MCM1201C: Imagined Networks
Blog Post #3 (purportedly tardy and randomly smattered)
“At the culmination of the historical effort of a society to refuse to recognize that it has any function other than the utilitarian one, and in the anxiety of the individual confronting the 'concentrational' form of the social bond that seems to arise to crown this effort, existentialism must have indeed resulted from it; a freedom that is never more authentic than when it is within the walls of a prison; a demand for commitment, expressing the impotence of a pure consciousness to master any situation ; a voyeuristic-sadistic idealization of the sexual relation; a personality that realizes itself only in suicide; a consciousness of the other that can be satisfied only by Hegelian murder” (Lacan, 6).
Is Neo’s decision to take one pill over another a suicide of sorts? A decision to at once kill one part of himself [did he kill his conscious and bring the unconscious into being, or was it the opposite (the latent experienced via the simulated reality of the Matrix, with his real agency located in the dim world beyond the Matrix)?] and bring another into being. Could this be seen as a sort of Hegelian murder: killing that which is outside of you in order to more fully experience yourself and what you are, rather than what you are not?
I am also fascinated by the application of the Hegelian dialectic to THE MATRIX’s overriding narrative. It seems to me that the decision to take on the knowledge of the Matrix’s fabricated nature is, in essence, a ‘problem’ of awareness willingly taken on, and, therefore, to an extent ‘invented’ by the ‘reborn’ person, a symptom – if you will – of his newfound agency. Then, said ‘freed’ souls are expected to sort through the new, even greater philosophical problem of his/her existence, which he/she does so well because it is a battle for the right to live, rather than a battle with the banal and a fight to unearth reasons to live.
Even in the world of computer-nerds and hackers, it seems Neo must find a community of those like himself in order to make sense of his experience, of his sentiment (in the same way that nationalism makes possible the cognitive mapping necessary to link individual experiences to the whole).
“What you get when the modernization process is complete and nature is gone for good. It is a more fully human world than the older one, but in which ‘culture’ has become veritable ‘second nature’” (Jameson, ix). Here, technology takes the place of nature (and technology begins to simulate nature and infinity – the great expanses once most feared by our race.
How do we codify physical experiences in a postmodern world?
How do we codify virtual experiences in this world?
Gestalt: is the form-forming capacity of our senses (i.e. the visual recognition of figures and whole forms instead of just a collection of simple lines and curves)
How do we begin to make sense of ourselves as WHOLE entities when there are other things purporting to be ‘whole’ representations of ourselves floating about (i.e. Facebook pages, etc)?
The whole (the signified) is greater than the sum of its parts (the signifiers), but what happens when the parts are more (inter)active (socially, politically, culturally, etc.) than our ‘whole’ selves? How do we find our authentic, subjective, autonomous selves, with such a push, through technology, to be both anonymous and the first search result on Google?
I feel that the internet has the power to call attention to the our usage of Althusser’s ISAs (Ideological State Apparatuses). On the internet, I may assume a number of personalities, identities, etc. I may use various social and professional media platforms to present myriad images of myself, myriad secondary identifications. This calls attention to the intersectionality – and disparity – of my numerous identifications. How will I present myself socially? Corporationally?
And then… when I’m not sitting at my computer, how will I represent myself corporeally?
"the transformation that takes place in the subject when he assumes an image" (Lacan, 2)
How do we avoid the co-optation of our subcultures? We don’t let them assume (or be consumed by) an image. We hide them. We keep them hidden in the tendrils of the technological and natural realms. Kill everything foreign to who you are, if you want to preserve...