Remote Locutions: Mediation, Alienation, and Superfluity in Cyberspace Ideology
Janus Head: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature, Continental Philosophy, Phenomenological Psychology, and the Arts
18 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2016
Date Written: January 16, 1999
This article, published in 1999 when I was a senior in college, was my first publication in an academic, peer-reviewed journal. It was my earliest engagement with an issue I still grapple with today, namely, the dark side of Internet idealism.
Grand claims about the immediacy, authenticity, accessibility, and humanity of cyberspace are severely undermined by the parallels between cyberspace and the Arendtian "classless society." Cyberspace enthusiasts exhibit an alarmingly empty and ahistorical idealism. Behind the heady affirmation of all things virtual is a pseudo-social, pseudo-humanitarian dualism that is paving a path towards totalitarianism.
Keywords: Hannah Arendt, totalitarianism, immediacy, John Perry Barlow, chat room, virtual reality, Internet
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