We wake up in the morning. We walk out the room and let our dogs out of the house. We greet our parents ‘Good-morning’. We brush our teeth while we briefly scroll through our email. We reply to texts that were sent during the night. We get dressed and head out to the bus-stop where we converse with our neighbors. We commute to Uni while we peep over the passenger’s shoulders to have a quick glance of today’s news on the newspaper he’s holding onto. We get off the bus and grab a quick breakfast at the Quad with some good ol’ Uni friends.
This happens (to most of us, anyway) on a daily basis. We are constantly interacting with entities, whether they’re humans or inanimate objects. We don’t live as isolated individuals – rather, as a collective society altogether.
Manuel DeLanda, a philosopher, provides an ontology that best describes this phenomenon. His theory opposes the ‘Methodological Individualism’ theory, which assumes “all that matters are rational decisions made by individual persons in isolation from one another” (http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/?p=541). Instead, DeLanda asserts that we live in a networked society that consists of material-semiotic relations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actor–network_theory). Everything that lies on the face of this earth fundamentally connect with one another through physical touch, verbal communication, sharing of thoughts, beliefs, ideas, opinions and so on.
This does not mean that our actions and lives are sternly determined by these relations, rather effected and influenced to a certain degree. Therefore, DeLanda’s philosophy provides an explanation as to why we behave accordingly within social situations. We constantly interact with one another because we make up the totality of a wider picture: we make up a society of individuals who depend on each other.
The assemblage of such entities, the creation of these ‘networks’, is performed daily through means of publishing. It is the distribution of information, thoughts, opinions and beliefs through these modes that make it evermore possible for us to connect with one another. We use social networking sites, we disseminate and receive newspaper articles, we send text messages and emails to one another, we listen to the radio and watch the television, and the list goes on. We live in a world of constant networking.
Wikispaces would best embody a well-defined example of an online publishing mode that encourages assemblage. It is a virtual forum where people gather to communicate with one another, edit and add/remove ideas from pages, constantly on a flow of performance.
It is evident, then, that DeLanda’s observation carries a level of truth. It simply isn’t realistic to assume that we live as individual entities, exclusive from relations of any sort. We belong to a community of others who’re connected through the various publishing modes available.