Okay, I admit it. I’m struggling a little bit with my current workload. Combine the work for this class with compiling my portfolio, writing the introduction and working on the magazine and I can honestly say I don’t know how I’m still operating. That’s not a good enough excuse for turning these blogs in late, but it’s the only one I’ve got; I do apologize for my falling behind.
While reading chapters 5 and 6, I was drawn to answer the first question Dr. Jerz posted about Cryptonomicon concerning ownership. This is a theme we’ve covered in the past; however, chapter 5 made me revisit it with new insight. On page 138, Hayles writes,
Without possession, access has no meaning.
In one of her earlier blogs, Aja posed a question about the the idea that we have access to an infinite amount of information but have no means to understand it because we lack sufficient translation tools. This chapter kind of covers the exact opposite. Without the ability to own material, it means nothing to be able to access it, meaning that we must be able to take ownership of our thoughts, ideas and interpretations in order to make the most of material out there.
Having access simply is not enough. This lends itself perfectly to what Aja said earlier, that it means nothing to react with a text if we cannot understand it. I’m using the term “possession” loosely in this entry simply because we have a lot to gain from understanding that something does not need to be material in order for us to take ownership. Like Aja said, we could have access to every piece of knowledge in the world, but that won’t make us any smarter unless we find a way to use this information. Perhaps Hayles should’ve said something like “without interpretation and analysis, access has no meaning.” I think the biggest issue I’ve had with this textbook is that I take everything too literally. I’m stuck in a material world when I need to look at things on a cloud level in that we need to take ownership of thoughts and ideas as well as physical objects.
When I think of the relationship between possession and accessibility, I tend to think of libraries. We do not own the books within this space, yet we are permitted to access every volume and read as much as we’d like. Imagine a world where libraries were more like museums. Books on display but not used. What would be the point if we could not open the books to inject our brains with fresh knowledge?
via Hayles 3a.