A Profound Faith In the Future: Internet as Universal Exposition

Definition of exposition in English:


Line breaks: ex|pos¦ition

Pronunciation: /ɛkspəˈzɪʃ(ə)n


1. A comprehensive description and explanation of an idea or theory: a systematic exposition of the idea of biodiversity

2. A large public exhibition of art or trade goods: the exposition will feature exhibits by 165 companies

3. Music The part of a movement, especially in sonata form, in which the principal themes are first presented.

4. [mass noun] archaic The action of making something public: the country squires dreaded the exposition of their rustic conversation

Whatever the magnificence of past expositions [of technological progress], these must of necessity be eclipsed by the new expositions that mark the path open to humanity, and summarize its successive conquests.

This is what makes for the success of [the internet]; it is the principle reason for the powerful attraction that [it excercises] on the masses. The [internet as exposition] not only [provides] leisure and gaiety in the midst of the toils of the people. [It appears] as the summit from which we measure the course we have travelled. Mankind, [experiencing it, is] comforted, [filled with] courage and animated with profound faith in the future. This faith, once the exclusive possession of a few noble spirits in the [nineteenth-century], today gains more and more ground; it is the common religion of modern times, a fertile cult, in which the [internet as] universal exposition [performs the role of a necessary demonstration of] the existence of a [global community] that is industrious and animated by an irresistible need for expansion; as enterprises [involved it it] prove themselves less by the material benefits of all kinds that flow from them, than by the powerful impetus they give to the human spirit.

[The emergence of the internet marked] the end of a century of stupendous soaring of science and the economy; it will also be the threshold of an era, the grandeur  of which experts and philosophers are prophesizing, and the reality of which, without a doubt, will surpass the dreams of our imagination.


The internet is not characterised by communication but by display. Its ur-form is precisely the industrial expositions of the nineteenth- and early twenetieth-century. For the internet constitutes one enormous phantasmagoria of commodities, politics and community; and it does so under the mythic sign of progress.

Whilst certain sections of the elite fear the consequences of it allowing workers from different nations to meet and discuss their common interests, the principle effect of this engrossing spectacle is to place the interests of capital in the foreground, and to suggest the necessity of understanding — even love — between workers and ‘their’ captains of technology. The wider the gap between progress in developing the means of production and the ‘anarchy’ of crisis and unemployment in the world economy, the more this phantasmagoria is needed to perpetuate the myth of automatic historical progress and to prevent people from noticing everywhere the signs of social regression and decay.


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