Newmedia on Wed, 22 Apr 1998 00:04:36 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> Techno-Projectionism


What oddness.  What a surpise!  What am I to do?  Everyone doesn't *like* me.
They're talking behind my back.  They're dissing my friends.  Where did I go
wrong?  Can I ever repair what has been broken?  Should I just go ahead and
die?  Right now?  I've failed.  Oh, dear!  I'm a Blatherer.

As Gerard Van der Leun has demonstrated, he is angry (bitter as someone put
it), smart (a genius as someone put it) and has a lot of time on his hands
(wonderful as someone put it) but does he have any idea what he is talking
about?  The question is (as it so often is) are we dealing with reality or
with projection?  Who is he talking about?

As far as I know, Gerard has had no unmediated contact with the people at
technorealism (although some of the founders have been involved with nettime
and I've sent him unanswered email), has no idea what we are up to, doesn't
care about actual motivations or even tactics and generally would rather make
it up as he goes along.  That would point us towards projection.  Talking
about something he does understand -- his own life -- by projecting it on
someone else.

The complaint that the technorealists are out to enhance their standing in the
world is a truly odd one.  In fact, the time spent on technorealism has
generally distracted many of us from our making-money tasks and even prevented
some from even enjoying our lives.  The depth of the merde deposited at some
of our doorsteps has made it difficult to even get the door open let alone
make it to those all important power lunches.  Perhaps, we are dealing with
projection here.  Imagining wealth and happiness (along with vacuity and
forgetfulness) where none exists.  Perhaps.

Or, possibly, Gerard does have a point.  There is something happening here and
what it is is all together too clear.  Blathering *used* to be a good gig.  In
particular, one used to be able to be a "critic" -- a post-modern critic of
course -- and get laid or whatever turns you on.  It used to be fun and now
the party's over.  Boo Hoo.  So sad.

1990 was really a turning point.  The whole 1950-1990 phase is over.  Much,
much more than the End of the Cold War.  Much, much more than the collapse of
the Soviet Union.  Post-modernity's quarrel with the Enlightenment, beginning
with the Frankfurt School's "Authoritarian Personality" in 1948 has run its
course.  E.O. Wilson (Harvard's leading neo-eugenicist) can now publish his
"Consilience : The Unity of Knowledge" and Alain Finkelkraut can get his "The
Defeat of the Mind" translated as the Enlightenment strikes back.  But, wait a
minute, Libertarianism has also run it's course.  WIRED can't even find the
funds to keep publishing.  Anglophiliacs like Si Newhouse have passed on the
next funding round.  Oh, how sad the day.  Remember how it used to be?
Remember when blathering about WIRED (pro or con) used to get you laid?

The ground is shifting, once again.  Both the Technoutopian/Libertarian
(right-wing Dionysian Gnostic) and Technodystopian/Post-Modern (left-wing
Dionysian Gnostic) are out of fashion.  What will replace them both?  Everyone
is asking, "Do I try to get out in front of this change, do I wait to see how
things go, do I cling to the past, do I blow my brains out?"

What is the new hidden ground?  What will become the new figures that play
upon that ground?  How does technorealism fit in to all this?

When radio was launched, the Apollonian mode was king.  Authority.  Fascism.
Stalinism.  When Television was launched, the Dionysian mode was king.  Feel-
good.  Veg-out.  Sit-calm.  Electronic narcotics.  Both had a Gnostic hidden
ground.  Both were launched as the technology of control by the controllers.
And, there was no discussion allowed unless it facilitated control.

Now the Internet has been launched.  But, the Internet has no "business
model."  We don't know what will become king this time.  Blather?  No kings?
Is the Internet also about control?  Is the Internet also Gnostic?  We don't
know what the Internet will become.  We . . . don't . . . know.  Just say "I
don't know"!

Welcome to techno-projectionism.  You project whatever you want onto the
Internet.  But, what do you want?  Ah, that's the question.  What *do* you

Is there life *before* death?


Mark Stahlman
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