Notes: She Shot Smoothly Upwards

January 16, 2009

Virginia Woolf (Orlando):  She shot smoothly upwards.  The very fabric of life now, she thought as she rose, is magic.  In the eighteenth century, we knew how everything was done; but here I rise through the air; I listen to voices in America; I see men flying – but how it’s done, I can’t even begin to wonder.  So my belief in magic returns.

Judy Wajcman: The urge to defy gravity has been a continuing impulse in our quest to transcend the natural world.  The elevator, the telephone, the radio, and the aeroplane you refer to were the mysteries of modern technology in your day.  Compared to people in earlier times, we rarely have a chance to live outside technology.  More and more of life is somehow mediated by technology, so that today there is hardly any human activity that occurs without it.  Yet it doesn’t seem to have lost its mystery with familiarity.  Nowadays, it is the rapidly evolving information and communication technologies that are experienced as magic, and evoke dreams and desires about the future.

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