Exchanging map for territory
“The more accurate the map, the more it resembles the territory. The most accurate map possible would be the territory, and thus would be perfectly accurate and perfectly useless. The tale is the map that is the territory.” – Neil Gaiman
Maps are coded semiotics, consisting of indexes, signs and symbols. Digital is nothing else but an immense map that has covered and altered our notion of reality. A network that changes itself with a code (like a virus), adopting and adapting to every moment and situation. The network/map produces itself by multiplying data through agents that generate content. Once the news is published, it appears everywhere. The flexibility of this network is amazing, as it can easily delete, post, upgrade or edit data at the same time. It is possible to say the Internet has become the biggest “active” map ever produced.
“Everything simple is false. Everything which is complex is unusable.” – Paul Valery
The power of a map is visible when it comes to detail. The best maps represent all possible nuances and variations, leaving nothing out. These maps are bigger than actual reality, as they contain multiple aspects of the real. Nothing illustrates this better than “augmented reality”, which introduces variations on a theme, producing infinite versions of the same thing. The power of will, or decision-making, becomes obsolete, as there is no end to possibilities.
Conscience…or maybe not?
“Our consciousness is merely a perspectival point that seeks to gain control over that which surrounds it, and in so doing it creatively constructs a world. A systematic perspective becomes the world — there is nothing beyond it. Thus the world (“Reality”) is the perspectival interpretation we have of it.” – Nietzsche
Towards the end of conscience?
The notion of conscience as an “operating system” which is responsible for our decision making, has to be abandoned in favour of chance and synchronicity. Augmented reality changes itself as a shapeless morph, never providing a definitive answer. Paradoxically, it opens the doors of perception and at the same time, closes the door of decision-making.
Did we abandon the real for a something that is bigger than real?
“A model which took account of all the variegation of reality would be of no more use than a map at the scale of one to one.”
The relationship between map and territory is same as the relationship between digital and analog. Digital mapping offers infinite possibilities (manipulation, falsification, dissemination, imposing) providing infinite ways to explore (analog) territory. At the same time, we have to be reminded that our knowledge is based on experience, which means “crude reality” won’t change due to digitalization. Instead, it becomes distend by the day. Our capacity to handle, learn, progress and accomplish (knowledge or skills) becomes obsolete, as technology is smarter and faster than us. We are users of a super-map, and instead having control, we became lost.
Digital cloud is hanging over our heads and there is not indication that sky will ever be clear again. In order to gain (any) life back, one has to move away from the screen and start acting as an “organic server”. We have capacity to think with all senses and entire body s equipped with memory cells. Hands provide a direct contact to reality and therefore are capable of making decisions on its own. It has been proven that at least 40% of learning, including our creative decisions, come from touch.
Merging digital “cloud” with our own subjectivity may provide the first step towards some kind of solution. In other words, if we understand what digital is and what it can do for us. So far, we’ve been playing with a new toy, mimicking everything ever produced. But, time comes when we have to take deep dive into a nature of data…probably even to allow data to generate itself. This might be a scary thought, as we would not be able to predict (or maybe not even understand) what is going on…but at this breaking point, medium needs to become itself and this can only happen when we let go the control stick.