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Re: <nettime> Conflicting paradigms, Internet history and ICANN
Newmedia on Wed, 26 May 1999 00:27:02 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Conflicting paradigms, Internet history and ICANN


Ronda:

There's beginnings and there's beginnings.  There's ideas, there's dreams
and then there's actually making it all real.  There's Internets and
there's Internets, too.

And, then there's causality.

The Internet of DARPA fame is not the Internet of Sun Microsystems/Cisco
fame is not the Internet of Amazon.com fame is not the Internet of
realdolls.com fame.

I coined the term "Network Computing."  What does this mean?  That I was
the first to think of it?  No.  I wasn't.  It means that I used the phrase
in a evocative enough way at the right time such that it became compelling
enough to be used by dozens of companies.  Made it useful.  Literally
"coined" it (as in turning the phrase into coinage).

I also coined "New Media" and "Silicon Alley."  Same thing.  Not first.  
But at the right place at the right time.  To "coin" is to catalyse.  
Think of a seed-crystal dropped into a supersatuated solution.  Or,
rainmaking.

The Internet which we are familiar with today is many things.  It is a
collection of various mediums all based on the same underlying
technologies.  (See the thread "Internet as a Meta-Medium or a Sub-Medium
Bag-O'-Bolts?" on the media ecology listserv archive.)

The Internet of today's headlines is neither TCP/IP nor HTML nor
SunServers nor Cisco routers.  This Internet is a medium (or really
several) which probably no one -- especially those who created these
various technologies -- had a really good idea about how it was going to
happen.  Many, as we know from the good-ole days of com-priv, actively
didn't want any of this to happen at all.

The medium is the message and the audience is the content.  Remember?  
The *content* of the Internet is the people who use the Internet.  The
users.  The audience.

Now, exactly which DARPA project invented these people?

Which DARPA project understood that with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the
Cold War would conclude and the dominant mass medium of that war,
television, would begin to be challenged by another mass medium (or rather
several) which would be premised on mobility, interactivity, many-to-many
communications, propaganda-defeating, craziness-feeding, greed-provoking,
privacy-stealing, thought-providing, fear-fueling, salvation-promising
desires of a millenial worldwide population.

None.  DARPA had no clue. How could it.

DARPA never read McLuhan -- particularly on the topic of formal causality.

If you wish to assign credit, causal they-made-it-happen kinda credit,
then you must understand the topic of causality.

What *causes* what?  Efficient cause, neccessary cause, final cause and
formal cause.  Causality.

When you are dealing with a specific technology, that's one thing.  When
you are dealing with a mass medium (or rather several), that's quite
another thing.

What is the formal cause of the Internet?  The audience.

Have a nice day,

Mark Stahlman

P.S.  None of the foregoing is to be construed as an endorsement of the
use of domain-name policy as a "Trojan Horse" to attack national
sovereignty.  That's a cause of an entirely different color.


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