Saturday, 18 August 2012

Structures can become shackles

Das Magazin featured some interviews about time. In one, a director said "The Joker is like Spinoza".

For me, Batman always was about Existentialism vs. Nihilism, basically a fight between brothers. (Mabye my visual preference tends to see everything as origami cosmos) Seeing it as an example of Relativism vs. Universalism or even Rationalism vs. Absolutism provokes interesting thoughts about evolution of systems and how (business, moral, status) values influence their development.

"Structures can become shackles" is a key quote of the movie as Philosofreaky points out. Gotham is a allegory for a system which can never be right. The paradox which the Joker poses on Batman is, that it's not actually peace what people want, it's being left alone. Batman can fight the Joker, but he can never fight the anarchy, with every hit against the Joker he is proving him right. Batman's solution is to keep Gotham oscillating between tradeoffs. As usual, 3quarsdaily features an excellent essay by Ajay Chaudhary about these tradeoffs, posing the central question:

Can a legal order exist without sovereign authority?

Here we are at emergence.

I don't agree with the articles conclusion that The Dark Knight Rises poses fascism as solution to interpassivity and we "dream in fascism". We might sometimes dream in the aesthetics of fascism, in Beijing-Olympics style human patterns, and we might sometimes wish for a strong sovereign, but we certainly never wish to have no choice. As stated before, choice architecture can only work in a system that you control. In a global world, I believe there is no such absolutely controllable system. The Joker is just proving that all a mass needs to be uncontrollable is a little spin. The danger is not the Joker, it's the mass. In the context of this blog this means I do not agree that a software architect will always lead a system in a better direction, nor that patterns, nudge and control will cause a system to comply. Dogma is never good, may it be in the name of Science, Macciavellism or Beauty. All of them are usual tools but only if the dynamics of the systems lead to emergent compliance.

So - is the only solution pure anarchy? Can we argue it's only purely rational if we develop systems like the Joker (or V as Anonymous symbol) would do?

There is a major difference between "just human" systems and engineered/architected systems like the ones we work with: If we want or not, they will always be engineered, designed, architected. But, as these systems evolve much quicker than real-world ones, we learn faster: "we know we can break things, but how can we make things better?". Modern systems learn so quick, they don't have to be anarchist or fascist, they can be libertarian. These systems don't need a Cesar where developers hide under a "ruthless and possibly insane warlord", they can embrace democracy, they can adapt to new truths especially because they are engineered by the means of adaption. Like a fire brigade the can form a team under a leader if the risk is high and visible, and form a swarm if it's more important to identify risk by covering the greatest possible horizon. We don't need a Batman because there is no Joker.

1 comment:

jan peuker said...

Zizek on the Dark Knight