After three thousand years of explosion, by means of fragmentary and mechanical technologies, the Western world is imploding. During the mechanical ages we had extended our bodies in space. Today, after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned.Forty four years later, it seems more accurate to say the entire globe is imploding, not only the Western world. McLuhan believed there is a big difference between technologies that extended our five senses or muscle power and those that extend our consciousness. Mechanical technologies take up time and space, use up resources and impose on us in physical ways. Instantaneous technologies, like electricity and light, free us from those technological burdens. They change our sense of what's possible, real and/or meaningful.
During the past month, I've been experiencing several indications that the Internet is a passing phase. We are transitioning to the implosion that McLuhan foresaw. Cyberspace seems like training wheels on a bicycle or a cocoon for a forthcoming butterfly. It's a developmental necessity that will fall by the wayside once we are functioning effectively in the emergent global implosion. The Internet gets us comfortable and competent with everything taking "no time" and defying "distance between us in space". Going online gets us out of the vast evidence of being separate meat puppets, living mortal lives in peril of very real dangers. We now have a place to go where we are very connected, pretending to be mortal and gaming each other with apparent threats to our survival.
In the slow, difficult and scary world of physical organisms, things stay the same too long. Nearly everything lacks fluidity, spontaneity and passion. Almost nobody appears to be doing what they feel like doing. Everybody is making themselves do things out of necessity, ego trips or fear.
Online everything is immediate, easy and playful. Things change all the time with great fluidity, spontaneity and passion. Everybody is doing what they feel like doing. Necessity, ego and fear all appear to be bogus contrivances deserving no respect.
Once our global experience has imploded, offline will be as immediate, easy and playful as online is now. We will live physically like we live in cyberspace. Online will seem as unreal to us as offline does to cyber-citizens immersed in interconnectedness today.