Becoming Beside Ourselves: The Alphabet, Ghosts, and Distributed Human Being

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Becoming Beside Ourselvescontinues the investigation that the renowned cultural theorist and mathematician Brian Rotman began in his previous books Signifying Nothingand Ad Infinitum The Ghost in Turing's Machine: exploring certain signs and the conceptual innovations and subjectivities that they facilitate or foreclose. In Becoming Beside Ourselves, Rotman turns his attention to alphabetic writing or the inscription of spoken language.

Brian Rotman reviews ‘God’ by Régis Debray · LRB 17 February

Contending that all media configure what they mediate, he maintains that alphabetic writing has long served as the West's dominant cognitive technology. Its logic and limitations have shaped thought and affect from its inception until the present. Now its grip on Western consciousness is giving way to virtual technologies and networked media, which are reconfiguring human subjectivity just as alphabetic texts have done for millennia. Alphabetic texts do not convey the bodily gestures of human speech: the hesitations, silences, and changes of pitch that infuse spoken language with affect.

Rotman suggests that by removing the body from communication, alphabetic texts enable belief in singular, disembodied, authoritative forms of being such as God and the psyche. He argues that while disembodied agencies are credible and real to "lettered selves," they are increasingly incompatible with selves and subjectivities formed in relation to new virtual technologies and networked media.

Digital motion-capture technologies are restoring gesture and even touch to a prominent role in communication. Parallel computing is challenging the linear thought patterns and ideas of singularity facilitated by alphabetic language. Barriers between self and other are breaking down as the networked self is traversed by other selves to become multiple and distributed, formed through many actions and perceptions at once.

The digital self is going plural, becoming beside itself. Gesture and Non-Alphabetic Writing; Interlude: 3. Technologized Mathematics Part II 4. Parallel Selves; 5. Ghost Effects. Becoming Beside Ourselveswill open up all kinds of unexplored terrains, from grammatology to psychoanalysis, from the history of technology to the study of culture and religion.

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Becoming Beside Ourselves will open up all kinds of unexplored terrains, from grammatology to psychoanalysis, from the history of technology to the study of culture and religion. It may not be redistributed or altered. All rights reserved. Publication date:. Read more Read less.

ISBN 13: 9780822342007

Buy This Book. Timothy Lenoir Timothy Lenoir. Introduction : Lettered Selves and Beyond Doi:. Part I Doi:. The Alphabetic Body Doi:. Gesture and Non-Alphabetic Writing Doi:. Interlude Doi:. Technologized Mathematics Doi:. Part II Doi:. Parallel Selves Doi:. Ghost Effects Doi:.

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