Skiagraphia: Internet and the Art of the Shadow Weaving

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11 Responses

  1. Thomas Fink says:

    This is what Friedrich Nietzsche supposedly wrote about Max Stirner (“The Ego and Its Own”): “When I was young, I encountered a dangerous divinity, and I do not wish to give an account to anyone of what, at that time, ran across my soul — of good things as well as bad things. Thus, I learned at times to keep silent, and also that one has to learn to speak, in order to be silent the right way; that a man with backgrounds has to have foregrounds — be it for others, be it for himself — for the foregrounds are necessary, in order to recover from oneself, and to make it possible for others to live with us.” More here: “Nietzsche’s Initial Crisis”

  2. Han Fei says:

    It’s interesting to note that in Russian the word for “humbleness” is “smireniye” (lit. “empeacement”), which suggests an obtaining of a peace with the world, as well as a source of inner peace.

  3. Martin says:

    I feel one cannot fully comprehend this behaviour without discussing sexuality and sexual competition, and how those are mediated by the internet and also by contemporary reality. Tribalism as a means of achieving sexual and procreative fulfilment is still a basic aspect of people, and will always be, and no amount of contemplation on ‘truth’ or ‘lies’ will abstract this away.

    I sense you are deeply motivated to try to dissolve tribalism because of your experience of war. Is this so?

  4. John the Savage says:

    Thanks for another interesting article, Branko.
    I especially liked the sentence: “knowledge is power and absolute knowledge would be that which is unconditioned by reality outside it.”
    That sums it up nicely.
    By the way, have you read ‘The Shallows’, by Nicholas Carr? It is subtitled, ‘What the Internet is Doing to our Brains’, or in some editions, ‘How the Internet Is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember.’
    I wonder if there is something in the technology itself, in the distance between the real world and the virtual, and between the real person and the avatar, which makes this kind of ‘identifying’ inevitable, or at the very least, provides room for the human ambition and pride to assert itself. (I like your point about humility as a stabilising factor and an antidote to this love of the false self-image.)
    Authors create personas for themselves, though as a convenient literary fiction. It is no surprise that bloggers or compulsive internet commentators should do the same, on a more fulltime basis. The question is why the persona should demand to be seen as reality in spite of its artificial basis. I wonder if this is a 21st century extension of Satan’s promise: ‘You shall be as gods’ – all knowing, creating yourselves in your own (preferred) image?

    • Malić says:

      I heard about that book but haven’t read it yet. I do believe that the technology itself, or rather the whole complex of meaning and interactions it entails, provokes quite unique effect I outlined in the article.

      • John the Savage says:

        Indeed. The author of ‘The Shallows’ argues that it is the nature of the technology which leads to a change at the neurological level, due to what’s called ‘neuroplasticity’, i.e., the ability of the brain to rewire itself to meet new needs. The content is secondary. To suggest that the internet is simply a tool, and it depends on how one uses it, is to miss the point entirely. (I’m not saying that you argue this, but it’s something aspiring Luddites like myself hear on a regular basis.)

  5. Carlos Eduardo says:


    I work as a psychiatrist a psychotherapist, could you help me with some bibliography of the metaphysics of ego?

    • Malić says:

      The metaphysics of ego could be, with some reservations, summed up as Cartesian metaphysics in general. So from Descartes to Husserl it holds sway over the most, if not all, modern philosopher who affirm the existence of metaphysics or, at least, ontology in some way. Heidegger was one who tried to shake it off, but, in my opinion, with little success. I am not aware of any really good survey in English, because I mostly use some Croatian sources and my own interpretation.

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