the new electric media

“Of course we can live without a bodily identity, but the body confers a particular kind of identity. Aquinas pointed out that the principle of individuation consists in the intersection of matter and spirit. Without the body, then, individual identity is not possible. Discarnate man is mass man; individuality is simply not possible because there is nothing on which to base it, to give it substance. Individualism and private identity are artefacts, side-effects of the phonetic alphabet and its symphony of abstraction. (Laws of Media chapter one.) One of the three themes on which Take Today: The Executive as Dropout is based is that jobs disappear under electric conditions and they are replaced by roles. Roles mean audiences and participation. Private identity depends first and foremost on detachment. Social media like Facebook provide identity from the in-crowd of friends that one can amass: that attention is the identity dynamic. Take it away and the user is nobody—a nobody with no body.

With private identity and detachment also comes another artefact: privacy, now a major concern. As private identity evaporates, privacy becomes a matter of great concern-and so do private ownership and copyright. All of these things are interrelated and make no sense in isolation from each other. It is no secret that private identity is unknown in non-literate societies and equally that they have no use for privacy.” ~ Eric McLuhan

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5 Responses to “the new electric media”

  1. Jaap Pels

    Great post,
    Quote: “the user is nobody—a nobody with no body”.
    We will manage multiple digital identities (and get lost switching between them).
    We create identities; iDATAties.
    IM == Information management
    IM == Identi(data)ty management
    IM == Ignorance management
    Digital idataties cannot hide.
    Best, Jaap

  2. Josu Uztarroz

    Hi Harold,
    really good, this is, on my view, the central point right now. I wrote this in my blog

    “…and this is the challenge, the media literacy as the ability to develop us and learn in this context of overabundance of knowledge and information..

    ..to find out patterns and paths, that give us back the sense of our own existence, is the new adventure of humans in the twenty-first century”

  3. Stephen Lowe

    I wonder if the rise of Facebook and our excessive preoccupation with issues of personal adequacy (LinkedIn, profiles, connections) is a sign that we (as a society) are becoming insecure in ourselves? That in the deluge of information and misinformation we *are* becoming nobodies.