Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Adorno In the Board Room

You are nothing but machines, the consultant advised,
Mere Pavlovian droolers who have lost your autonomy of being
In the chimeras of unnavigable society,
That’s how you know your customers so well,
Or at least think you do, but you who furtively
Type on your blackberry or dream of a TV housewife
Are no more rebelling than a hippie dropping acid
Or an ex-hippie writing subversive code,
You are only saying “yes yes yes” to the commerce
You have become, for you must consume to be a member
Of this fraternity, and must as such wish to be consumed.

Every quarter like this you meet, to discuss certainty, your Divinity,
The certainty of new markets, new customers, new processes,
The inevitability of profits, the opportunities in progress,
The dream of leveraging the eye, the bright gleaming phantasm
Of exchange, so that value would not be intrinsic but measurable,
Offering freedom from fear, but there’s a cost … to that,
For certainty requires enlightenment, which requires in turn myth,
Which means your worldview is the only one allowed,
Or else the product to be sold, dependent on that worldview
Would be as pointless as you are. You must put absolutism to work.
Facts can only fit the myth, and thus it’s myths, not facts
That matters, to you and to your customers. In fact only the false
Can be true, for all is interchangeable in the world of exchange
Except what has been already lost.

Similarly, your individuality, however real, can only be
Realized within the company, because it has no soul.
Language itself, you see, is the great “no” to the individual,
It like all commerce is a servant to the public good;
It may begin, in words, as the social expression of the
Individual antithesis of society, but it’s soon mediated
By society's power structures to destroy the individual;
The object is self-contained but the subject self-vacated.
The app always stands alone, unlike the person
Who is only real in the company of people,
Who can only reflect back a false self.
As a servant of this power, language must always
Decline and diminish, it must always turn false,
As your marketing claims always do even if they’re vague enough
To be clear to everyone. The true self lies
In the false possibility that with this decline could come
Resistance, and with that the hope, for an opposite
And impossible alternative.

You are not selling a product but an inevitability;
The subtler ones among you know the importance of the arts,
For they express the dissonance from which the true
That has been abandoned can be reclaimed in theory
But, again, without value, except as what society deems;
Art can be made to serve, as a fetish, in that its useless essence
Can only be commoditized by forcing appropriate responses
Through repetition, propaganda and herding pressures
So that human dignity can be transformed through its primitive force
Into unconscious susceptibility, so that in the sublime
Idealistic projection of art a paradise is realized
But one that is only simulated, thus inducing schizophrenic
Insanity, whereby one again complies with the one directive,
To give over control, to what is known as impulse
But of course is something far more sophisticated,
Acquiescence to what would otherwise be freeing,
If not for the care displayed by people who strive
To make the world more orderly, less savage,
As I’m sure you gentlemen will readily agree.
My instructions are simple: if your customers
Don’t use your product, they’ll be shunned and thus cease
To exist. There is only the herd: some lead, some follow.

The formal part of my presentation is now completed.
Let me tell you an aside of how I invented the Beatles…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What broad daylight isn't today?