A terrific interview with media scholar Belinda Barnet. It covers a lot of ground, from the impact of mobile phones on our attention, to the difficulty for universities to catch up to technology (they had 500 years to deal with books– now what?).
Since the beginning of time, physicists tell us, the entropy of the universe has been increasing. Matter has a tendency to disintegrate, to lose energy and form over time, to move towards disorder and chaos. As I see it personally, life is about the preservation of form in this flux. One way it does this is through that most primary form of writing – DNA. On another level, we preserve things as a species in artefacts, in language and in culture; in technics. Human beings have always felt compelled to capture fragments of their lives, to store and transmit memories; we have inscribed ourselves in books and on cave walls, in folk songs and on New York subway benches. I think it is one of the most primary reflexes of human life – preserving memories. Technics as a form of memory is also something Stiegler explores in his book, Technics and Time. I think I should stop there, or I’ll rabbit on forever! If you want to read more about human evolution and technology, Niles Eldredge and other interesting bits, see my essay in CTHEORY.