How Is CM?

Date sent: Thu, 3 Sep 1998 11:37:40
From: Architext
Subject: Re: HOW IS CM?

> :-)  feeling pesky.



> as far as i remember descartes had both 'cogitans' and 'extensa' and this
> 'splitting' has been around for, oooh, quite a while.  i also see it in
> much 'eastern'  (where does 'east' start) stuff I read, very occasionally
> now.
yes, something that i realised too. pesky 'things' like that can bug you. we seem to be stuck with a body/mind split.

"It is the story of the necessity for loss and alienation and of the necessary longing for the lost and alienated" (Stephen Tyler, /The Unspeakable/)

but how does the separation of body and mind call for a space, any space, even a virtual one, to manifest itself/themselves?

I was reading /Will the real body please stand up?/ by Allucquere Rosanne Stone yesterday and came up with the following.

Stone tells us a couple of origin myths of what she calls virtual systems, and she starts with Thomas Hobbes' /Leviathan and the Air-Pump/ and shows how Hobbes by writing about a "community of like-minded gentlemen" created a "community of like-minded gentlemen" for which he wrote in the first place. Word created World.

Stone further tells us about Franklin Roosevelt's "fireside chats" over the 'recent' technology called radio, in effect creating a virtual community of listeners, whom Roosevelt 'invited' to his living room.

Just like the "community of gentlemen" we are constructing imagined spaces where we can convene, in order to communicate. Communication is the outcome of co-workers, hearers/listeners who construct understanding, mutually at that moment and individually, at that moment and later. Why do we need imaginary spaces? Because language is referential, we need context. In a real room I can speak about this here table, or we can speak of an imaginary table that we construct out of thin air, but we are still haggling about this here table as if it were there. When communication becomes mediated we lose this here space, we lose reference, we lose context. We must compensate, so by whatever means necessary we create an imaginary space into which we project ourselves and our conversational partners (even if they're just fictional, or one step removed in either space, time or both) so that we once again can speak about this here table as if it were an object in front of us. Is this the importance of virtual spaces on the internet? While the conversational partner is still one step removed in space, she's there in time, in realtime. When we speak on the phone, where do we imagine ourselves to be? Is the other visiting our place, or are we visiting theirs?

Can we say that communication inherently creates a shared space in order to create a shared understanding? Or is that line of thought an outcome of the western visual/objective bias?

>>c) i could propose we use "flow" but what happens when you think about flow?
>>you think about some _thing_, an object before the mind's eye, mapped on to
>>the interior matrix of the mind, that is surveyed by the mind's i/eye.
> not when I think of flow.
paint me a picture of what 'flow' looks like in your imagination :) please?
>>d) the ontology of cyberspace. again, space is the wrong word: Gibson says
>>"consensual hallucination" and i like that. but it seems that the only
>>experience of cyberspace is the one we construct internally, individually.
>>there is no bodily experience, it does not touch. it touches figuratively,
>>such is the power of words. but figuratively it is, it is a figure of
>>speech, a construction of the mind's homunculus, who speaks to himself.
> but is cyberspace only what we experience?  seems a limited way to do such
> a grand task as 'ontology'.  the being of cyberspace isn't just
> 'experiential' is it?
modernistically speaking it would have to be. modernism proceeds from the premise that reality is ultimately knowable, if the methods and machinery of apprehension are refined enough and then this reality can be set down in words if the language to do that is refined enough. 'postmodernistically' (whatever that is) speaking i might say that experience of the world is always premeditated, mediated even and experience is my construction of it. still the way we speak and think makes us willing accomplices of our experience and we think they are the origins of what we say and think. i thought i was hinting at the "more" than experience by saying "such is the power of words." but then again, i don't seem to always know the power of my own words.
>>e) we are not _here_. we are all _there_ merely hallucinating about being
>>_here_ in this non-space. was there ever a time people believed that if
>>they were speaking on the phone that they somehow materialized in the
>>switchboard, somewhere halfway down the line and that their avatars, their
>>phoney manifestations where conversing in a phone-y _here_, a space made
>>out of wires?
> where's here if not a there-ing?
is that there a dare? two sides of a coin, no there without here.

"we are not _here_" can be read as "we are not here, in cyberspace, in cybermind." i was trying to say that we seem to be thinking ourselves astray when we think ourselves into cyberspace.

>>>f) cyberspace does not exist, except in the hallucinatory minds of those
>>living in the age of technological wonder, sympathetic magin in an older
>>language, a kind of a Gernsback continuum.

> whose Gernsback?  sounds like a nice old geezer.  sympathetic magin.
> typo?
/Gernsback Continuum/ story by Gibson

yes, sympathetic magic. magic that works by means likeness, think voodoo dolls. as opposed to contagious magic, magic that works by means of contact, think burning locks of hair.

>  if not don't know that word and microsoft's rather crappy dictionary
> doesn't f-ing 'elp.
but the thesaurus is plenty of fun :)
> and i sort of think cyberspace exists.  or even thing it exists as the
> spelling first went.  but then, existence, persistence.
oh yes, it does exist... in the minds of millions of people.


(1) Time, however, flows: one creates context by extension of the conversation, while the description here would suggest that the 'creation' process is instantaneous -- or imaginary. 9327

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