Paranoid Machines 4

Memory Technology has Always been Paranoid

Thursday, Oct 4 at 8pm

We start with the Lizard Tunnels.

In 1933, a guy named George Shufelt claimed that he’d used an “x-ray doodlebug” to map a network of ancient catacombs beneath downtown Los Angeles, filled with golden tablets. His epistemological wonder-gadget was more or less a dowsing pendulum, similar to what young Joseph Smith used before he was a prophet of the Mormon church, back when he was just a gold dowser used in upstate New York. It’s probably just a strange coincidence that the site of Shufelt’s Lizard Tunnel dig is now a huge memorial to the Mormon Battalion, paid for by the LDS church.

But the ways this mythopoetic impulse to uncover the hidden truth, to find out what’s really going on under the surface keeps popping up? The way this quaint, seemingly innocent impulse to want to believe is now used in our culture and politics as an engine of obscurantist fascism? Oh, that is not a coincidence.

. . .

Hi. I’m Jason Brown.

For the last twenty years or so, I’ve been trying to understand the “paranoid” nature of memory technology from its ancient origins to its latest mutations, using the 1982 movie Tron as a mythopoetic scaffold to explain everything. Still. Still doing this. This strange cycle of symbols and references from 1982 lurching around in twisted mirror-world pareidolia. Ha ha! It’s funny! Ha ha ha!

Hey so that reminds me — in the movie Tron (1982) the first object they digitize is an orange. Just like Flynn, the orange is zapped off into the cyberzone, and then zapped back. Given that the film describes non-human consciousness existing in a post-biological substrate, what was that orange’s experience like? Is it possible that this First Object somehow integrated with Master Control, sort of like Brundlefly but MasterOrange? As some kind of power-mad fruit machine which subtly infected the tools we use to understand the world? No. No no no. Nooo. It is not possible. In fact, let’s just not think about it. Let’s just hang out on Thursday, and not think about it. It’ll be fun!