The Collective Body

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In the post reality, everyone belongs to everyone else.

We are all melting into one another. In the collective system of the Network, we are becoming one body. In the intricate weaving of our virtual relationships, we are becoming, as Ted Nelson said so many years ago: “deeply intertwingled.” And in the complex, labyrinthine associations we devise in our hyper-connected world, we are inexorably bound to one another as a co-mingled, interpenetrated organism: singularly tied together where we were once multi and individual.

This sense of longing and belonging to the social web is our current state of evolving, for better or for worse. If you think you can cling to the last vestiges of your privacy, beware, the next generation of digital natives has already gladly, even ecstatically, given it up to the new order of being. They are casting away the boundaries, like so much old skin, embracing the telematic embrace with a sense of purpose and urgency. They find themselves liberated in the shedding of anachronistic habits and old, tired modes of thinking. They are the future and they have already kissed their privacy goodbye.

For the digital natives, the Network has become the new playground. Where we once embraced forms of physical and competitive interaction, the speed and velocity of communication has become the new sport. Where we had once found radical community in the outskirts of structured, academic place and activity, the third space is the new getaway: not only freedom from authority, but freedom from the laws of the physical world. When once upon a time we pursued high vistas (both geographically and metaphorically) as perspective from which to smoke to our dreams and aspirations, the digital natives are operating an intricate patchbay of information, triggering fragments of data and conversation every which way as missives in the dark.

It’s a Brave New World out there at the edges of the third space. Because, in a sense, it’s all edge without borders, no center, no periphery, just unlimited space and time to experiment and redefine ourselves: collectively, as one body.