The Networked World: The Psychopathology of Simultaneity
This chapter shows how the ubiquity of technological stimulation was considered pathologically dangerous by pseudo-scientific thinkers at the end of the century including Max Nordau, Georg Simmel, and Benjamin Kidd. Rather than the simultaneous totality idealised by panoramic discourses, simultaneity in Nordau’s thought quickly disintegrates and fragments as experience becomes compartmentalised through technological mediation. Whereas in previous chapters individual texts are shown to make uncritical use of multiple visual discourses to articulate multifaceted experiences, here attention turns to authors who deconstruct hybridity. Rather than daydreams prompted by technological visions (as in Chap. 6), the technological becomes the cause of degenerative nightmares perhaps most evocatively (and famously) described by Nordau.