David Garcia on Mon, 13 Mar 2000 12:18:18 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] What matters

What Matters

Amidst the constant use of the word "community" I find it easier and more
realistic to talk of friendship. Are there any histories of the importance
of intellectual friendship?
I can only think of Plato but there must be others. Intellectual
biographies often hinge on a pivotal moments of intellectual union.
Meetings of minds. Hakim Bey describes the paradox of love or *unmediated*
communion as the ultimate goal all media. Individual meetings of opposite
sensibilities create the sparks around which larger intellectual movements
grow. Wordsworth and Coleridge, , Virginia Wolfe and Vita Sackville West,
Freud and Jung, Charlotte, Emily and Ann Bronte. Picasso and Braque, Marx
and Engels.
I am raising this because of a line in an old posting of Geert Lovink's,
which seemed to me to raise an important question. He wrote "it is the
invisible social network aspect of the internet is what makes it so
different from broadcast media." In other words friendship.
This sentence came out of Geert's ruminations after a troubling nettime
meeting held in Lublijana, Beauty and the East, in which he detected
"grumbling about disorganization, about no solid resolutions, definitive
programs or advances". He then went on to describe "how much harder it is
preserve looser bonds--loyalties, trust a certain faith."

The valiant but seemingly doomed attempt to keep questions of power out of
nettime reminds me of the following statement "Where love reigns there is
no will to power; and where the will to power is paramount, love is
lacking" Jung, collected works, volume 7.

Geert's posting ends with a reference to the rise of the net as an
environment for capitalism and he goes on hopefully to pronounce that "The
magic of (shared) communication in itself remains untouched by these
developments. What counts are illusion and imagination in whatever
environment. But these fluid untamed elements are precisely what is
endangered now...."

The text has a qualified optimism based on the existence of invisible
social networks.... and illusion and imagination, the strange forms of
friendship created by nettime that allowed new forms of content to emerge
from new social processes.

A more recent text (this year) *An Early History of 90s Cyberculture* is
both more nostalgic reffering to "a time when Gibson, Sterling and Virtual
Reality were still secret passwords. " and also more pessimistic  "As far
as autonomy are concerned we are left with www.ghost towns, abandoned home
pages, boring avatars, broken links, switched off servers, overspammed
lists and newsgroups...The freedom is there but no one cares."

Are the secret histories of nettime's broken friendships coloring Geert's
view of the arrival of capital's power in the Le Cyber, which we all knew
was as inevitable as night following day. Are we really to believe that the
capitalist bulldozer driven by the "baby suits" mean that we can no longer
create the invisible social networks of the imagination and illusion? Or
did we just get tired?

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