Thursday, February 16, 2012


Scott Sauter
Professor Johns
Prompt #2
While William Gibson’s, Neuromancer presents the reader with plenty of material to reflect back to Hubert L. Dreyfus’ On the Internet with. By choosing to write a novel based almost entirely on the prospect of using the Internet to achieve personal gain for oneself, Gibson creates a story ripe with ideological interplay between the reader and On the Internet. While at first Neuromancer’s main character, Chase, appears to embody the very principle Dreyfus claims to be lacking from the Internet. With his neurological system crippled as the result of an old Internet crime gone bad, Chase appears to the reader at first to counter Dreyfus’ claim of, “the unreality of the virtual world (94 Dreyfus). 
If Chase has been injured as the result of actions he made in cyberspace, doesn’t that counter the idea that use of the Internet frees one from the confines of the physical body? If this were the case in modern day reality, wouldn’t one be forced to change his or her opinion on whether or not limiting, “ourselves to disembodied interactions”, through the Internet poses a problem to society (50 Dreyfus). This would be the case should Chase’s injuries be indicative of the true nature of the Internet. However, Chase’s injuries and the cyberspace presented by Gibson in Neuromancer mark, not a departure from, but a reiteration of the principles examined throughout Hubert L. Dreyfus’ On the Internet. Even though his injuries may have resulted from usage of the Internet, they do not lend credibility to those who would argue that problems arising from Internet usage would be solved should an element of risk be introduced to it. Chase garnered the injuries not from his usage of the Internet specifically, but from criminal activities. As Chase chose to engage in criminal activity, he was, “ strapped to a  bed in a Memphis hotel” by his enemies and rendered incapable of physically accessing cyberspace (6 Gibson). While this lends credibility to those merely choosing to argue against the potentially damning results of the Internet’s potential as a means for criminal activity, it falls short of critiquing Dreyfus’ core arguments.
In fact, much of what Dreyfus argues for through On the Internet, especially the potential for feelings of isolation felt by those who use the Internet the most are countered in Gibson’s Neuromancer (Dreyfus/. By featuring a team of criminals who specialize in using cyberspace, Gibson argues that the Internet, far from isolating people, brings them together. Where would Chase and Ratz be were it not for cyberspace? 

1 comment:

Adam said...

Many of the details of your writing are so bad (by which I mean, insufficiently proofread, with lots of sentece fragments, etc) that the whole thing is hard to follow at first. The whole thing is also very short - making it seem like a last-minute rush job.

As last minute rush jobs go, it's interesting. I think you've chosen the most reasonable and immediately interesting entry point for a discussion of Gibson and Dreyfus together - should we consider case as engaging in embodiment and risk? Is this form of telepresence good enough? (If so, we might begin to consider cyberspace as a possible, even desirable future for the internet, even if the internet hasn't gone much in that direction yet).

Beginning and ending with Case's initial injury, though, isn't going to cut it - the whole issue of flatlining (whihc is where real risk enters into the equation) needs to be part of this discussion before it can move significantly forward.