody can condemn any unemployed person even if the latter is just an idler. Nobody can criticize us if we do not work. Any State in particular and society in general equally appreciate both employed and unemployed.

It so happens that every unemployed person indirectly provides dozens and dozens of people with jobs. Welfare workers, labor offices, social funds, police, psychologists, responsible municipal departments, volunteers, and many other unemployment-fighting structures make their livings on just one idle citizen. It turns out that not labor but its absence creates value in society. The thing is in the growing capitalization of the time of human life. Numerous social connections mobilize the human factor without a need to include such an element as labor. The overall monetization of one hour of life of a contemporary unemployed Parisian is substantially higher than the cost of the entire lifespan of his great-grandfather — a French peasant who was working day and night all his life.

The Marxist political economists of the 20th century were evaluating the economic strength of every society with the expropriated human labor that, in its turn, was measured with working hours. Today, as we see, labor is relevant to neither societal wealth nor employment. The emerging hyper industrialization with its total robotization redistributes value from human labor to the very time of life of people.

Speaking metaphysically again, in the industrial past, the Supreme Being had to use various camouflaging sub-interfaces in the forms of employment, career progress, variety of jobs, salary ratings, labor markets, etc, to keep the main interface — Society sucking vital energy from humans. It was the great objective of the global industrialization to involve a lot of peasants, fishermen, housekeepers, hunters, and the other asocial self-sufficient individuals into interconnections within society through both industrial jobs and megalopolises. The Supreme Being required to make their time of life more valuable.

Today, the so-called 4th industrial revolution allows ignoring the former sub-interfaces at all. It is just enough to formally belong to a certain society to feed the Supreme Being with our vital energy no matter whether we do any job or not. Labor is irrelevant when our multiple social connections tightly bind us with the main interface. Almost every minute of our working time and leisure is valued at a certain price. However, the growth of the value of our lifetime is not unlimited.

The average middle-class citizens of any Western society are overloaded with various social obligations now: job, taxes, education for kids, insurances, club fees, health-care coverage, pension funds, mortgage, consumer loans, etc. They are literally burning candles at both ends. They have no extra vital energy to deliver to the Supreme Being via society. They have reached the ceiling of capitalization of their lifetime. Western societies cannot bet on qualitative growth anymore, only quantitative growth of megalopolises makes some sense.

What should the Supreme Being do in such a situation? To equip societies with digital technologies seemed to be an efficient solution for the leapfrogging engagement of lower classes from all over the world into the orbit of the bloodsucking interface. Total socialization emerges. It seemed like an impeccable approach. But the Supreme Being slipped up. The digital revolution spawned the internet which occurred a double-edged sword.
The emerging decentralized networks start creating an alternative interface of crypto anarchy and dissociation. The traditional social values are losing touch with nihilistic postmodern communities who are actively looking for methods of neutralizing the bloodsucking interface. It seems the Supreme Being is facing real troubles with an energy shortage, maybe for the first time in human history.

A metaphysical destiny of the Supreme Being is a destiny of the major collective identity — society. We will get back to this later again. Now, let’s continue with the present-day challenge of a transition to a post-labor world.
We figured out two opposite ends of the spectrum where the very existence of a contemporary average employee took place: the most despicable activity is employment, and the most appreciated one is shopping. Between those two ends, some activities having a weaker emotional response are available. They can be, for example, housekeeping, entrepreneurship, and voluntarism.
A formula of universal happiness seems obvious in such a context. The logic of contemporary global consumerism hints at the following recipe: an opportunity to buy and consume goods without a necessity to work for it. Imagine a world where you are paid not in exchange for your labor, but just because you merely exist.

This is very close to the old concept of the ideal Communism as it was assumed by Marxists. However, Communism implied abandoning commodity-money relations at all. Most probably, a similar option will be available in our postmodern future. The evolution of the present almost-cashless economy should logically lead to money-free relationships between suppliers and consumers. But what can be the equivalent of the value in such a case?

Here we are stepping on the most speculative path. A conceptual void occurs in terms of a new unit of measurement of value if both money and labor are unavailable. There should be something relevant to all humans with no regard for their individual fates. The famous sci-fi movie “Matrix” depicted humans as bioelectric batteries for machines. Each body was shown as a micro-generator and its electrical potential could be theoretically considered as a universal equivalent of the value of every living human. This is technically possible but hardly economically feasible — there are more inclusive and efficient methods of power generation. It would be a poor mimicry on the Supreme Being with a primitive withdrawal of a small amount of only one sort of energy.

A different option was proposed by another old sci-fi movie “Johnny Mnemonic”: human brains could be utilized as memory storage for digital data. This variant looks more feasible but less practically implementable in the foreseeable perspective despite the ongoing development of digital brain implants by Elon Musk. Silicon-based chips are more reliable for data storage. But the problem is not in implants as such but in an infrastructure needed to maintain those “harddisk-men”. Even a wireless connection cannot prevent from losing data due to uncontrollable human emotions. Humans are spontaneous, they lose the rest of their sanity when they face something unexpected. Especially when they gather in a crowd. What else do we all have as humans that can be used as a unified carrier of value?

Again we refer to cinema: a cyberpunk movie “Time” (released in 2011) shows an ultimately universal phenomenon inherent in all living creatures which can be measured and, therefore, evaluated somehow — time. Philosophically speaking, our lifetime is the only thing we may unconditionally call our own. This is why, by the way, such a trend in contemporary marketing as the “economy of attention” takes place. Advertisers pay us for our time spent on watching their commercials. Of course, they do it with certain mercantilist objectives. But no explicit requirement to purchase their goods is available after all.

Namely, our time is expropriated by the Supreme Being. To compete with Him in this field is meaningless. The interface of society has occupied our time almost completely. Our lifetime is the energy that makes entropy of the entire manifested creation go backward. The only thing people can do with their lifetime is to limit the supply of their vital energy to the Supreme Being via the interface of society. And this is exactly what the dissociating paradigm of postmodernity calls for. But in such a context, time cannot be considered as an equivalent of value since we are talking about a postindustrial society, not about a community of post-social individuals.

Nonetheless, in the very human life, we can palpate a vibrant unit of measurement with which a future labor-free economy can proceed. If life is a basic universal value (the primary one in the so-appreciated human rights), a unit of measurement of it can be found in some sort of emotions all humans feel. Happiness won’t fit since this feeling is too subjective to be measured adequately at a somatic level. There should be something more tangible, something unequivocally explicit.

What about the pain?

Under normal conditions, we all feel pain as a response of our nervous system to some powerful stimulus. Even coma patients feel pain at a level of reflexes. The modern medical science can offer numerous practices for quite a precise measurement and graduation of different pains. Even a bigger number of practices can be proposed by scientists on how to inflict pain.

Although a pain threshold differs a little bit from person to person, quite a universal unit of pain might be potentially approved common to all mankind on a global scale. The name for such a unit does not matter too much. For example, it could be named “Sado” after sadomasochism whose core objective is the pain in one or another form. At the end of the day, how “one Sado” is worse than “one kilo” or “one dollar”?

Pain is great as a measure of humans’ value since it is activity-agnostic. It does not matter what you do if you feel pain. Pain can be occupied by machines under no circumstances, it will always remain as a feature of living creatures only. Pain is straightforward in a way a few other human feelings are — if you feel toothache, you can hardly confuse it with whatever else. Pain is ultimately personal — nobody can share, lose, redirect, collect, or donate a portion of personal pain to anybody else. Pain is unbiased — no matter whether you are a white male or a black female if pain hurts you as a biological organism.
Pain is unobtrusive — it disappears when a causing stimulus is suspended. Pain is natural — we all know it from the very moment of birth. Pain is neutral — nobody can be addicted to severe physical pain. From an existential perspective, pain brings neither good nor evil, it happens and disappears like light and dark, like heat and cold. Pain is social and asocial at the same time — it is equally inherent in both the rich and the poor.

Pain seems perfect as a unit of measurement of value for the idle humanity of the future. No logical contradictions can arise if you rewarded for standing the pain. The more you suffer, the richer you become. What can be fairer than if the richest people have to take the strongest and longest pain?

The main problem with the implementation of pain as a new measure of value seemingly comes to the very mechanism of deriving value from people’s pain by the suppliers of goods and services. How can the pain be monetized? Why fully robotized manufacturers should pay the indolent population at all?
The solution is actually clear once it outgoes from the current model of political economy. Billions of unemployed people all over the globe can easily wreak havoc upon the world in a very short time frame unless they are engaged in some more or less meaningful relationships having a clear economic background. The global disorder is needed for nobody, right? Since both labor and money do not matter anymore in a fully automated hyper-industrial civilization (oftentimes mistakenly called post-industrial), the distribution of material wealth between individuals will have to be regulated by different rules.

Let’s consider some major features of the new world order. Competition won’t disappear because wealth inequality will remain. Elites will remain elites even if both the structure and composition of the world elite are reconsidered significantly. Some people will be able to find themselves in arts and creativity. The others will agree for hard manual work like Congolese children who are working now at cobalt deposits. Yet the other small group of people will be lucky to retain their ordinary jobs that will be left beyond automation for whatever reason (like nurses from the case given above). But the overwhelming majority of the future idle population will inevitably require new rules to play the old social game “job-salary-consumption”.

The top hierarchies who control production and distribution of societal wealth will have to offer people a simple algorithm determining who and for what can be supplied with goods and services. The algorithm should be as primitive as effective. In exchange for the new rules of the game, the elites will possess the loyalty of the masses. Nothing but total control over the population similar to the one we have today under the supremacy of the state-based emission of money will be the outcome of the implementation of a new universal value standard. The voluntarily acceptable pain in exchange for legal access to goods and services can make people accept that the game is fair.

People won’t have to go crazy about the meaninglessness of their life. They won’t be bored to death with involuntary idleness. Their existence will have a well-specified and directly tangible mission without any abstract ideology. Even the most primitive minds will easily grasp what to do to get their daily bread — what can be simpler than taking some pain in exchange for a reward. The new order will offer people much clearer explanations of real values than the contemporary employment which drives masses to depression, alcoholism, and opioid dependence. Everyone will be engaged in a new culture — the culture of remunerated pain.

Numerous orgasmic connotations will be present in the new culture since pain and pleasure are close to each other in terms of human physiology. The cultural-&-philosophical capacity of such a seemingly primitive physiological process as a response of a nervous system for an intense stimulus is really huge. A vibrant dialectic that makes any phenomenon actually true will be available there. On the one hand, pain is a reaction of the body, and a socialized mentality of consumer society is focused on the body only. On the other hand, pain is an antithesis of comfort sought by the “old” humanity of consumer modernity. Synergy through the overcoming of both aspects in the new postmodern culture of the “pain-as-an-essence” turns into an almost infinite field of imaginative play. Idle humanity will really have their heads full when people start moving along the unlimited graduation of the intensity of stimuli and reactions. If we add capabilities of the global network that can guide people over the universe of diverse pain experiences the fuel for creativity appears enough for generations to come.

Neither history nor time will stop. On the contrary, they will get a powerful impulse from the very depth of human nature. But the most important in it is that humanity will erase all ontological inhomogeneities when everyone is included in a single highly sensitive body that spreads over borders, legislations, historical conditionalities, and religious dogmas. Pain-as-a-good will bring back a raison d’etre to humans, it will challenge physiology, it will involve people in a fight against the rigidity of matter. People will see a decent mission again, and the mission will be possible for anybody.

A new equitable world order seems to be created on Earth with relative ease. Does the new world order cost anything? It costs a lot, indeed. This is the only condition under which society can survive as the interface for the Supreme Being. Everyone is connected and everyone is exposed to the pain impulses generated by society. Who will determine how much wealth we are rewarded for a particular amount of pain? Undoubtedly, society will. A vicious circle is closed: no pain — no gain. The only thing that will be deleted from the scheme is labor.

Pain as a clear and simple physiological reaction will replace money of “bubblenomics” of late modernity. A new fair game will emerge, and it will be very difficult to raise a protest against it. This is because any social protest is always about justice. But whatever is fair in the pain: this is far from a state budget that can be stolen, bezzled, and wasted. And this is not the obsolete money that can be printed until they lose all its value. That’s why the Supreme Being would be satisfied with the final victory over the rebellious human spirit. Because spirit is what can be found only beyond a body. It does not exist in “reality”. But pain is here, it resides in what is available with no redundant metaphysical exercises — in our bodies.

Pain is available so explicitly that nobody needs to believe in it as in God or in any social convention such as money. Pain as a monetized good will finalize any social concern. It will be impossible to raise masses for a revolt — the pain will equalize each and every one. All revolutionists and asocial individuals who do not comply with the culture of pain will appear the “supra-epidermal marginals” looking for some sense beyond their own skin. It is clear that beyond skin there is nothing worth monetizing, nothing capable of providing material wealth. That’s why the marginalized minority of asocial seekers of a “different truth” will pose no existential danger to a consumer society. Of course, among them, there will be “partisans” and “terrorists” — the ones who are ready to stand the pain not for money but for some idea as well as the ones who can hurt. But they all won’t be too scary for masses accustomed to pain a monopoly on which will belong to society as it happens today.

A link between a “legitimate pain” and a reward will reform a comfort zone familiar to the present consumers. Antisocial elements will face troubles with intimidating the majority for whom the pain will become an everyday experience. They will have to leave for their own ghetto of small communities that runs in parallel with a society that promotes the culture of pain. Actually, the true postmodern individuals will have no need to intersect with the post-society. Hence, postmodernity in which both labor and money are not systemically important elements can appear divided into two unequal parts: a society of monetized pain and a ghetto of small communities of independent “supra-epidermal marginals”.

The described phantasmagoria is, nevertheless, one of the possible scenarios in the labor-free future when society retains its oppressing power over individuals. Any technology is neutral as such. It can liberate people, but it can enslave them as well. Nobody has provided the 4th industrial revolution with any philosophical background. The revolution in itself leads to neither social oppression nor individual liberty. We can just propose different use cases for technologies and create concepts of a new order of things. Conceptualizations always precede implications and discourse creates phenomena. Moreover, philosophical conceptualization should outperform technological virtualization. Otherwise, the tremendous metaphysical inertia of society will eat up nihilistic postmodern narratives and the Supreme Being will keep harvesting human lives as in the past.

However, the very availability of the postmodern discourse shows the only unequivocal feature of the future paradigm: the postmodern humanity will not be a homogeneous mass of obedient conformists. And it has never been such a mass in fact. There always have been some brave people for whom the Supreme Being was not God but the enemy. And they have been talking about it without fear in the face of possible pain. The pain in exchange for not some good but for a zero chance to win the battle with society. Antisocial nihilists of various colors have been always available in history. They have been creating a special protest discourse out of this world.

And here is the clue in the current moment: the very discourse of the totally networked dis-society should emerge before relevant technologies will turn its postulates into reality. The current stage of communication technologies provides true magic: just start talking about whatever and it will come sooner or later. We must remember what the covert fascism inherent in any society has been appreciating most of all over the whole human history — gutless conformism and dump voicelessness. The emancipatory dis-society can hardly come by default — our intellectual efforts are needed. Discourse creates phenomena, not vice versa.





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Konstantin Rovinskiy

Konstantin Rovinskiy


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