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<nettime> Hernani Dimantas: Linkania--the Hyperconected Multitude [u]
Geert Lovink [c] on Thu, 1 Sep 2005 12:32:34 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Hernani Dimantas: Linkania--the Hyperconected Multitude [u]

From: Hernani Dimantas <hdimantas {AT} gmail.com>

(posted to nettime with the permission of the author. /geert)

Linkania - The Hyperconected Multitude
By  Hernani Dimantas

"I link therefore I'm." Edward Wilson 1

Thinking of citizenship in the web society is increasingly complex.

How do chaos and order fit together in a concept that puts the individual in possession
of the civil and politic of a State. Individual is an eroded word. A human being cannot
be seen as indivisible. In a modern society people are multifaceted and are able to
live many lives in a single one. Schizophreny blooms in this society mediated by the

Heidegger asks: What is this -- philosophy?, and says:

"We talk about philosophy. Questioning this way we remain somewhere over philosophy,
and this means outside it. However, the point of our question is to get inside
philosophy, to remain there, to submit our behaviour to its laws, that means ,"to
philosophize". The course of our discussion must therefore have not only a well
defined direction, but this direction has to, at the same time, assure to us that we
are moving in the realm of philosophy, and not outside and around it. The course of our
discussion must therefore be of that kind and direction so that what philosophy handles
touches our responsibility, touches us, exactly in our being." 2

In the same manner as to philosophize we have to take part, to live in the web we have
to "brush up the bits" 3 from the inside outwards. In the same manner that
people, mass or State are empty and excluding words, citizenship is a term that assumes
a look from the outside. Our goal is to enter citizenship. The idea is to take part, or
"citizenize". I want, however, to go a little beyond this concept.

My reference is linkania. A movement of self-organization of chaos. Linkania is an
idea, an insertion in the world of ideas and things. Marcelo Estraviz says:

"...I'm getting tired of the empty speech about this citizenship. Empty because it
does mean almost nothing, but it's pretty to say. Citizenship, in its essence, is
entailed (linked?) to rights and obligations. Instead of talking and fully exercise
this, discuss, spread, we talk of the vague terminology of citizenship." 4

The concept of citizenship is being emptied in the critic. Many activists against mass
media sit at night on their couches and enjoy the colourfull screen pluged on Rede
Globo. Soap operas of the idle life pass in front of their eyes. We must aim beyond
tactics. Activism has to go beyond criticism and constitute itself as a thought action,
starting from a deep understanding of linkania and from a new model of relation among
people and between people and technologies.

Because linkania has to do with people. I mean people in a more encompassing form. With
the digital technologies we are perceiving feelings that were not present in our
standard metaphysics. We are probing our singularities (and our schizophrenias). We
have a crowd inside each person. Linkania makes the bonds for auto-organization.
Therefore, linkania is opposed to the Hegelian idea of citizenship. Linkania is
immanent. It is connected to people.

Toni Negri gives an interesting insight:

"Against all avatars of the transcendence of the sovereign power (and nominally that of
the "sovereign people"), the concept of the = mutitude is one of immanence: a
revolutionary monster of the non-representable singularities, it begins with the idea
that any body is a crowd in itself, and consequently, the expression and cooperation.
It's in the same manner a class concept, subject of the production and subject to
exploration, this being defined as exploration of the cooperation of singularities, a
materialistic dispositive of the multitude can only start from a prioritary taking of
the body and from the struggle against its exploration." 5

In this sense the internet brings novelty. It lets us perceive these singularities and
understand that this monstrous multitude potencializes the debate. It lets us
understand that power tends to decentralization. The catalysis of collaboration is not
a case under development. It is a virtual reality. Collaboration is a process that
wasn't born with the computer. It's in people's mouth, rounding the dusty asphalt of
the outskirts.

Linux was born, has grown up, ripened and, now, reaches the technological orgasm.
Breaking the logic of "market share" is the apex of pleasure for the hacker
communities. But I don't want to restrain myself to Linux. I've been saying that Linux
is only the tip of the iceberg in this knowledge revolution. The free software
communities are the model for a possible collaboration society. It was the developers
that broke the barrier and superposed themselves over the dogmas of the industrial era.
But software is only a tool. In a collaboration society a digital ecology must prevail.

Collaboration demands generosity.

There is no collaboration without generosity. Collaboration is not a help. Nothing to
do with "don't give the fish, teach how to fish". = It has to do with common
interest projects. It's an incentive for the search for relevant information. For those
who don't "brush up the markets" will not get to understand that the world is more

However, this collective does not destroy the individual.6 We are living in a
collective of individualities. In the web we can perceive the power of individual
publications. Publishing texts and ideas, at low cost, and the engagement of people
united through the blogs, bulletin boards, home pages and forums signs to a
differential. The sum of singularities in collaboration shapes the collaborative group.

In this process the ideas sparkle. Conversations are asynchronous and join people, they
create communities that overlap, interact, intersect and build themselves. Internet has
already broken the elitism of information. And has also decentralized fame. Unlike what
occurs in mass communication, with internet the world becomes without "heroes".

In the web, being is being seen. Blogs, the same as their publishers, exist to be seen.
Without celebrities and Olympians, no emissors nor receptors. We all are just people in

To live in this network we have to understand this new dynamic. We have to perceive
ourselves as people in a process. One of the ideas virtuality puts upside-down is
identity. The resources allow the existence of many "me", turned real. Those
"me" depend on a = socially constructed repertoire.

Social networks

What is the novelty of a social network culture? Fundamentally, there is nothing new,
we live in networks since ever. The network is the standard configuration of the human
being along history. However, during the last two decades, the concept of network has
been used as an alternative organization that allows answers to a series of demands for
flexibility, connectivity and decentralization of social activity. With the
communication and interaction technologies, networks begin to facilitate contact
through distance in real time. They motivate and potentialize conversation. Reconduct
communication to a organizational systems logic able to unite people and institutions
in a decentralized and participative form.

Capitalism, albeit dominant, cannot sustain itself anymore. Its main foundations,
economy, the paradigm of bureaucratic ethics and mass culture, are in crisis. The
crisis is a cue that a new order is urgently necessary, a re-shaping. The 20th. century
demands, therefore, structural changes in power. It's in this scenario that the social
networks acquire their importance.

Technology catalyzes people's intelligence: "The revolution of information
technologies acts reshaping the material bases of society and incites the rise of
informationalism as the material basis of a new society"7. But we cannot ascribe
these changes only to technology. The R(evolution), including the one promoted by the
internet, has nothing to do with computers. It has to do with people.

Internet makes the blooming of new social and cultural network movements possible. It
enables the organization of civil society in new forms of conduct and the return to
human networks after years of domination by machine and bureaucraty networks.

To link, to link and to link 

To link for generosity. To link because we have common interests with real people. To
link has objectives: recover the lost voice, to seek in the digital interlines for a
hope lapse, a more human humanity. Linkania is the collaborative evolution. To link, to
link and to link.:

this is the motto of the new world.

Linkania... is citizenship without cities. It's un-territorialized. The action is
local, but the connection is global. It's the friend's link, the neighbour's. It's the
cue. It's bussines between two companies in different continents. It's the help given
by your cousin from Madrid by e-mail. It's the discussion flowing in the forum to visit
some exposition, and the link to the exposition, that somebody prints and pins on the
nursery mural. All this are links. It's the text by some blogger that makes you think.
It's the valious discovery by the jobless who visits an infocentre and registers for a
government programme that sends him to a job. And it was a hint by a neighbour, he gave
the link.8

Conversation in the internet is very different from that done live, face to face.
Presently, for instance, thousands of people, and thousands of Brazilians among them,
are using the blog as a conversation and decentralized information tool. One of the
more immediate consequences of this conversation falls on journalism. Why read Jos=E9
Sim=E3o? I can read Cora R=F3nai's blog [http://cora.blogspot.com]. Why do I need to
read news about cinema in the Folha de S.Paulo? Nemo Nox has already done the critique
in burburinho [http://www.burburinho.com]. Why wait for the analysis about the planet's
situation in the Estad=E3o? NovaE [http://www.novae.inf.br] does it every week. There
are so many alternatives to know what's happening through the world that the
traditional press is losing, step by step, its power and its place as "opinion
shaper". Individually = most of the blogs do not add anything, at least for the
unconnected majority. But, for those who believe in the making of a reputation, blogs
are agregant, powerfull, impactant, they are an important novelty. They exist in the
agreement between people, in the kindness of a hyperlink. They extrapolate concepts,
thoughts, missions, campaigns and disputes.

Paulo Bicarato makes an interesting analysis on the reach of the blog phenomenon:

"(...)there are still some annalists that surprise me with their miopy: speaking of
blogs, they question the number of accesses, for instance, along with other
characteristics which have only and exclusive commercial interest. But blogs don't have
any commercial interest, in principle. In some cases they can even give origin to some
project with commercial outcome, but then they cease to be blogs. The personal voice of
each one, reverberating through the web, is what characterizes this effectivation of
the expression liberty. And every one of us has something to say." 9

I agree with Bicarato, albeit I don't make this distinction between commercial and
non-commercial. This rancour is outdated. I do rather make reference to the amateur
work, or of those who love what they do.

Blog has much more to do with lust, with the urge to protagonize one's own life. Blog
is about decentralized conversation. And decentralization sends to the process of

In spite of all this, the concept of linkania is not to be confounded with the blogger
neighbourhood, nor with social softwares. Linkania is not a list of links. Linkania is
the kindness to link. It's the act, the pleasure, the love of seeking in collaboration
a new way to produce and to be happy. To understand oneself as a link. Linkania is
about the hyperconnected multitude. So, it is not fitting to think of cities as the
space par excelence of sociability and culture.

The Religare

Estraviz stands upon the importance of religare:

"While linkania is a word of the future, religare is a word of the past. It's whence
the word religion originated. I like religare more. A much more beautiful word. Because
it does not imply creeds, rituals or institutions. Does not imply faithful or
unfaithful. Fundamentally it implies re-connect-oneself. With life, with the world,
with the All. And with your neighbour." 10

We are eager to live this time of changes. We believe in a better world. In the
potentialization of connection and in a planetary consciousness. Our popular poet
Gentileza (kindness) says: Kindness leads to kindness. Sharing of interests and the
care for others makes us more human. Religare is so simple: an act of generosity.

Religare is happening for us, who have internet. We are "digitally included", we
are in bunkers in our cities, we exercise (or not) a pretense citizenship. We are in
the "RE" phase of re-ligare. Poverty was always in the "ligare". It was their
only choice. Among them fraternity happened for survival and with naturality. That's
why they stay alive, because they help each other. We don't help them since we
disconnected from them, when we dehumanized them. What lacks then? Time. The time for
the new generation to grow while the poor's children grow connected in their schools
and neighbourhood associations. In the web without hierarchies and compromises, things
will happen. 11

Religare is about a new paradigm, with a non-religious spirituality. The possibility of
breaking the chains that make us lesser.

The edge is the centre. During the preparatives for the event Midia T=E1tica Brasil
[http://midiatatica.org], which start was given in the metaphorical debates, 12 we
incorporated the idea that the edge is the centre. 13 Based on this idea, we propose
possibilities for low earning people living at the outskirts to amplify their voices.
They have telecentres, they have monitors, they are provided with progressist public
policies that have as an objective the creation of the physical structure. That means,
the installation of connected communitary centres. Things being so, even if the access
is still restrict, we are working for the possibility of exercising linkania. And so,
to link is to reach for inclusion.

Digital tropicalism

Music, images and texts are being spread in a free manner and in a never seen amount.
But there remains an open question about how to create a mean to reward for all this

We don't have answers, we have ideas. I believe that these people, even having
remuneration as a final goal, are trying to get a firm hold, to step on hard ground.
They want to be recognized for their creativity and for the quality of their work.
People are looking in the communities for a re-encounter with linkania.

This process is particularly important in Brazil. We have na antropophagic tradition,
that is totally coherent with the hacker culture, melting elements of different origins
in creative products. We are historically peripheric. And the edge is the centre. It
lives from "mutir=E3o", it breaths collaboration. Collaboration is always a =
survival strategy here. What would be of this country if not for the kindness between
people playing on the same misery team, the now called "exclu=EDdos". Excluded from
the access to the technological tools = which allowed the elites to take hold of the
cultural and artistic patrimony of humanity and transform it in private property, for
the benefit of a few.But not excluded from the culture of collaboration, of
creativity and of survival.

People want to be happy.

The digital media makes it possible that "technological" resources = of creation,
production, transformation and circulation of knowledge and culture be accessible.
Communities engaged in linkania projects, as the free software and ideas communities
for instance, are growing and ripening. We are testing alternatives for the creation of
a decentralized communication, independent and aimed to the sides.

The message is linked. It is in the sites, in the blogs, reverberating in e-mails that
we exchange daily. The message is in the web. And it can be processed in any of the
ends. What's needed is only to copy a link, download the documents, join the pieces.
It's up to the people at the different ends, of and in the process, to transform a
digital file in analogic content. The medium, as such, isn't the message anymore. It's
the living voice of each person. An example of project of this kind is given by the
Novae 14 magazine in the campaign for digital billboards. Any reader can create and
reverberate his message in the web. But there are many others happening even now, while
you read this text.

Does it seem complex? It is not so. Linkania is the expression of the engagement of
people in networks. A generous exchange of links that catalyzes conversation, incites
and solidifies the engagement. The web is made by knots. Knots linked one to another.
It is the power of links. To link, to link and to be linked. To live, to think, to do.
We are facing the future. And in order to potentialize our hopes in a better world we
have to believe. Believe in the vital illusion of virtuality, which extrapolates
reality. Believe in the ludic as existential strategy. For, as said by Oscar Wilde,
"life is too = serious a thing to be taken so seriously."

Hernani Dimantas



1 WILSON, Edward, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

2  Heidegger, Martin -  What's philosophy

3  Hacker reference of code cleaning

4  ESTRAVIZ, Marcelo, Linkania e Religare - The Linkania and the

5  NEGRI, Toni, Pour une d=C8finition ontologique de la multitude

6  DIMANTAS, Hernani (2003) , Marketing Hacker - a revoluio dos
mercados, Editora Garamond, pag 118-119

7  RUIZ, Osvaldo Lupez, Manuel Castells e a "era da informaio"

8  ESTRAVIZ, Marcelo, Linkania e Religare - The Linkania and the
PS: Mutiro means when the poor people organise themselves in
collaboration teams in order to build infrastructure to their survival.

9  BICARATO, Paulo, PalAVr {AT} s LivRes - Free W {AT} rds

10  ESTRAVIZ, Marcelo, Linkania e Religare

11  ESTRAVIZ, Marcelo, Linkania e Religare -  The linkania and the

12 The very first conversation about the Midia Tatica Brasil
organisation has been taken on the Projeto Met=B7fora mailing list

13 ESTRAVIZ, Marcelo, A periferia e o centro - the edge is the center

14 http://www.novaeconomia.inf.br/outdoor/

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