The network society and its reality romantics

Hubert L. Dreyfus: On the Internet – a review

What happens when an old philosophy professor goes online? The result could be unschatzbar, but it is also quite likely that he (or she) is next. So is the focus of study by Berkeley professor Hubert L. Dreyfus the inkless misunderstanding that we will soon let our body behind us.

Cover of "On the internet", Hubert L.Dreyfus

For Dreyfus, the Internet corresponds to the equation Hans Moravec Plus Max More multiplied by John Perry Barlow Plus Ray Kurzweil, but he does not realize why this faction should be in the legitimate position to define the internet. He then starts to deconstruct the allegedly prevailing Platonic desire to overcome the body, but without in detail to respond to the specific political, economic and cultural agenda of this tendency and relating to the new media discourse.

Dreyfus confuses, name the very specific cyber dream of the extropians of one "Decoration" with the internet as such. There are no internet representatives that were promised "that each of us will soon be able to exceed those limits that were imposed on us by our cores". There may be many competing ideologies that fight for a hegemony of the Internet discourse, such as pragmatism, communitarianism, and liberalism, but none of them promises that the cyberspace will bring the surfing or the posthumous. It is much more likely to discuss globalization and about the disappearance of the nation state, but Dreyfus carefully deals with such economic and political topics.

The mantras from the virtual-become

According to Dreyfus "could not be so attractive with that and on the web". He is not alone with this verdict. After an initial phase of the union and curiosity of the excitement Dreyfus Neueinschatzung fall of the Internet with the hangover after the bubble time together. In this cultural climate, a conservative jerk can easily win to popularity. It may be for some a liberating relief that there is more in life than the internet, but this impressive truth can hardly justify a philosophical investigation.

It is probably more relaxed, popular cultural motifs of virtual realitat with the rather dull Real policy Mix the network architecture. But why can philosophers do not make a difference between substance and appearance? The advertising is not the product, so much the PR managers also New Age-mantra of "virtual" – Becoming repeat mogen. Body-politics was up to some point, perhaps significant, but the diversity of the all too real ies can not cover posed by the Internet as a global medium.

The internet does not need a prere-breaking attention to order, but strives for updating and defense of central values such as openness and access. Philosophers could be quite good, for example, to the substructure for Open Source and Free software in terms of categories like "freedom" and "property" define. The simplification speech of "freedom" with the meaning of "free beer" many are no longer horen. Or was it "freedom of speech"? If the Geek culture is really like that, as it seems, or there is more significance behind the Richard Stallman-Eric Raymond controversy? So what would be an ideal case for techno philosophy, if you might make a proper investigation about online humanity.

Dreyfus develops its version of the "Grit" On four different fields:

  1. The restrictions of hyperlinks and the loss of ability to recognize meaning;
  2. The dream of Distance learning (no skills without presence)
  3. The absence of teleprasenz
  4. and a chapter over "Anonymity and nihilism", What leads to life without meaning.

In principle, such topics could be relevant, but they do not talk about current concerns. As a conscious outer head, Dreyfus is liable to the surface of supremed mythologies. Do not even mention topics such as free against proprietary software, the policy of domain labels, the risk of entrepreneurial instructions, cryptography and censorship, the digital gap, or intellectual property. The control over the network architecture was probably too common for Dreyfus.

The same can also be said about Dreyfus’s most unfortunate bias: the body. Internet critics have made the mythological decoration traumes of the 90s Cyber culture. At that time, this specifically futuristic idea was used, the still unknown "Cyberspace" to popularize and inspire for him. There was a lot of speculation over "Virtual body". But in 2001, when the book of Dreyfus appear, the excitement and curiosity for decorization were faded. There was a serious (feminisitic) criticism of this concept of a man’s dream of "dirty" Paper to overwind – None of this is done at Dreyfus. Meanwhile, a whole series of artist practices have developed, leaving extropic tendencies far behind, during them a critical "Corporation" Develop in the virtual arena.

The nihilistic medium

It’s little surprisingly when Hubert Dreyfus is Outet as a cultural pessimist. To stay exactly, he is a media topicologist from the slake of a Neil Postman, George Steiner or Peter Handke. What the media topicologists are residents, that’s the flood of meaningless information. This nonsense should be banned (not filtered). So the noble intellectuals should be ruled out to decide what comes to the medial archive and what not. The media locogenes traumes from an author’s enrollment regime, under which chattery and blob’s speech were heavy clarification. In this sense, Dreyfus denounces the World Wide Web as a Nihilistic medium, If he complains as follows:

"Thanks to the hyperlinks, all meaningful distinctions were embedded. Relevance and significance have disappeared. And that is an important part of the attractiveness of the web. Nothing is too trivial to not be accepted. Nothing is so important that it demanded a special place."

Users and groups who create their own significance and contexts on the net find no knowledge here. Obviously, Dreyfus has never been based on mail and web filters. Like a small child stripping through a library and touching the shelves, Dreyfus is overwalled by skating quantitat of accessible information that does not make sense for him:

"You can watch a coffee machine in Cambridge, or the last Super Nova studying Kyoto Protocol, or control a robot that plant a seed in Austria and water."

Fear of the digital people

Dreyfus fears, like John Stuart Mill and Alexis de Tocqueville, the tyranny of the digital people. The origin of the media will be sent to Soren Kierkegaard’s font "PRESENT AGE" returned from 1846. (See. Dreyfus’ lecture: "Kierkegaard on the Information Highway"To)

The network company and its reality romantics

Soren Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard, a Christian philosopher of 19. Century, the social "Equalization" the blame ("Everything is the same that it is worth it for nothing more to die"To). What he, and with him Dreyfus really fears, is the democratized nothing. The publicity and the press, nowadays renamed in "the media" and "the Internet", Should not be allowed to celebrate their radical purposelessness. Instead, the elites should restrict the public sphare and the mass leads to progress, to war, socialism, globalization, or whatever is pending.

"Kierkegaard had the internet with all its websites full of anonymous information from all over the world and with its stakeholders, in which can participate without qualifying anyone, to discuss any topics endless and without any consequences, certainly as the high-tech synthesis of the worst Consideration of newspaper and coffee house. (…) In Newsgroups, everyone, everywhere, may have an opinion. They are all too striving to answer the equally uprooted opinions of other anonymous amateurs, which post their views from nowhere. (…) It does not need any experience or qualification to get into conversation." (Page 78, 79, 120)

Who will decide what meaning and what is nonsense? Internet enthusiasts refer to the crucial difference between the old media, based on a scarcity of channels, resources and design rooms, as well as the network with its unrestricted possibilities of parallel conversations. For the first time in media history, the decision has shifted to the meaning and nonsense of the medium and its publishers to the individual user. Dreyfus knows the possibilities and the problems associated with this important techno-cultural change, not even. Ultimately, the debate revolves around speech and freedom of expression. But Dreyfus liked the sensitive topic who assesses the content, not appealing to. Censorship is likely to come from the interior of the self, as a voluntary self-observation about the seashore information and production.

Elevation can only be made of one, for Kierkegaard as well as for Dreyfus "Religious sphare of existence" come in the real World is experienced. Whether a pure and non-mediatized world has ever existed (or exist, in the form of "Reality parks") May be doubted. Real and virtually become empty categories. A call back to "reality" can only be more nostalgic and makes itself irrelevant, it is a flight in front of the current fight for the future of global network architecture. Necessary is a radical democratization of the media phare.

There is no reality behind the virtual, no corpers outside the machine. The Internet has now become an invisible part of everyday life, comparable to the vacuum cleaner. Like Manuel Castells in his new book The Internet Galaxy says – there is no way back into a state in front of the network society. The network is the message.

From the English translated by Frank Hartmann Hubert L. Dreyfus, On the Internet, London / New York: Routledge, 2001. 136 pages, Euro 15,91

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