The Ecstasy Of Communication

[T]oday we have entered into a new form of schizophrenia—with the emergence of an immanent promiscuity and the perpetual interconnection of all information and communication networks. No more hysteria, or projective paranoia as such, but a state of terror which is characteristic of the schizophrenic, an over-proximity of all things, a foul promiscuity of all things which beleaguer and penetrate him, meeting with no resistance, and no halo, no aura, not even the aura of his own body protects him. (Jean Baudrillard, The Ecstasy of Communication, 1987, p. 30)

There’s a lot going on in this passage. To dissect its meaning would murder the poetry. I know only that I enjoy it, that my returning to it says something about my relationship with “an immanent promiscuity and the perpetual interconnection of all information and communication networks.”

I’ve written many times about people’s fascination with cell phones. I fancy myself a part-time cultural critic pointing out the pitfalls of exchanging what makes us human for the allure of the newest all-mighty gadget, the “Next Big Thing,” as one company likes to advertise.

But last week I bought a smartphone. Simply put: I like it. For too long I muddled through life without a reliable 4G LTE network, an unlimited data plan, or a strong enough signal to text from my basement.

There’s no disconnect here. Now I can Google the nearest independent bookstore, call them up and ask for the obscure French philosophy department. All the way from my basement.

 

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