Technoscience / Ecomateriality / Literature

Ebocloud novel response

November 7th, 2014 | Posted by Greg Lyons in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Ebocloud provides a fascinating look into the powerful effect that social networking through technology can have on human psychology. I was interested in the way that being a part of the ebocloud network manipulated people’s own perceptions of reality. When initially describing the merit system to Ellie in Part 1, Jared describes how “faking being a good person week after week” leads to one day waking up and “realizing you are good” (Moss 59). In this sense, ebocloud functions as a technology that turns people from selfish into selfless. Perhaps, then, the surface objectives of ebocloud are subordinate to deeper, more significant objectives. The ebocloud network is not about the specific deeds being done – while practically useful and critically important to the individuals receiving help, these individual tasks are not as important as the collective effects cultivated by the cloud. Ebocloud has the power to open individuals’ eyes to the world beyond their own daily existence and open them up to a world of possibility in serving others.

However, with such a powerful collective effect, there are dangers to ebocloud. Later in the novel, Desalt describes to Ellie how “devoting yourself fully to the common good” results in “losing yourself”, and Ellie ponders whether the human race is “doing away with our individuality” (Moss 195). In creating all of these connections between humans to elevate our collective power as a group, do we lose something more important than we gain? Perhaps in following this sort of utilitarianism (happiness for the greatest number of people), people lose track of individuality and the value of personal pursuits. This reminds me of Fight Club (originally a book by Chuck Palahniuk, but I have only seen the David Fincher film). Fight Club deals with individuals who seek to break from conformity of society – yet in forming a collective rebellion against society, they end up relinquishing their individuality yet again. Blind conformity in any scenario can be dangerous, regardless of the motives. The ebocloud network has significant power to increases selflessness among humans, but is selflessness what we really want?

Works Cited:

Fight Club. Dir. David Fincher. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2000.

Moss, Rick. Ebocloud. New Orleans: Aqueous, 2013. Print.