Imagine Trump hiring Dr Strangelove to replace General Kelly. Gary Lachman, in his book, Dark Star Rising, writes some fascinating paragraphs about Vladimir Putin’s Chief of Staff, Anton Vaino. Move over, telescope, microscope, the nooscope is here! Vaino, co-inventor of the nooscope, is aiming at “recording and distilling the sum total of human thought” (Anton Vaino, Mad Scientist Blog.) Shaping the voting habits of Americans is a minor sideshow compared to the potential of the nooscope.
A telescope scans the skies, a microscope scans the small. According to Gary Lachman, the nooscope scans the noosphere. The “noosphere” is a term coined by the Jesuit scientist Teilhard de Chardin to refer the the collective global consciousness of the earth. In other words, the nooscope will be able to read the mind of the planet. In a way, the modern internet could be likened to that consciousness, and therefore, “with more and more smart devices feeding this data into this stream, the ability to chart trends and predict and control movements in the ‘noosphere’ will be more desirable and predictable.” (Lachman, Dark Star Rising,p. 144) The next step, notes Lachman, would be an all embracing system of government.
Here’s the point. As we await Mueller’s report on Russian interference in our last Presidential election, we may be overlooking a precedent set in Russia. Once Putin was elected in 2000, as we are often reminded, he took control of the media in Russia. By controlling the press and media, Putin made alternative facts the new reality. His deputy, Surkov, “mastered the use of a democratic and liberal vocabulary…to create a postmodern dictatorship that uses the language and institutions of democratic capitalism for authoritarian ends.” (Lachman, p 141) Surkov’s idea was to exert Soviet control by blending it with Western entertainment. Keep the masses hypnotized. This is where Anton Vaino fits in.
First, shift the camera back to the US. Try to imagine that Donald Trump is both intelligent and effective. In our imaginations he can now read briefing material. We know The Donald wants to discredit any media that criticizes him, “fake news.” Like Putin, we know that our President is a plutocrat who is using his office to enrich himself and his family. Imagine now that he is able to enlist the full data mining capabilities of Facebook, Amazon, Google, and other key social media. What would happen if Bezos, Zuckerberg, Page, and company, went all in to promote the business and policy priorities of The Donald? Big Tech and Big government, working discretely together for their mutual benefit. Perhaps the result would be like the social credit system in China, where right thinking and behavior is rewarded, and skeptics and critics are not. Forget censorship and gulags, too old school! Plutocracy, the velvet hand and an iron heel that nudges, rather than stomps. (Washington Post, pro-Trump?)
This, I think, gives us some idea of what Putin’s Chief of Staff Vaino is up to. As a preface, Lachman discusses Surkov’s role in the Russian campaign against the Ukraine. He states that the conflict may have been a test for the military conquest of other nations’ noospheres. (Lachman, p. 145). Now we can wheel out Vaino’s brainstorm:
We’re talking about blanketing the earth with networks of video and audio recorders, GPS, temperature and radiation sensors, passive identification markers, smart dust, you name it. In fact, if you really want to understand the psychology behind market fluctuations, you have to go beyond external events and record people’s thoughts. To that end Vaino describes an intriguing “emotion transmission system”.“Anton Vaino”, Mad Scientist Blog
And so on. Total surveillance. We get the picture. In Russia, meanwhile, Trump’s good buddy Putin is doing the following:
Currently Moscow State University scientists have to vet their papers with the state security service before they can publish. While private research funding has become increasingly treacherous as Russia cracks down on civil liberties. On top of that, just days after promoting Vaino to his current position, Putin appointed a church historian as the country’s new science and education minister, instead of a—umm—scientist.“Anton Vaino”. Mad Scientist Blog
Perhaps we should be thankful Trump is a dunce. But we live in a plutocracy, could we get a subtle, smart, concealed successor dedicated to the same aims as Vlad the Nailor? His Russia is truly frightening. But to make his concept work, Vaino would need the huge resources of all our Big Tech to create his nooscope. Russia, with the GDP of Italy, isn’t capable of such a thing. But who knows what the future will bring?