ENTRY # 53
In 1984, William Gibson published a book called “Neuromancer”. In which he created cyberspace. It was
A new universe, a parallel universe created and sustained by the worlds computers and communication lines . . . The tablet become a page become a screen become a world, a virtual world . . . A common mental geography, built, in turn, by consensus and revolution, canon and experiment . . . Its corridors form wherever electricity runs with intelligence . . . The realm of pure information . . .
1984? ThatÔø?s a long time ago by techno standards. Still, Gibson gave us the words, and life tries to imitate art. Cyberspace isnÔø?t really a place. It’s not a place any more than that locale where we go when we talk to each other on the telephone, or when we message one another on-line, or chat in some virtual meeting room. Some ineffable part of ourselves goes flying into the etherÔø?our words in the form of dits and dots. And we feel like we commune there somewhere that place where the disembodied hang out. It’s hard to wrap ones head around the abstract. Take, for example, email. We use the metaphor of an envelope holding a letter that we send to someone else. It make sense. We can picture our words as some physical thing that arrives at some place that is opened and read. Data? Bits and bytes? That ain’t but a thang. A message in a bottle- that I can grock. So we talk about cyberspace. Not a real place, but we geeks go visiting there anyway and pretend it is. We imagine ourselves living/interacting/dating/joking there. It exists because we Ôø? a whole bunch of us interact. The interaction is real. The words we use to communicate are real. That it happens without bodies in the void is too bizarre for words, so we comfortably buy into the mass hallucination that there’s a place where we converge…cyberspace.