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One of the biggest themes we talked about this week was the element on “control” with respect to the internet and digital media. Burroughs proposes the term control as a term for a new monster in society, in accordance with Foucault. Deleuze–in the same vein as Burroughs and Foucault–describe a developing form of sinister, open control that is disrupting more traditional forms of control.

In class we defined the difference between the more traditional form of “Discipline” and newer forms of “Control”. Examples being that we used to reduce of industry and business to their most fundamental purposes, and thought of them in terms of factories. Now we think of these organizations as living organisms that have “souls” and can “do good”. People previously were tied to their signature and place, but now we live in an age of passwords and “dividuals”. In short, the present real is increasingly anonymous, evolving, and ubiquitous.

But I’d like to challenge the skepticism and pessimism with which we treat the digital age. In class we enumerate all of these negative things that are happening because of the internet. But I’d argue that the internet is shaped by man much more than man is shaped by the internet. I think the internet’s organization and forms of control are largely influenced by present western culture. The internet is organized as a forever sprawling, growing, decentralized system because in reality, that’s how society really is. I think the conceptions that we have of what centralized control is–government, the state, the family, etc.–are just as illusory as the control to which we assign to the internet. And I think in a way, the internet is organized in a way that is more emblematic of how people see themselves, and how society and information is actually organized and dispersed than any previous form of centralized control that we used to believe that we had.

–Jake Stern