Extended Nervous System
The extended nervous system is a term used to describe the extension of perception and sensory feedback outside the physical body. For instance, one's perception changes when entering a vehicle by extending from the edges of the self to the edges of the vehicle. "The car [is thus an] extension of the foot instead of the car as a satellite part of the home: or the tendency for appliances to impose their presence as against the psychological need for 'cosy' or 'friendly' objects".
The extended nervous system does not just relate to the extension of the physical self, but the extension of the mental self as well. One's nervous system extends to the characters in a well-written book. In a very well-written book, the reader can feel the triumphs and battles of the characters as if they were their own. This mental and physical engagement extends to those who engage in technological interaction as well. One who runs a server and hosts websites has a nervous system that extends to those sites. When the site goes down, there may be a physiological affect.
Those who run servers do not run machines but a living organism of machine and person, stitched together by source code. Google Analytics is a sensing network that acts as an extended nervous system detecting clicks on the extension of one's identity or brand. Social networks are emotional circuits that humans use to extend their mental and physical selves over the restraints of geographical distance. The network allows one to map in-person interactions and their physiological effects onto a digital, tele-operative space. Social networks are a natural extension of the social and mental self. In a real world filled with geographic and social distances, it is natural that so many disconnected individuals would so quickly adopt a technology that allows them some semblance of former society, even though it is mediated by technology and a payment plan
- Paul Elek, Paul. Comments and Excerpts from Urban Structure. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York. 1968. Pg. 127.