A very interesting Douglass Rushkoff essay on The Networked Individual.” I don’t know that I agree with it, but it’s a good read.

The cell phone may be bringing us into a new renaissance, but it may end up differently than what we’re expecting. Instead of becoming more empowered as individuals, we may give up on the notion of individuality altogether.

The Renaissance — the great big one they taught us about in school — is known for a lot of great inventions: perspective painting, the printing press, ships that could circumnavigate the earth, modern banking and even the sonnet. What we tend to forget about the 15th and 16th centuries, though, is that this was also when we invented the “individual.”…

[Today] interactive devices, which allow for what I’ve come to see as a second great renaissance, give us access to one another. They break down individualism as we know it, and help us redefine it as something very different: as our ability to forge connections with one another. To cooperate instead of compete.

The definition of an individual is changing, thanks in greatest part to wireless interactivity. While the Internet heralded this day, the wireless renaissance actually makes it a reality.

[To the tune of Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Bad Moon Rising,” from the album Chronicle, Volume I.]