Digital Culture: Utopian or Dystopian?

Text today. No photo.

This is a writing assignment. I signed up for E-Learning and Digital Cultures at I enjoyed past courses and wanted to see what academia was thinking about digital culture. I am enjoying the course but, as usual, find my reality does not align with an academic pov.


Week one addresses the Dystopian and/or Utopian nature of digital culture. After ingesting background material, I began working to write a short essay. That did not work out. Pen and ink slathered page after page after page. Ideas emerged, altered and reemerged. A blinding blizzard of ideas, a diarrhetic spewing of words and phrases, unthreaded, each an island occupied by howling inmates or cackling chickens but eventually, patterns formed and I got a feel for how I feel.

I learned I do not care. Attaching Dystopian or Utopian labels to digital culture feels meaningless to me. Fiction does well with with Dystopian and Utopian themes. In real life, those themes depend on what I ingested in the last hour. Coffee and yogurt: Utopian. Fries and soda: Dystopian.

A garbage dump of reactions, ideas and theory lie behind my conclusion. I list a few for those of you who made it this far.

Your Utopia is not my Utopia. Your Utopia might be one of my Dystopias. Society lacks a common Utopian dream. Individual Utopias emanate from that strange cocktail of personal history, neurological capacity and internal chemistry that makes each person unique; every man and every woman a star. The same Cocktail of Difference generates the fear, ego, resentment and morality that expose Dystopian nightmares. The lack of common criteria renders the contemplation meaningless.

If society agreed on commonly accepted visions of Utopia and Dystopia the discussion would remain relatively useless. People who have time to discuss the dystopian and utopian natures of digital culture are not setting the agenda for society. Those who set the agenda for society do not have time to discuss the Utopian or Dystopian natures of digital culture.

People would not recognize Utopia if it bit them. Provided with 24/7 access to food, people lament obesity. Enjoying 24/7 entertainment, people bewail lack of time. Take away the cakes and circuses, people yearn for the good old days of obesity and deadlines. The cup remains forever half-empty or half-full by attitude.

We are born. Life is dangerous. Sooner or later we die. Society could do better to eliminate arbitrary precarity caused by policy and misguided mores but at the end of the day: We are born. Life is dangerous. Sooner of later we die. Eliminating 100% of precarity created by commercial, religious and political interests does not affect the precarious nature of Nature.

Not much of an essay. As noted, I find the topic meaningless and of little use. This does not mean I am not enjoying the course. I enjoy the barrage of idea and learning what I think about things.


2 responses to “Digital Culture: Utopian or Dystopian?”

  1. […] E-Learning and Digital Cultures (#edcmooc), a mooc offered by It loosely follows an initial essay written by my alter ego. The content seems inappropriate for the photograph blog, so the follow-on […]

  2. […] My last post was an essay written for the E-Learning and Digital Cultures offering by I will not be posting those essays here again. The tone and topic do not fit what I intend for this blog. Instead, using my alter-ego Chrome Poet, I am posting the essays at Cow Dot Chromepoet where, if you are interested, I posted a follow-on to the first essay. Writing the second essay proved as difficult as the first. I suspect reading it feels only slightly, if at all, easier. As I noted in the first essay, I do not find the current focus interesting. In the second, I think I explain why better than I did in the first. Though the essay appears at and has a Chrome Poet byline, it was written by the Karl May side of my brain. I think a Chrome Poet version would be more entertaining albeit less polite or politically correct. […]

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