At Meet the Media Guru last Thursday in Milan, Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi gave a response to my theory of blogs. After returning to Bologna Bifo wrote down the following notes:
Geert has read some pages from “Internet non è il paradiso” (the not so beautiful translation of the much more intelligent: My First Recession). I was there, listening to Geert, for the first time in Italy, and I took some notes, that I write here without any intention of fidelity to the Geert’s words. Please be aware: this is not a synthesis nor an interpretation of the Geert Lovink’s thought, just personal reflections sub specie of footnotes.
The theoretical Lovink’s contribution (radical pragmatism and Net criticism) can be viewed as a critique of the cynicism of the European (vanishing) intellectual life.
Geert says that it’s not yet the moment for a general Theory of the Net. Well, it will never be the moment for a general Theory of the Net. The Net is the end of any possible General Theory, because it is ever expanding, and the most essential thing (in the Net) is the last one, the just emerging one, the not-yet happened, the happening just now.
Geert speaks of the Blogging and the nihilist impulse. The bloggers came after the dotcomcrash, and seem the disillusioned ones after the maniac phase. The cycle “acceleration panic depression” now is ending in nihilist de–realisation. Dotcommania has been simultaneously two different things: illusion, pretention, bubble, but also opportunity of economic practice, of revenue, job creation and fun. Then came dotcomcrash (which is also prozac-crash, because the maniac side was part of the Net-Economy game).
Geert says that in the blogging there is a search for truth. When efficacity ends, Search for Truth follows. The dotcommania has been an excited illusion that made the process of net creation efficient, productive, (although false). Now the truth lies in the depressive consciousness that truth is unreal.
When Reality is False
Truth is unreal.
(vaguely hegelian note)
When Truth is unreal
Reality is Cynical.
(cynicism is the common ground of contemporary intellectual discourse)
The real issue of net critique (in my humble opinion) is the pathology of immediacy. The immediate relationship between human beings (physical bodies, temps veçu) becomes the problem. The recession Geert is talking about (his first recession) is not a problem of economic crisis, but the collapse of the relationship between body and language, the loss of life which happens in the framework of info-economy.
Critique of the political economy of the Net: Psychoeconomy of the cyberspace in its relationship with the cybertime. (relationship between the Net and the body)
The network economy is producing an effect of cellularisation of time which is the pre-condition of the General Precarisation of Life. The continuity of self-perception is at stake, the perception of the continuity of experience is at stake.
Time is disembodied.
This is the inmost meaning of precarisation: separation of time and body.
Time becomes something exterior to the living sensitive body.
Time becomes a de-personalised sprawl, so capital can access time without negotiating with the person (the physical person, the legal person, the political person…)
Disembodiment of time makes possible the transformation of work-marker in a kind of brain-sprawl where capital can pick up and recombine disembodied fragments of cellularised cyber-time.