In the same vein as Gratton’s review of Stiegler’s latest, I’m endlessly bemused by the fact that folks don’t apply the lessons of Plato’s absurd critique of writing to our contemporary context and new media. If you take the Luddite Classicalist stance your on the wrong side. Does that mean it’s all good? No! But as good critical theorists we should recognize both what new technologies afford and constrain. If you hold that new communication technologies mark the destruction of civilization, you’re a crank whistling past the grave yard. Arguing against these things makes about as much sense as hitching about the rise of eukaryotes. Instead ask what they afford. Marx didn’t denounce the destruction of factory equipment and strikes as a decline in morality or a betrayal of the work ethic. Instead he wondered what was being said and what new collectives were being invented. We should ask the same questions with all these twittering, face book chatting, blogging, video game playing kiddos that don’t seem to read books so good (even though literacy and reading is greater than it’s ever been in history). Is it possible that our own fantasies of what we’d like the multitudes to be like are getting in the way of clearly seeing what lines of flight are at work before our very eyes? Theory should never dictate multitudes but should always follow them, seeking to understand, like a psychoanalyst listens for symptoms, to what is obscurely being said and invented. The aim is not to dictate like plato’s philosopher-king, but to listen and comprehend so as to intensify.
%d bloggers like this: