Wednesday, March 29, 2006

New humanism?

Let's face it - when it comes to technology, the average citizen is in neanderthal mode. That is why we get such neanderthalian politicians and businessmen.

McLuhan said that, 'digital culture is the cognitive phase of electricity. Just as we took the muscular phase (heat, light and energy) for granted, many are taking this new phase for granted' ... but greed takes it toll often forcing participants to move to the 'making a killing' side of the 'making a difference' scale.'

What I mean is that most people only worry about how their body works when they have a backache, or about their car when they have to bring it to the garage. And with respect to the new social technologies, how do they make a buck with what they know.

There is definitely something wrong with creating a space, inviting all your friends in to network and then selling it (and them) all for a price. I guess that's capitalism at its best.

But there is hope.

The transformation is happening just as surely and unconsciously as it did at the time of the council of Trent when wise people were trying to put an old order into a religion that was being rapidly undermined by a totally new conception of man. Today, we are literally run over by the globalized and connective condition of humankind without the slightest moment of doubt.

Derrick de Kerckhove, the Director of the McLuhan Program calls them 'psychotechnologies' because they have one specific feature that they do not share directly with genetic engineering, that is their relationship to language.

'All technologies that code, sort and transport language also modify it and modify the speaker, listener, and generally the user of language. Language entertains an intimate relationship with our mind and all technologies that affect language also affect the strategies we use to organize time, space and self.'

So psycho-technologies restructure our minds? Yes, it bypasses language to address the basic building materials of the physical being.

New humanism?

Western humans became individuals at great cost of life and limb during the religious wars that followed the Reformation, itself a result of the spread of books by Gutenberg's invention.

However, it is predictable that this model of humanity will suffer a setback under the new digital conditions that affect our current time, our current space and, naturally, our conception of self.

But we have been there and done that several times over.

Today to counterbalance the effects of the new socio-digital developments that threaten the stance of the ABCED-minded man, we are seeing the development of a new culture within our universities and organizations; a new connective identity of the blogging world that is clashing with the identities of the literate man.

Is this the new interactivity, hypertextuality and connectivity miracle that will change everything? Certainly not.

Derrick de Kerckhove summarizes:
  • It takes two wings to fly, so do not ask me to waste my time with the left or the right alone;
  • In a world where matter and history are losing their capacity ofresistancee to plans, simulations and programming, we are now capable of willing reality, not merely stay victims of history or nature;
  • The real political job of the ordinary man today is to develop as comprehensive, fair and inclusive a vision of the world as possible and act on it.
This is why I like to get involved in discussions with new thinkers. Certainly not better thinkers. I think that is up to us to decide, filter, apply, etc. but new thinking, often scoured at from the margins, is the source of all change.


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5:29 AM, March 30, 2006  

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