The Abyss?

In these troublesome antics, we may even find it wise on occasion to adopt incongruous perspectives for the dwarfing of our impatience. We in cities rightly grow shrewd at appraising man-made institutions--but beyond these tiny concentration points of rhetoric and traffic, there lies the eternally unsolvable Enigma, the preposterous fact that both existence and nothingness are equally unthinkable. Our speculations may run the whole qualitative gamut, from play, through reverence, even to an occasional shiver of cold metaphysical dread--for always the Eternal Enigma is there, right on the edges of our metropolitan bickerings, stretching outward to interstellar infinity and inward to the depths of the mind. And in this staggering disproportion between man and noman, there is no place for purely human boasts of grandeur, or for forgetting that men build their cultures by huddling together, nervously loquacious, at the edge of an abyss.

--Kenneth Burke, from Permanence and Change


A New Frontier?

[In place of the Web browser] a new medium is arising, surging across the Web in the preferred, many-to-many way: anything flows from anyone to anyone--from anywhere to anywhere--anytime. In other words, a true network like the telephone system, rather than a radiating system like radio or TV. This new medium doesn't wait for clicks. It doesn't need computers. It means personalized experiences not bound by a page--think of a how-to origami video channel or a 3-D furry-muckers VR space. It means information that cascades, not just through a PC, but across all forms of communication devices--headlines sent to a pager, or a traffic map popping up on a cellular phone. And it means content that will not hesitate to find you--whether you've clicked on something recently or not.

It means, in short, a more full-bodied experience that combines many of the traits of networks with those of broadcast. The buzz phrase for this convergence is "push media." Content is pushed to you, in contrast to the invitational pull you make when you click on the Web. The push can be gentle, in-your-face, intermittent, in the background, or always on.

--Kevin Kelly and Gary Wolf, from "Push!" Wired Magazine, March 1997
[also qtd. in Remediation, (223)]

Works Cited