[-empyre-] II

Ana Valdés agora158 at gmail.com
Tue Oct 9 12:23:19 EST 2012

Jon, I did my share of writing at that time and my first book about
the subject, Internet and Women, was published 1995. To write the book
I travelled to Palo Alto and me Howard Rheingold, Brenda Laurel, Sandy
Stone, Anne Balsamo (who was a guest at -empyre not so long time ago),
Marcus Novak.
The general concept was we were in a kind of paradigm shift, shifting
from the real to the virtual, from the analog to the binary. We should
be smarter if we connect some chip to our brain, to walk faster if we
had a prothes of titan in our legs, we should hear or have our hearing
improved if we had a chip implanted in our ear or in our eyes, to give
us the sight of a cat.
It reminded me of the sci-fi writer Cordwainer Smith, who was working
at the CIA as well. He wrote about hybrids between men and animals,
men with some genetical change or some gene borrowed from a cat, who
did them have the abilities of the cat or the strenght of the elephant
or the swiftness of a deer.

On Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 11:07 PM, Jonathan Marshall
<Jonathan.Marshall at uts.edu.au> wrote:
> II
> I began living online with a thesis in mind, sometime in 1994. I had read much of what was then available as analysis. This is ‘ancient history’ and the amount of writing was small enough. But what was then available, struck me as fundamentally misguided. Firstly people tended to write about things which were not as if they were present day activities. They wrote about being online as if it was Gibson’s cyberspace with immersive reality, with translocation and working teledildonics amongst other things. They wrote about being online as if it were one domain, which conquered or transcended space, place, bodies and gender. They wrote about being online as if we were enmeshed in the wires or as if becoming cyborg was somehow radical or liberating. They said that nobody knew if you were a dog, and that free speech rained and fertilised everything, so we would have worldwide democracy and mutual understanding. They wrote that capitalism was now perfect, or that socialism was natural.  They wrote we were free of the chains of matter.  They claimed we would download our souls into the ether. They claimed that we lived in an electronic frontier. They claimed that we lived in an information or knowledge society, and that knowledge would arise by compounding our opinions and research, and that networks gave superior social morphologies. They claimed that people engaged in immaterial, or virtual, labour. We even had virtual classes. Knowledge workers were central.
> The less triumphalist said that the internet would corrupt thought, would corrupt presence, would corrupt relationships, would alienate people from reality and responsibility, and was full of deceit. It was Heideggerianly inauthentic or fake; a forgetting of being.
> In either case the virtual world was remote, ‘virtualised’, different and disembodied.
> Sometimes it seems that such statements are still made today, and I wonder if we have gone beyond thinking the myths that we brought to online life, before we had even had any such life….
> jon
> Some formal writings gathered at
> http://uts.academia.edu/jonmarshall
> UTS CRICOS Provider Code: 00099F
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