Eros moves to Hyperspace
Jacques Ellul warned us about the implications of the technical phenomenon. He was never “against technology”, but rather lamented the unawareness of this phenomenon on the part of modern sociologists, intellectuals, scientists, and philosophers in general. In the same profound line of thought as Marshall McLuhan, Ellul excellently understood that the techniques that operate on a given time are extensions of our perceptive faculties, this is, they are “prosthesis” that not only determine the structure of our thoughts and our ideological predispositions but also deeply modify the selfsame human nature. What´s more, the techniques of a given time even modify one of the greatest human faculties: the erotic experience…
One has to have an extremely poor idea of love if one assimilates this word to the common type of insipid and sugar coated personal relations that are mostly established in high-tech urban-industrial societies. In this context, men and women have very little chance of erotically fusing their beings towards a higher consciousness, as they perceive each other through an interface of signs, avatars, profile configurations and audiovisual contents that constitute extremely superficial and rather phantasmagoric expressions of the self. In other words, even when their gadgets are turned off, men and women whose minds are constantly “plugged-in” perceive each other through a novel language composed of symbols that are directly determined by today´s technological structures. If Freud lived today, very likely he would have diagnosed these expressions of the self as sublimations of libido, this is, as the irrational urge of channeling through accepted social standards the deep erotic forces of the individual. Indeed psychoanalysis is prone to many reasonable criticisms, but Freud well understood that such type of sublimation of the unconscious is what actually protects society from the destructive effects caused by any raw unleashing of the erotic. However, Wilhelm Reich -a disciple of Freud- radically encouraged such orgasmic unleashing of erotic power, and conceived it as a healing factor of all neurosis, organic disease, and even as a form of political regeneration of society, in the similar line as proposed by Herbert Marcuse. However, time has shown that high-tech modern societies have heavily repressed the power of Eros and rather have opted for pursuing its transposition in the form of “free love”, spectacle, immediate satisfaction, the cult of sports, politics and the cult of celebrities in general. Hence, the pursuit is no longer about changing society, but about becoming well integrated in today´s society. Such successful integration is often referred to as happiness.
In myth, Eros and Cupid only shoot their arrow to those individuals who mutually aim to evolve their real lives and passions towards a higher mode of freedom and a higher state of being, keeping up the core mystery in private care… But which can be actually the role of such divinities of love when life is no longer down to earth, but all privacy is uploaded to the artificial hyperspace of Facebook, Instagram, etc?
Jaron Lanier (1) radically proposes us to quit from social media, and to regain the power implicit in privacy, a privacy that today is being sold in real-time to the highest corporate bidders. This does not necessarily imply that we stop uploading our works or sharing our ideas in cyberspace, but that a strict line must be traced between what is public and private, as occurs in all competent team groups and organizations.
It is no coincidence that those scarce individuals who have experienced the highest states of erotic transformation feel that it is extremely self-degrading for them to define themselves through the signs and contents of today´s technological interfaces or gadgets. They feel it as a betrayal to the power of their own congenial senses, always aware that the power of Eros manifests first through the eyes, in direct presence, in gesture, and never succeeds through a screen or much less through the sophisticate filters of Instagram. So although the power of Eros is heavily repressed in today´s society and although those who embrace it are marginalized by countless institutions who profit from such repression, it´s mystery is still cherished and kept up in extremely fringy places where the polarity awakened between the sexes is effectively transforming society, at a very low scale of application. Whereas most individuals are anxious to find their happy place in the declining tree of modern civilization, these extremely scarce couples are much more concerned about cultivating a new seed.