Reminder: memory is collective.

Just what is different about face-to-face and online interaction? A posting to the Humanist Discussion List asked: How is this situation no different than what Plato worried about, and how is it different?

I could repeat the synapse view of the relations between computer-mediated to in-person communication: sparks jump the gaps between the social and electronic networks. Instead I want to raise a consideration of a triplet-at-play in our reading tradition stemming from Plato where writing stands in for technology. We have three elements at play: seduction, memory, writing.

Memory mediates between the other two and serves as the ground for adjudication. It is with memory that we judge the fitness of the writing and the goodness of the seduction. The question as to whether writing damages memory is often the starting point of discussions. This is in effect a move that lands us in media res — right smack in the middle of a narrative of decline. Trying to keep the seduction-memory-writing triad in mind as a circuit problematizes any narrative be it of triumphant technology or social decadence.

Seduction seems to be perennially under theorized. I would suggest that there is an art to being seduced as much as there is to seducing (being a good guest as much as being a good host). Plato via Socrates puts a premium on seduction as a means of education, if I recall correctly.

And so for day 2323