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Hakim Bey, "Seduction of the Cyber Zombies" -

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Post  Khephra on Sun Nov 22, 2009 10:11 am

See for the complete essay:

Seduction of the Cyber Zombies
by Hakim Bey

For a start, it would help if we could speak about nets rather than The Net. Only the most extropian true believers in the Net still dream of it as the final solution. More realistic thinkers have rejected cyber-soteriology, but accept the Net as a viable tool (or weapon). They would agree that other nets must be set up and maintained simultaneously with "the" Net---otherwise it becomes just another medium of alienation, more engrossing than TV, maybe, but thereby even more total in entrancement.

The other nets of course include---first and foremost---patterns of conviviality and of communicativeness. I borrow this word from 19th-century phrenology---apparently there's a bump of communicativeness somewhere on the skull---but I use it to mean something like Bakhtin's "dialogue" transposed to the register of the social; whereas conviviality implies physical presence, communicativeness can also include other media as well. But---as hermeticism teaches us---the positive act of communicating meaning, whether face-to-face (and even without speech), or symbolically mediated (by text, image, etc.), is always confronted by its negativity. Not all "communication" communicates, map is not territory, and so on. "Interactive programs" in themselves convey no meaning between living beings but, in fact, no medium is privileged or completely open. As Blake might have said, every medium has its form and its spectre.

What we need, then, is a Blakean "spectral analysis" of the Net. A "Fourier analysis" would also be useful (not Fourier the mathematician, Fourier the Utopian Socialist). But these philosophers were true hermeticists, while we can only heap up a few shards against the whatever.

The implied question:---does the Net further the purpose of communicativeness, and can it be used as a tool to "maximize the potential of the emergence" of convivial situations? Or does there exist a "paradoxical counterproductive effect" (as Illich would say)? In other words: the sociology of institutions shows that certain systems (e.g. education, medicine) attain a monopolistic rigidity and begin to produce the opposite of their intended effect (education stupefies, medicine sickens). Media can also be analyzed in this way. The mass media, considered as a paradoxical entity, has approached the limit of total image-enclosure---a crisis of the stasis of the image---and of the complete disappearance of communicativeness. The unique structure of the InterNet was considered to be its "many-to-many" patterns, the implication being the possibility of an electronic popular democracy. The Net is an institution, at least in the loose sense of the word. Does it serve its "original" purpose, or is there a paradoxical counter-effect?

Another original pattern within the Net is its centerlessness (its "military" heritage); this has launched the Net into a kind of war with governments. The Net "crosses borders" like a virus. But in this way the Net shares certain qualities with, say, transnational corporations ("zaibatsus")---and with nomadic Capital itself. "Nomadism" has its own form and spectre. As the Five Per Cent Nation of Islam puts it, "not every brother is a brother." Molecularity is a tactic that can be used for or against our autonomy. It pays to be informed. And we can be sure that Global Intelligence pays well for its information;---certainly the Net is by now completely penetrated by surveillance...every bit of E-mail is a postcard to God....

"Sacred Activism is the fusion of the mystic's passion for God with the activist's passion for justice, creating a third fire, which is the burning sacred heart that longs to help, preserve, and nurture every living thing." - Andrew Harvey

Age : 54
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