i couldn't resist.

Mona Lisa's Smile Decoded
Has there ever been a more obvious example of the sheer stupidity of science?
Mona Lisa is "83 per cent happy, 9 per cent disgusted, 6 per cent fearful and 2 per cent angry."

Bourgeois art critics twist themselves into knots over the 'mystery' of Mona Lisa's smile, and the scientist shows up with an adding machine and misses the point entirely.
'Who was this Mona Lisa?' they ask. 'How was she to become immortalized in this way?' Old dudes are savouring the mystery, just getting down with those delicious rhetorical questions. 'What sort of person was she? That... smile. What is she thinking about? She is the template of human inscrutability... she is unknowable.'
'Not really', says the scientist. 'We know she's about 9% disgusted.' And with that, a stony silence rings through the Louvre. It is worse than piss in the merlot bottle.
"9% disgusted." Haha, what? Notice how the article is framed as if this is the resolution of an age-old mystery. Way to come through for us again, science. Through the process of quantification, human facts are reduced to gibberish. How the hell is this information functional? Why ought it be reduced to function? Because remember, this software wasn't merely developed to vandalize art. It was developed to create better, more powerful surveillance systems. Besides being irrational, science is paranoid: everything must be reduced to knowables, to facts... even if those facts are gibberish. Even the rhetorical questions of the stuffy aristocrats regarding their 'high art' are an issue of anxiety for science, and subject to liquidation.
Here's another thing about this entire absurd situation: the Mona Lisa is a painting. It was created, probably over the course of weeks or months. Was she '9% disgusted' the whole fucking time? I'd imagine that at some point da Vinci probably would've tried to crack a joke, in order to calm the young model down... but then this is conjecture, and I'm falsely putting myself and my modern expectations of sociality into an alien situation. My point is, science forgets that the Mona Lisa's smile is the result of an interaction of painter and model-- the smile is an aggregate of many moments of relaxation, boredom, and so on for the model, whoever she was, as well as what the painter saw in these moments, and what he wanted to see. Science forgets all that, and then forgets that it forgot. The process is forgotten, all facts are taken at (sorry) Face Value. Science behind the surveillance camera watches you get off the subway. Science measures 34% resentment... not a good sign. Science forgets that it is part of the watching eyes, the crowds, the smog and the armed guards that you resent. Science forgets that its observation is part of the equation. Science sees you look into the camera defiantly, pinned down in the moment. Science brings up your dossier and adds another line of gibberish, building up a case for the liquidation of your mystery. If you won't talk to the agents that show up for 'a friendly chat'; if you won't talk to the doctors who are concerned about your 'mental health', then maybe you will talk when they waterboard you.
Torture creates intelligence in more ways than one. It's complete rubbish for extracting factual information: after a beating most people will tell you what you want to hear. Remember when an anonymous senior official in the White House crowed about an empire 'creating their own reality'? And liberals pegged this as part of Bush's religious delusion? I disagree. I say it's an extreme manifestation of science's ongoing delusion. Suspicion begats investigation, which begats interrogation, begats torture, which creates its own 'intelligence' and thus justifies the suspicion. Psychiatrists must assume that the society is sane, which justifies the insanity in whoever walks into their office. If the signs of disease are not there, you can keep digging until you find it, or perceive normal behaviour through a different lens. The patient must be hiding something, they reason, otherwise why would they have been referred to me? It's circular reasoning. The state's scrutiny of muslim men creates the resentment that becomes the 'red flag' that justifies scrutiny. The point of investigation is always the individual, and never the examiner, and so Science will always find what it wants to find.


Post a Comment

<< Home