Posted 7 November 2012 by admin | Comments Off
Technology makes certain aspirations possible. [It] becomes a kind of depository for people’s fantasies and beliefs. Radio comes of age with the First World War, when almost every family in Europe loses a child. In the following years, séances, for example, become hugely popular, a massive thing. If in the 19th century it was all about knocks on a table, now it’s all about mediums tuning in to pick up fragments of electric transmissions from the dead. It was generally believed that our bodies stored electricity and carried on transmitting after death. You find this articulated by people like Oliver Lodge who wasn’t just some crackpot – he was the head of the Royal Institution. This was a mainstream theory, popular among the masses, among intellectuals. Among writers, too – people like Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling were ardent supporters of it. So technology plays the role of a crypt in which the dead get mourned – both the dead and the undead, all those who haven’t been properly buried.
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