Over and over again, cyberspace brings us back to the physical
So here we are, poised at a moment of crucial tension. Do we embrace cyberspace as part of the natural world, with all of its opportunities and flaws, or do we keep it at arm’s length, as an unnatural guilty pleasure we should not really enjoy?
I’m writing my first novel for twenty years. It’s new, but it’s also the culmination of all my previous books, fiction and nonfiction. So much so, in fact, that the brief final chapter of my 2013 ‘Technobiophilia: Nature and Cyberspace’ might even turn into the introductory chapter of whatever this new book will be called.
So to bring myself up to speed, I’m sharing that last chapter here. Writers often share the first chapter of a book but they rarely give away the ending. In this case, however, the ending is turning out to be the beginning of something else. So here it is. Am I on the right track? I welcome your comments.
To end where we began, the problem with new technology, especially cyberspace, is that we love it. We love it and we fear that we love it too much, to the extent that we are constantly torn by passion and guilt in equal measures. But once we begin to understand what drives us we might, perhaps, be ready to make our peace with technology.
During the course of my research for this book I learned that the biophilic tendency pushes human beings to seek life everywhere, even in cyberspace. As a result, we have created elements of nature in virtuality where they did not exist before, and the fact that they can now be encountered throughout our digital lives seems to help soothe our connected existence.
I also found that such restorative experiences can stimulate innovation and creative truancy, and that there is today a real opportunity to take the principles of biophilic design which are increasingly being applied to our physical surroundings and use them to enhance our technological environments, both in virtual space and in hardware design.
Eco-philosopher David Abram has written that