“In the evenings, when my particular piece of Earth has turned away from the Sun, and is exposed instead to the rest of the cosmos, I sit in front of a keyboard, log on, and seek out the windows that look down at the planets and out at the stars. It’s a markedly different experience from looking at reproductions on paper. What I see is closer to the source. In fact, it’s indistinguishable from the source.”
Found via John Naughton who remarks:
“Beautiful essay by Michael Benson in The Atlantic which brilliantly captures the sense of awe and wonder about the Net that first prompted me to write my book.”
It seems it is the “awe and wonder about the Net” and the infinities of cybernetic inner space rather than outer space that have caught our imagination.
On BBC Radio 4’s excellent “Thinking Allowed”, this replacement of the exploration of outer space with the introspection and interconnections of inner space in the zeitgiest was recently discussed.
Next week, it looks like Dubya is going to try and make us flip our focus to look “out there” again. Why him! Gah.
Whether it’s stories of inner or outer space, the goal is the same. “Awe and wonder” at the immense.
“Immensity is a philosophical category of daydream. Daydream undoubtedly feeds on all kinds of sights, but through a sort of natural inclination, it contemplates grandeur. And this contemplation produces an attitude that is so special, an inner state that is so unlike any other, that the daydream transports the dreamer outside the immediate world to a world that bears the mark of infinity.”
I’m a trillion dollar sucker for it – are you?