A Classic Ideal?

An Objection

"For all its talk of Nets and flows, doesn't this essay espouse a classical idea of dialogue and discussion? Self-criticism, self-revision, individual or communal, sounds nice but it's all too controlled. It still fears the flow, and doesn't face up to the truly postmodern polymorphous schizoid flowing identities and social dissensus."

That objection almost fits this essay. But not quite. Hypertext can enable temporary unities that because of their "outside" links keep refusing boundaries, even as, because of their "inside" links, they have some internal texture, and the definition of inside and outside keeps changing. Communities work out their own ways of holding those tensions. That's one advantage of hypertext over the printed page; the format suggests multiplicity.

But some argument and consensus is not so bad; there is a genuine worry about too much flow and division that never needs to turn and face itself and its past (or can do so only with ressentiment).