integer on Mon, 13 Mar 2000 12:33:17 +0100 (CET)

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>What Matters


0+0 elsz

>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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