With Mishana Hosseinioun
January 29, 2007
DOT COMMUNISM: The Rise And Fall Of The Cyber
We may be bigger, better, faster than ever. We can run, but
we can't hide from the hi-tech bug that seems to have bitten us
in all the right places. In this technological age of ours, the
Internet has spun us oh so tenderly in that web of hers. It beckons
us with sweet nothings: Answers are just a click away. Love is
right around the hot corner. The pop-up windows of opportunity
are boundless. The world is at your fingertips.
In the face of such delightful, keyboard-smacking possibilities,
we have no compelling reasons to resist temptation. Besides, there
is an unwritten rule that we are not to challenge the laisser-faire
attitude vis-à-vis technological advancement. Especially
with the endless empires that remain to be built around the high-tech
industry and the giga bucks to rake in. In short, we can expect
to be positively hooked on wireless and wired on catchy hooks
for a very long time. There is no escaping the hypnotic mouse-click
trap that we have gotten ourselves into. Then again, what mouse
could ever resist the intoxicating rewards of the Skinner Box,
even knowing full well that its own wiry tail was on the line?
The rise of Technosocialism comes at a very human price. Plugged
into our 'pocketopias' as we are, we might never guess that we
actually live within a bubble that threatens to put the dot-com
bust to shame. Swayed by prepackaged pledges of greater momentum
and freedom, we willingly bury ourselves in more contraptions
than songs we can download onto our mp3 players. Little do we
know that the army of iCandy and other gadgets vowing to satisfy
our Bluetooth is also what promises to give us societal cavities.
The advent of modernity has not only provided us with solutions
to our problems, it has unveiled the problems to our solutions.
Lost is the art of self-reliance. Forgotten is the virtue of delayed
gratification. Gone are the days of genuine thought outside the
box. The creativity and unique flair of our websites and Blogs
can only compensate so much for the widespread loss of our individuality.
The ease with which we trade in our human connections for electronic
ones reveals just how dehumanized we have become. When our relations
are reduced to mere automated, commercial transactions, we gradually
lose the ability to interact with other humans without the mediation
of machinery. Similarly, when we program surrogate instruments
to perform tasks in our place, we unlearn the skills that are
essential to our survival as human beings. If we end up spending
the majority of our lives in cyberspace, who is to say that our
very existence will not one day hang entirely on the presence
of a wireless signal?
Life before technology may have been relatively uncivilized.
Life after technology could just as well be a newly evolved form
Mishana Hosseinioun is the Program Director of International
Convention on Human Rights (ICHR), a non-profit dedicated to drafting
a legally enforceable international human rights document. She
is a longstanding intern in Mayor Gavin Newsom's office in San
Francisco and a recent graduate of Rhetoric and Near Eastern Studies
from the University of California, Berkeley. Email Mishana at