[-empyre-] VI feud and passion

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Wed Oct 10 17:48:54 EST 2012


As one of the (non-central) denizens/occupants/participants (but certainly
not victims) of Cybermind in those days I don't remember it as a place of
pain, although I do remember painful episodes -- basically accounts of the
pain of others--sometimes onlist but mostly off... Mostly I remember it as a
place of motion--ebbs and flows of conversations, personalities, sometimes
emotions but with a very strong sense of flow--a sort of time's arrow in
flickering pixils... And very interesting people--sometimes even more
interesting in the flesh and sometimes less but always with that heightened
expectation/possibility that comes from the magic of turning the virtual
into the real...


-----Original Message-----
From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
[mailto:empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] On Behalf Of Jonathan
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 11:02 PM
To: soft_skinned_space
Subject: [-empyre-] VI feud and passion


Amongst my first attempted papers were long accounts of feuds and passions.
The first version of the thesis was almost nothing but an account of
conflict and pain, of misunderstandings, miscategorisations of others, of
impositions, of temper, of exile and resentment. I attempted to relate these
to the 'structures of communication', as mailing lists are structured
differently to newsgroups, IRC and MOOs - the age shows although the same is
true of facebook etc - and hence the easier possibilities of ways of life
and actions, are different on each format. Communication structure might be
thought of as analogous to Marx and Engel's infrastructure.

This supposition implied there was no uniform life online, even if cultural
differences offline, brought to the online were of no importance in making
that online life, which seemed improbable. Sometimes I would relate these
conflicts to the way categorisation of others was used in the offline world
(such as gender, political allegiances). The politics of offline life always
permeated online space, again whether it was wanted or not, because it
allowed meaning to be resolved with some ease and made response possible.
And that involved repression, and attempts to avoid repression, to move
others, to persuade others, the making of power, and patterns of power and
convention, and what could be spoken and what could not. This again was
'concrete' and affective in nature, it was grounded in bodies and bodily or
bodily/linguistic responses.

[Currently I'm using the term 'information group' to try and work out how
wider group allegiances filter information, so that groups have differing
views of the world. These differing allegiances then maintain difference and
distortion, while rendering others inhuman or inferior or hostile.
Communication, in information society, breaks down as a matter of course.]

However, to portray Cybermind as simply a long series of hurts, delusions
and conflict was missing the mark by a long way. There were the other sides.
The ease with which people gave support, even to those they had been feuding
with a day or so earlier, the massive intertwining of relationships, and all
the correspondence which never appeared onlist, the love affairs, the group
meetings, the collaborative work, the way it was used to enable people to
live offline. It was dense and not just dense with pain.  If had been only
pain, how would any of us have stayed so long? Living online, at least on
CM, involved a large spectrum of affects and connections.

But this is much harder to write about (why does it seem harder to write of
joy than pain - for me to write comedy than to write tragedy? Why do we seem
to value melancholy as a source of truth?). Hurt seems to channel
attentions. Just as small amounts of flame seemed to overwhelm the rest of
the mails which went on with either good humour or without connection to the
hurt. That was an early 'discovery': that times that people remembered as
completely times of pain, were in terms of volume, not. The singleness of
mood of some mails overwhelmed the disparate moods of the rest. So what made
that the case?


UTS CRICOS Provider Code: 00099F
DISCLAIMER: This email message and any accompanying attachments may contain
confidential information.
If you are not the intended recipient, do not read, use, disseminate,
distribute or copy this message or attachments. If you have received this
message in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete this
message. Any views expressed in this message are those of the individual
sender, except where the sender expressly, and with authority, states them
to be the views of the University of Technology Sydney.
Before opening any attachments, please check them for viruses and defects.

Think. Green. Do.

Please consider the environment before printing this email.
empyre forum
empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au

More information about the empyre mailing list