The number “one” is not a thing. Math has no definitive reality. Numbers are a social construct, a system of symbols designed to express the abstractions through which properly developed societies explain aspects of reality. It follows that, as humanity seeks to understand more of what it is to exist, bigger numbers are needed. Soon, we need machines to understand the numbers. Society plants a base on information technology, efficiency, and a mechanical precision that is startling. What is desirable in a product is distilled to a formulaic essence and packaged neatly. Humans, too, are boiled down to science. Glossy shots, red lipstick, concrete biceps, and an ever-decreasing waistline set the standard. People are reduced to little more than the sum of their parts, a pair of matchstick legs, a rippled midsection, the right shoes and right make-up. Information technology makes the dissimilation of these trends mercilessly easy: In response to the Atkins Diet, tens of thousands of Americans strike carbohydrates from their diets. A cell phone that simply calls someone is archaic at best; people need infinite text messaging and a built-in digital camera (with no roaming charges) so that they can e-mail pictures of their new car to their friends in California, New York, or Antarctica. Jessica Simpson mistakes canned tuna for chicken and millions of viewers laugh at her in unison. Still, “one” is not a thing. These societal constructs chip away at the very humanity of the people who live amidst them. In William Gibson’s Neuromancer, a motley cast of characters face this cold steel reality, that their humanity is being systematically stripped, and that even attempts to take advantage...
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