6.0578 Electric Gaia? (1/43)

Fri, 12 Mar 1993 14:59:02 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0578. Friday, 12 Mar 1993.

Date: Tue, 02 Mar 93 23:05:02 EST
Subject: Electric Gaia

I am trying to develop an idea that occurred to me over a year ago
while in some god-forsaken hotel in Kansas City, and thought HUMANIST
to be a good place to start. I want to write about the implications
of the gradual convergence of two separate systems and conceptual
worlds. These "systems" are Gaia, as understood in popular terms as
a self-regulating biosphere (and, by extension, universe); and the
Net (or Matrix), the emerging global "virtual community" of computer
networks, from BBSs to Free-Nets, to the Internet itself. As these
conceptual worlds gain ground and combine in the popular imagination,
will we witness the emergence of what I have named "Electric Gaia"
- the technologically-facilitated growth of a new form of global
consciousness or self/group identity that could be said, in a
metaphorical sense, to give consciousness to Gaia itself?

Given this "research question" I will probably explore the
implications of an emergent Electric Gaia on issues surrounding self
and group identity, the impact of "virtual community" upon one's
relationship with the physical self and other bodies. Further
threads of inquiry would look at the possibility of an existential
schizophrenia, unique to the individual who participates in Electric
Gaia, that might arise in light of two radically different
experiences of time/space and the "other".

I am sure that these ideas have been expressed in some manner
elsewhere, and am trying to compile a reading list that would help
be become more familiar with the implications of "virtual community"
(as far as computer mediated communication is concerned) for
self/group identity, and any discussion of the emerging Net/Matrix
with the Gaia hypothesis in mind. If you have any suggestions, please
contact me directly at the address below.

Thank you kindly,

Michael Strangelove, Publisher
The Internet/NREN Business Journal

BITNET: 441495@Uottawa
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