in the Age of Media, Computers, and Internet
PLATO AND INTERNET: PHILOSOPHY VS. LITERATURE, LITERATURE VS. THE NEW MEDIA
Reading is a means of two basic anthropological functions which, after Freud and Bachelard, will be provisionally designated as the function of the Real and the function of the Unreal. Firstly, I proceed from the view that philosophy is the main instrument of the function of the Real in the European cultural tradition. Literature, on its part, is the privileged domain where the function of the Unreal is being fulfilled as an authentic topos of the potential, an experimentation space for the Self and for the Self's worlds (this opposition carries on the tradition from Plato's 'Republic' to Iser's distinction between the epistemological and the anthropological in his 'The Fictive and the Imaginary').
Today's rise of the new media affects the very core of philosophy - its privileged status as the Real's territory - in claiming to be a direct image, a mimetic double of the Reality. They sublate philosophy's conceptual mediation; the Reality, the truth of the world need not to be sought for, reconstructed or constructed any more: it is given without any effort, it is here and now (i.e. there is no transcending, information does not pass into meaning).
On this view, the new media do not endanger literature and the arts in general in their essence, insofar as they are not encroaching on the latter's territory (or to be more precise, on the latter's transterritoriality), but rather marginalize them by laying excessive emphasis on the Real. And that is where real danger lies, for remaining only within the given, deprived of the possibility of outside projection, of the outlet of the new identities, of the potentiality, one would be befallen by Don
Quixote's end, who by having given up the potentiality (i.e. the madness) is slain by the 'sorrow without a fight'.