integer on Thu, 16 Mar 2000 14:08:43 +0100 (CET)

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Re: [Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> What matters

Re: What matters

kompet!z!on. 0+0 elsz

>"True love is love of death in the other
>and the other in death."
>If there's a key moment in the history of friendship's
>media, it is Michel de Montaigne's book, The Essays. He
>was, i think, the first writer to address himself to
>his imagined, prospective, virtual readers, as friends.
>As if they were friends, and eventually, as a new kind
>of friends. Friends who may never meet, who may live
>in different times, places, languages.
>Montaigne wrote in memory of a dead friend, but created
>a new kind of communication in the process. One not aimed
>at writing on the basis of authority (spiritual or
>secular). Merely on the basis of friendship. But friendship
>is a paradoxical business. All kinds of love are, but 
>perhaps friendship most especially. 
>But the extraordinary thing is that while few friendships
>are permanent, the practice itself is self-renewing. There's
>an ethic in this, in friendship's capacity to seek the
>asymptote of the moment rather than of eternity. 
>If mass print was the vector along which Montaigne could
>practice his virtual friendship, then if anything we have
>too much opportunity to multiply its virtuality. And 
>perhaps this just increases the turnover. Friends for
>five minutes rather than five years.
>We've all had that experience of the net -- the intense
>exchange that abruptly starts -- and ends. But so what?
>In the time space of a week none might exchange as many
>messages as was possible in a year only two centuries
>ago. The speed of particular friendships forming and
>dissolving does not interrupt the timelessness of the
>practice. It merely creates a more microscopic texture.
>And is not friendship the whole basis of a certain kind
>of democracy? Even when it fails, or moves on? A democracy
>not of the mass organised aorund the broadcast vector,
>but the mesh of changing alignments of particularities.
>If it cuts across broadcasting, mediated friendship also
>mitigates against hierarchy. Or at least hierarchy imposed
>from without, by disciplinary machines. Friends arrange
>their own mutable relations of the incomensurable.
>Who needs manifestoes, declarations, resolutions, when one
>has friends? Perhaps there are two avant gardes in European
>culture: the one good at friendship and the other good at
>bullying. The latter includes Andre Breton, Guy Debord --
>but who belongs to the former? That's the thing about
>friendship -- it is all about communication, but sometimes
>with discretion.
>Friendship is not very compatible with meglomania, paranoia.
>Rousseau, unlike Montaigne, was a complete failure at
>friendship. Rather friendship is invested in scepticism. Its
>the desire to communicate inspite of its very impossibility.
>It never survives the illusion of communion. Friends who
>stay friends know they talk, or write, past each other.
>"We no longer have roots, we have aerials."
> -- McKenzie Wark 

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