Our discussion of NT Wright’s comments on anonymous blogging came to mind as I was reading Graham Ward’s The Postmodern God.
Surfing the net is the ultimate postmodern experience … Time and space as conceived by empiricists collapse into omnipresence and multilocality. And the ride is continuous, for the electronic tide maintains you on the crest of impending satisfaction, far above any ocean floor, fast forwarding toward endless pleasures yet to be located and bookmarked. Time disappears, boredom is deflated. The drug of the ever new, instant access to a vast sea of endless desire which circulates globally; browsing through hours without commitment of any theme imaginable … Cyberspace is an undefined spatiality, like the contours of a perfume, and you are an adventurer, a navigator in uncharted waters, discovering the hero inside yourself. You act anonymously, simply the unnamed, unidentifiable viewpoint of so many interactive network games, and where an identity is needed, you can construct one (xv).
Has Ward got it right? Is cyberspace the “undefined spatiality” and we the “unnamed, unidentifiable” adventurers who construct identities of our own chosing only when required?
If so (I have not given this much thought before now), then perhaps anonymous blogging is symptomatic of a more basic issue: cyberspace and its allure of “omnipresence and multilocality”. Is it an overreaction to say that what cyberspace offers (albeit an illusion) threatens to erode a properly Christian account of human embodiedness? Human creatures stand within the temporal frame and limited by finite bodies, and at least according to a Christian doctrine of creation, these limitations are God’s blessing, part and parcel of the world over which he said, “It is very good.”
My comments are spare, but they at least gesture in the direction of a Christian, theological account of cyberspace. I am sure work has been done in this area, but I have not come across it. Any suggestions?