In which I ask: why does my imagination have a map fetish?
..technological change not only transforms the texture of everyday life, it also alters the architecture and furniture of our mental spaces.. technologies of communication shape how we come to understand both the world and the self. They shape our perception, they supply root metaphors and symbols, they alter the way we experience our senses, they generate social hierarchies of value, and they structure how we remember..
Pretty standard tech critique phenomenology.. nothing standard about the implications though. Aside from historical implications, like technology probably being the most potent casual factor of modernity, each of us should (I think) be ever vigilant for how this cashes out in our own internal lives. Treating yourself like a computer is probably the most prevalent form. But while Postman,
would forbid anyone from talking about the new information technologies unless the person can demonstrate that he or she knows something about the social and psychic effects of the alphabet, the mechanical clock, the printing press, and television (to which we must now add the internet, the newsfeed, the smartphone camera etc.)
I think the same caveat might now be said about a basic self understanding, “Know Thyself” is more and more shaping up to practically meaning “Know the Technological History of Modernity‘, which is to say “Know the technologies which created the self you are and how you are being continually accelerated toward another yet-undefined and perhaps deleterious version of that self”.
Anyway, enough theory. But it’s context for my being struck recently by how dominated my internal “mental spaces” seem to be by the satellite-eye view. This shows up strongest with future-projection, especially w/r/t the search for meaningful community: would a life in that city doing that activity be fulfilling? could a life rooted here in this region be fulfilling? should I try to study in that foreign city? But with all these ponderings my mind was representing them in spacial, and explicitly cartographic, image reels—my imagination was completely in thrall to them.