The Threatened End Of Digital Sharing: A Dissociated Milieu?


  • Simon Ryan University of Otago



Edward Snowden has revealed the obscene presence in the lives of everyone for whom the free use of the internet is an essential part of daily life, of an NSA-led global network of extreme mass surveillance. The state, corporate, and self-censorship that such extreme surveillance of public and private communications imposes, constitutes an additional and direct threat to the positive functioning of the libidinal economy in an age in which the desire of individuals and groups is already threatened with commodification through subjection to the demands of the market by those who exploit for profit the technologies of telecommunications, the media, culture and program industries. Through the activities and publications of Ars Industrialis – the Paris-based association internationale pour une politique industrielle des technologies de l’esprit – Bernard Stiegler and his co-researchers have analysed the destruction of desire through consumerist exploitation and its negative impact on processes of psychic individuation and social adaption. They argue that to consign ‘technologies of the human spirit’ such as digital telecommunications to a control function ‘systematically forbids and impedes the development of new and original social practices’. This article examines the ways in which the attack on the open internet by the corporate, military-industrial state undermines the building of an economy of contribution (Stiegler et al.) and the formation of an associated milieu (G. Simondon) which enables a productive economy of desire.