Friday, January 9, 2009

Not so much calling bullshit as, what -

Interesting post up at Kevin Kelly's Technium blog - "As if..." - [as if there isn't always an interesting post up at that blog.

But, because I am not interested in spelling everything out for me or for you, I will call something other than bullshit on the conclusion in that post. Just a crude way of saying I disagree but can't be bothered to really boil it down to fibers and bullet points.

Here is a quote from that Mr. Kelly's post:

In this Age of Metaphor, love will be the signal of real. One of the ways we will know when a thing has passed from "as-if to is" is when it earns unalloyed love from humans. When a virtual place wins the kind of full-blooded love that a real place on Earth wins. When a toy pet earns the same love as a breathing pet. When a synthetic actor earns the same love as a human movie star, when a virtual economy incites the same passion as the larger economy, when a global superorganism gains the same affection as a hamster.

Then it will no longer be as-if and it will just be.
Up until about a third or half of the way through that post I was very excited about the opoyuliness of it all. I am giddy at all promiscuous layers of fake-ness and imitation, of which theme parks aspiring to Disneyland is a good example but my favorite example is extruded plastic wallets that are molded with leather grain and fake stitching. I also like architecture that copies Greek temples, where the molded bits above the columns are copies of copies of the ends wooden beams that used to stick out over the stacks of material that held the roof up.

So, Mr. Kelly was talking about the "As if" society and discussing when it becomes real. He says it becomes real when we as individuals love it. NO. Nothing becomes real. Computers or networks or such might become real when they love us, perhaps. When they are a "they."

Hey! I am going to name drop! After a decade or so of minimal and sporadic email correspondence, I finally met Mr. John Hodgman in person at his Atlanta signing for "More Information than You Require." I hope to buy him a beverage someday and have an actual conversation because his work and the emails we have exchanged strongly suggest to me that I would enjoy conversing with him in person. Even so, that might turn out to be untrue. Because, as we both agreed in the minute or so of interaction at the signing table, "E-people aren't real." Ten years of interpersonal awareness doesn't change that. Blogs don't change that. Twitter won't change that. Second Life and World of Warcraft won't change that.

E-people and E-things exist in our heads. Like mathematics, the platonic cave shadows they cast in our heads might be internally consistent and useful - whatever the internet equivalent is of calculating the specs for a bridge that won't fall down - but you are never going to know until you know. And, most of the time, most of what you will be knowing is yourself, whether you realize it or not.

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