|Cybernetic culture research unit|
counter to such enthusiasm is the fact that as an instrument of propaganda
the gregorian calendar is intrinsically flawed. Apocalyptic hopes for AD
2000 systematically confuse millenarian expectations for Christ's thousand
year reign (Rev-XX) with millenialist investment of neat calendric intervals.
The midnight of December 31st 1999 does not coincide with a christian festival (christmas), has no historically defensible commemorative relevance, and does not (as gregorian year MM) even mark the beginning of a new millennium.
Meanwhile, infotechnics is carried by Y2K into millennial spasms of its own, returning to 00 and digitally erasing the twentieth century (reducing data to MMbo-jumbo). Since Cyberspace dates are incapable of counting above 99 they have surreptitiously installed the first intrinsically apocalyptic calendar in history, unconsciously produced within a planetrary electronic registry, starting from Year Zero (= 00). Y2K condenses out of the mechanomic unconscious and its nonarbitrary calcular functions, attesting to a raw decimal delirium indifferent to creed.
Post-tribulationist eschatology slides smoothly into Y2K survivalism, orienting its volatile mixture of stock piling, micro-militia activity, technophobia and apocalyptic theology towards the self-fulfilling dynamics of millennial threat. Pre-emptive response produces reality (panic is creation). The more you know about it, the worse it looks.
It has always been integral to capitalist organization that science-fiction functions as a factor of production, relating it intimately to panic-phenomena. Y2K takes things to a new level, as a disaster that comes from the future, scheduled by accident, and thus precisely anticipated in time. If it proves effectively ineradicable it is because it is trickling back, from the self-confirming inevitability of its occurrence. Something is about to happen, and we know exactly when.
The contours of the expected calamity are being continuously upscaled in conformity with an interlocking technopanic syndrome, involving innumerable accidents, various network crashes, and elements of medical overstretch, financial chaos , transport, telecommunication and power failures, food and water shortages, disruption of government services, hoarding, rioting, and terrorism. A number of governments have openly expressed their willingness to oversee millennium celebrations in conditions approximating to martial law. Army and police leave is being cancelled, and emergency services prepared for exceptional conditions, including large-scale disruption of their own command, control, and communications systems, compounded by widespread equipment dysfunction.
In the West, large government and corporate bureaucracies are triaging their Y2K vulnerability: writing-off the most expendable sectors, accepting incalculable risk in others, and concentrating resources solely on the most critical areas (such as nuclear installations, strategic control, core information functions and financial records).
Forecasting the pattern of Y2K devastation is complicated by its (artificial) nature, which explodes in spirals. As a highly chaotic singularity it is characterized by extreme sensitivity to microvariables, the absence of precedent, and anticipatory looping through its own potentials. It occurs in advance of itself, punctually switches to an unknown climate, and spreads contagiously through networks. Modelling it adds complexity and noise (which feed it). Though entirely semiotic, it already amounts to the most expensive accident in history (whatever happens). $3.6 trillion and counting.
Y2K produces a traumatic mutation in the information economy, involving an explosion of IT emergency services (analysis, debugging, integrated solutions), massively accelerated hardware replacement, global restructuring, and a crisis of confidence in computer-supported services, with the potential to runaway into general market collapse. It interrupts the smooth upward curve of doubling microprocessor density, falling prices, and increasing market-penetration with a singular cyberspace-shock that is discontinuous (or nonmetabolic) in nature.
Junk-shops stack-up with prematurely discarded infotechnic hardware, providing the material-base for a computer-age skip-scavenging cargo-culture. Electronics must be subsocially recycled to release its frozen machinic potential.
Cyberpunk begins with Y2K.
Outside the public sphere Y2K excitement is not only higher it has changed phase entirely. As hysterical hyperlooping twists the millennium into a panic storm, it builds explosively on itself, producing an artificial destiny. Techonomic power splinters across schizophrenically juxtaposed time-systems, spawning monsters (the first true counterculture).
Lurking predominantly in the datacombs of the crypt, numerous shadowy groups now proclaim themselves Y2K-positive. These "Yettuk cults" have begun building a mesh of massively decentralized subcultural impulses, directly investing ethnotronic time-catastrophe, and aggressively promoting chronodissidence throughout and beyond the web. They celebrate Y2K as a threat to the order of time: a cultural event that is not textual, ideological, representational, intentional, or phenomenological but rather machinic and numerical-subtractive (n -1).
Y2K designates a crisis of calendric culture: a time-bomb so perfected that the timer is the bomb. It simultaneously adopts the zero-function of 24-hour digital time-code, induces convergence with the calendric zero of count-inception, dismantles clock/calendar segmentarity into flat scales of duration, and triggers Teotwawki. Even when it operates pre-emptively (in any number of ways) it refers itself to the punctual Great Midnight that cuts hyperhistorical time-continuum at 00:00, doubling the retro-virtual chronogenesis of the century.
Y2K is as old as computers, all that changes is the panic intensity. According to the Yettuk cultists - or K-Goths - the total chronopolitical immune-response to Y2K constitutes a program for Gregorian Restoration, with the bug-hunt masking a neoroman sociopolitical agenda.
Far from being a mere technical glitch, the millennium time crisis indexes the first neutral calendar in history, which escapes the numerocultural legacy of the Romans by beginning with a year 0 (= 00).
The demand for "millennium compliance" attempts to enforce the abandonment of an existing calendar, that of cybernetic- or K-Time, and suppress its associated time-anomalies (sealing the calendar against zero).
In the now notorious words of crypt denizen Count S Zero: "...so Mbug resistors think MATRIX needs a new calendar--totally steam-punk. Wake up- ITs already K-Time. Count-O=Greg Date 1900..".
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