Re: Essays on the Anthropology of Cyberspace

Mon, 21 Nov 1994 01:50:08 +0000

>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>Date: Tue, 14 Jun 94 22:13:44 EDT
>From: Micheal Strangelove <>
>Subject: Essays on the Anthropology of Cyberspace: Introduction

How good to see someone writing on the anthropology of cyberspace! Too bad
that, as usual, it's not an anthropologist, but somebody from religious
studies. That's okay. I like Michael Strangelove's previous efforts to
collate religious scholarship (the Electric Mystic's Guide) and electronic
journals on the net enough to give him a fair shake. ;-) Plus -- that
great last name!

>The Internet, Electric Gaia and the Rise of the
>Uncensored Self.
>Essays on the Anthropology of Cyberspace

Wow. What a knock-dead title. I'm hooked already.

>I am thirty-one now and by the year 1999 I will
>be thirty-six, on January 1st, year 2000, I will
>be thirty-seven. I can recall thinking how old I
>once thought thirty-seven was. Now it seems to me
>that my life is only just beginning and I am
>destined to be part of a collective midwife and
>offspring to a new millennium.

Hmm. I'll be thirty in the year 2000. But as we know, the 21st century (and
the third millenium) begins in 2001, and not 2000. ;-)

>So what can we say for certain about the coming
>of the year 2000? In the history of meaning, it
>will stand out as unique due to the unprecedented
>number of human animals that will participate in
>the event. It will be the largest collective
>human event . It will be the most anticipated
>event. It will be the most recorded event. It
>will be the most interpreted event. All of this
>ensures that the years immediately preceding and
>following the birth of the third millennium will
>be long remembered as the crazy years.

Well, maybe. The arrival of other imminent millenia surely produced
equivalent phenomena. Something about Western peoples' obsession with
zeros. Of course, some of us think the Gregorian calendar is about 4 years
off anyway, and we should be waiting until 2004 for the end time. And then
those who KNOW realize 2012, when the McKennaite singularity/omega point of
history manifests, is the REAL significant date. I'm not sure the links
here between millenialism and "electric gaia," but I think it's coming...

>voice was first heard by most individuals in 1993
>and immediately entrenched itself in the
>landscape of popular culture. This voice, this
>prophet of the third millennium, this
>technological John-the-Baptist has a name and its
>name is the Internet.

Wow. Can we say "anthropomorphism?" "Misplaced concreteness?"
"Reification?" "The Internet" has a name and voice? It is John the Baptist?

>Sex, Drugs and E-Mail:
>The Elements of a New Style of Consciousness

WOW. I dig this subhead.

>What do sex, drugs, and e-mail all have in

Cyberpunks dig them all?

I don't know, I happen to like this little essay. Although I'm not sure
what "Electric Gaia" is (I assume it's supposed to be a Teilhard de
Chardin-type noosphere; linking all sentient life - at least hominid
sentient life, the dolphins haven't jacked in yet - into a global mind.)
And I am not sure what the "uncensored, distributed" self is, but I gather
Strangelove suggests it's one not in communicational isolation (but then,
CB and ham radio were there before Internet, not to mention town meetings)
and all over the place, e.g. the 'decentering of the subject' which many of
us are experiencing from the centrifugal pull of multiple identities...

But I think that Strangelove is focusing on only one new imminent
technology in his millenial survey. Internet is transforming our society,
no doubt; but in answer to the problem of staring at the lights in the sky
and confronting our own mortality in light of our tantalizing ability to
reach them, Internet is not the solution, but coming changes in
biotechnology and space travel may be...


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