We Are A Cloud, Together: From Social Media to Post-Communication

I need to write a long post tying together the past few months. In the interim, this says some things which nestle close to my thinking, if not hatched in quite the same nest. Perched on a nearby branch, maybe. Under the same sky…

I feel that his post, in its entirety, ends up diluting the most important thought — this one:

For sake of argument, we need a working model of the self. Let’s posit the one proposed by Clifford Geertz who described the Western concept of the person as a

bounded, unique, more or less integrated motivational and cognitive universe, a dynamic center of awareness, emotion, judgment, and action organized into a distinctive whole and set contrastively both against other such wholes and against its social and natural background.

Wave goodbye. That was you before you bought a computer and signed up for an email account. Those were the good old days, when people could still complain about anomie, of being locked in the lonely confines of their selfhood…because they still had a selfhood, something relatively impermeable that kept the world out and the precious self in.

I’ve written before about the generation who are of the Cloud, and the schism between them (us, I know which is my tribe) and the rest. I think it’s a genuine possibility — if that particular singularity hasn’t already happened — that there is some splitting of the Western psyche going on here… not quite what the transhumanists and techgnostics have proselytised, but something of equal scale.

Something of that — maybe one way into this is to frame it by saying that we are experiencing the effects of adoption of the first generation of post-communication technologies: tools that aren’t (endlessly-failing) attempts at meetings-of-souls (c.f. Durham Peters’ argument in Speaking Into the Air), but rather frameworks for something like Deleuze’s desiring machines: or as in Olson’s pronouncement: desire is a cluster which seeks to cluster (from whence the title of this site).

What if it’s that? That this is what we have post-communication. Because the Cloud isn’t about communication: it’s [not only but also] the cluster(s) where functions can be reallocated from the self. Mutually. We are a cloudscape, together. And that’s new.

2 comments

  1. It seems like this might kick Western society into a conception of the self more akin to the web of associations that Japanese self-hood is constituted by.

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