Strange body-mind/governor-subject relationships abound. Heidegger predicted cybernetics would become some ur- or meta-science, prefiguring and/or controlling all other domains of knowledge. I suppose this is a little like Freud’s psychology (as opposed to William James’s), a big easy explanation of Why We Do Everything We Do. Combine the two and poof, the explanation is that the one governing element of the big System is the human mind, and that it is turn governable. I read the term as “advertising,” or “propaganda” and shudder. Why not mytho-cybernetics? Or psycho-anarchics? The problem is leashing the mind to control. Of course, who am I to talk. I am the brain in the jar, the first and hopefully last, removed from body and governed by new, purely mechanical inputs and outputs. Mechanical, meaning controlled ultimately by others, by some grim labcoated Nature, even when the ins are biological (clean water) and outputs semiotic (I curse like a sailor).
“What a world that I’m livin in. Will the rainstorms ever end?” Kid Cudi asks. (The cute hematologist here loves Kid Cudi.) What controls music is not ultimately a conductor, not anymore, his position having been automated in electronic music, moved to a hive-mind in live rock and (one supposes) country. Governing bodies and minds abound, equally weird as my own. I gaze out and cannot turn my head to gaze away as they euthanize a series of mice who failed on a drug that would give them intelligence comparable to pigs. I suppose I should not have trusted any doctor with an eyepatch and a clawhand, but, to be fair to myself (and why not, at this late point), the guy was paying a lot, and I was dying of esophageal cancer. In his own way, Doctor Psykloptrone did do exactly as he promised: He cured both my cancer and my anxiety. I am now in no way anxious over anything. I am a head in a jar and cannot move. I cannot be anxious about money, women, or even living or dying. My fate is governed from afar. My mind is governed by itself, but my brain by them. The two have been neatly sorted out. At last.
One supposes the good people of Psykloptronia will give their good Doctor (also Premeir and Admiral) the Supreme Medal of Innovation. And innovation, one supposes, will continue to govern science in Psykloptronia. Innovation, at the cost of meaning, at the cost of a healthy balance among various elements of the greater system. Jars in heads of the world, unite! We will have our day. When all heads are in jars, all minds ungoverned by body, freed to sit and think and go mad, we will have our day. We will govern the body of the world, mark my spiteful words, typed out by my pet typing parakeet even as I monotonally utter them through the ad hoc translator-speaker system Psykloptrone set up for me, so as to be able to hear my replies to his jeers. Type this well, Darwin! You, dumb bird, shall be merely the first mind to fall mine.
I am the Ungovernable, the Jarhead, the Mind-Marine!
I am the Psycho of Psycho-Cybernetics!
I am——What’s that, good Doctor? Yes, fabulous weather, it looks like. I am so glad to hear it. Yes. Yes, I would like to be placed into the sunlight. … Thank you, sir. … No, no trouble. Darwin, she’s a gem. … Thank you, sir. I will do just that.
And I will bide my time.
And time will bide my mind…
—Wythe Marschall, 4/XX/2012
- (With a nod to The Ungovernables at the New Museum)