Islands in the Net
Nothing that surrounds us is object, all is subject.” ― André Breton
We were always told that nuclear war would be the end of the world.
Yet, after the cease-fire, we persisted. Nuclear winter, then, would no doubt be humankind’s demise. And then, the nuclear summers. And then, it would be the famines. Another year, another crisis; each pushing the last of us closer and closer to the edge.
Perhaps we couldn’t do ourselves in; humankind proved too cowardly to finish the job it started. The burden of erasing the species fell to mother nature. Her wrathful retribution for our sins was swift and without mercy. First, the great storms, then the droughts and floods, followed by the plagues and famines.
Only then did it all really go to shit. Anyone unlucky enough to survive the reckoning was left to pick up the pieces. The so-called “grand slam”. Governments fell. Farmlands withered and burned. Economies collapsed. Inflation forced us into poverty, and poverty forced us into war without end. The world needed a savior: a knight in gleaming white armor to save us from ourselves.
The savior was with us all along. Capitalism, the indomitable spirit of human will made manifest, would ride in and save us from despair. In the the wake of the fallen world superpowers rose new mega-powers. Megacorporations, Megabytes, Megacities. Megaghettos. Mega-networks. The world got mega-sized by business. We weren’t deserving of their kindness and charity, and they knew it. And just like that, we handed them the keys to the castle.
As we left the 20th century in ruins behind us, we blurred the lines between man and machine. At first: baby steps, followed by leaps and bounds. Humankind turned on, tuned in, dropped out and jacked in. The taboos of the old world behind us, we chopped, spliced and hacked. Genetic Modification. Cybernetic augmentation. Bionic implants. Cyberspace. But the machines are no more miraculous than life itself. Life is cheap on the Edge. We’ve endured apocalypse after apocalypse. But, we’re all still here; the disease that calls itself humanity lives on.
Our world is a world divided; neither by boundaries nor ideas. Divided instead by reality itself. Cyberspace and Realspace. Which is the dream, and which is the waking life?