Uranus, Eris, and the Riddle of the Internet | Weekly | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

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Uranus, Eris, and the Riddle of the Internet

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Last Updated: 07/07/2016 9:08 am
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Part of that distortion involves the power of new media to extend our senses and awareness to the point of hypersensitivity; and then this is so overwhelming that the result is to numb out, to cut off, to retreat and to ignore. Further, the sensation that everything is happening everywhere, all at once (and the resulting overwhelm, leading to even more cutting off of awareness), is purely the creation of electric media.

Remember that new technological developments are never assessed in advance. Eric's father, Marshall McLuhan, proposed that the people who push these devices and communications systems on us no more care what they are doing to us than a fighter pilot cares about the people and things he bombs. Apple does not care about the actual impact of the iPhone; it cares about making money selling as many iPhones as possible, no matter what they do to society or to people. Bombs away!

Which leads us to today. The first Uranus-Eris conjunction in Aries 90 years ago marked the beginning of a society driven by electric media, which has now come to full fruition today. The early Internet accelerated all of these processes begun by electric media in the 1920s. Yet it was the advent of the pocket computer—the "smart" phone—that swallowed us.

The Internet used to be something that you went to; that you would have to consciously enter. Now it's something that follows us everywhere. Nearly every financial transaction except putting a quarter in a gumball machine is tracked via the Internet. Every relationship is conducted via the Internet, many exclusively so. Most shopping and purchasing happens using the internet. Most information is conveyed via the Internet. Music, news, art—Internet, Internet, Internet.

We project ourselves into various profiles and identities that have a way of fracturing and fragmenting what was already a fragile sense of self and of existence. This has nothing to do with the content that's being broadcast; it's about the structure.

No tweet has ever changed your life or changed the world. But the idea that one could say something meaningful and relevant in 140 characters has had an effect on all of thought. That's the latest thing—say it in 140 characters, whatever it is: Review a play, comment on global politics, run for president, break up with your lover—one size fits all. Further, Twitter, in particular, is the very dynamo of lack of context.

This loss of context ends up as a feeling: of meaninglessness.

We can reclaim this. There is time, and there is potential. The Uranus-Eris conjunction of 2016 and 2017 also can be read as a personal revolution, a reclaiming of personhood, of awareness, of identity—rather than of branding and tribal affiliation. Ah, but that will take what feels like work, what feels like entering the supposedly daring space of actually asking who you are and what you want.

Go ahead. It's dangerous, but it's worth it.

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