Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Pre & Post-Internet History

I think the internet challenges the language of historians in many ways. Pre internet history likes neat symmetrical interlocking shapes. Library history insists on concrete starts and ceremonial finishes. It likes old fashioned good guys and bad guys. It has no language for totally new types of historical event and can't deal with messy complexity. It imposes binary outputs on multilateral inputs and struggles to identify when it deceives itself in the present thus contaminating the past and messing up the future. 

Traditional historical language is imploding with the language of information warfare, singularities, emerging globalised conciousness and groaning with the burden that WWIII  may already have started but wont be officialy recognised until the victor declares checkmate through a new variant of Stuxnet.

Academics, scholars and historians through books, documents and archives were once the official narrative but now Vox populi and real time verbatim counts for something too.

Let's face it. A trillion internet arguments in the comments of billions of blogs, Facebook updates and social media and news platforms not to mention zillions of tweets will shape what people in the future think about events in the past just as much as the mendacity we're fed and sold in the present by the corporate for-profit mainstream media.

I put it to you that our understanding of ourselves, including where we came from, who we are, what we're doing here and where we're going is on the edge of monumental change. It's a race between education and catastrophe.