Given the mass of evidence, there is no plausible hypothesis but reality. Baudrillard, The Perfect Crime
The following is a story about the change in the role of the Body in forming Identity, providing Privacy and knowing the Truth, from the Spanish Inquisition to Minority Report – two time-symbols of body-reference. This is also the story of a rare footnote – one that stands apart in a book that owns it: footnote#3, p. 170, in Paul Virilio’s Speed and Politics.
“In the Middle Ages, the question is put to a body under torture, one that “knows the truth” and must let it escape in spite of himself”.
The truth [of a person] is embedded in the body.
“In the 19th century, torture is abolished but not out of humanitarianism, but because they realized that any act (every human movement) leaves external traces, an involuntary stamp. From then on, they scientifically make proofs talk“.
The truth [of a person] is manifested in the body‘s deeds, an involuntary stamp.
“From identical sets of material proofs they could draw different coherent discourses, each canceling the other out, by simply changing the order of elements”.
You stay quiet, Mister, while these two gentlemen, the prosecutor and the defender, tell your story. We’ll see which version of the truth will win. Anyway, your story is no longer relevant.
“We could imagine that the gaps and hazards inherent in the ordering of materials should disappear, since with computers they could make the accusing discourse perfectly coherent”.
… and by that, removing any competing versions of Truth. With the amount of parallel, simultaneous reports about any given event, syndicated and correlated from a mass of individuals, Reality becomes a statistically unified version of truth, Reality, as told by the machine, or as Baudrillard [probably] calls it: the Automatic Writing of Reality.
“At that point, they could do totally without the confession of the accused, who would be less informed about his own crime than the computer, and who, no longer being the one who knows “the truth”, would have nothing left to confess”.
Once Reality is told by the machine (as it is the case in Minority Report), another step forward is taken: Truth is no longer built out of the Past, but is rather an illusion projected into the Future. The computer is using statistics to build patterns of possible behavior out of a single, and somehow correlated event. When that happens, it will suffice to think Murder to be immediately arrested by the Reality Police.
Given the mass of evidence to the contrary, there is no solution but illusion. Baudrillard, The Perfect Crime