Peter Lamborn Wilson on the Web

One of my very favorite writer/thinkers, Peter Lamborn Wilson, not only has a new book out called Gothick Institutions very worthwhile acquiring, but there is also an interview with János Sugár from ’95 that’s worthwhile checking again and that you can read in its entirety here. Below a short extract concerning the nature of the web:

We can talk about the net as a military space and that is my second point, if we understand that the net is still a military space or a militarized space this also gives us an interesting approach to the religious problem. The internet was created for struggle and if there is a struggle now inside the net, then it’s no accident in history, for it’s exactly what had to happen. What the military did was to create a space, a virtual space that could not be destroyed by an atomic bomb, very simple, but in doing this they made a very interesting mistake and the only way to describe this mistake is to make a comparison between primitive and modern warfare. Primitive warfare, and here I’m quoting the French anthropologist Pierre Clastres, is completely different from classical warfare in that in primitive societies warfare disestablishes or deconstructs power, it’s what he called the “centripetal effect,” a fleeing out from the center. Whereas modern warfare, in complete contrast, is a “centrifical effect,” it’s a concentration of power. If you look at primitive and hunter gather societies you’ll see that there is no class structure, no permanent leadership, the pyramid is not there. Every act of war in that situation is to prevent that pyramid from appearing, the war chief, as soon as he’s finished, is out of a job, he does not become the paramount chief and in fact in hunter gather societies the war chief is always a suspicious character. So the primitive warrior has glory, he has adventure, but he has no power. On the contrary, the classical warrior is very interested in power, he wants a centralization of power.

Now if we analyze the net from this point of view, we’ll actually see that the net is a space for primitive warfare, it’s a space where power is going to be decentralized, in fact that is the way it was designed. So I think an interesting historical error was made by the military, in that when they designed this system they didn’t realize it wasn’t a classical system, that it was in fact a pre or post classical system.

So immediately a struggle for this system began, it wasn’t a safe space for the military, and the struggle which is going on now is between centrofrugality and centroprudality. Will the net centralize power or will the net disperse power, that is the question. If we don’t understand that this is the question we can never hope to use the net for freedom, for self expression, or for autonomy.

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