Interconnected

Anonymous has declared war on the Church of Scientology (more news). I just read this on the internet: WE SHALL NEVER ASK FOR RANSOM. WE SHALL NEVER YIELD FOR NEGOTIATIONS. THERE ARE NO DEMANDS. THERE ARE NO DESIRES. THERE IS NO FUNDING, NO LEADERSHIP, NO MEMBERSHIP, NO POLITICAL GOAL. ANONYMOUS WISHES TO SEE SCIENTOLOGY FALL, FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN IT WOULD BE AWESOME. PEOPLE DO NOT PROPERLY UNDERSTAND THIS. YET.

On Slashdot, a comment explains: Memetic warfare. Walk down the street and ask random people "What's the first thing you think of when you hear the word '$cientology'"? If it's "Tom Cruise", the person could still be sucked into the cult. ... When it's "Xenu!", "Scam", "Money", ... the person will never be sucked into the cult. ... At some point - 20%? 50%? 90%? - herd immunity develops.

Anonymous is not an organisation but an ideology that exists as a population. It can't do or think anything itself except metaphorically. Individuals who act in the same way as Anonymous but who have never heard of it can't be described as being part of it. This is an entity that exists as an auto-catalytic set in the social network. There is no leader who can give orders because identity cannot be verified from one instant to the next; there is perhaps a leadership organ. Whereas our society of capitalism and marketing is a control society which attempts to manipulate the network while keeping it computable (that is, conforming to a model held by the control system), Anonymous is a non-computable part of the network. That's what makes it dangerous. A part of the network outside the control structure which is developing self-awareness.

(What strikes me most about the anti-Scientology videos is that individuals are using the same techniques of manipulation and persuasion that Hollywood, advertising and the state have used on the general population. I find this heartening.)