Tuesday, October 6, 2009


we come out of history in order to enter into simulation – jean baudrillard

The moment history enters the period of post-modernism search for the truth and its discovery is rendered as fruitless and futile act. In the language of Lyotard post-modernism is only about looking at Meta-narratives with suspicion. But in reality, this suspicion is not limited only to meta-narratives; rather every narrative, subject and truth comes inside its boundaries. To understand the difference between truth and “truth-like” is the most cumbersome thing of this era. Truth and falsehood, or truth and truth-like are not clear and lucid like day and night. Where does the truth begin, when does it turn into truth-like, and when does truth-like transforms into the real falsehood? This separation is a difficult task.

The real manifestation of post-modernism takes place through technology, art, media and culture; and through these only do the post-modern viewpoint and attitudes come into existence. The best examples are films, internet and virtual world in which a human experiences truth, truth-like and falsehood concurrently.

Cyber culture – an introduction:

Several years earlier (1990), renowned anthropologist Arjun Apadrai classified the cultural economy into five different types (which he calls Scapes):

  • Ethnoscapes
  • Technoscapes
  • Finanscapes
  • Mediascapes
  • Deoscapes

Therefore, for such type of economy the need of a new way of thinking and analyzing is felt. These five types require a special kind of network. The debate of cyber culture has deep and strong relationship with the existence and workings of this network. That’s why Castells (the renowned researcher of cyber culture) has based his argument of cyber culture on network.

Nothing can be said for certain about the history of cyber culture’s terminology. However, after the definitions of Gibson this became a subject of discussion and debate in the world of cyber culture study. Thus, American critique Mark Dewey is known for his assessments of the definitions in the beginning period. Dewey, while specifying the term of cyber culture, says:

A far-flung, loosely knit complex of sub legitimate, alternative, and oppositional sub-cultures whose common project is the subversive use of technocommodities often framed by radical body politics… cyber culture is divisible into several major territories: visionary technology, fringe science ,avant-gardeart ,and pop culture

Other researchers believe that cyber culture is a name for our cyber attitude like how we live in a cyber world, make relations with others; and few others believe that complete definition of the term cyber culture is not possible. Bell says:

..Cyberculture is certainly a contested and evolving discourse

But by analyzing the existing trends of cyberculture we can understand its content and direction.

Cyber space and a new society

From the end of the 20th century till today (in 21st century), the awestruck position at which the internet has brought the world – this phenomenon is not just a topic of research and study anymore. The information flood can no longer be contained. This is an irreversible act and any replacement to it is only its progress. Computerization of society is a truth of the day, and everyone seems to adopt this truth. Probably this is the reason why Lyotard wrote this:

It is hard to see what other direction contemporary technology could take us an alternative to the computerization of society. (The postmodern condition)

Cyber space has brought a new world into existence: a complete society where relationships are made, transactions take place, and activities of rewarding and punishing are also there. A complete world of social relationships and opportunities are available on your screen. The creator of cyber space terminology is William Gibbson, who in 1984 through his famous novel Neuromancer gave the idea of cyber space. Gibbson says:

Cyberspace A consensual hallucination experienced daily by millions of legitimate operators. A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding.

The above definition and Neuromancer made this idea so much popular that a few experts even started using Gibsonian Cyber Space as a term.

Michal Heim gives his opinion about the cyber space in the following words:

Cybersapce is more than a breakthrough in electronic media or in computer interface design with its virtual environments and simulated worlds. Cyber space is a .. Tool for examining our every sense of reality. (The erotic ontology of cyber space)

There was a period when a society in the cyber world seemed only an illusion, but it no longer remained so. On the contrary, its status is now that of a vibrant and dynamic society. We cannot deny the inter-relationship between technology and society. This form of technology has a deep connection with society, and incidents that occur in the virtual world will have their effects on our physical world. Zizek says:

The way computerization affects our lives does not depend directly on technology, it results from the way the impact of new technology is refracted by the social relations which, in their turn, co –determine the very direction of technological development.

Paul Virilio expresses this reality by saying that technological progress affects our social relations completely.

There are many dynamics of the cyber space which are noteworthy and demand attention. It need urgent assiduity. A fresh discourse is essential to think about the evolution and content of this society (virtual)

Here, we will discuss some of the problems of this “society”.

(to be continued.. )