I identify with Picard,
Even Troi...an alien...she's basically like you or
I mean, sure, she's an individual with her own
but if I met her on the street
for one second
think she wasn't a
When we think about the future, what are we
images of the present
you and I frozen in .gif format
on the scissors icon
pasting them on top of "futuristic"
"Humanity is constant. It is only the environment that changes. Bill and Ted can cut Beethoven out of the 17th.century and paste him into one of those cheesy piano shops at the mall (does anyone buy anything from those places...what a shame) and he will jam Hendrix." says the institution, say the holy holders of cultural identity. "What we are now, is good, is timeless, is correct, is true, is objective."
Identity is a cultural/social phenomenon set within historical/structural context. Most of our grandparents can barely cope with the parabolic rate of change of our evolving world let alone Beethoven, or even some early human Neanderthal. They thought of the world so fundamentally different that there can be no real comparison.
What makes us think that Picard or Troi or anyone else in the far future will look like us, think like us, have our cultural institutions.
How far into the future can we extrapolate from where we are? What will it mean to be sentient in 2012 (the year of the singularity...if you buy it)?
If visionaries from McLuhan to Barlow are right, our culture is transforming drastically and the cultural givens which have held together our cultural and individual identities are disintegrating. We are reaching a revolution analogous only to the industrial, agricultural revolutions...the age of enlightenment, the advent of Christianity.
Things are about to change SIGNIFICANTLY. And that doesn't mean that twenty years from now it will be us pasted onto nano-tech, genetic engineering, cold fusion, AI, etc. We will be fundamentally changed...or...left behind. Our very conceptions of the world will be changed.
In Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of Hyperspace, Douglas Rushkoff massages to the surface hints. Hints of our future. In the anthropological ethnographic style, Rushkoff scans culture, teasing out underlying givens and themes.
However, Rushkoff is no traditional anthropologist. Rushkoff studies the "emerging" culture of Cyberia and opens the door for a more realistic study of the future.
Like a Post Modern/collage artist, Rushkoff paints us a scene from a motley of scattered images- a scene of a culture in transformation, effected by non-linear science, quantum mechanics, interdependency, designer reality, rapidity of change, role playing games, comic books, Nintendo, MTV, Rave culture, magik, techno- paganism.
Rushkoff's style is readable and entertaining and continues his journey from the "Gen X Reader" through "Media Virus." and hey, he quotes John Perry Barlow in the first chapter...da guy must be swank!
Get and read ASAP...
C Y B E R I A: Life in the Trenches of Hyperspace.
brought to you by
Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New
York, NY 10022.
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