Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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04 April 1996

tzvetan todorov

Martin and Ned and Mike recommended this guy.

Formerly a structuralist, who came around to postmodernism;

more cultural theory. The intro cited his impact on each of the language departments at swat.

two days after mark taylor, I was in scribe mode.

sitting next to Jesse Dancey, she said I made her nervous
from the time he opened his mouth, I didn't stop scribbling.

I took six pages of notes, they won't all hit the net, but these technology gems -
(put on your bulgarian french accents)
what is characteristic of current stage in history of cultures
acceleration in contact between cultures,

observe within industrialized countries,
changing job, resident status as a means to effect social status
and with common media (TV) - same lifestyle everywhere.

between countries, goods ignore frontiers
not human beings so much

but ever more - witness charter flights.

large scale cultural tendency towards homogenization

jesse - scary generalizations
changes our perception of difference
first half of this century,
we could still say we don't know enough how it is

an average adult can no longer be surprised by anything
through travel and TV - exotic places, peoples, cultures.
superficial familiarity deminishes capacity for understanding difference.

technology parenthesis:
forms of preservation influence modes of social life
day when press invented changed manner of perception

so modern day?

there are different opinions on this subject -
the end of civilization
scattering of clips of information
as rapid as they are superficial.
age of direct democracy
universal peace not a utopia

many aspects

nature and place of info
impossible to reduce language to transmission

function of formation

dialogical partners are shaped into what they are
personal identity.

beyond the present exchange,

palimcest, past exchanges, similarly formative.

two functions always present

son, don't cross the street without me
information repeated, mostly useless
but protector context for dad.

the huge quantity of information available on the internet
means we have little energy left for formative exchange.

net formative exchange is close to zero

unless we know partners well,
from preceeding exchanges.

otherwise, correspondence interchangable

producers of information.

these extended networks break solitude of individual in network but more alone in a sea of information
quantity of exchanges leave no time for formation.

very humanity -
nothing can replace hearing/sight/smell of encounter
these play an important role in identity formation,
overcoming solitude.

information saturation allows us to ignore information

human events do not by themselves reveal meaning.
individual gives meaning in interpretation.

the quality of distribution of modeems

not speed, breadth important
human interpretation not computer replaceable.

he can only absorb so much in 8 hours
so sort info heirarchies

pre-computers information sorting was [explicitly] diverse

librarian, friend, family, book, magazine.

now software chooses resources for him

dependent on software designer's choice

We care to live in disorganized efforts of many

as opposed to structure by one.

not intended as dark picture

he can't hide preference for e-mail, word processing
but limitations
not raising formativity.

Not to avoid tech, but estimate the problem, move on.

Jesse Dancy's rendering
rendering Jesse and Ben teased me about asking an Internet question, but I knew - it's gotten to the point where other people ask them instead of me, and I prefer less loaded dialogue afterwards.

Seeing that he hadn't spent much time on the web (his remarks re: software determining information heirarchy), I approached him and explained a bit of my experience relating lifestories online, and didn't that constitute somewhat a formative experience?

I'd already heard body odour argument, together we agreed that net experiences can be formative, even invaluable; there needs to be balance.

net.readings: What is Western Tradition?
The Uncanny

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