Internet Searchers, God Seekers, and Longing for the Unmediated

Sam Berrin Shonkoff


In this paper, I examine two unlikely voices alongside each other, the Web-based political activist Eli Pariser and the German-Jewish theologian Martin Buber, and explore their respective struggles with mediation. Pariser wishes to reduce the thickness of algorithmic personalizations of the Internet experience, and to thereby burst what he calls the "filter bubble," in order to maximize unmediated access to knowledge. Buber, on the other hand, turns to the concrete realm of embodied presence in order to penetrate beyond cerebral thinking and egocentric relations to the divine Unmediated (das Unmittelbare). I demonstrate that Pariser and Buber, despite their immense differences, both seek immediacy through (a) attempting to make the media themselves maximally visible, and (b) turning to the notion of "dialogue".

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Copyright (c) 2015 Sam Berrin Shonkoff

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