The most critical difference between the social reality and post-social virtuality is in both the quantity and quality of personal identities we can have. A full invariability of personal identity is what any society rigorously requires from all citizens. Everyone must specify who is s/he before society once and for all. Our IDs (passports) determine our social identity in a severe manner. Arbitrary changes in our identities entail criminal liability.

You cannot be both John in the morning and Mary in the evening. You must be either male or female, either old or young, either black or white, and so on and so forth. Unequivocally determined personality is our common destiny in any society. Postmodernists recognize fascism and slavery in such an order of things.

Why is our solid identity a feature of fascism? A socially determined personality implies hierarchical relationships between an individual and multitudes. Social elites (no matter whether it is hereditary aristocracy or democratic bureaucracy) are always above the masses while the masses are always more important than individuals. This is nothing but a fascistic hierarchy of power where an individual is doubly repressed.

Imagine a world where you can simultaneously be an old black female witch, a middle-aged white male SWAT trooper, a young yellow transgender pornstar as well as any other personified combination of genders, ages, races, and professions. This is what the doctrine of postmodern plural identities implies. Imagine a world where nobody has a right to dispute your plural identity and everyone takes your current version of yourself for granted.

Imagine a world where society (any society) is optional: you may belong to any and you may not. Imagine a world where passports do not determine to which government you must pay taxes while taxes as such are present in the form of voluntary contributions. Imagine a world where you meet the very Being face to face without the mediation of social interface and where nobody but you should figure out how much vital energy you can donate to the Being.

Such a marvelous dis-social space does not provide full possible freedom to humans. Metaphysically speaking, total freedom is impossible until we live in our physical bodies. However, the degree of individual emancipation provided by virtual dis-society is much higher than whatever any social utopia can offer.

In contrast to the counterculture that was completely absorbed by the mainstream culture (i.e. by society), the future counter-civilization in the form of virtual dis-society has a good chance to go in parallel with the conventional offline civilization.

What allows us to think so? A critical difference between subjectivities inherent in both paradigms does. When viewed from a historical perspective, all social formations of the past were grounded on one or another collective identity. There always was some society consisting of estates, classes, strata, nations, confessions, that is to say of large and small groups of people.

Namely collectivities in various forms constituted the subject of historic developments. Even the present-day late modernity runs under the supremacy of collectivities in the form of states despite continuous lip-service paid to individuals.

Whatever revolution might happen over the history of human civilization, it is always sanctioned by a particular group of people. Moreover, any revolution is aimed at changing the form of political power while power as such remains untouched as a phenomenon of social stratification. The basic hierarchical principle of power is possible only within the collectivity. All great historical figures always act in the framework of society. All known and unknown lone heroes have been eaten up by nothing but society.

Society seems destined to remain the most general collective identity of human beings. Whatever smaller collective identities can be nullified (race, nation, confession, gender, etc.) it will be just a palliative until the universal human collective identity — society remains as it is. But society can leave the stage only if an individual instead of a group of people becomes an independent actor in history. And this is possible only in a different techno-economic paradigm.


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