keskiviikkona, helmikuuta 07, 2007

Waking up to Liminality


We blog in real time. When others sleep, we lend our musing to a community and then, as the sun and moon slowly turn the tides around the globe, we wait for these faceless names to rise and send us, in turn, their own thoughts.

As I wake, I imagine Mone waking only a few hundred kilometres away. I imagine Erin O’Brien, Carla, Josh Williams, Burdockboy, a, and the Duchess in various stages of sleep or insomnia. I imagine The Fool preparing dinner with his son (and perhaps pulling an old Jerry boot out of the box in the garage to make sure his son gets a proper musical education…ahem). Daytime for me is night time for many, yet as our ideas confront one another in this new space, the blogsphere, day and night, Europe and North America, winter and summer are all erased in creative synthesis. Where there used to be borders, (at times, even prohibitive borders), now there is a fountain of creation.

This is liminality. A liminal space is a threshold. It is the undefined space between two borders; it is tectonic plates colliding and in its wake, volcanoes erupting.

A burning door: the threshold is the place of creation and the place of violence.


We are bloggers. But what is being created when we “blog”? Watch this video:




The Internet, Web 2.0, the blogosphere: together they are a point of liminality between an infinite number of worlds. At its heart is, perhaps, a social community. Stories and information flow freely from Alaska to Germany to South Africa in a way that allows us to imagine the “other” like never before. We are in a position to understand and discuss differences more than ever before, even to self-educate ourselves.

My sense of myself in relation to space has changed considerably: for example, I identify and interact far more with you, the reader of this blog, than with my neighbours just across the way…even when I look into their windows and watch the very real arguments and dinners and games they share unknowingly with me, the distance between my life and theirs is as great as the physical distance between my body and that of an Australian. Physical space has evaporated. But what has taken its place? For all the creation and social cohesion that emerges from this collision of worlds, do we have anything to fear? When we say that we have torn down old borders between time zones and cultures for the sake of sharing intellectual wealth, how far are we from the logic of capitalism, which tries to tear down economic borders in order to share (or hoard) economic wealth?

Yet, as the video suggests, the digital revolution is changing far more than the ease with which we communicate. It is changing the way we think about our identities, our economies, and our collective selves: in short, it has changed and is changing the logic by which we live our lives.

When we tear down borders and conventions, we seem to strip authority of its power. And when authority seems to be absent, we fool ourselves into thinking that we are free. Just as proponents of the free market exult in the abolition of economic restraints, we bloggers often delight in the freedom and democratic tendencies of what is now known as Web 2.0. But authority never leaves us; someone or something is always calling the shots. “Authority” in capitalism is not one man, nor one corporation, but the very logic that structures it. Similarly, there is an invisible hand that controls the Internet. The question is: what damage can it do?

22 Comments:

Blogger Toby said...

Good morning Lady Bonds. This is the first time I read you, you dig deep.

I've been Going Down the Road Feeling Bad lately and you picked me up.

I react differently to real life opposed to blog life, I'm no so sure thats a good thing, but one thing blog life has taught me is most people are good. Just reading the news paper and/or watching TV it could be easy for one to beleive everyone is bad.

On the contrary, everyone is good, loving, most really want to enjoy each other, each other's differences. A little Fire on the Mountain never hurt anyone. :)

Lady Bonds, I'm sure you already know, but huge Dead can be found here. I love it!

4:54 ap.  
Blogger Carla said...

Wow, what a great video! And you hit on so many points that I have been thinking about lately. The connections we share in the blog world; how so many of us have shifted to cyber communities and how our physical communities in some respects have crumbled or are not as strong as they might have been in the past; the balance and realities between authority and freedom. What is the invisible hand that controls the internet? Is it just another vehicle for "commerce?" When the internet first came out, there were no ads, no spam, no one trying to sell you something. It was research, studies, an exchange of ideas. Now I wonder about misinformation or how we are unwittingly influenced in ways similar to how people perhaps once were (or still are) by TV advertising etc. Definitely lots to discuss here.

8:11 ap.  
Blogger The Fool said...

H'lo Lady Bonds. I am at work - prep - so I will not be able to give your article the attention it deserves until later. First thoughts:

* Yes, I will see what scraps of tape are left in the loft when it warms up a bit... Much has been freed from the vaults and is available by other routes as Toby notes. Still, I'll check for you sometime.

* the liminal...the thread is taken up here. As you might suspect, I will return on that note.

;)

* "My sense of myself in relation to space has changed considerably: for example, I identify and interact far more...it is changing the way we think about our identities, our economies, and our collective selves: in short, it has changed and is changing the logic by which we live our lives."

* The question, for me, is not so much "what damage can it do," but "what damage can it heal."

* most assessments of the internet's potential are way too negative...but I'm a hopeless, dark idealist. We need to grab that potential before it is lost...

* ever seen the quirky anime "Serial Experiment: Lain"? - internet as building consciousness...

* "...the very logic that structures it..." ;)

* Thanks for the plug...need you on the latest at my place...

* I promise to return on this later this evening...

I have not watched the video yet...I will catch that before I return. Work filters most video media sources.

Thank you for opening this can of worms...

9:00 ip.  
Blogger a said...

i'm thinking of the obviously related words: publication and public. it seems that in making publication more accessible (both epistemologically and practically), it is the much more abstract notion of "public" (and, by extension, "private") that bears the resulting strain. i am, myself, torn on the valence this issue takes. what i am not confused about is the very real presence it has.

if being able to publish one's thoughts (in their multiplicity of forms, as noted in the video) is rendered a much simpler process, the act of displaying these is pushed much closer (in time and in linkage between the two acts which, at times, become inseparable) to the act of thinking, itself. what suffers, however, is the writing, which is wholly different from either thinking or publication of content.

as the interval between thinking and publication becomes constrained, so, too, does the moment of appraisal of what ought to be published. that everything is, in our new world, indeed publishable lends itself to well-nigh everything being, thus, published.

that the modes of publication are increasingly globally accessible results in immediate thoughts being available to a wide network just a moment after their inception. in a sense, this mimics the process of a real-time conversation.

however, the striking difference rests in the fact: would we have an off-the-cuff conversation with every member of the human race? even if we severely limit this number (to, say, those with access to a computer), would we still respond affirmatively?

if we would (and i think that some would have no qualms), this demonstrates a unique phenomenon in which it is easier to communicate with a practically infinite number of people than it is to do so with the messy, rumpled person who arrived 10 minutes late for your meeting for tea and "catching up."

talking to the masses is, in some ways, closer to mumbling to oneself. it's the old psychological marvel about how many items we can actually comprehend at one time (it's not 500 or 40—but something like 5). what is difficult is crafting one's words so as to be relevant to one person, at one time—and then to meet again, and still speak.

2:42 ap.  
Blogger The Fool said...

Well, darn, Lady Bonds...I came prepared to give matters some thought,and a reply, but "a" threw such a curveball that I want to add those thoughts into the mix before responding. Off to mull it over for a bit more...

No sense just muttering to myself...

;)

8:57 ip.  
Blogger Lady Bonds said...

Hi Folks;
Sorry for not responding sooner; your comments are terrific. I must to bed, but have all of these ideas turning and gyrating in my head, preparing to respond properly tomorrow...

(Same goes for your site, Fool: haven't been ignoring you, just swamped and unable to do it justice...)

Keep 'em comin'...

LB

11:33 ip.  
Blogger BurdockBoy said...

G'day LB

I tried to post last night, but the word verification was absent. Oh well.

I believe the Net has made our existance closer to what it really is in the ethereal realm. We are now physically, through communication, closer to the individuals we choose to be closer with. But in a sense, we always have been.

7:09 ip.  
Blogger The Fool said...

H'lo Lady Bonds: I will take up a's notation first - "talking to the masses is, in some ways, closer to mumbling to oneself."

Hmmm. may "i" suggest - talking to the masses is, in some ways, closer to mumbling to one Self?

When "i" think about some of the political voices that have gained a solidarity through such "mumblings to Self" (i.e., RAWA, aboriginal rights in Australia, the raising of awareness towrds global climate issues...etc), "i" simply prefer the second wording because it seems so much more empowering. Or do you, a, feel that such potential is immediately reabsorbed, controlled by the system? No points for flow to escape, to deterritorialize, to break, to create?

;)

5:16 ap.  
Blogger Lady Bonds said...

Hello folks!

I'm back after a few hectic days.

Toby; Thank you Toby, you have thoroughly brightened my weekend. I am now simultaneously on Blogger and the GD Internet Archive, forcing the Other in my apartment to undergo a proper musical education. :)

Carla; You ask a good question: what is the invisible hand that controls the Internet? I think it *is* another vehicle for commerce, but I don't think it is *just* that. It is also, as you point out, a vehicle for the transmission of ideas and the locus of fruitful interaction.

The idea of the invisible hand is more of a model that I suspect the structure internet follows. I don't mean it to be a value judgment. But I *do* think that any place without an *official* authority will develop an official authority. That's what I call an invisible hand. (This is the principle behind the free market, and it obviously has both good and bad effects). But I am curious about what the possible negative (and positive!) effects of the Internet's authority structure might be...

Fool; As to your GD tape hunt: you read my mind, but there's no need :) Especially as Toby has just turned me on to the GD Internet Archive...but Cheers! Have your boys ever gotten into them?

The idea of the liminal--that is, the threshold--has always been a favorite of mine. Borders and liminal spaces are where everything comes to pass--wars, ideas, etc. But what fascinates me (having pacifist/Quakerish tendencies) is just how violent creation and creative endeavors can be...

*The question, for me, is not so much "what damage can it do," but "what damage can it heal."

--> You look at things in a positive light. This is a good thing. But I do think it's worth trying to understand the structures and logic beneath the monster. It's a question of understanding, not necessarily of bestowing a value judgment on the Internet (since we are not yet in a position to judge). If not, we might find ourselves in a quagmire in a few years...

I will check out "Serial Experiment: Lain" on YouTube very soon, and I will be back in the Dark even sooner...

a; Hello my love, thank you for stopping in.

Would we have a face-to-face conversation with every member of the human race? I think that depends how many drinks I've had...

And then there's emailing love poetry to those we may or may not know, in a fit of entirely imagined passion...Ah, email, you modern Hermes, how you have made your indelable mark upon our lives...!

I have always found anonymous talking in a bar can be, at times, the least superficial of conversations, simply because one can disregard some of the formal conventions of formality or tact that one might observe in a situation with an aquaintence. (This isn't to say that a bar conversation is necessarily tactless...)

One question: how different is talking to a psychotherapist from talking to an anonymous person in a bar, *from the perspective of the person doing the talking*?

To take up a strand from The Fool's site, can we find structural similarities between the patient-therapist relationship, the addict-substance relationship, and the anonymous speaker-anonymous listener relationship that is such a part of Internet-based communication? (And, for that matter, at-random-bar conversations...)

Would I say the same thing to the fellow at the bar if knew I'd see him again tomorrow? He is my audience; do I want to keep him? And how can I know, if it is I who does the talking...?

The rules of conversation vary by country, city, age, religion, as well as personal experience. If the Internet mimics a world-wide conversation, what rules and conventions will it follow? And how will those rules shape our thinking and doing?

Burdockboy; G'day to you! Word verification seems to have disappeared...I think it went away when Blogger forced me to switch to NewBlogger. So far (knock on wood), no spammers, so I won't change it.

I'm curious about what you think our existence would be like in the ethereal realm. Are the individuals we contact necessarily the ones we *choose* to be in contact with? Or do they happen to be the ones we stumble upon by chance? I found you and the Fool by chance through Erin O'Brien; I do choose to "be around" you, but does choice play more of a role, or chance?

I might agree: in a sense, we always have been around the people we chose to be around.

Fool; I don't have an answer to you second set of questions, but I do wonder why we (myself included) feel the need to overcome our individuality to seek union with the imagined Other that exists in this one, unified 'Self'.

We base our society on the *idea* of individuality. We accord it great power and even greater respect. Yet, as Tocqueville points out, "As in periods of equality no man is compelled to lend his assistance to his fellow men, and none has any right to expect much support from them, everyone is at once independent and powerless."

As much as we worship the idea of the individual, we cannot get away from his powerlessness...

Why should the individual be the basis of society, anyway?


Just to let everyone know: it's raining outside, and it's quite nice to hear the rain.

11:28 ip.  
Blogger The Fool said...

In answer to Tocqueville, and others:

http://www.rawpaint.com/library/bateson/formsubstancedifference.html

Bateson: "Form, Substance & Difference" from "Steps to an Ecology of Mind."

"Mind" you.

;)

3:42 ap.  
Blogger BurdockBoy said...

Greetings once again LB

When I compared the Net to the ethereal realm, I was trying to illustrate how the Net contains ideas in sort of a formless realm. I believe the ethereal realm to be filled with pure consciousness-also without form.

In the ethereal realm we are filled with pure love, peace, and our highest sense of wisdom. Our creativity is peak. We have no need for materialistic nonsense. Our highest consciousness communicates with ease with others around us. The latter is also true with the Net.

As far as chance goes, I don't believe in it. We are somewhat responsible for the choices we make, but often because of our higher conscousness instead of our illusionary decisions in the physical realm. We chose our parents. Many of the people we choose to associate with have crossed our paths before. Perhaps we chose to associate with them before. Did you ever have the sensation that you really "know" someone even though you just "met" them?

I may have more later, but my daughter is beginning to stir......

Guten Nacht

5:58 ap.  
Blogger The Fool said...

Lady Bonds, Regarding "...it's worth trying to understand the structures and logic beneath the monster."

There are always going to be ruptures, discontinuities, and gaps in our "understaings.

While I give a degree of validity to "understanding," let me please add a footnote.

If the monster is recognized as a monster, one might spend eternity trying to understand and classify it. There comes a time when you must decide - do I accept this monster, or should I oppose/change it?

If one recognizes a monster that is in all probability going to destroy the kingdom, then the time is to act...not analyze. We may analyze ourselves to death trying to understand global warming and some of the monsters we face. It is time to slay a few.

We may think ourselves to death. It's time to risk - time to meld theory and practice.

11:43 ip.  
Blogger a said...

fool/lady bonds: i was just struck by the linked notions of ease/difficulty in my previous post. i suppose it comes as no surprise that being visible/audible to a great multitude results in an anonymity of sorts. and i don't deny the possibility of discovering, through publication in a widely accessible form, individual interlocutors and, indeed, confidantes (the "one Selves," perhaps). what is startling, however, is the direction of discovery: hitherto (or at least largely), a speaker intends to transmit words to another specific person. his knowledge of this person, the context in which he speaks, &tc govern much of what he says. in regards to virtual/bloggy forms of communique, it is as though words were sent out without that specificity of intended listener—so as to find a listener, in specific (and even when multiple, in their specificity). it creates a different view of the motivation for talking....

12:16 ap.  
Blogger The Fool said...

a: thanks for clarification of your thoughts:

"...without that specificity of intended listener..."

in my book, that's not necessarily mumbling to oneself..i might put forth that all speech has an intended listener...and therefore my disagreement with the first interpretation I took...

thanks for taking the time to clarify.

3:00 ap.  
Blogger Mone said...

Blogging is a way to get to know a lot of good peole from all over the world without having to spend a lot of money and actually traveling to those places.
On the other hand, it could be a beginning to choose your vacation destinations different and going to get to know somebody on a personal level :)
PS: The world is not bad, neither the people. The desaster is capitalism and fanatic religiousism?(if thats a word), but I'm sure you know what I mean.

11:32 ap.  
Blogger Erin O'Brien said...

Wonderful.

I wish we could all meet. I wish I could hear all of you laugh and see you has milk with their coffee. Even though there are all these screens and keyboards between us, I never forget that each of you are breathing and crying and loving and hurting and smiling.

luvluv,

Erin

12:09 ip.  
Blogger Carla said...

I've been missing your posts. Hope all is well ;-)

11:41 ip.  
Blogger The Fool said...

Lady Bonds, I hope all is well with you. It's a day for play. You're invited to join in on the "Irrational Object Game" if you feel so inclined.

8:47 ip.  
Blogger zen wizard said...

Interesting topic--my impression from my limited experience of the Internet is that the so-called "information superhighway" is a lot like the regular old asphalt highway, in that it brings out extreme kindness in people, and also just mindless rage over the slightest thing.

In other words, you have both the equivalent of a total stranger helping you with a flat tire--and the equivalent of "road rage" when somebody starts flaming you over the slightest real or perceived insult.

2:26 ap.  
Blogger ing said...

Okay, everyone thinks I'm naiive, but I still don't get this "invisible hand" stuff. So far, the only authority or restriction or what have you that I feel is the idea that my employer or mother might read my blog. I don't worry about the rest of it.

And I'm all for the idea that anyone can publish here, on their blogs. I love that it's the ideas that count, because look, writing and writing well is a beautiful thing, but sometimes it's the editors who make that happen. And before the editors fix a thing, it's the IDEA that matters, not so much the style in which the idea was originally presented.

And yes, the internet has become a medium for advertisement and promotion. I think we all have well-developed filters for what is crap and what is specifically targeted to us with our real interests and desires in mind. I like the web for that kind of information-spreading. I like being clued in to the things that align with my specific interests. I'm a pop-culture junkie, and I don't feel oppressed by information. But I meet a ton of people who, to me, seem to enjoy being suspicious of everything. They probably have more money in the bank than I do. But still, I have to agree that most people are good and the media tells us that most people have bad intentions and I think we should enjoy this thing while it lasts. If it makes us feel free, why not label it freedom, for now?

I dunno.

5:54 ap.  
Blogger ~d said...

I have seen you around. And although I have never introduced myself, I feel (fairly) confident you may recognize me as well.
I think about (fellow) bloggers often. I seen something, I hear something...just this whole community means so much to me.
By the way, I am ~d. Pleasure to meet you.

8:37 ip.  
Blogger ~d said...

I have lost my emm effin mind...
(whoops!)

forgive.
(but love me anyway?!)

♥♥♥

8:43 ip.  

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