PRINT May 1983


THE UNIDENTIFIED PHANTASM FLOATING in the orbit of this issue is the future. That’s all the future is anyway—a phantasm. However, the way we project our anticipation of it suggests the boundaries of imagination, and these limits in turn describe the framework of history. An example: mythology views light as power; empirical practice discovers the laser; fictional practice puts it in star wars; then politicians propose to “turn the balance of terror on its head” by means of concentrated light and giant mirrors in the sky, thus fully reifying myth.

The future phantasm remains the principal catalyst in determining the shape, indeed the scale of consciousness. In Western civilization each time knowledge forces change, culture fibrillates; between pulses it is suspended in uncertainty. The sense of possibility and the sense of doubt in this, the “electronic age,” were born long ago with the

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