Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Technobiophilia: Can we get all the nature we need from the digital world? [updated, again]

Link to a fantastic Aeon article, HERE.  It discusses whether nature digitally experienced - that is, digital or virtual environments - can supplant experience of "traditional" nature, that is, "nature" understood as the physical world and the living things in it.

A major premise of the article is that there is nothing "unnatural" (of course).  Thus computer viruses are just as "natural" as biological viruses.  But one might ask whether connections to the natural world (natural in the tradition sense, ie. organic, biological) are indeed vital to our experiences of the digital and electronic world.  In other words, how does one world "stretch" into the other, and vice versa.

With respect to this "stretch," one may say for example that there is a "culture" of bees as much as there is a an "online culture."  How is a "beyond" of each's specific reality status, that is, beyond nature and culture, beyond experience and nature, constituted?  The "beyond" of nature and culture, of nature and experience, to my mind, begins in the refusal to pose each against the other or taking each in strict distinction to the other.  The "natural" understood in its most generic sense is simply whatever is in and of the world.  This is the meaning of a capacious and judicious naturalism.

There is no category more generic than "nature" if nature means "whatever is, in whatever way it is."