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[- Information Excess and Lack of Purpose?
By RobertEbright, Section question corner
Posted on Thu Oct 2nd, 2003 at 09:59:33 PM EURODISCORDIA TIME
The internet allows one to connect to a potentially infinite amount of content and people, all through the mediated view of a screen. This opens up tremendous potential for communication, inspiration and expression, yet at the same time due to the limitations of experience and lack of focus such a broad level of access to information doesn't it tend to speak to the lowest common impulse ?


[ --------------------------------------------- ]

Perhaps it's just an individual problem, but it seems from my observations that people have a tendency to float aimlessly when they spend time online, unless they are something of a techno-puritan. Perhaps if they are that kind of person they hang out at one spot and espouse their ideas through the filter of conversation with others and actually develop a sense of "techno-community".

Perhaps this is just a matter of the times, where you can have a thousand distractions to every true desire, which begs the question what is a true desire anyways. This of course is just going to be a rambly monologue about my frustrations with information technology.

See what is it that makes the internet so convoluted and polluted with self-indulgences ? Is it because the underlying substructure of man's impulses is sexual attraction and desire or does the internet just lead one to such an easy route of distraction from any focal point of discussion or debate that one might of intended in the first place.

The overwhelming usefulness of the internet seems to be contained in the access to information. Yet this information is often overflowing thus limiting the amount of access one can handle. How many stories can you read in a day and what relevance do they really have to you in particular anyways other than inspiring a thought process which usually ends with the repetition of a particular idealogy via keyboard and if contrasting views or ideas are posted then a debate which typically due to a lack of restraint or social consequences has a tendency to devolve into petty name callings.

Perhaps this whole article is nothing but that same sort of idea which I'm just tossing out. I just felt like I had to write something, since this site seems cool, I'm a politically orientated discordian and fuck it, why not toss something out into the void and perhaps find others who want to read and comment on it.

[ --------------------------------------------- ]

Information Excess and Lack of Purpose? | 9 comments
[new] living online (Avg. Score: none / Raters: 0) (#9)
by JenniferNigg on Tue Dec 2nd, 2003 at 01:42:39 PM EURODISCORDIA TIME
(User Info)

To live, one has to be born in order to face the difficulties of survival. For a future survival one is advised to face life in its online-modus too. Netbanking, ticketing, downloading of forms, buying - you are invited to make use of various online offers, proposals, duties. The everyday online-life meets the agents of economy and policy, of art and geography, of artificial intelligence and pirates in their www-dimensions, not just copying "real life" but claiming their right of an own, an online-life.

What about your life amid?

Living online means to start the computer, to type and click and usually to sit and stare at the action beyond your body. There exist areas of your online-life where you exactly know what you want (although you might search awhile where and how to get it). But in case you are bored or curious you can discover areas apart the business of your everyday life. And perhaps decide to communicate with people you don´t know much about but at least you do have some things in common: all the people you communicate with do have entry to a computer and internet, they are able to write and most likely they are able to read.

Additionally you share these characteristics with the people that are somehow around you (1), wide awake communicating senselessness and close-by the people who do not or can not post their reality bits. Of course this is understood: every network is accompanied by its ambient.

Frustrated with what you read? At least you do have the possibility to filter and post - it could be less.

(1) (quod vide joerabie [-Designer Dick Section editors' corner
Posted on Wed Nov 26th, 2003 at 12:03:08 AM EURODISCORDIA TIME),

[new] the existential internet (Avg. Score: none / Raters: 0) (#4)
by amy on Fri Oct 3rd, 2003 at 11:44:46 PM EURODISCORDIA TIME
(User Info)

Hmm, it sounds a lot like life to me. :-)

Well, sorry for being a little bit silly, but, the Internet seems more like a culture to me than a library or other information resource. If you think about its decentralized structure, I think that model makes more sense. If I go for a walk around town, I can find out a lot of information - sometimes by looking for something specific, but more often by just running into it. It's a different way of taking in information than if I went to the library and let the librarians' organization direct me to it - though both have their use.

Though I understand it has its uses, I'm not sure I'd be happy if the Internet were entirely, or even largely, as Alle proposes. It's too much control over culture and intellectual pursuit for me. Where there's a "leader" who decides what's "on-topic" there are inevitably problems of censorship. But on a larger philosophical level - at least in the US in the past 20 years, there is a cultural submissiveness to authority that I find very troubling. People now not only tolerate intellectual control, they demand it. College students want to be told what to think and what to think about. Adults accept ever-increasing government and corporate surveillance and intrusions with alarming passivity, as it comes to them packaged as patriotism, freedom, and other forms of paternalism - and it doesn't occur to them to think about those concepts "outside the box."

Those might seem like extreme examples, and you might think, "But! More intellectual, politically correct leaders would also emerge!" But in practice, I've noticed these same problems occuring in moderated "intellectual" forums as well: what one person defines as "off-topic" - be it as a totalitarian move or with best intentions - is another person's "we need to think about this outside the box."

Drifting off now to more cultural-informational encounters...


# begin amy's sig
-- Discordia is nice.
# end amy's sig

[new] overload (Avg. Score: none / Raters: 0) (#3)
by Anonymous Stranger on Fri Oct 3rd, 2003 at 06:09:25 PM EURODISCORDIA TIME

For Robert the Internet is too wide a field to not aimlessly get lost and perhaps waste time. I loved the metaphor of the passing ships on the sea that followed. Towards the end of his post Robert comments that the mass of information online can be overwhelming. After the initial floating years I am now quite focused on where to get my news, where to look for artistic inspiration, where to find communication and intellectual exchange. Search engines play into this also. Mainly for the German speakers among us-- I found Vivisimo, a cluster search engine quite useful, and also Wikipedia. To stop rambling- I would not blame the technologies per se- they are not inherently good or bad even if developed with military intentions and funding- much of the net is what we claim back or refuse to give up.

[new] Placing buoys in this sea of information (Avg. Score: none / Raters: 0) (#2)
by AlleVanMeeteren on Fri Oct 3rd, 2003 at 05:47:42 PM EURODISCORDIA TIME
(User Info)

Internet looks like a sea, where ships (people) are just passing by. And so does Discordia. In I developed a vision to make communication better, but it has not been seen or is not recognized as a solutio for his problem by RobertEbright. He analyzes that people are floating on Internet, due to a lack of focus.
Only people with a technical back-ground, are forming kinds of communities.

Sure, swimming in their technical environment, their focus here is given by nature. Other objectives then technical, have to be stated expressively.

For that cause, one should place buoys in the sea, marking places where people can meet each other. The gathering around such a whistling-buoy should appoint a leader, who regulate the discourse in such a way that the buoy stays in the middle during the whole discussion, whistling the actual subject of the discussion all the time. If the leader keeps the whistling on the subject the seamark is signalling, people will stay there to experience the evolution of the discussion. They won't go further on, for another distraction.

This is still a vision. It is still all "have to", "should", "will", but one has to follow a vision to change the world. A man is capable of steering, especially in a manly made world as Internet.

The vision can be made concrete in a software-instrument, but the back-bone of this vision will be formed by people sharing this vision, joining the "Vereniging in gesprek", wanting to communicate, bored of fruitless floating out of boredom.


[new] Which shape does it have? (Avg. Score: none / Raters: 0) (#1)
by Aileen on Fri Oct 3rd, 2003 at 12:32:24 PM EURODISCORDIA TIME
(User Info)

An indirect comment - as it is getting cold in Austria, last night I was reminded of an installation by Priska Riedl from Linz, which was called "Comfort". It consisted of hot water bottles (the ordinary ugly red rubber ones) hanging in a straight line along three walls of the exhibition space, but each hot water bottle had a different shape molded into it: a bar of chocolate, a book, a bottle of whiskey, a telephone ...
Thinking about it last night, it occurred to me that now I would say something was missing, but I don't know which shape it would have. A computer? That wouldn't fit into a hot water bottle, and anyway the machine by itself wouldn't convey anything. The shape of the cable connecting my computer to the Internet? Maybe, although that is still quite vague. Letters, an e-mail address, a URL - all too abstract.
A hot water bottle is missing, but which shape would it have?

Information Excess and Lack of Purpose? | 9 comments

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