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Psyche in Cyberspace
This Blog has moved several times. The Current Psyberspace blog is now here:
Larger view.They Rule is a launchpad for investigating corporate power relationships in the United States. The website allows users to browse through a variety of maps that function as directories to companies such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Microsoft. They Rule depicts the connections between companies through diagrams of their power structures, specifically their boards of directors. (from the Whitney site)
This is Josh On's "They Rule" site currently featured at the Whitney Museum in New York. This site reveals three important things, firstly the corporate power relationships, the power of sociometry, and most of all the power of the net in being able to mediate global networks of this kind.
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gordon.coale weblogI do a live music webcast, called TestingTesting, from my living room. Our next show is June 3
And it is great! Now this is the future of music. Who else is doing this?
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Howard Rheingold's Reboot talk
Howard is being blogged "live" on Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things.Don't think that money is never a motive force, but the Internet, the PC, and the Web weren't motivated by money. There are 0.5MM blogs, but only three of them make any money, the rest are in it for reputation, love, to contribute to the commons.
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The Jung LexiconThe Lexicon is reprinted here with the permission of the author, Daryl Sharp, of Toronto, Ontario. Daryl Sharp is a Jungian Analyst and the publisher of Inner City Books.
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Shakespeare's Royal Self
by James Kirsch, M.D.
The root of all neurosis is the refusal to accept conflict consciously; once an unconscious conflict becomes conscious, it is no longer neurotic and neurotic suffering is replaced by authentic suffering, which brings about the healing of neurosis
This is by Ediger - found it in my old EditThisPage Weblog File (will post that up soon.) I like the quote and did a search for it, but only found my original post. PLUS other nice stuff.
Particularly the item linked here by James Kirsch. The cgjungpage is such a great resource! What struck me most was the quote from Jung. I am relating this to my earlier posts re Hillman and also to the nature of the NET.
The Net is an expression of the collective unconscious - like all great art. That is a BIG idea.Art, by its very nature, is not science, and science is essentially not art, both provinces of the mind, therefore, have a reservation that is peculiar to them, and that can be explained only from themselves. Hence when we speak of the relation between psychology and art, we are treating only of that aspect of art which without encroachment can be submitted to a psychological manner of approach. Whatever psychology is able to determine about art will be confined to the psychological process of artistic activity, and will have nothing whatever to do with the innermost nature of art itself.
What contribution can analytical psychology make to the root problem of artistic 'creation,' that is, the mystery of the creative energy? . . . Inasmuch as 'no created mind can penetrate the inner soul of Nature,' you will surely not expect the impossible from our psychology, namely a valid explanation of that great mystery of life, that we immediately feel in the creative impulse. Like every other science psychology has only a modest contribution to make towards the better and deeper understanding of the phenomena of life, it is no nearer than its sisters to absolute knowledge.
C. G. JUNG
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Ancient Strategies in Contemporary Art by Deni DeBon ©Dominique Mazeaud began a project called "The Great Cleansing of the Rio Grande," in 1987. Once a month, on the same day each month, like clockwork she went to the Rio Grande river, near her home, and removed garbage out of the river. Part of her work involved keeping a diary. Sometimes the diary was documentation of the day's events and other times she wrote "prayers" or poems about her ritual.12 Though Mazeaud is not making a grand ecological impact, her art reaches out through compassion, for one day a month she coexists with the river. Her ritual is personal and usually involves herself, and the people who pass by. Personal rituals work to reclaim one's own identity, which cannot be found in today's industrial culture. There is a longing to obtain an intrinsic sense of identity within the individual. Artists are turning to interactive processes which often seem simple and down to earth, working towards finding a sense of function within the world which also heightens the sense of self. Within the current traditions, there is little understanding of ritual art forms. In Mazeaud's piece, her diary is the only commodity available. The function of the work is the interaction between artist and subject, the ending result is only known to the artist
I am adding this as it follows up on the Suzi Gablik item below. There are some important elements here.RitualThese are the things that move us into the virtual, and that is where the gods are.
Virtual and ritual - connected?
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Three plus top box
Whee! I have just updated the whole of the template for the blog! Simple look - white like it has been for a while but this time with a CSS - Cascading Style Sheet - which I will be able to use for all my three column layouts now.
The link above is to the info I used to learn the layout.
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ZDNet |UK| - News - Story - Linux vendors move to standard platformFour Linux distributors - Caldera, SuSE, Turbolinux and Conectiva - are to back a standard software distribution, as a way of encouraging application development and battling the dominant position of Red HatThis is an exciting development! I have Mandrake on my machine and so I can now read this stuff and at least have some grasp - none of it easy without a background in IT etc. Just downloaded & printed the white paper off the http://www.unitedlinux.com site. The implications of that will be interesting.
The thing is that once the UnitedLinux is there it is still free. Red Hat, anyone can use it. It takes a bit of getting your head around!
Update Monday, 3, June
RMS has called for people not to support it. It is driven by the Ransom Love who is not pro free software. They will not be distributing the binaries on their CDs. Selling the trademark is the business model. What seemed promising now does not.
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Archetypal PsychologyArchetypal Psychology is . . . an innately diverse and complex style of psychological imagination. It can be seen as a broad, cross-cultural movement whose main thrust is to grant "psyche" or "soul" its legitimate place in modern cultural imagination.OK. That fits.
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WritingsThis paper actually reworks some of the ideas in an earlier paper I wrote here called "Cyberspace: Shadow of the Cultural Imagination?" It was inspired by a meeting between my class at Pacifica Graduate Institute and James Hillman.This is the same article linked to below in a different place - perhaps not quite?
PS: Yes the Atomz search engine is GO! See button on the left! This is important for me as I use this weblog as my literature review, bookmarks... home.
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The Cyberwork: The archetypal imagination in new realms of ensoulment. From the C.G. Jung Page: An article by Cliff Bostock. Towards a Jungian Psychology of TechnologyIn some ways, this paper represents the recanting of some of my own positions or at least an effort to situate myself with more clarity in cyberspace. It is also an effort to establish some kind of rapprochement between cyber - thinking and the archetypal imagination. This is important to me because among the archetypal Luddites seems to be James Hillman himself. I have heard him dismiss cyberspace in public talks.Have I already linked to this? I have some of Cliff's stuff linked BUT atomz Search is not working! I'm fixing it. This article is of great interest because it addresses the *exact* field of my interest. And yes - many whose psychology I like miss the psyberside.
The quality of images
The dismissal of cyberspace by so many archetypal psychologists intrigues me because, as I said, the medium is purely imagistic and, according to the Hillmanian view, images are the foundation of psyche. Of course, images have varying character. Images can be degraded in their representation and, certainly, the images in cyberspace vary wildly in that respect. But one does not dismiss all art on the basis of bad painting.
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NY Arts magazine item by Scott WeilandIn Becoming Virtual: Reality in the Digital Age, Levy presents the notion that art virtualizes the virtual. That is, it is possible to become structured by those virtual aspects of the real which in their function bear agency upon us as objects. If it is possible to understand the virtual through media theory, it is the artist in Levy...Somehow the soul has to be mediated. In that way it is like or is information. Art is one way and the NET is another - that may be a starting point for my essay!
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The Nature of Beauty in Contemporary Art
Suzi Gablik has discussions with Thomas Moor and James Hillman.
Here is an excerpt.To relate it back to the themes here, what it we replaced the word Art with Net? I see them as both mediating soul. However for it to be of the sort of art they are advocating here it is not all the net that works this way... have we wiped the gods out of the Net?
Suzi: In our culture, the notion of art being in service to anything
is anathema. Aesthetics doesnít serve anything but itself and its own ends.
I would like that to change. When Hilton Kramer says that the minute you
try to make art serve anything, youíre in a fascistic modeówell, I donít
Hillman: Iíd like to defend the cleaning of the river, for a
moment. Iím going back to what you said a little earlier: itís the attempt
to put art in the service of something.
Suzi: Yes, thatís where the issue is.
Hillman: Art in the service of something. If we say that itís
life, and if we think, for instance, of the Balinese village where everything
is made to be functional and useful, for celebrations or ceremonies...
youíre still in service to the gods, somehow. Now we donít have thatóweíve
wiped the gods out... So the god that art now serves is the god that dominates
the culture, which is the god of commodity, of money. So it is in service,
itís in service to gods we donít approve of... Now suppose the question
doesnít become what art should do, but rather how do we find that which
art should serve? Art is already in service, so we could perhaps change
that to which it is in service?
Suzi: So the question is what could art better serve than the
things it has been serving, like bourgeois capitalism, throughout our lifetimes?
Hillman: Right! And I think the artist in the river is serving
a different god.
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Web LinksA Virtual Place is No Place At All - Hermes, the wing-footed Greek god of swift communication, has evolved into the messenger of the internet, intoxicating users but playing games with western civilization, author and psychologist James Hillman told a crowd of 350 at Ure Lecture Hall last night.The link in the paragraph above does not work. Has ayone got a copy of this somewhere?
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More on the same theme.
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Staring Into The Singularity
by Eliezer S. YudkowskyThe short version:Ok, so that is what it's about. There is an old idea that the soul is infinite. Things can go at any damn rate they like the soul will match it. In fact these perhaps dubious scientific notions have more power as a metaphorical expression of our psyche than they do as actual events in the world. Hence we have Carl Jung writing about UFOs. If they did not exist we'd have to invent them! Singularity is like that too. Or is it?
If computing power doubles every two years,
what happens when computers are doing the research?
Computing power doubles every two years.
Computing power doubles every two years of work.
Computing power doubles every two subjective years of work.
Two years after computers reach human equivalence, their power doubles again. One year later, their speed doubles again.
Six months - three months - 1.5 months ... Singularity.
It's expected in 2035. (Oops, make that 2025.)
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I came across the idea in Vernon Vinge's True Names: And the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier Here is a list of links. This concept seems worthy of pursuit.
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2.03: The Economy of Ideas
Last line from the JPB item linked before:And finally, in the years to come, most human exchange will be virtual rather than physical, consisting not of stuff but the stuff of which dreams are made. Our future business will be conducted in a world made more of verbs than nouns.Stuff that dreams are made of... there is the clue... to psyberspace.
BUT... Information is as much a real product as material goods - it arises not only out of dreams but hard work. I think it un-psychological to not see the real thing and then to see into it imaginatively. It is particularly skewed to selectively imagine.
That is central to my whole way of doing therapy. It goes back to the "seduction theory". Must dig up an article I wrote on that. To put it simply: just because it really happened does not mean we should neglect our dreams.
One thing I loved about this article is the opening quote from Jefferson. JPB certainly found the right bit to quote.
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The Economy of Ideas
WiReD 2.03 article: A framework for patents and copyrights in the Digital Age. (Everything you know about intellectual property is wrong.)
By John Perry BarlowThroughout the time I've been groping around cyberspace, an immense, unsolved conundrum has remained at the root of nearly every legal, ethical, governmental, and social vexation to be found in the Virtual World. I refer to the problem of digitized property. The enigma is this: If our property can be infinitely reproduced and instantaneously distributed all over the planet without cost, without our knowledge, without its even leaving our possession, how can we protect it? How are we going to get paid for the work we do with our minds? And, if we can't get paid, what will assure the continued creation and distribution of such work?"So begins this classic from Wired 2.03 March 1994. He had insights then we still grapple with now:
The other existing, model, of course, is service. The entire professional class - doctors, lawyers, consultants, architects, and so on - are already being paid directly for their intellectual property. Who needs copyright when you're on a retainer?
In fact, until the late 18th century this model was applied to much of what is now copyrighted. Before the industrialization of creation, writers, composers, artists, and the like produced their products in the private service of patrons. Without objects to distribute in a mass market, creative people will return to a condition somewhat like this, except that they will serve many patrons, rather than one.
He was speaking about this early in the digital story... where has this discussion gone since then... Some of that is on this blog in earlier items - I will keep surfing...
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Free Software and the Psyche
What are all these posts on open source and free software doing on my weblog? What is the link with psyche?
Well there is a link with my psyche, in that I gravitate to the of edge. Free software is on the edge of some sort of cultural social advance. It may peter out like the "counterculture" or it may actually be a continuation of something of that spirit.
More directly there is a psychological side: identity in a virtual realm relates to ownership. In the early says of the well there was the phase You Own Your Own Words. The theme has a powerful presence on the Net, relates right back to notion of "free speech" with its elevated, sacred, archetypal complexities.
I'm not all that clear, I know. I just have a sense that probing the noosphere here involves fully grasping the free software phenomena, with its associated stories of cathedrals and bazaars etc. Anyway, I run Linux for that reason, to travel into the different realms of the cyber-world. I think of it as a journey into the psyche!
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Open Source Software: A History
David BretthauerA useful history - with a valuable conclusion which I have quoted above. Another item from the Information Technology and Libraries site. This link is to a special issue of the magazine: Volume 21, Number 1, March 2002 - SPECIAL ISSUE: Open Source Software - JEREMY FRUMKIN, Guest Editor.
The Open Source Definition allows greater liberties with licensing than the GPL does. In particular, the Open Source Definition allows greater promiscuity when mixing proprietary and open-source software."38 This is Richard Stallman's objection to OSS - that it allows the inclusion of proprietary software and ignores the philosophical issue of software freedom. Without these freedoms, there is no philosophical imperative to improve one's community. Nevertheless, "[w]e disagree on the basic principles, but agree more or less on the practical recommendations. So we can and do work together on many specific projects. We don't think of the Open Source movement as the enemy.39
This is a point reiterated by many who are active in various competing open source and free software packages. While this article has focused on a number of differences between operating systems, approaches to collaboration, and the evolution of various license agreements, this focus is at the micro level. At the macro level, nearly everyone mentioned in this article would prefer a competing open source or free package to a proprietary software package. In the future those who have blazed new trails will continue to argue the finer distinctions between their respective works. However, the various groups involved are willing to work with and support one another's right to choose a different approach to solving a problem. And it is clear these individuals look forward to another generation building upon the successes of the past thirty years.
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Karen Coyle's Home Page
The author of the article linked in the previous item - great stuff! Karen has a powerful message - well put. Heaps of references here about copyright, libraries, the net and Why Librarians Should Rule the Net.
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Open Source, Open Standards
An item by Karen Coyle
Information Technology and Libraries vol.21, no.1When people speak of open source software they are referring to computer code - programs that run. But code is only the final step in the information technology process. Prior to writing code the information technology professional must do analysis to determine the nature of the problem to be solved and the best way to solve it. When software projects fail, the failure is more often than not attributable to shortcomings in the planning and analysis phase rather than in the coding itself. Open source software provides some particular challenges for planning since the code itself will be worked on by different programmers and will evolve over time. The success of an open source project will clearly depend on the clarity of the shared vision of the goals of the software and some strong definitions of basic functions and how they will work. This all-important work of defining often takes place through standards and the development of standards that everyone can use has become a movement in itself: open standards.
A great overview of the whole business of standards. What a great complex human endeavour this is.
In the blog right now I am entertaining the idea that free software is significant in a political sense; people taking ownership of the product of their labour and making it socially available.
As I read this article the idea of "use value" came to mind. Use value was the term used by Marx for things that we need and are valuable but not commodities. Air, the work we do around the house. It seems that these open free products create huge use value, but to be useful they need to be of little commodity value. The reason is that the products become more useful through use. The reward for creating such value needs to also come from social sources.
I saw an item by Richard Stallman where he compared creating non-free software to polluting the air.
It is shocking that the use of things naturally free can be prevented for profit.
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Cyber-Marx: Cycles and Circuits of Struggle in High Technology CapitalismCyber-Marx: Cycles and Circuits of Struggle in High Technology Capitalism (1999) provides an analysis of information-age capitalism and the movements currently dissolving it. The text version is available from University of Illinois Press, and can be purchased from the UWO Bookstore or on-line book stores.
The book is online, each chapter in one pdf file. The opening is intriguing. Nick Dyer-Witheford (the author) refers to the sf book The Difference Engine by Gibson and Stirling. Babbage's mechanical computer in this alternate history works - and is steam driven. Here is a quote from Chapter 1:For in the world of The Difference Engine, Karl Marx is
alive and well. His employment by the New York Daily Tribune (for whom the actual
Marx worked during the 1850s as a foreign correspondent in the biggest `information
industry' of his day) has clearly resulted in migration to the United States--a visit yielding momentous consequence. For, in a North America wracked by regional separatism and
civil war, revolutionaries have seized the "means of information and production" of the
largest city of the New World.2 And the Manhattan Communards now provide a nucleus for
an international ferment of dissidence which, combining re-emerged Luddites, renegade
clackers, anarcho-feminists, Blakean-situationist artists and immiserated proletarians,
boils beneath the surface of the bourgeois universe, waiting for the next calamity to burst
In what follows, I propose a Marxism for the Marx of The Difference Engine. That
is to say, I analyse how the information age, far from transcending the historic conflict
between capital and its labouring subjects, constitutes the latest battleground in their
encounter; how the new high technologies--computers, telecommunications, and genetic
engineering--are shaped and deployed as instruments of an unprecedented, world wide
order of general commodification; and how, paradoxically, arising out of this process
appear forces which could produce a different future based on the common sharing of
wealth--a twenty-first century communism.
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The Political Economy of Free Software
A link to my own writing:
If my proposition about this fundamental nature of the Free Software Movement has merit it certainly puts the struggle around its survival against the commercial and legal opposition into a context with very high stakes.
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Copyleft vs. Copyright: A Marxist critique
"Copyright was invented by and for early capitalism, and its importance to that system has grown ever since. To oppose copyright is to oppose capitalism. Thus, Marxism is a natural starting point when challenging copyright. Marx's concept of a 'general intellect', suggesting that at some point a collective learning process will surpass physical labour as a productive force, offers a promising backdrop to understand the accomplishments of the free software community. Furthermore, the chief concerns of hacker philosophy, creativity and technological empowerment, closely correspond to key Marxist concepts of alienation, the division of labour, deskilling, and commodification. At the end of my inquiry, I will suggest that the development of free software provides an early model of the contradictions inherent to information capitalism, and that free software development has a wider relevance to all future production of information."
Now that is along the same lines as the thing I wrote after the discussions with Josh - will link to ot in the next item. It all sounds plausible to me, but nothing is a sure thing.
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Conversation with Manuel Castells, p. 5 of 6
Castells is famous for the thesis that this *is* an Information Society.
A sample quote:
"Absolutely. You see, and it goes both ways. On the other hand, as much as I think the Internet's an extraordinary instrument for creation, free communication, etc., you can use the Internet to exclude, because you can exclude in terms of the access to the network, the digital divide. But you can also exclude in terms of the culture and education and ability to process all this information that has happened on the net, and then use it for what you want to do, because you don't have the education, the training, the culture to do it, while the elites of the world do."
Hmm... books require an even more elitist culture?
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