Stay informed. Talk about the issues. Always be engaged. Liberal societies have encouraged their members to take part—or at least interest—in politics. Yet, even in developed nations where it is said to work, the democratic process as we know it routinely fails to give voice, on the one hand, and to appeal at all, on the other hand, to a good number of citizens.
Whatever countervailing hopes the worldwide web gave rise to in its dawning years, far from restoring the “public sphere” of yore, the internet has completed its fragmentation. According to Japanese thinker Hiroki Azuma, the way forward must be sought through what network technology is actually good at: aggregating and processing the traces we leave (without always meaning to) every time we wade into the world of connectivity.
Harking back to Rousseau and his idea of the general will, dropping by Freud and his discovery of the unconscious, taking inspiration from Google and the tenor of its innovations, revisiting Christopher Alexander and his highway planning, and making curious bedfellows of Twitter, Rorty, and Nozick, General Will 2.0 is a wild ride bound to delight not just citizens who “care” but those who find doing so to be increasingly difficult and false.
About the Author:
Hiroki Azuma (born May 9, 1971) is a Japanese cultural critic, author and lecturer. A graduate of the prestigious Tokyo University, he received his doctorate in philosophy in 1998. He has been a Research Fellow at Stanford University's Japan Center. One of the youngest literary critics in Japan today, he is a contemporary and co-conspirator with many of Japan's brightest modern talents in art, film, and literature. He is an associate of Takashi Murakami and the Superflat movement. Azuma launched his career as a literary critic in 1993 with a postmodern style influenced by leading Japanese critics Kojin Karatani and Akira Asada. In the late 1990s, Azuma began examining various pop phenomena, especially the emerging Internet/video game/nerd culture, and became widely known as an advocate of the thoughts of a new generation of Japanese. Azuma has published seven books and in 2000 he won the Suntory Literary Prize, as the youngest writer to ever win that prize.