[iDC] Time Banks, Playgrounds, and Factories

John Hopkins jhopkins at tech-no-mad.net
Wed Sep 23 14:07:21 UTC 2009

Hi Michael!

> I think the important insight that travels from free software to money is this. Power lies in the code and in the invisible structures that enable or disenable actions and relationships, what Alexander Galloway calls 'protocolarry power'.
> The great insight of the current age is that money has a code as well. But just as we do not have the power to change the code of microsoft, we do not have (yet) the power to change to code of political money, so the alternative world-constructing route is to peer produce our own, differently coded money.

This brings up the thought that code and money are both likewise abstracted 
representations of Power that have to be actualized through two processes:  1) a 
participatory social grouping who choose to believe (have faith) in the power of 
the abstraction to cause material change in their lived existence and 2) a means 
for the abstracted instrument to interface with a real (material) regime of 
existence.  Power, in the end has to be or has to have available a way to apply 
itself to life, to an individual life, to be delivered (as that change).

For example, code describes what a device can or should do in theory.  It needs 
the device to make that actually happen.  Code without the physical transmission 
of power (kilo-calories, joules, megawatts, whatever) is a complete abstraction 
and is of no consequence.  The machine or interface that actualizes the code is 
embedded in a specific field of power flows -- i.e., the electrical generation 
and delivery system, manufacturing systems that depend on transportation 
networks which depend on hydrocarbon fuel power, etc.  This larger techno-social 
infrastructure that is essentially a field of directed energy flows depends on a 
whole host of humans believing that the code will ultimately improve their lives 
on earth.  If there arises a doubt that the code will do this, the whole system 
starts to unravel.  If it becomes clear that the code is failing to bring power 
to the user, they will stop putting their life-energy into propping up that 
techno-social infrastructure.

The code of religious teaching, the code of social behavior, the code of the 
machine, and the code of economic instrument all have the characteristic that 
they are completely dependent on being actualized this way, else they have NO 
power.  In the end, the code is merely a socially prescribed pathway along which 
real energy is forced to flow.

Faith in code(d abstraction) produces a shared or centralized capital of 
potential power, but there always needs to be a tangible means for translation 
from code to be-ing.  The body is the primary means for code to become lived 
action or the source of applied and energetic change. That would be the minimum 
device necessary, all other devices are simply amplifications of the 
body-as-energy source.

With the demonstration of faith as an applied and directed energy flow through a 
code comes the often terrifying expression of directed social power.  On the 
other hand, when the individual participant in a social system seeks and 
finds/makes expression not according to The Code, the dominant collective 
immediately loses a fraction of its ability to direct energy as it wills.


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