Remarks on the transactional workers of a global psychic corral
Fear. Apathy. Character assassination. Each one has its place in the collective affliction of mass surveillance Americans face alongside anyone with a dial-up connection in West Africa or the south of Spain. “We are all guilty of something,” the surveillant says.
I know what happens to you may happen to me if I am honest.
There’s a numbness that must overtake someone before they commit an act against their conscience: violating someone else or hurting some part of themselves. The misled follow a process. First there is a lure. Then a seductive offering. If you accept the distraction as a offering, the trap closes around you. Then you become the pet of your captor. Then perhaps later a slave. Once your captor is done exploiting you for the essential product or service desired, they release you by disposal or, more unfortunately, death.
Think of what it might be like to work for an animal slaughter house. Every single day workers see the vital intact form of a conscious animal separated from its life. Then blood and skin from meat and bones. Everything a rote transactional process. From the unfortunate animals corral, to its collapse, to its dismemberment, to package for market. The organized workers in compartments perform like bees. They are paid a servants wage to perform the death processes to a living thing. Do you wonder what kind of people they are? How long they stay in that job?
What if I said surveillance feels like the conveyor processes of a psychic slaughter. That may be why it is so often a precursor to mass genocide campaigns. The surveillance is invisible, but it isn’t painless. We are collected and corralled. If we are conscious of it we wrestle in our minds. We struggle against it. Then we try to forget how we have been so exposed against our will, captured in a slave plantation the size of an office cabinet. The blinking quartz LED lights lead us down the digital conveyor belt where the psychic carvers dismember, clean and store pieces of our lives, our faces, our actions, for people we don’t know for reasons not provided.
All of this happens while we are alive. We are alive.
I’m sure analysts must learn to shut off the fact that we are alive while they carve us to into datasets and spreadsheets. From there we are reduced to frozen facts in one clip of restrained, refined product for government or the market.
It must be the pay. You would think that the repeated psychic dismemberment of entire nations, families and people you may know would finally get to you. We know it eventually got to Edward Snowden. In the span of his life as an Intelligence processor he was paid a lot of money to perform these functions. At some point he must have arrived at the conclusion that he was not performing analytical slicing, dicing and profiling of dead people but whole, living, conscious human beings not unlike him at all.
90% of the FISA or NSA bulk data collected isn’t to stop terrorism or crime. That is just a lie. The data collected is to stop you: from being normal, from being free, from dignity, from being anything but a source of exploit for profit or power by data brokers or human information traffickers.
I’m sure these analysts would scream in my face, telling me they are doing nothing wrong, that I am crazy, and I deserve the surveillance. Confronting them directly is a waste of energy. They will get up and do it all again tomorrow to someone who is merely a little bit different and equally alive. They won’t admit to feeling anything about it. You are not human to them. They don’t know how to be ashamed for what they do.
What happens to us is sad. What happens to the people who work to process their fellow man this way is worse. To perform atrocities on a mass scale begins a transformation to the worker. I sense these people separating from themselves underneath the roofs of their own skulls because they are not that different from you. They begin to fall apart and to fracture into pieces of themselves. On the outside they look and sound normal. Just underneath you find a cracked person, determined to self-destruct with an irrational compulsion toward pay for this line of work.
They may be in denial that their choices brought them and bought them to this, for cheap. Until one day they notice they can’t function normally. They became a collection of mere fractures, floating around in a sack of blood, siphoned through organs to bones and moving meat parts. They are dying souls. They rationalize what they do because … any excuse fits really.
They just want their check.