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    | |      c   o   m   m   u   n   i   c   a   t   i   o   n   s     | |
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          ...presents... 
                            The Screen Generation
                                                         by elliot.pank

           __//////\   -cDc- CULT OF THE DEAD COW -cDc-   /\\\\\\__
                    __      Grand Imperial Dynasty      __
 Est. 1984   \\\\\\/ cDc paramedia: texXxt 412-08/29/2008 \//////   Est. 1984

  ___    _   _    ___     _   _    ___       _   _      ___    _   _      __
 |___heal_the_sick___raise_the_dead___cleanse_the_lepers___cast_out_demons__|
      

     I was born around 1984.  I want to tell you about the screen generation,
the generation that was young in the year 2000.  Our problem is not only that
someone might be staring at us through a screen, like in the Orwell's vision
of a dystopian society at the time I was born, but that we stare at screens
all the time to see ourselves.

     In the book _Doors of Perception_, Huxley evaluates what happens to the
human brain when it is undersupplied with sugar.  He then uses mescaline to
support the effect.  I think I have experienced similar perceptions without
drugs, on the computer; watching images and videos, reading e-books and texts,
having chats, not eating or drinking enough, being isolated from the real
world.  I could compare drugs -- a medium of perception of the world -- and
the Internet -- a medium of perception of society.  The peak of these
experiences was a few years back, when I had had an Internet connection for
a long time already and knew my way around the web.  Today, many years later,
I am writing this in almost the same state of mind - suddenly, the telephone
rings and drags me back to reality from dreamland.  I raise myself from the
chair and stagger down the hallway to the phone.  Before I raise the receiver,
I try to remember if I forgot something important, concerning this -- the
other -- world.  I don't know, just like I didn't in those days.  I can't
define my current state of mind; I have been reading, connecting, and
absorbing content.  Lost, windows with text and images scattered across the
screen, fragments.  Time loses its importance.

     I am part of the Internet generation.  I tend to call us the "screen 
generation," because that is what we are; we are constantly looking at screens
to find ourselves.  Since I was six years old, I have been using a computer.
I got my first online flatrate after elementary school.  During my time at
school, I had the same ritual everyday:  come home, throwe my bag in the
corner, switch on the computer, and immediately establish a connection to the 
Internet.  Even in my early online days, I received much of my knowledge  
online.  School was such a boring place.  Basically, I could only motivate
myself to do enough to receive some good grades; after that, I forgot many of
the "facts" quickly.  Everything was so empty of emotions; teachers and
classmates meant so little to me.  Everybody was drinking the Kool-Aid and
engaged in keeping what they considered their social-lives running:  Monday
to Friday, telling cant about their lives and "adventures" on the previous
weekend and waiting and hoping for the next one.  Most of them weren't
interested in their surroundings, nor did they have any interest in art or
culture, nor any real interest in each other.  I hated so many of them and
loved so few.  My evenings were spent with other freaks at punk concerts; what
little free time I had was spent elsewhere with real friends, feeling alive.
I felt confronted with the notions of the norm and career throughout my youth.
Work to be able to buy, learn to be allowed to work.  Everything seemed so
wrong, so far from my real needs.

     Very early in my online experience, I spent a lot of time in online
communities, open forums where people shared videos, images, artwork, jokes,
and texts and discussed them.  I also spent time in closed communities where
people sharing the same interests would connect to exchange knowledge or stay
in contact.  I met many of these people in real life, spent holidays with
them, had parties with them, had sex with them.  I knew some people from the
Internet better than those who sat next to me in school.  Online, you could
get invitations to art shows, streetart events, underground concerts; I
experienced the web as a powerful tool of organizing life and at the same time
as a toy for organized waste of time.  Luckily, there wasn't only trash and
dirt online; worthwhile material was there, but one had to know how to search
it out.  The experience of being able to access so much human culture for free
had a great impact on me.  This process ignored the rules and regementations
of private property, and I saw it all first hand.  Books could be spread
online, every song and album was there; later whole movies and complete
discographies were available for the taking.  To a growing extent, the online
culture influenced the offline culture; bands released their music online and
songs containing samples hit the top of the charts.

     I have always been addicted to this digital world.  To me, it's not cold
and dead here; it's colourful and filled with content and communication and
free stuff.  It's my interface to the endless human cultural production.  Now
I know how easy it is to get lost in front of an interface.  I think I know
now how to balance it.  I go outside and play, I sit at night at the ocean and
listen to the waves, see the stars, feel the warmth of a campfire, climb on
the roofs of my city, and let the wind stream past my nose.  But when I return
from long or short trips, alone or with others, the world is still the same,
society is still the same.  Our needs are administered by a production that is
guided by profit maximization.  Most of the people don't take part in this
profit; they are used to generate it.  Eight hours and more a day, then the
tube home and then the telly for recreation.  The whole circus of advertising,
newspapers, and television shows tries to show us some meaning in all this and
lets everything seem normal and natural.  "Free time" is getting sweeter:
everybody is invited to lean back and enjoy passivity and consume prepared
ideas and products.  Consume, work, consume, work, consume.

     Some see similarities between the Internet and the TV.  Both seem to be 
oversaturated with poor entertainment and irrelevant information.  I don't
know if I find this comparison quite accurate, though.  I grew up without a
TV, so maybe I don't have enough experience to judge this, but I see certain
differences.  One is the possibility of influence and interaction.  On the TV,
the industry is showing its view on the world.  The existing system is
presented and justified.  Why does everything seem so natural?  The
commodities, the work, the poverty, and the wealth?  Because the roots are
never explained.  It seems that on the web, critique is more present and you
find analyses for the different aspects of society (though with the critiques,
as with the content itself, one has to separate the wheat from the chaff).
You can get lost in the web, just like in front of the TV.  In the past, I
spent whole weekends in chat channels and had exactly those conversations that
appeared so strange and meaningless to me back in school.  I watched with
excitement and played more and more realistic computer games; I enjoyed the
cheap entertainment.  But thankfully I got over that.

     I would like to point out the similarities between the online world and
literary culture.  Books have been around for a very long time.  They have
always been a way to spread ideas and to formulate critiques, alternatives,
and theories.  They are the documentation of human thought.  The web is the
new way to make text available to others.  I learned about many important
texts there.  Since everyone can publish online, you are staring at a giant
mound of dirt when you start.  But as I have been reading for essentially my
whole life, I learned to comprehend big texts very fast and to search for the
ideas.  I had a hunger for culture.  The puzzle pieces came together; my pain
and incomprehension about the mechanisms of the world and why everything was
so administered and unfree.  Online, you find people who share your concerns
and you build networks.  There are so many connections and you can receive
feedback to your own art and share thoughts on art and philosophy.  There are
collaborative texts and artwork.  This has an impact on the content-consumer's
thinking also, this feeling of working together with many people on a
completely different level than that of the normal world:  in a free, equal,
progressive, uncommercial way.  When I look back to the traces I have left on
the web, it's like a long-term diary of moments and feelings.  I like to
stroll around the endless archives of the web and to view the contributions of
all the people I have met.

     In some ways, there has been no change at all in my web consumption, even
though the texts I obtain have become more and more advanced.  Often, the
online ramblings of others result in unstructured reading, overloading me with
text.  The really thought-provoking stuff and good arguments I still get from
printed works.  And hey -- life is about more than reading and learning.  In
fact, the whole meaning of culture and critique is to transport the idea of
how a good life could be lived, to find ways of expressing oneself and to feel
every moment as joy and life and not as survival.  The separation of life in
the real world and the relocation of the communication and the arrangement of
this life to the virtual world is a separation that causes new damage.  It
lets everyone spend more parts of their lives using the media, and gets
everyone used to a distance between them and other people.  The results are
pretty much like the experience of only talking on the phone and not having
direct conversations; a big emotional part of communication gets lost.  This
process is growing as I write; more and more people use the web as a tool for
meeting, presenting themselves and for administration of their life.  In most
cases, the line of communication loses itself online and no offline culture
and communication comes from that.  The online and the offline societies
continue to exist in parallel and this relationship continues to have the
effect of separation, bureaucratization, and lack of emotion.

     Basically the web is only a medium of human communication, so it contains
all the negative sides and contradictions of human society.  But it can
establish a free space for the spread of critiques against the ruling
establishment, critiques of reality.  A space full of knowledge and
inspiration.  I am writing this as a small contribution to this pool; perhaps
someone will be awakened by it from seemingly endless hours online, or maybe
someone will find himself described herein.  These are the words of a young
person that has had access to the Internet for more than half of his life.
Writing it felt necessary, and now seemed to be the right moment to record
these thoughts and reflections.

     The phone rings again.  It's someone I love; we'll meet for dinner.  A
good plan.

         ___________    BLATTA---NON     EST---VACCA     ___________
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|\        ||_3 4_||        /|NON     cDc     NON|\        ||_3 4_||        /|
| -------._((___))_.------- |EST      |      EST| -------._((___))_.------- |
|\/)(\/\   [ x x ]   /\/)(\/|   \     |     /   |\/)(\/\   [ x x ]   /\/)(\/|
|(YHVH) >A  \   /  O< (AHIH)|    \   EST   /    |(YHVH) >A  \   /  O< (AHIH)|
|/\)(/\/  _ (' ') _  \/\)(/\|     \   |   /     |/\)(/\/  _ (' ') _  \/\)(/\|
| -------' ) (U) ( '------- |      \  |  /      | -------' ) (U) ( '------- |
|/        ||  .  ||        \|    DAEMONSEMEN    |/        ||  .  ||        \|
          || / \ ||                ELIGERE                || / \ ||
     V    ||/\X/\||    E                             V    ||/\X/\||    E
          |A D N I|          the original e-zine          |A D N I|
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