OUTSIDE

Reversing the Goethean formulation, we may perhaps find it necessary to risk concluding that “what is on the outside is on the inside.” Ambience-concepts like those of “mediasphere,” “mediospace” or “mediarhythm” argue for a directional shift toward a reconsideration of milieus and climates more on the East-Asian model. Like any relational system of thought, sensitive to the distant harmonics of the logocentrism of the East…

For the East has an edge on the West (or what was formerly considered its “belatedness” has actually saved it time). It is not its common practice to regard the subject as the measure of all things, emperor of his signs, master and proprietor of his culture: the stable, independent origin point around which (as for Westerners) turn things that are satellite-like, neutral and inessential. Should not the “symbol-using animal” perhaps be approached a la japonise, as the mobile “projection” of exterior and changing sites, and not as an “I” extracted from the rest of the game, overseeing it all from some regal balcony? Mediological man does not cohabit with the technological surroundings, he is inhabited by his habitat; constructed by the niche he has constructed. Why can we not train ourselves, as Berque calls for us to do, to replace the sentiment that “I have an environment, it belongs to me” with “I am my environment”? I am not in front of, with or against, but within, with and through my environment of technology. I “am” my automobile, my telephone, CNN, Airbus, and CD-ROM. I am the “inside” of this “outside”: it may involve an inversion and excentring of consciousness that can doubtlessly be painful, but it can perhaps also be exhilarating like braking or entering or computer hacking. I say this with all the discomfort that an episodic reader of the eminences of Husserl or Heidegger can experience hearing such theses that run as obviously counter as they do to our best ontologies.

Regis Debray, Media Manifestos, p.110-111

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