On the Statistics Program

Zev Aaron
7 min readAug 15


March 2022

One way to solve an encrypted message, if we know its language, is to find a different plaintext of the same language… and then we count the occurrences of each letter… Then we look at the cipher text we want to solve and we also classify its symbols until we account for all symbols of the cryptogram we want to solve

On Extracting Obscured Correspondence, 850 AD

Wearing a mask, hiding behind convention, playing a role for others and for oneself — in short, a continuous fluttering around the solitary flame of vanity — is so much the rule and the law among men that there is almost nothing which is less comprehensible than how an honest and pure drive for truth could have arisen among them

On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral sense, 1896 AD

And so it came to pass. The virtual programs the mask. The face masks the virtual. Thrown, the strong man the raft — the weak the current. Masks mask and programs program and so it comes to pass.

With the statisticastration of life the represented with consent rises up into the mere object container of trained car logistics, the work of Referat IV B4 automated. Objectification surges up upon life ever since its appearance through aqueous reflection. But now through its disappearance does it appear as ultimate danger: virtualization. Already heralded as the end of meta-physics by prophets, Kaczynski included, the object conversion of the seven billion into trillions of zeroes, alongside the one hundred billion retroactively projected, by means of a herd immunity programmed by masked programs unleashes a spectacular subjectivation so spectacular it cannot be contained in what has previously passed for reality: a vir(tu)al consumptive pantomime of word-images consolidating a programmed subjectivity without limit. Defying gravity like a helium balloon, the falsely animated object little less than the angels floats to heaven, capturing, storing, and distributing the world-picture of science until its altitude outstrips nature, until the hollowed object contains its expansion no longer. Thus occurs a collective murder-suicide of essence. Pop goes the weasel.

Through consumption and deflation does the represented vitiate himself through one or another antidote to pay for the vir(tu)ality conceiving him. But try to subject an object. Witness its animation. And now believe in it. What remains alive within the mass-hysterical project of best practice gathers still the constellation of mystery into infinite rows of glimmering blinks perceived by those condemned to trudge through a mad maelstrom shielded against the mass programming of thought and the submission by smart-phone blindly approaching the cliff edge of the finite. Screening eyes glued down and shut, the programming of the they threatens the gravitational extinction of the originally concealed and presence and even time itself. But the call to think the real real still calls and most clarion given its nearly completed complete killing, through and above the approach of the final event horizon of vir(tu)alization laid out by the trans-historical programming of the statistical field.

With the formal verification of statistics as program, with its programming in the seventeenth century, with the gradual programming of ensuing centuries, with John Graunt’s analysis of the bills of mortality, the stat(e) sets sight upon the pop-ulation, generating the sight itself, fixing its masked gaze through objectification, picturing and setting forth what once remained invisible but already visualized, clarifying as program the nascent subjective objectivity revealed by the etymology of the state, by the statistic, and delivered over to the bursting scientific imagination since snuffed out by the rationality of capital. Statistics formalizes alongside epidemiology and demography. With the measurement of the people it is born in death with the population. First statistics constructs the population through life tables, counting death. Then probability theory secures statistics, with Girolamo Cardano’s analysis of Chance, retroactively, as Bayes prophesied through the subjective necessity of prior probability ad infinitum, through smartphone learning machines, by unleashing the bell curve upon that which populates it — through administration, mastery, fixation, and eventually asphyxiation — through the simulated fantasy of binary code. Within the tabulation of death and chance, the uncertain certain and certain uncertain, generations of distribution tear asunder the population enframed within specified normalizations within specified silos.

With the already known always ready for extrapolative contagion, programs form in advance of their programming. Quickly does the field of app-lication broaden, with the computer for instance, like a random sample. Retranscribed through extrapolation, safeguarding the future like Cronus, minimizing chance, forecasting the future, generating, projecting the measured into the mystery, generating certainty, wearing the mask properly, politely, and philanthropically, probability theory programs margins of error that mask, that save face at all cost. The annihilation of spontaneity, of the future, unfolds rigorously through irony by clinging with dear life to the error, the the vir-us, to the known-unknown, acknowledging the unknown-unknown while colonizing it, while generating it through consumption and computation. Anything can be computed, even that which cannot: garbage in, garbage out. Overhead without any fuss the stars were going out.

With the formal verification of statistics as program realized through the security of probability theory, mathematics reveals its masked destiny: to manage demographics and organize epidemics, to generate homo sapiens by means of the natural selection of hallucinatory screens projecting sanitary legalities within the safely siloed off silos of massified herd. So it goes with statistical masking saving face at all costs: masking masks masks masking masks. Programming programs programs programming programs.

Programmed at the end of the seventeenth century, before all these madnesses spread through Nature to cure other madnesses, as statistics fixes its gaze, as things are fixed by statistics, as things are fixed, as the patient is fixed, as the instant gratification of the statistic fixes healthy virtues, the herd is immunized against what was once heard. Statistical gaze becomes watcher. Subject becomes object upon that pinnacle that is also nadir. His foundation lacks foundation, nothing makes sense, or rather everything does, vertigo is unleashed by the simultaneity of the gigantic and the tiny. Armed with his scientized objects, armed with data, the newly crowned subject finds himself trapped by his accumulated hoard. They are his no longer. By his representations he vanishes into standing reserve, appearing in the masked picture masked and in the masked table masked, in order to measure himself masked, to be measured masked as a masked thing to be measured amidst the profitable Escherian diagrams of data science.

Programmed not yet in Rome, the community gathered in baths. Frequency of bath correlated with quantity of private property without resentment, without hygienic theater. Most bathed in public once per week in a reasonably priced facility without deodorant and toothpaste. Nothing was for sale. The cleanse was ritualized. It required attention and belief. Still there was a public for the psychologized confessor had not yet appeared. Accumulation had not yet outstripped the accumulator. At times, it was whispered, men and women even bathed together without fornicating. Libraries and gymnasiums awaited them upstairs alongside their merry slaves. In only the most conceited psychiatric and psychoanalytic therapies can the progress become clear, the progressive accumulation of the most prominent masking program of the contemporary.

Programming masks masquerade, masks save face at all costs, and suddenly in the seventeenth century, a plague arrives in town. Social distancing technologies instantiate most often endemically given the tragic locality of life: the town is closed, residents shut in, streets are patrolled. Conceits of voluntary isolation are not yet necessary. Food is delivered by means of primitive conveyor belt, the shut in shows himself vir(tu)ally through the window to prove he still lives, attendance is taken, homes are purified. Some shut ins, it can be speculated, cleaned their food while wearing three masks and humorally blood letting their family in accordance with the contemporary guidelines. They laugh about it months later. The double-blind studies commence. Burgeoning germ theory overturns the exhalation of miasma. And to save face at all costs, they displace elsewhere their madness. Of course it was once believed that town officials had locked all home doors from outside. But now the archaeologists have excavated a truth they cannot calculate through geologic time: the doors were never locked, the shut ins locked up themselves.

And so the statistics program gathers in more ways than one. Through therapies of psychology, school, and work, the therapy of the scientific screen spreads vir(tu)ally, massaging into non-existence the annihilated objects of masking programs. With objection, with frenetic adoption, with the pacific excited delirium of the screen stare, the coming forth into the open of reality itself is nearly killed by mask and program, leaving few survivors behind in the unordered clearing of the incalculable real. But the survivors do endure. Indeed they remain, in the twilight of autonomous thought impervious to co-option and compromised and severed screen, with one task: to build to the sky a castle wall without door. Soon after consecration the wall disappears, leaving outstretched to eternity the genuine real. Contamination no longer requires minimization for nothing contaminates. The solitary builder now has ahead his granted life. Surface outstripped, they approach death satisfied in the shining beyond the crowded screen.

Popular populations populate. Programmed programs program programmed programs programming programmed programs. Masked masks mask masked masks masking masked masks. Masks program program masks.

The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions a statistic.



Zev Aaron

Analog tutor and filmmaker in New York — zevaaron.com