There is nothing new about social life taking place at a distance. For a long time now people have been persuaded that the best way to communicate and relate is through the use of a device. Prostheses of the human being, the smartphone and its like, have transformed the way of being together, of being informed, learning, communicating, writing and reading.
The next step is the robotization of living, technique pervading every place, every aspect of daily life. An overcoming of nature and the natural in favour of artificial beings and places. Such a scenario needs no social life, it does not need relationships, feelings, thoughts, it only needs order, discipline, regulation, machines. Maybe Dominion is trying to take a step forward and use a health problem, the spread of a virus, to reach generalized regimentation at least, the rest will then take care of itself. Science fiction comes to mind, but States have centuries old instruments to draw on without having to resort to the unknown.
The social distancing imposed by laws prohibiting kisses and hugs and the suppression of most social activities, recalls states of emergency in which the rules of social life are imposed and must be obeyed so as not to run up against getting charged or being arrested. And indeed the establishment of red zones and checkpoints, limitation of freedom of circulation, obligation of home isolation for those coming from areas considered infected controlled by police, but above all the ban on gatherings, i.e. public meetings, is the police management of a health problem. Not surprisingly it is foreseen in the ten rules recommended by the Italian State to avoid the spread of the virus that in case of fever the carabinieri must the first to be contacted. But states of emergency are also the measures provided for in situations of conflict or insurrection, as happened recently in Chile.
The State decrees by law that citizens are its property and it can dispose of them as it sees fit. States of emergency are not imposed for health reasons or the population’s welfare, but to make rules become introjected, to instill discipline. And indeed, the surest way to obtain obedience is to spread terror, fear. Create anxiety and panic, continually divulging data, making everything sensationalistic and exceptional. Frightening is a practice of war and torture as well as of government, and States are specialized in this too. And war has forcefully come back into vogue after being removed and cancelled out for many years. Today the war is here, indeed everywhere. Heads of State are declaring themselves at war against a somewhat singular enemy, a virus, but their real adversary or target is not that, it is their very subjects. For this reason the issue at stake, perhaps the most important, is to keep critical thinking alive without downplaying anything. Having, arm in arm with the Economy, industrialized and devastated nature and desertified thought, now feelings are being cancelled out. No kisses, no hugs.
However, if Dominion wants us totally dependent on it, if the State cancels social and in part also economic life, that means that we don’t need the State. That we can self-organize our initiatives, our forms of education, our economies, our leisure. And also in this case we don’t need to resort to science fiction but to experience, memory, our will and courage.
The prisoners fighting in the Italian prisons that this state of emergency would like to see buried alive are showing a way. That normality be interrupted, yes, but by revolt.