Julian Lass

One arctic night, when the sky shone with stars and the moon glowed fiercely, I surfed the constant, anodyne babble of the net looking for clues about Facebook's new datacentre in the very north of Sweden. The insatiable digestive system of Facebook eats anything, from failed revolutions to jihadists, from holidays to social gatherings, turning it all into the same sediment. All that this imperial software giant does seems to be extraordinarily new, but also – because of the incredible speed of new things – extraordinarily arrogant. The idea that thinking is able to build a system of total knowledge about thoughts by passing from one site to another and accumulating the views it produces at each site—such an idea constitutes the the arrogance of the mind. It implies that thinking has the capacity to be identified with the object to which it refers, as if the gap between thinking and the object could ever be bridged. Sometimes in its arrogance, Facebook shows more anxiety for the world than for itself.

But now Facebook has sent a message to you, humble user, and with this message arrive the traces of a new data centre in northern Sweden. Imagine the vast volume of data entered and saved inside the walls of this construction, data sent every second from around the world. The fibre-optic connections in that part of the world, thanks to Swedish investment, I'm told, provide enough capacity to have one more Facebook and one more Facebook again. Facebook has commanded this data here, virus-checked it, whispered it, then with a small nod of its mighty head, it has used this data to reassemble countless user home pages – all obstructing walls broken down, and in a ring around the Earth stand all the avatars of its vast empire. It takes one message just 25 milliseconds to travel from Amsterdam to the frozen north. The data is powerful, indefatigable, pushing and cleaving its way through huge throngs of communication.

But even if this message succeeded in getting to you, what then? It must go on relieving our fear of death ... the dead are roaming daily across Facebook and continually emerge to say hello ... and be stored and after this there is another cable, and another, and so on for thousands of years. And if, at last, as if, the data should reach the end ... but never, never will that happen, and if it did, the giant would lie down, the centre of the world, crammed to bursting with its own shit. Nothing could then fight its way through, even a message. But you sit at your laptop when evening falls and dream this to yourself.

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