Nmherman on Wed, 25 Aug 1999 02:48:32 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Fragments of Network Criticism

In a message dated 8/23/99 8:20:42 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
human@architexturez.com writes:

> >Fragments of Network Criticism
>  >By Geert Lovink
>  >Where are the
>  >de Beauvoirs, Sartres and Camus of the Digital Age
>  >now that we need them?

This is an interesting comment.  Where are they, so they can tell us what
is right, or, so they will listen when someone else says what is right? 
The age of the expert is over, this is the implicit message of the
network; it is best to stop looking for them. 

Media forms will no longer be incarnate in particular humans, but in more
networked structures.  Ideas, concepts, and their architectural design are
more substantive actors now than individual voice or insight.  It used to
be that the individual prophesied the network; now that the network can be
actual, waiting only for us to shape it, the lone observer is an

 Its importance must either wane or continue; there is no avoiding the
shift, the point of saturation. 

>   the individual ego, fusing with the collective psyche,
>   superman and woman, rising above the flames of discourse,
>   to critique? to dissent? or to glorify the network as
>   status, to protect and to hoard the information of the
>   Trademark, the Copyright, and the All Rights Reserved... 

This passage seems to describe the dystopia where the worst of the
individual reaches supremacy in the worst kind of network.  Panic is never
suitable in a crisis because it only encourages delay. 

>  >One day,
>  >origins and basic structures will no longer be dominant. Media can grow,
>  >and transform into something different, more playful, open, with modular
>  >architectures. Breaking the magic spell of meaning and casting will create
>  >democratic structures in which truely flat channels prevail.

We won't reach this equilibrium, this sustainable ecosystem of media and
cognition, until we pass the stage we are in right now:  a terrified
search for the meaning of technology.  Every species whose technology
outruns its comprehension faces the same task, the reconstruction of
nature or something like it; a reclaiming of awareness from mythic fate. 

If democracy is both a practical obligation and an ideal, why not reject
the hierarchy of genius at least experimentally?  Which is to say, imagine
a history in which the great analyst is irrelevant.  (They're working on
this at Oxford right now, vis the First World War.) 

Max Herman
The Genius 2000 Project
Day of Demonstration Sept. 1

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