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The habits of reading and the (net) habits of being on-line (2)

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The reactions in front of the "cold" monitor of a computer connected to Internet (the Internet being actually our topic of interest) are multiple and diverse. Everybody finds himself free in front of a powerful browser (as, for instance:, but this freedom might completely annihilate him. In my opinion, the Internet is offering the supreme paradox of communication as no one could have ever been offered, at the same time, everything and nothing…just like the information could have never been depending so much on the reader’s power to discern, on his ability and intelligence.

From the digital version of the manuscripts from the Dead Sea to the MTV news, the choice is entirely yours, unless you are part of the stupid category of people who spend hours to end downloading hundreds of X files or accessing the sites of the day. These examples can perfectly illustrate the laziness of thinking of certain people and their killing commodity. As regards the new possibilities to access and the accessibility of the information in cyberspace, the classical kind of reading is radically modifying its coordinates.

The text from the screen can never become a fetish, like a book. The unity of the works and of the author, which are inevitably linked by the covers of a book, is lost in a re-moulding of the ideate core into dispersed fragments, maximally interconnected. The formal unity seems to vanish, the corpus is no longer maintained at the exterior, artificial level, but only within the ideas, which infinitely become hyperlinks to no matter how many other locations. The virtual nomad has not only to adapt himself in order to survive, but his adaptation and continuous moulding are the prerequisite for his staying alive, at the surface…he is required to be alive, to know what he wants, when and how he wants; the passivity of reading is no longer permitted to him, he is constantly requested to dominate the information, to de-fragment it in order to reconstruct in new contexts, which are not even forms, as they have lost their material reality, imposed by the need to be printed on a "support": the paper…

The evolution of the real through virtual towards the true reality of the ideas relies on the natural flow of things. The paper and the classical kind of reading may offer the illusion of knowledge by the exaggerated materiality – actually simulated – of the information we become fond of, considering the book as object.

On the screen, the information becomes again what it has always been, that is pure virtuality we can dominate by the will of our freethinking. We can no longer be fond of the de-known object that may become, as said before, our fetish; the hypertext no longer allows us to fall asleep while holding the book and no longer allow us to be slaves of a thesis or "petrified in project". The freedom and the right to a new individualism, possible only in the post-modernity of the Internet era, are offered to us. But this freedom could be fatal to us, as it could transform into a new form of slavery…that is paradoxically, a slavery of our own freedom. As the Internet, and/as virtual space is infinite pretext, inviting to paradoxes and self-contradictions, to a reality that "does not exist" de facto, we can accept the monitor’s "slavery" until the appearance of an intermediate solution – Utopian and in potentia for now –, which is superior to both of them and tributary both to the paper and to the Internet-monitor. This settlement of a false and stupid conflict between the paper and the CD-ROM might be found in the digital paper…about which we shall talk later on.

For now, carefully examine yourself in front of the monitor where you read and read "agora ON line" and learn your net-habits, create your new habits, learn the freedom of the on-line concept. I shall start to learn it and to escape on time.


Remark: should you have any queries and for further explanations and references, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at:

Miron Ghiu aka Cybernomad

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