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With Mishana Hosseinioun

Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

January 29, 2007


DOT COMMUNISM: The Rise And Fall Of The Cyber Curtain

By Mishana Hosseinioun

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 of barbarism.

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 Mishana@ichr.org




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