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The Tyranny of Real Time and the Intensification of the Spectacle

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  1. Today's global society.
  2. The medias barrage on humanity with images and words.
  3. Psychologically constraining individual critical abilities.
  4. The consistent stream of information.
  5. The cultural and economic homogenization of cities.
  6. The structure of the city of panic.
  7. Bringing the world colser geo-spatially.
  8. Conclusion.

While screening clips of American soldiers fighting in Iraq and analysis of the ?insurgency? spews forth from the mouth of an ?expert? on the conflict, Fox News's scrolling news ticker reports Homeland Security's terrorist alert level on loop, warning its viewers that ?terrorism?, namely Islamic, continually threatens their daily lives. However, the term ?terrorism? is ambiguous. Its sheer emptiness as an objective word is propagandized to cement the belief that the American nation is under siege. Of course, it was due to the belief in a persistent external threat, ?terrorism? as in Saddam Hussein's supposed potential ability to terrorize the United States with biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons, that the public backed President George W. Bush's decision to declare war on Iraq in 2003. However, the looping of the 9/11 attacks on television screens for the weeks after the cataclysmic event solidified the siege mentality, which had been compounding upon itself for years, in the United States creating a populace that was ignorant of their complicit support for the spectacle and the neo-liberalism it espouses. However, equally terrifying as 9/11 is the terror of the maintenance of the status quo through the forceful expansion of the spectacle and its neo-liberal values. The expansion of the spectacle has severed neo-liberal populaces from reality via instantaneous telecommunication promoting instantaneous fear and the subsequent desire to be sheltered from external threats. And yet, the people mechanically promoting the spectacle are unaware that through their support they are, in fact, caught in a perpetual cyclical terrorization.

[...] As Virilio states, whole world has become too small for the peace, this civil peace between nations and their respective populations now threatened by a never-ending state of emergency that of another ?state of siege' that is, this time planetary.?[10] The globalization of the spectacle has caused societies to strike out against the spectacle, as on 9/11, creating disequilibrium within the international system that inevitably causes international conflict. Yet, there is still a return to the utilization of instantaneous telecommunications promoting the mechanisms of the spectacle as a means to placate those disturbed at the invasion. [...]

[...] Within the framework of the spectacle, Virilio remarks, ?Each of us is metamorphosed into a divine being, at once here and there, at the same time. Whence our arrogance: I could say what I think about what is going to happen to a guy in six months or fifteen hours in the Arabian desert, although I know so little about him. It is totally absurd.?[6] Under the spell of the spectacle, the vast majority of individuals came to the assumption that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons. [...]

[...] The pervasive monopolistic businesses that have contaminated and systematically destroyed the unique economic cultures of each city clandestinely force the surrender of its individuals to become members of the universal city a city that lives off the illusion of its absolute self-rejection as a simulacra. The structure of the city of panic comes into being, with gated housing complexes and ever-present fear among its inhabitants that an attack is immanent, whether from a mugger or a terrorist. The structure is one of ultimate control through fear and collusion. [...]

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