The New does not emerge. It erupts, then fades away. It always begins with brief moments of undefinedness. — Geert Lovink
Our post-dotcom, post-unfortunate attack era is desperately seeking understanding. Internet criticism and Network theory (both hereafter referred to as ‘Net Theory’) are reeling from the subsiding of dotcom madness and the decentralized organization of terrorists. Net Theory seeks to understand, analyze, and critique a moving target. Indeed more than a moving target — a moving target made up of moving targets.
Amazing how much work there is to be done in this area — it can be viewed from so many angles that a cohesive, overall criteria for analysis remains so very elusive. McLuhan once made the observation that when things evolve quickly, one can spot patterns in the motion. Net theory seems to me to be a realm of metapatterns — a study of the patterns in the patterns that emerge from the rapid evolution.
It’s hard to imagine, it’s so hard to perceive;
to find an expression for what it all means.
All panic and struggle, all death and decay
are coming together in relative ways.
It’s started to happen, it’s started to change;
with the movement upon us, hope we make it o.k.
If it takes a life or a couple of days,
it’s coming together in relative ways.
— …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
Maybe we can all use this lull to gain a new footing, to find a new entry point into our Network-infused culture. To engage in and, as Doug Rushkoff puts it, to “participate in the writing of the story” instead of sitting back and living “according the pre-ordained script.” Where so much is unknown and uncertain, most any guess is as good as another. Research is imperative, but there can be few wrong answers in such a vast grey area. The time is always now. We can all help bring it together in relative ways.