Blogging, Nhilism and the Post Post Post Modern World

If you click on one link today – make it this one. Geert Lovink writes on “Blogging, the nihilist impulse“.

There is a quest for truth in blogging. But it is a truth with a question mark. Truth has become an amateur project, not an absolute value, sanctioned by higher authorities. In lieu of a common definition, we could say that cynicism is the unpleasant way of performing the truth. … The question is therefore: how much truth can a medium bear? Knowledge is sorrow, and the “knowledge society” propagators have not yet taken this into account.

… Blogs express personal fear, insecurity, and disillusionment, anxieties looking for partners in crime. We seldom find passion (except for the act of blogging itself). Often blogs unveil doubt and insecurity about what to feel, what to think, believe, and like. They carefully compare magazines, and review traffic signs, nightclubs, and t-shirts. This stylized uncertainty circles around the general assumption that blogs ought to be biographical while simultaneously reporting about the world outside. Their emotional scope is much wider than other media due to the informal atmosphere of blogs. Mixing public and private is essential here. What blogs play with is the emotional register, varying from hate to boredom, passionate engagement, sexual outrage, and back to everyday boredom.

Blogging is neither a project nor a proposal but a condition whose existence one must recognize. “We blog,” as Kline and Bernstein say. It’s today’s a priori. Australian cultural theorist Justin Clemens explains: “Nihilism is not just another epoch amongst a succession of others: it is the finally accomplished form of a disaster that happened a long time ago.” To translate this into new-media terms: blogs are witnessing and documenting the diminishing power of mainstream media, but they have consciously not replaced its ideology with an alternative. Users are tired of top-down communication – and yet have nowhere else to go. “There is no other world” could be read as a response to the anti-globalization slogan, “Another world is possible”.

2 Comments

Filed under Social Software, Technology and Internet

2 Responses to Blogging, Nhilism and the Post Post Post Modern World

  1. km

    Blogging = Fall of Man? WTF, Jon Katz is back? (I am not kidding. Lovink even says things like the “‘Net lost something after 2000″. )

    we could say that blogs are a gift to humankind that no one needs. This is the true shock. Did anyone order the development of blogs?

    No one ordered the development of the Wheel or the discovery of Fire, but there it is. Why is it such a shock?

  2. wild cat

    geert lovink would want me to cite my response…but hey, he can’t do anything can he? :-D
    … he basically sounds like one of those people annoyed with blogging and has decided to let loose. What is strange is that he begins by saying blogs are too various and different to be categorized and then proceeds to attack them, as if they can be lumped into one category.

    the one time i saw a presentation by him, i was kind of let down. he’s a biggish name in new media and art circles (which in itself says something .. very little new media especially from europe is actually interesting), so i was actually waiting for some insight. but it was basically either a rant disguised as philosophy (like this!! even bloggers don’t rant like this and atleast as he says they do it within 250 words) or it was extremely white man looking for brown/asian artists that he can play some kind of guiding light to. all extremely presumptuous …

    though the rant is doing good things for him. his book dark fibre is mostly interviews and impressions. so he gets academic rigour because everyone else is blogging.. good for him! … :-P