And a Talking Pig Shall Lead Them

I found the following work of truly profound idiocy through Jason didn't actually offer an opinion on the essay, which lets him off the hook. I will not be so kind to the author, Dave Weinberger, who presumably believes in what he wrote.

The central claim of The Hyperlinked Metaphysics of the Web is that the Internet is ushering in a new metaphysics for our society, a shift away from "container" metaphysics (bad) towards a "hyperlinked" metaphysics (good), with profound changes in our notions of time, space, and morality. And, in the end, we're going to all be spiritual superbeings, filled with hope, joy, and empathy.

My brief description cannot do proper justice to the pure hogwash contained in this essay. I've posted to the essay's discussion board a critique of the essay's ignorance of philosophy and of the gargantuan straw man it sets up in order to rail against "container metaphysics," but I've barely even scratched the surface of what's wrong with it. The reasoning is slapdash: Weinberger begged the question more times than I could count and made sweeping assertions without the slightest shred of evidence. The central argument is simplistic and essentializing. The historical exceptionalism is appaling. There is next to no understanding of how people use the Web in his claims about how people use the Web. The conclusion is a veritable avalanche of incoherent mock-prophetic babbling about the Web and spirituality.

I am not going to get any further into specifics. I do not have time for this childish madness. None of us do. The Web represents some genuine changes in human interaction, in spatial and temporal organization of information, in certain aspects of how we look at the world. It opens up new possibilities, new opportunities. These effects are real, and worth paying attention to. And every word wasted on follies like "The Hyperlinked Metaphysics of the Web" is a word that could have gone into unpacking and understanding the world we live in, but instead went into empty self-indulgent yammering.