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Forms of government


Let's start with a little digression: [Unsworth, 1995] locates the roots of the MOOs in the Unix Operating System (itself an outgrowth of capitalist philosophy) and points out a major paradox of this ``third order simulacrum'' of the world:

``If we consider all these factors together, the paradoxes are striking. On the one hand, as a mental representation of the universe of information, Unix is deeply indebted to culturally determined notions such as private property, class membership, and hierarchies of power and effectivity. Most of these ideas are older than the modern Western culture that produced Unix, but the constellation of cultural elements gathered together in Unix's basic operating principles seems particularly Western and capitalist-not surprisingly, given that its creators were human extensions of one of the largest accumulations of capital in the Western world. On the other hand, this tool, shaped though it was by the notions of ownership and exclusivity, spawned a culture of cooperation, of homemade code, of user-contributed modifications and improvements (viz. the canonical /contrib/bin in Unix filesystems, where user-contributed programs are stored) -in short, of "fellowship." And finally, in some sense it is true, as Guattari suggests, that the entire assemblage of causes for Unix is an instance of machines speaking to machines, or needing to speak to machines, with humans as the midwife at this precarious and unlikely birth''

Tensions between maintaing the world and some ethic of information sharing, between being able to do ``anyhing'' and the need for maintaing personalities and social rules or at a more technical level between individual freedom to produce objects and protection of those objects can be felt on any MOO.

[more to come!!!]

Daniel K. Schneider
vendredi, 16 février 1996, 13:41:58 MET