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25 June 2007

For some unknown reason Marshall McLuhan has been beating on my skull from the inside. Although I have my hopes, the way technology is influencing things now seems not to be creating a global village. Maybe half a global village, maybe not.

It's a bifurcated path. One side fosters anything but a global village - more like techno-haves being able to ignore reality. The other side of the split is the techno-haves frothing madly with youtube and facebook and twitter and craigslist and google - which is nice to see and something that I first saw happening with copy shops like Kinko's that encouraged people to hang out and make things. All of a sudden, I could go and to do SOMETHING (making xeroxes of weird objects for handbound books was one little project) and when I walked in the shop was jam-packed with people doing hobby group newsletters, geneological whatsits, making stationary, copying blueprints - I don't know. I was jazzed to see lots of people immersed in their chosen projects and working side by side in a creative zone.

That part in the history of technology was a brief time as soon afterwards it became normal to have most of the tools at home - no need to go to the shared space. I'm not social at all but even I enjoyed being part of that busy mass. In a way there's still a busy mass but it's a disembodied mass. MM said, "When you are on the phone or on the air, you have no body."

There's techno-havenots - and if something happens to cut off the trizzities and still the automobiles they will probably take over since much of the old survival knowledge has not been passed on in the techno-have clans. Who knows. It's a familiar plot of science fiction - the split in humanity with one elite segment* separate from or ruling over the masses.

It would be too sad if the elite turned out to be grotty us with no flying cars and no plugging in our brains to gain the knowledge of the world painlessly in 35 minutes and no immortality. What if this is the split and we're as high as the elite gets before Things Happen and anyone with the ability to grow a turnip, kill a chicken, and suffer toothache swoops in to inherit the earth?

*usually cool and immortal, and dressed in flowing robes


posted by - 9:08 PM

History suggests all societies have elites, who assume control over the technologies of creative artists. Even in societies of turnip-growers, artisans of weaponry and adornment first serve the headmen and their families. Imagination is stimulated by play, which depends on leisure, which is guaranteed by patronage of the powerful.
As you say, Things Happen, when turnip-growers bring down one elite and replace them with another. Frankish hordes, Saracen invaders, Jacquerie peasants, cultural revolutionaries, seem to prove that natural law. Artists and intellectuals, telescope makers and bookbinders, sculptors and engravers, their fortunes dependent and inseparable from the princes who feed them, can only flee, perish, or change allegiance. We are a happy congregation of frothy bubbles, whose existence is brief, rising and descending with the rushing tide.
I was thinking more in a sci-fi Zardoz-type way - that it would be too bad if we are the elite since we have no flying cars. I'm always obsessed with flying cars. When it was 1999 for me, I rang my brother who was in 2000 and asked him if he liked his silver spacesuit and flying car. Alas, he had neither.

I have a flying car and my own personal spaceship in the garage, but I only take them out at night and zoom around freaking ppl out ... they assume they are seeing aliens.
Yup, Marshall's ghost has come to haunt me too esp coming into SL. True to some extent about patronage, leisure and creativity, but don't forget cyberpunk...the uses the street makes of technology. Even now fashion and technology ideas are coming up out of the composting areas between our elite bubbles. - Lucy

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