Oppositional Consciousness

November 19, 2014
"The only way to win is not to play"

“The only way to win is not to play”

As a Digression to the notion of the eye and is optical aberrations and limits (where the power of the eye lays) I will look at the post human lands cape of WAR-GAMES: THE MOVIE.

In this film we see how a computer becomes a prosthesis. The Preface to the move is captivating: Two soldiers arrive late to duty all the while talking about the latests advancements in medical marijuana. [ 🙂 ] They enter a control room (more like a vault) of state of the art computers and are locked behind a steel door several feet thick. They sit down and start to reminisce about marijuana, when suddenly they get the order to launch a nuclear strike. The announcement repeats “this is not a drill!”.

The two soldiers follow the commands until it is time to actually turn the key and set free the mechanical dogs of war. The key is arranged in a ‘dead man’s switch’ configuration. To set free the missiles it is required that both soldiers turn the key at the exact same time. The eldest of the two hesitates, he “just cant bear the responsibility of killing twenty million people.”. The youngest soldiers screams “this is not a drill!” and turns around and points a gun at the elders head. Bang! War Games.

After this serious scene and the opening credits, we meet The Officials who reveal that, after all, it was just a simulation, but that the soldiers on duty had no way to know that it was just that. In fact 22% of the nuclear fleet was not properly activated due to human malfunction . Thus the humans are found derelict of the duty to carry out warfare, they resist, and a computer is put in place of all the soldiers responsible for the release of nuclear weapons.

In short, a computer cant tell the difference between a simulation and reality, leading to the threat of nuclear war, all caused by a suburban kid accidentally hacking into the NORAD mainframe in search of some serious game-time. Tic-tac-toe my friends!

Pop-psychologist argue that the waging of organised war with powerful tools of destruction is the most human of qualities, far more human then poetry or architecture and breast feeding. War, traditionally, is a game for boys, keeping in line with this idea the WOPR ( WAR OPERATION PLAN RESPONSE) is a learning computer that is given the name of Joshua by its creator in honer of his dead son.

Alice Jardine mentions the idea that technology alludes to the male desire to reproduce without the female. (Our uterus-envy syndrome since we cant make life we must paint, and stuff and be GENIUSES or excel at breaking stuff (pretty entertaining stuff)). If technology was made to liberate men from women (pornography being one possible case) then this film contains a prime cultural example of this desire. There is a female character in the film but her role is to function as athletic eye-candy (love interest) and as a emotional support for the suburban male main character.

Joshua is not a Frankenstein moment of creating a wife but of creating a child, who functions as a sort of Pandora and Pandora’s Box [;)]. Even in the mythos of the movie, when in order to find the accesscode for the war games of WOPR, the main character does not ask what the Prof.’s wife’s name was, but instead simply asks for the son’s, as the first and therefore more logical choice to be the password. The suppression of the female body in Joshua’s mythic creation is complete. He is after all a sort of virgin birth and in the end through the process of learning manages to save us all. Through the aid of my Jewish friend i happen to know that the name Joshua is a sort of hebrew origination for the english Jesus!

In the  Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity Part I: Palestine 330 BCE–200 CE (Texte und Studien zum Antiken Judentum 91). Tübingen, Germany: J.C.B. Mohr. p. 129. vis a vis Wikipedia I found this golden nugget of lazy and joyless research : Joshua is a Biblical given name derived from the Hebrew Yehoshua (יהושע). The name was a common alternative form of the name יֵשׁוּעַ – yēšūă which corresponds to the Greek spelling Iesous, from which, through the Latin Iesus, comes the English spelling Jesus.

HOLY CRAP! (Funny right? American’s have a god complex, and what powerful, destructive, and life spreading (democracy) country wouldn’t? )

“Fetishism – displaceable and artificial parts who cannot help but think of the hide-and -seek games played by superpowers with bombs, these latter having strangely retained their oblong shapes while still being called “The Ladies”.

Oh and if you’d like to laugh a bit harder:

There is a scene when the potential for sex between suburban kids. Stuck in the island of the creator/father of WOPR our main character sighs at their inability to escape saying “what kind of asshole has a private island and no boat?” The creator is some Dr. Faustus like dude, who gives a whole sermon about how death is natural and a part of nature, and that while he believes that WOPR has become sentient and will destroy humanity, he says its cool because humanity is aweful and doomed, he relishes this fact and its awesome sublimity. (Comparing mankind to dinosaurs). Creation through destruction etc. and refuses to help the pair.

Our main character is then stuck on the creators private island (EDEN!) is going to die in three hours along with his “little friend” the young woman, sooo finally they share a passionate kiss and if your anything like most people are, you know that the whole concept is “Well we are the last two people on earth and your a man and I’m a woman, so….? BUT NO! A light is coming from the sky with a thunderous sound : a military helicopter piloted by the creator Faustus or Vulcan (I forget his name) and he is all like “ No time for sex kids! We have to save the world! (Read: All GOD-DAMNED RELIGIONS!)

Also the movie is called WAR GAMES and its about the COLD WAR, nothing hot and heavy here (like a bomb) just some necessary prophylactic measures like assured mutual destruction. Which consequently America can also be against. The megahmachines of the army, human ideology in relation to decision making, and christianity and the watchful eye of our relation to the body and free choice (especially in a fictive narrative), all mix in freely and naturally. Also the issue of the flesh and agency of the soldier being punished (replaced) in labor by the agent-less machine?

Of course here we are in danger of relating everything to a normative horizon, all the elements fall precisely into a sort of order. Perhaps we have a reminder of Michel Feer relation to the body of a reality constantly produced of effect of techniques promoting specific gestures and postures, sensations and feelings… My megamachine vs your megamachine., action upon action, conscious upon unconscious reality vs history, relationships of power and agency.

What actualises the relationship of power in the film is the narrative and its containment. Does a narrative have agency? Movies, narratives, fictions can cause (in the long view) relationships of power, but they can also integrate them.

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