Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Internet Shadows in Broad, Sunlit Uplands

Image Source: Mac Tonnies Website.

On May 14, a blog devoted to the memory of the late Mac Tonnies, Post-Mac Blues, posted a fascinating piece (here) about how Tonnies's work lives on on the Web.  It refers to a German 3sat television production (which you can see here) that mentioned Tonnies as an example of a growing Millennial problem.  This connundrum will be unique in the history of humankind, and will start when the Internet generations - X, Y and Z - begin to die.  What will we do with the Web content legacies that once-active online users leave behind?

Because Tonnies was so young when he tragically passed away at the age of 34 in 2009, and he also had a strong online presence, his death highlights this problem.  The information that remains - his reviews, his Website, his blog Posthuman Blues, his tweets, and so on - act like a Platonic shadow.

Many films around the turn of the Millennium dealt with the gnostic idea that the camera can act like an objective, outside observer, which tells us the real truth beyond our subjective perceptions.  The same might be said for the Internet.  What comes from us as subjective reflections, tweets, Facebook updates, and e-mails can be later compiled into an objective existence of a 'self' beyond the Self.  This legacy somehow transcends the previous characteristics of personal records and private papers.  There really is a ghost in the machine now. I do not know how archivists and historians will even begin to grapple with the problem of sorting through the mess of pseudonyms, avatars and daily info-junk that everyone online now generates.  Nor can I imagine how our online presences will be interpreted as historical documents.

Ironically, some Baby Boomer proponents of radical anti-ageing concepts have suggested that downloading our consciousness into an online virtual reality will be the best way to live on after we die physically.  See my post on the idea of mind uploading, here.  Will this really free us from the incessant tension between the concrete world and our consciousness?  Is some virtual reality corner of the Internet going to become the dimension that houses a billion disembodied souls, forever?  Here's to the freedom of our shadows in broad, sunlit uplands ...


  1. "Will this really free us from the incessant tension between the concrete world and our consciousness? Is some virtual reality corner of the Internet going to become the dimension that houses a billion disembodied souls, forever?"

    Eerie thought, that. And, in some strange way probably inevitable, provided the internet continues and we're not all wiped out by an asteroid. On the other hand, cyber-space can be seen as a type of reflection of our haunted world, as opposed to its shadow... with consciousness as the go-between... the dimension of mind before and behind the mirror.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that the ghosts aren't trapped in the machine... merely the reflections of their past - histories reverberating in pixels - and, in my opinion, there never will be a true marriage between machine and spirit. The "broad, sunlit uplands" are reserved for those of organic persuasion alone.

    Then again, who's to say where consciousness really fits into this equation. ;-)

    In any case, thanks for your thought-provoking post... using the metaphor of Plato's cave was brilliant!

    If you don't mind, I'm going to post a link on PMB.


  2. Hi Dia,

    Glad you liked the post. I think the problem of consciousness living on in cyberspace is something that people are only just grasping. The implications of it - well - those may only become plain long after we are gone. Maybe that will be a good thing. Please by all means link back to this post.