People Have Become a Network
This is a strange situation; I can hardly believe it myself – but like any other idea, if you are around it enough, it begins to make sense. Getting used to it is the hard part – and most people, I am sure, will not want to make the effort.
But let me explain my theory anyway. It’s really quite simple. The Wikipedia entry for Network Theory goes on and on about it – more than I want to deal with. I will just assume you have got the basic idea – and go from there. The network I am interested in consists of people and their technologies – which have always organized themselves into combinations (or networks) of humans and non-humans.
This is what the Industrial Revolution consisted of – an explosion of new machines, and people’s infatuation with them. Mainly because they made a few people rich, and because it made everyone live machine-centered lives. It would be no exaggeration to say that machines conquered people and made them their slaves.
People knew this and were uncomfortable with it – but at the same time accepted it as inevitable. This was a huge mistake. What I am trying to do is reverse history – and insist that we examine this problem again.
We have to begin from where we are – with a clear idea of where we are. This is going to be difficult, however, because most people have made the unconscious decision to not know. But I assume there are a few who do want to know – and I am writing for them.
At the present, we exist as a network of people and the things we have made. We are all of them, spread out in time and space.
It takes time to get used to this idea – which has all kinds of ramifications, many of them not pleasant. The most shocking of which is that as people became more extended (to use a phrase from McLuhan) they have turned against the people who are not this way.
Much more work should be done to develop the notion of people as a network, but this change in attitude is so drastic it puts the rest in the shade. We have to deal with that first.