Tuesday, December 31, 2013

a truly free pathology

[T]heir opponents were people who were content with their lives in the [internet], who felt no particular objection to an impersonal steel and concrete landscape, no qualms about the invasion of their privacy by government agencies and data-processing organizations, and if anything welcomed these invisible intrusions, using them for their own purposes. These people were the first to master a new kind of [twenty-first]-century life. They thrived on the rapid turnover of acquaintances, the lack of involvement with others, and the total self-sufficiency of lives which, needing nothing, were never disappointed.

Alternatively, their real needs might emerge later. The more arid and affectless life became in the [internet], the greater the possibilities it offered. By its very efficiency, the [internet] took over the task of maintaining the social structure that supported them all. For the first time it removed the need to repress every kind of anti-social behaviour, and left them free to explore any deviant or wayward impulses. It was precisely in these areas that the most important and most interesting aspects of their lives would take place. Secure within the shell of the [internet] like passengers on board an automatically piloted airliner, they were free to behave in any way they wished, explore the darkest corners they could find. In many ways, the [internet] was a model of all that technology and done to make possible the expression of a truly 'free' pathology.

~ J. G. Ballard (1975) High-Rise, term "high-rise" replaced with "internet" throughout.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013