Tuesday, January 31, 2006


December 1999. Robert Taylor, Interweb impresario, predicts in the New York Times that we'll one day be wearing 'an unobtrusive device that will record in full color and sound everything that you see or point your head at, or, depending on how many of them you have, everything that's around you. And share it. Every waking and sleeping moment in your life will be recorded. And you will be able to store and retrieve it and do what you will with it'.

Geoffrey Hartman, in the course of a lecture of 2000 called 'Life and Learning', responds:

'It would seem to me that we already have world enough, though not time enough, and that passage from 'you will be able to store and retrieve it' to 'and do what you will with it' is far more questionable than that easy, consequential 'and' suggets. Taylor elides the moral problem of the use to which knowledge will be put, especially in an age of information technology. For what is lacking and difficult to increase is studium, the capacity to think and interpret, which discovers the curvature of space or of expression, and accepts that, if 'all's oblique,' we can never coincide entirely with ourselves, or a presumed identity.'

No comments: