Crystal Palace of Data Mining/ in Australia & Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’ Dark Satanic Mills

UPDATING

“All human actions will then of course be calculated, mathematically, like logarithm tables up to 108,000, and recorded in a calendar, or even better, well-intentioned publications will then appear, like the present-day encyclopaedic dictionaries, in which everything will be so precisely calculated and recorded that there will no longer be deliberate acts or adventures in the world.

And then – it’s still you speaking – new economic relations will arise , all-ready made, also calculated with mathematical accuracy, so that all kinds of answers will become available. Then they will build a crystal palace. Then…. Well in a word, then the halcyon days will come. Of course, then there will be no guarantee (this time it’s me that’s speaking) that it won’t for example, be terribly boring (because what can one do when everything has been calculated according to a table?); on the other hand everything will be extremely reasonable.”

Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground

Crystal Palace, in London, was built in 1851. [ May or may not be a reference in Notes from Underground, the book which was published in 1864, years after the construction of the Crystal Palace in London. And also, given that Russian intellectuals wanted to mimic the rationalist attitude from their European counterparts, this is what Dostoyevsky criticises ]. Image from Brittanica.

Please don’t read this further if it’s causing you an existential crisis—[To the unemployed]. You are worthy despite this environment that you may believe may be telling you otherwise. And I do believe that you can take an unpaved path to your goals in life. The pathway or the curriculum we may see may be set by others, but it is what we add to that pathway or curriculum in our learning, even beyond what’s set by others, that teaches us. Like footprints, we mark in an endless desert. We shape, form and reform what we learn, what we know and what we attain or lose in life.

Crystal Palace

This crystal palace is a symbol of rationalism and how it is being used to justify truth in people’s lived experiences, that their suffering is necessary for the social order. And Dostoyevsky says attempts to typify a utopia in society to eliminate suffering still result in suffering. And the more aware you are of the divine or beautiful, the more you are likely to commit acts that are unjust. There is a human desire to sabotage oneself, even amongst surrounding oneself with the divine.

The beauty of perhaps unpacking our social experiences to see that rituals are not ordinary helps to reframe what may reflect who we are as a society.

There are so many anthills that we have not stopped to consider yet.[Anthills refers to social organisation or patterns that affect our everyday life, confirmed by social facts and the consequences it entails]

The close of an Australian cryptocurrency platform MyCryptoWallet that uses decentralised banking in storing and valuing money meant that

[Decentralised banking, meaning money that is unregulated by the state, federal reserve and legislative powers] 

many people who invested had lost in what they believed could secure their future wealth.

Headlines on the ABC appears to reassert the authority of centralised banking to prevent the devaluation of money by unregulated platforms, where Frydenberg was addressing the need for a digital centralised currency platform to prevent future fallouts like MyCryptoWallet to Australian consumers.

However, given the view that banks who default can’t give their clients their money, because what you see in the bank is not the amount stored for you, but what they may attain in loaning others money, banking nevertheless is a form of gambling.

But this may reaffirm what banking is, decentralised or centralised. It is essentially gambling.

The same goes for the prices of commodities that vary state by state, based on the local businesses economic output to the state’s overall economy.

Suppose the local companies fail to provide a robust economic output. In that case, the pricing of their commodities may fall [ what stock traders refer to as a bear market] in a global market [commodities being resources like oil, gas, tech, healthcare, medicine].

Suppose they succeed, the pricing of their commodities rises [what stock traders refer to as a bull market. This metaphor is used to explain wealth, where bulls push with their horns up, denoting rising wealth, and bears push down with their paws, denoting falling wealth] due to perhaps the labour they tread on their land or on foreign-owned land.

This is essentially what the Dutch East India Trading Company sought out to establish, a stock marketplace, where colonies do not benefit themselves but add to the wealth of their motherland.

They provide commodities, but the motherland reaps the colonies’ wealth without necessarily burdening their soil than the colonies’ to make it efficient to compete with other hegemonic driven powers in having a higher currency.

The actions of states in World War I and World War II reaffirms this where states feuded on capturing and invading colonies to add to their affiliated motherland wealth. That states are driven by self-interest in wielding their economic power over others.

[But I also contest that it’s because of the theories that we rely upon that has accrued into this thing we call capitalism]

And the same system of stock trading still takes place in developed and developing countries. Attempts to rejuvenate the economy of developing countries is like waiting for the grass to be greener on the other side when the developing countries are set to fail because they provide commodities or labour without having full economic ownership of it. This is not that different from the slave trade, where many people died to give wealth or power to those in power, which in turn may have impoverished them, which echoes throughout civilisations.

[centralised banking is still more stable than decentralised ones]

Data Mining in Australia

A common practice amongst recruiters is to open interviews for a position already filled internally or to open interviews without hiring for some reason, like, to inflate the actual strength of a company. Or if you are lucky to simply interview candidates and get candidates from that session.

The company may intentionally or unintentionally sell the data of the interviewee through their relationships with other companies and providers or through hackers infiltrating the company’s database. This may explain why your number may be listed somewhere, and you may have unknown calls.

Similarly, being a person who experienced the quick make cash online through surveys. The more this resembles an anthill.

Piecing it together from my 2019 experience of finding work whilst living in Campbelltown-Camden [apparently this place receives much postcode prejudice and derision from all of Sydney and the fabled North Shore Sydney Siders, not entirely true but it’s a vibe] before becoming a covid hotspot, I participated in many surveys and random gigs for cash after frustration with an employment search in a semi-rural regional town. And through doing that consistently, I realised a pattern: you can exchange hands for untenable credit.

This credit was a form of peanuts for cash. The Big Four, NSW Government, Unilever, Woolworths, Universities and General Market companies, were collecting projected responses of the wider public (To gain public opinion or interest in projects/products) and appeared to give in peanuts in the transaction between the third party providers and you their client.

At the same time, I found that my email address had been compromised online, same as my phone number, and I received emails related to lotto, cash, cryptocurrency, and emails selling viagra. To none of which I was interested in getting.

I don’t know if it is from those institutions [that I mentioned] or the survey sites that sell my data to third party providers. Still, I could not deny that I had received many spam emails and calls after participating in the surveys.

When I started going back to university, I met people who worked with people in consulting firms, who mentioned data mining, in collecting people’s responses even in resumes. 

The very same people who received money for working with big businesses [to extend the big businesses octopus reach of filling and running a conglomerate empire] decided not to shop at Westfield and instead independent markets and grocers. Even though they are essentially eating out of the hand of the institutions, they are employed in, which have power over shaping the context that we may live in, through advising, innovating and data mining.

They are aware that informed consent is not being expressed simply through participation in surveys.

They are aware of maybe how big companies can use personal data from the target population, to profit themselves, than those being measured.

Some interviews are set up like a competition to ‘sell’ a business idea. But under the cover, this is being used for fishing for ideas to profit the business, then the interviewee. Taking ideas may be fair in a workplace, but not for persons applying for jobs where they are not given due credit.

It just paints a gloomy picture of how unregulated the use of user data is in Australia.

Confabulating in the Crystal Palace

Gif by tdhooper

In early 2019 I went to a Fitzroy bar to support a friend’s DJ gig, who works at a call centre for a market research firm and she mentioned about how Australia does not regulate fake job posts, and there are aplenty. Even though seek does have a functionality to report the fake job ads, it still doesn’t solve the problem and people’s data can be compromised. Perhaps her experience may be reflective of the profit that companies get from gathering data on people’s resumes.

This can also be extended into the online dating realm, where in 2019, 2,000 user profiles of Australian women were sold for $60 a month.

Which brings me to the next thing. Jobseekers and employment companies.

Seek is the recommended site for jobseekers to submit their monthly job search to receive this form of credit. But Seek in 2020, was under fire for confabulating their share price, through its subsidiary posting fake jobs from deregistered companies.

This claim was made by Blue Orca who short selled on Seek, and its statement partially made the share price fall. The subsidiary comprised of 60% of Seek’s financial revenue, so perhaps Seek itself may not be immune to fake job posts on its website.

At the very same vein, Seek is the only recommended site for Jobseekers to receive credit through reporting, and at the very same vein data is being used from Seek to ‘inform’ employment figures of the Australian population to the Australian government. What unemployment means under the current Australian definition is someone who is actively looking for work through submitting their reports from their job applications on seek. People who aren’t actively looking for work are therefore not submitting their reports and are defined as ‘not unemployed’.

the same goes for someone who is employed, if their position means 1 hour per week, they are defined as employed.

The Federal Reserve prints money for the nation’s economy to spend, when unemployment is capped at 5%, anywhere above that they may not print. But the current definitions are confabulating who is unemployed and employed fully, and with the Covid crisis from 2020, the figures do not paint anywhere a closer picture of the current Australian economy, as we are writing near the end of 2021.

The use of personal data to monitor, then shape people’s responses makes me think of this heightened dystopian film.

At the very same time I participate as a mere consumer in this chain of data mining [rather less dominant than the power that an institution or company can wield with this data ] through using digital advertising to promote events, that has a price tag attached to display these ads towards the target demographic on the social media platform. The price I pay for advertising, taps directly into the databases of user profiles to help inform what target demographic gets the reach of the ad. More views mean more customer conversion, perhaps [with a good brand design]. No different to the cash for peanuts exchange for personal data, to launch a product.

Your personal data is money.

Similarly the fact that you can pay for instagram followers online to accrue sponsorship status, means that fake user data is money too, like fake jobs circulated on seek and its subsidiary to boost their financial portfolio, and to make the Australian economy seem stronger than what it actually is. Given the almost 120+ days lockdown of Sydney and Melbourne, it would make sense that there is an economic downturn and more than a 5% unemployment rate in Australia.

Blake’s “Jerusalem”

And did those feet in ancient time

Walk upon Englands mountains green:

And was the holy Lamb of God,

On Englands pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,

Shine forth upon our clouded hills?

And was Jerusalem builded here,

Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold:

Bring me my arrows of desire:

Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!

Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,

Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand:

Till we have built Jerusalem,

In Englands green & pleasant Land.

William Blake’s Dark Satanic Mills 1804

England’s festivities sometimes feature the dark satanic mills’ poetry as a source of national pride. For example, the 2012 Olympics. The Prospect magazine suggests that the characterisation of World War I composer Charles Hubert Perry is where the sense of patriotism of the song stems from, then the poet Blake, that preceded Hubert Perry of more than a century ago.

 Social upheaval and technological revolution imbued the 18th century that may have informed Blake’s subject matter. In addition, Britain, which was Blake’s homeland, declared war on France in 1803, dissipating the 1802 Treaty of Amiens [the treaty meaning peace between states] that was set to give respite [respite may mean rest or peace] between France and England as they had ten years of war.

Between 1803 and 1805, Napoleon attempted to place his army strategically around England to invade it. And in 1806, Napoleon set a naval blockade [naval Blockade means using ships to block other supply ships from providing resources to the enemy state] against Britain to paralyse their economic wealth. This naval Blockade is referred to as the Continental System. 

This continental system gave rise to Ludditism, a protest against the replaceability of workers to machines and unemployment.

And before Ludditism, the father of the factory system in the west was Richard Arkwright, who created the first water-powered cotton mill, called the water frame [it is an evolution of the spinning jenny machine]. While his invention provided efficiency and gave jobs to the locals, it was not a perfect system. The workers were paid a mere pittance, and children were present to run errands that could cause injury, such as reaching in between machines to repair the threads. 

At first glance, William Blake’s Dark Satanic Mills poem seems like religious rhetoric. Still, poetry can be provisional [provisional meaning that if you look back at the piece of work again with a different source, it can change the meaning of the work because those various sources may introduce ideas that may not have been regarded]. Blake’s poetry may be interpreted as religious prose as dark satanic mills allude to Satan as pulverising the souls of people in a mill, and the protagonist is talking about trying to achieve this image of a pure Jerusalem, perhaps against the conquest of Satan on England’s land. The imagery of clouds, chariot of fire, reference to the divine and the possession of a sword may depict a celestial or religious endeavour. But in light of the early industrial revolution, where people in urban environments worked in factories and suffered, Blake may be referring towards these institutions, which create this unpleasant scene of exploitation and perverting the sacred “pleasant pastures” of England by the transformation of hills to be “clouded” because of these institutions.

Sources

Jason Whittaker. (2019, Dec 26). Almost everything you now about the hymn “Jerusalem” is wrong. Retrieved from: https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/arts-and-books/almost-everything-you-know-about-the-hymn-jerusalem-is-wrong

John Simkin.( 2020, January) Richard Arkwright. https://spartacus-educational.com/IRarkwright.htm

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