Thursday, March 1, 2007

A world of transformation and resilience

Scott and I really enjoyed a recent essay, "The Resilient World", by Jamais Cascio (who, incidentally, I got to meet last month). It's worth a read.


Some of us (I'm talking about myself here) who stay up late studying technocriticism for fun occasionally need to be reminded about the priority of political, economic, and social concerns over those of technoscience. Technocritical writers like Carrico, however, understand the sociopolitics and the technoscience to be tightly interwoven. Our energy crisis and its associated climate effects, for instance, are not apolitical problems of technology. This perspective is well-explained in his 2006 essay, "Transformation, Not Transcendence". I especially like this quote (which itself contains a quote).

“The future,” writes science fiction author Bruce Sterling, “isn’t an alien world, it is this very world.” It’s the kind of insight that you never knew you needed to hear, until you actually hear it said. The future will be here, not elsewhere. And it will be shared. “The future is a process,” Sterling goes on to say. That process, whatever our wishes in the matter, will never amount simply to a process of scientific discovery or of engineers solving problems. Progress is not a wave for you to ride on or a Truth for you to die for, but a project that needs many collaborators to succeed.

I want to change the world, not to leave it. I want transformation, not transcendence.

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