brian carroll on Wed, 8 Mar 2000 08:57:31 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] NOTHING WORSE

 unorthodox it may be to attempt to bridge
 "the gap" between realism and relativism
 in this multithreaded place... but it is
 that same (insane) silence that prods the
 constellations of ideas in my brainspace
 to output some homegrown ideology... at a
 liminal stage, peering through the window
 standing between a wall of oppositions,
 the symbolic order and electric media
 media environment...

 can open-source intellectuals exist within
 the proprietary codes of ideas... tools to build
 and unbuild reasoning with... what set of de|con-
 struction will be used this silent night in and
 upon `the world of ideas'... bzzzz! wrong answer!
 buzzers and alarms go off as the ontological gets
 mixed up with the epistemological, says certified
 philosophers, Doctors, assured of the rules of
 the game... why is it, i am still left to wonder,
 that Lewis Mumford's radical critiques and challenge
 to technologies of power goes undiscussed? has that
 generation of thinkers gone extinct in these, up-
 to-the-moment debates of current Authors musings?

 in any (head) case, in a psychiatric-philosophical
 schizoid break with tradition, er, reason, to "say"
 as might a mad wo|man, that the UR-medium is not
 _language_ itself, as has become `common-sense', but
 instead something before the externalized manipulation
 of symbols and signs in audiovisual representations
 of humans and other creatures...

 here comes a thesis of Mumford's, like many (after
 him?), that humanity's prime technological development
 has been the ability to manipulate symbols, in the
 form of language, wherein their externalization is
 where reality is realized to exist...

 so, another Mumford ideology had to do with `ages'
 that define technological development... i believe
 it was the `neotechnic' age which was supposed to
 define the age of today...

 adding these two Mumfordian thoughts together, in
 my own naive idea of things-as-they-are, i've come
 to the conclusion that what is considered language
 by some, to me, is a second order device... part of
 my goal for myself has been to ground the theory in
 the reality of a daily practice, a rough pragmatism
 which often fails to be prescriptive, but is more
 reactionary like this text...

 from my point of vantage, language occurs in the
 brainspace, as a brainwave, simultaneous to the
 conscious thought "i exist, therefore"... really,
 i wished Descartes would have been existential:
 "I doubt, therefore I think"... even prior to any
 negation, the `constellation' of brainwaves, via
 an MRI machine, show a representation of patterns
 of electrochemical reactions in the brain, as the
 brain processes (thinks) information... it could
 be the self-consciousness of an introvert, or the
 audiovisual "language" of an extrovert `speaking',
 saying things-as-they-are in an electrical age...

 but where does `language' exist, a symbolic, real,
 or imaginary order, if not in these electrical
 signals in the brain..? are these signals, now
 realized in our up-to-date electrical equipment
 oddly similar to the signals, uh, messages in
 our mediums, um, electric media environments..?

 what if language is not the ur-medium, but instead
 it is electricity, that thing-in-itself staring
 each one of us in the face, glowing phosphors via
 electron gun to optic nerve, transformed into an
 e-signal sent to the brain for conscious thought...

 what if the abstract, the theoretical, all that
 desiring-machinic energy really is that impulse
 that *sparks* things-alive... that kiss of life,
 that dream and wish, that realization of belief...

 what if reason and relativity are grounded in
 the same text, so to say... sure, there are these
 things-as-they-are, ideas, and they compete, often
 visciously, in the marketplace of ideas... social
 capital often taking a loss to monetary gain...

 what if post-modernism and modernist realism are
 not really opposite in a dialectic triangulation,
 but nurture and complement one another, at obtuse
 and acute angles of reason and irrationality..?

 to me this sounds mad, another day dream, only
 at night, silent night, rain falling as it has
 for millions of years, a long moment in the solitary
 life of another thinker-of-things... i am left to
 wonder about the complexity and contradiction, in
 the processing of the "official" symbols... and
 continually imagine what an open-source intellect
 would be like, if, that is, "correct" thought were
 not so thoroughly prescribed... a strong belief in
 discourse-politics prevails, but what externalized
 act(ion) can be realized- made reality- in our
 internetworking the international..?

 not having read Latour, but Winner or Postman or
 McLuhan, i'd have to say these are not separate,
 linear narratives of technology... parrallelism,
 certainly, but what of _foundations_ common to
 them all, that thing "ideas" are built-upon,..?

 naive, even mischevious and needless abstraction,
 so i try to calculate the placement of these, my
 representations, saying things-as-they-are, as
 language, conscious, brain twirling, sparks flying
 as we now know has been done for millennia...

 the common thread, i propose, is a different
 ur-medium than language... to detourn McLuhan:

	 `the medium is electricity
  	  and the message is electric.'

 language, representation, the manipulation of
 symbols, internally or externally, is at its
 base an electrical phenomenon... to clarify,
 externally, to use the muscles of the arm and
 hand to write or draw is an electrical event,
 of nerves and brain waves, messages instructing
 action... as is the use of the mouth, to send
 out a `sound' wave of electromagnetic resonance...
 as it is to hear, sound vibrations turning into
 electrical signals to be interpreted by the brain
 as consciousness, as reality...

 now, i wonder what the difference is between
 things-as-they-are and our consciousness... an
 easy example would be nettime's birth in the age
 of the Internet... what is the internetworking
 of computers if not a NewMedia amputation, ala
 McLuhan, of functions once performed by humans,
 now, externalized (ideas/thoughts/symbols)..?

 is not staring the internetwork in the face,
 seeing photonic light, charged electric, like
 seeing a brand of enlightenment of our own
 scientific, technological, and philosophical
 era..? to see bits in the mind's eye, represented
 by electrons coursing through processors logic gates,
 as if they are similar to the constellation of bits
 of thoughts, ideas, dreams, wishes, in our electro-
 chemical brain-in-a-vat, sans IQ as CPU, etc..?

 as a breach of traditional reasoning, or of post-
 modern postioning in the matrices of the field, the
 madman is left to wonder aloud, in a vast silence,
 the nature of things-as-they-are, their order, in
 a _foundational_ sense, architectural, from which
 to do battle in the marketplace of ideas... but is
 it really a free-market, or are the scales weighted
 to degrees and affiliations otherwise hidden, now
 transparent, in hierarchical information spaces..?

 what of open-source intellectuals... and an open-
 source knowledge of things-as-they-are... sounds
 so pretentious for an individual to dare say, that
 is, without the context of playing language games...

 like the Internet that nettime focusses its gaze
 upon, where is the root file of this program..?
 where is the common framework from which to reason
 the commonalities between totalitarian media and
 power faced by B92, the industriousness of India's
 telecommunications initiative, the efforts of the
 hacktivists to help change the course of this un-
 governed ship, to the challenges to monopolistic
 software by Linux, to probings of media artists
 & media archaeologists...? where's the common thread
 in a forum like nettime when an individual is at
 a computer, facing the internetwork, a consciousness-
 sharing machinic desire to `say' things-as-they-are,
 in language, but always stuck in a circularity, of
 ideas, of actions, of ur-reasoning..?

 the open-source answer, real and relative, is in
 my point of view `electric.' it "bridges the
 *spark* gap" like the finger of God to Adam, a
 genesis of the world in an electromagnetic big
 bang, a forming of atoms made of electrically
 charged particles, into molecules, into galaxies,
 stars, and planets like the electromagnetic Earth,
 Van Allen belts and lightning, *sparking* life in
 the cosmic soup, life organizing with an urge, a
 desire to go forward, move ahead... molecules in
 a body bound together by the orbits of electrons...
 these turning into brains and nerves and nervous
 systems, from oceanic depths to sand, from tree
 to tundra, finally walked a human, with electrical
 senses and an electrical brain, externalizing
 symbols [Mumford] into a civilization, first a
 stone age, then bronze, iron,.. finally an electric
 age, where we face our own desire in electrically-
 based `nature' and the `artifacts' that surround
 us... anthropomorphisms such as television eyes,
 radio ears, telephone mouth, and the conscious
 brain computer [McLuhan]...

 seeing this electric media environment as a type
 of language, electric, mirrored inside our brainwaves
 (presupposing that thoughts actually exist within
 the space of the brain and not within an externalized
 field of suspended thoughts and memory via a genius
 loci)... and representations, electrical signals in
 this brain and, say, a computer, is, to `bridge
 the gap' between the realism and relativism of the
 question posed... that is, electricity is the sublime
 and literal _foundation_ for this discourse to take
 "place" on both ends, in the brain and in the computer.

 more or less abstract, complex and contradictory,
 would be to compare this conscious thought of the
 brain with, say, 50 million year old piece of amber,
 that special "rock", like lodestone, that was the
 discovery of electricity as a phenomenon in natural
 things [besides those goddamn lightning storms that
 have been scaring our ancestors for millennia!]...

 that electrical *spark* within amber, found by Thales
 of Miletus (Greece) 2500 years ago, is the same *spark*
 that we are using to think and act, and, that which we
 externalize in artifacts, such as the Internet... it is
 this electrical r-evolution in the firmament of ideas,
 from Thales to Maxwell to Edison, Tesla, and Einstein...
 that we have arrived at this place, online... and what
 of it have we yet realized we have in common in this
 (for the moment) public place..?

 discourse, language, layers of texts, archives,
 archaeologies, moving ideas forward with great weight,
 the empirical burden of bureaucracy is like an MS Word,
 spellchecked and grammatical... what of open-source
 intellectuals... of combining ideas, of forging an
 alliance of similarities, of patching eachothers
 code, of hacking and cracking discourses open so they
 bear fruit in the mutual exchange, so political...

 all alone, with a theory, i hear another speaking in
 a language of my own... of a madness, of a silence,
 of realism and relativism, across threads, non-linear,
 the idea grows, connecting multiple dots between the
 constellation of ideas in my brainspace, to use
 these, my electric motor fingers to type out an
 electronic representation of my consciousness that
 my eyes see with a charged *spark*, now to fade to
 black, into the night, into the rain, another thing
 `said' but not said, another dream dreamt but not
 real, another intersubjective ideal unfulfilled...

 may the (electric) force be with you...


 the architecture of electricity

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