Digital Feudalism In Erosion: 2024 Onward
As the last time Pluto was in Aquarius during an Air period involved the collapsing of Feudalism in the transition between the 1200-1300s it’s worth reviewing the process of ending up in what economic critics call Neo-Feudalism contemporarily which we might extend to Digital Feudalism at the moment. As we can expect this form of socio-economic organization to begin breaking up we might sketch out what it is and how it developed to parse out what exactly will be coming apart and what raw or modular components we might be left with as the disassembly enacts.
We might choose as a starting point well back into the threshold period of Earth Era to Air era transition the occurrence of MTV’s The Real World (1992), something which made a big impression on Pluto In Libras and Pluto in Virgos. The Iowa farm boy with cable TV needn’t remain a rustic now that the urban hubscapes had been revealed and somewhat decoded. He could skip the localized metropolitan interface of Iowa City and go directly to San Francisco or which ever city with cheap rent there was the most buzz about hyping like the promise of frontier expansion. Big Ag, Big Pharma and Big Box had combined to create a scented candle hellscape in middle America and the suburbs were releasing spores of culture hungry 20 somethings like a viral bloom. The result can be referred to as “The Williamsburg Experiment”, but was carried out everywhere, each with it’s own local aesthetic mirroring local forms which were echoed, distorted and reproduced like replicated copies occupying and overtaking what had previously been there, which essentially were employment vacuum communities which had been destroyed by CIA crack and meth in the 80s/90s. The fact that The Real World was formatted and staged then broadcasted as a franchise is an important paradigmatic component.
What ensued was the gentrification of cities in series which as it reached completion (i.e. street corners in Katmandu by 2013 which look and function as if they were Brooklyn) became a decentralized-Walmartization of the cultural fabric as Web2 platform/subscription based Digital Feudalism began to convert sense-of-self into identity-as-brand where people saw everything around them as occupy-able (the Occupy Movement fits the progression with irony) and to be curated for the purpose of promotion and monetization. This has ontological effects to the tune of if you associate with it you are promoting it, limiting the ability to digest and interpret experiences culturally, as there are collectively judged positives and negatives.
The sensitivity that a neighborhood, no matter how seemingly dysfunctional or dull, is filled with inhabitants who move and interact with the space and each other within it in a certain way and that to occupy it and then stage a curation within it and assimilate it to a pastiche of trending tastes is being a vassal in lever and pulley works of the Neo-Feudal mill, extending the effects out of the app into real space, as if you were seeing the square lens of the IG post frame around any area flattened to screen and transmitted with personal device into the syndicate. Subcultures were assimilated as eclecticity was homogonized. Folk process ceased as trending and virality dominated, reverberating from the syndication style curation replaced authentic curatorial dynamics, like a hijack language, copy-paste-selves arrived everywhere doing impersonations of previous and authentic others of whom they did not recognize any root existence as infiltration distributed everywhere unbound. Early non-white communities took notice of the Williamsburg Experiment phase first hand, as new people began to show up in their communities. Art and music subcultures experienced the impact first hand as the demographic that might have been referred to as yuppies in the 90s and 00s were by the 2010s beginning to be styled with stick and poke tattoos and vintage clothes and called hipsters, especially by the working class and rural inhabitants who now get called "Trumpers” by “hipsters”. These working class and rural demographics were previously homoginized by original, centralized Walmartization in the late 80s throughout the 90s. -- If you have an Air BnB, an upscale resale shop, a lifestyle brand or are a content creator, especially if you involve property or leasing of space, you are a fief and/or vassal to the Lords of Digital Feudalism, the societal outreaching of controlled markets topped by Meta, Amazon and the like. You decentrally migrate the Walmartizing homogeneity off-app and into the IRL at large.
In 2024 with Pluto’s progression into decentralizing Aquarius the digital brick and mortar of internet platform skyscraper sized hosting stacks will begin to be picked away at cornerstone by cornerstone until they topple and are cannibalized and reorganized. We can expect the entropic process of enshitification to contribute, as well as the building projects within web3 digital ecosystems and nodal networks— blockchain technology endlessly spinning out mass collaboration protocols DeFi, DeSci, ReFi, DAOs, Social Fi and so on, combined with the darkening of encryption and the inevitable evolution of the single Internet to the innumerable Internets, plural. A catalyzing factor in this economic-through-cultural shifting within this current Third Accounting Revolution in human history is the building of a CBDC/digital ID/passport etc, a dystopian project which does not fit the decentralizing astrological expression so will ironically only serve to encourage its oppositional forms as its use gets churned up in the ongoing disassembly process of going post-economy or separation of economy and state.
As we have become culturally sensitive to patriarchal or colonizing behaviors, once the digital Mega Stack: Web2: Neo-Feudal : Decentralized-Walmartizing paradigm cracks irreparably we will probably begin to stop ourselves before we act in an overtly curatorial manner and consider the subtleties and nuances of a space, place or people before we advance to occupy it. For values of authentic aesthetics to return to both the individual and cultural registers we must come to recognize the syndicated-curatorial aesthetic layer and see this overlay for what it is, at which point we can migrate out beyond the edges of it. Until we have more than one internet rather than a single internet dominated by platforms, subscriptions and mega-stacks any idea, expression or aesthetic can be captured photographically or copy-pasted and sucked back into the syndication-curation function to be distributed elsewhere: the epitome of the transmission-void-of-understanding problem which has plagued humanity since the onset of writing itself, as oral traditions were replaced by textual ones.
Seeing the interpersonal and inhabited layer of first hand society as permacultural can guide us on how to approach engaging with oneself, others around you and the spaces you are hosted within as living, dynamic and complex. At one point in human history there was only memory of songs to sing, dances to perform and objects to craft. As writing emerged we could begin to store ideas and exchange them remotely via abstraction. The printing press catalyzed the manufacture of complex ideas in book production. Industrial era media forms, such as videos, CDs, tapes, records etc. led us into an age of distributed mediums. The digital age negates the manufactured product as music, movies and so on simply stream over the internet. Obviously this requires device tech, electricity, plastics, components, radiation, satellites, towers. This is a harmful, complicated and insecure system that has the likelihood to not be able to be continually maintained, in which unequally distributed or even totalized dark ages will ensue.
In the meanwhile we could devote attention and energy to what solving the transmission of ideas in a first hand basis looks like. In person performances, talks, exhibitions, celebrations, feasts, fairs, and happenings. Temporary Autonomous Zones devoted to trade and exchange. This might include the revival of archaic forms of NFT: such as clay balls which encase a token, for instance a ring, which represents an exchange, say of territory or animals. The transaction is meaningful, and commemorated by the ring itself as well as the clay ball which packaged it, both things may enter the trade market which is laced with narrative values or be moved generationally as heirloom. An exchange of stable and moveable property, such as territory or livestock negotiations, change the lives of people and in that way modulate their narratives and morph their experience of being in the world, which reverberates as story up and down stream in inhabited time. Ring trading solutions diversify swap arrays, temporary vessels made of unfired clay are smashed in front of cafes later to be washed away as slurry by rain, native digital currencies loop in ecosystem conditioning protocols which effect practitioners philosophically by supporting animal habitats in their biosphere, negotiation languages used to express poetic sentiments like fortune cookie verses embedded in the metadata which prompts for surprise congregations in town squares by torchlight on the eve of a coronation to local craft cults challenging dwellers to both swap and mend as a form of sparring towards an initiation into resident bonds across mosaics of micro-cultures in terraformed free space where the control of the public corrodes into the nests of animals, and night swallows the hinterlands. Merchant vessels under sail stock the wharf with unfamiliar wares while bakers lay out the days baseline, and over the local radio word is made known that the QR codes laser etched into terrace rails open a page which invites inquiry into how scrap metal can be sculpted for scaffolding, climbing infrastructure and wind propelled musical automata.
These latter imaginings are not predictions, they are simply the mind exploring components of our Digital Feudalistic societal structure come apart from its central axis. Many horrific circumstances could also be constructed by the mind. Painting utopias is not the intention, but this is a time sensitive to neurolinguistic programming, so bringing attention to curious optionalities may dilate some version of them into reality. In a Digital Feudalism currently unraveling the art of memory might be a revolutionary act. To expand the capacity for recalling ideas offline resolves the need for media transmission. A web of myriad psychic Memory Palaces could be an alternate internet, or one of the pluralized Internets, a fractalized node within the ideosphere. Likely the psychic space and the virtual space will intersect more, beckoning the necessity for both simple and mental protocols as we arch towards the next theologically significant era as this recently embarked Air period turns to 200 years from now's next Water period. For now, anticipate a dismantling trend and a networking function opening up within that disassembly space. This happens in both the digital as well as physical layers of life, and is going to impact your mental framework, paradigm, psychology and in the long term, body and soul. To be at attention to this process rather than passive within it could make all the difference for the quality of life you enjoy and the way in which you navigate from community to community or co-author cultural forms.
What organizations allow for collaborative exchanges rather than syndications? What is a post-branding identity? What comes after the curatorial paradigm? Can negotiation languages and tokens of exchange separate economy from state control? How does this look outside the internet? Can the building of personal memory be a radical act in the tension of Air period dynamics? Can psychic intersectional protocols operate off internet or become internet interfaceable? How do we react to control intention CBDC programs? As Earth element aspects of existence de-fetishize (by no longer being in an Earth period) what does that mean for mercantile organizations and market functions? What is the difference as well as interaction between multi-polar localized and multi-polar remote? As we move into unknown territory keep the inquiry rolling and watch for things coming apart at the seams. In the short term, as in 2024, the Aries eclipses will likely be targeting those zones for the sake of enacting autonomy of all kinds.