The Internet and me

From: Jerry_Sharon_Eve
Date: Fri, 1 Jan 1999 11:17:21

> The Net can be "dehumanizing" relative to an actual personal contact
> ("personal", i.e. one in which you are acting yourself, not the role of a
> subordinate, teacher, employer, tenant or bomber pilot from an evil
> empire). Compared to any other form of media known to us, the Net is by far
> the most human technology of all - indeed, the only *human-izing*
> technology, I believe. Here's why: Because take away the technology from
> the TV business and nothing's left. For the Net, however, technology itself
> is secondary. Computers are merely interfaces. We could be using carrier
> pigeons instead of packet routers, and we would still have the Net, as the
> communications medium, and we could still *talk to each other freely*. No
> other medium of communication has ever been able to (or designed to)
> deliver that freedom. Telephony almost got there, but it's too expensive in
> the long run.
> When will those journalists just get real and get on the net and get on
> with the program?
Actually, Marek, this raises an important question in relation to the analogue as Other -- epitomised in phrases like "been on cm since 94? get a life!" -- so what IS a 'life'? Is it something Other, more real than online life? At one level we are surely all in virtuality - defined as cultural space - in which case there would be no ontological difference between being online and being in rl. Whence comes the nostalgia for the 'really real'? Certainly there are echoes of this nostalgia for a lost rl in Mumford problematising of the human/technology interface which is read these days as cyborgisation, in beaudrillard (otherwise why worry about distinguishing simluation) and in Virillio -- does speed and compression really abstract us from the really real? Or has this simply been a condition of life since before the Renaissance?

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