As the course is in English, pardon me if this post will be only available in English, as well.
Though I have been November-ill most of this week, I found some time in between to catch up with the videos and lectures of #edcmooc in this third week. It´s fascinating, because now we are on to something absolutely basic to humans: the question on how we define ourselves as humans and how this relates to the idea of digitally and its impacts on human being and society. After reading & watching the resources, including this great short film “They are made out of meat“, I was definitely wondering on the human – digital nature of our current world. It all depends on where your priority lies when you define something!
Surely, thats a question that comes up every so often when you notice that you are bound to the news on twitter, blogs, etc. When you realize that a smartphone has become a real part of your life, creating networks of persons (well, what persons? real persons? avatars?), well lets say “beings” that are becoming part of your life, that in a certain way you trust in the fact that they are THERE (out there, in any case). So: is this a new level of being human? I haven’t read enough on the subject to revise any theories that may exist, its just that I feel something is changing. Our social life is increasingly immersed in others than the actual “real” spheres of life: meeting in person, speaking (life or on telephone). There are other ways to be inside a peer group and they are virtual.
Now, I have often been asked by older family members if I don’t feel that I am depended on my smartphone. And on the internet. And I have to say that: YES, I have become dependent on it. And with developing this dependency I have learnt to be able to cope with it, balance it, give it the room it needs. And to create and maintain OTHER rooms of relationships as well! Is dependency on new social groups bad or good? Or is it just a new form of interaction? Just as books were considered to be sickening to people who read too much, or TV for people who watch it for hours? And isn’t this all about how we deal with it? It helped me a lot to see historic approaches to “what is human” from antiquity onwards, because it shows you that the integration of new traits in our perception of humanity is a changing and slow process.
It seems to me that we are, right now, in an age where many of us are divided between the people that are online and offline present – and the ones that don’t use online social resources but have a rather pragmatic, informational approach to the use of the internet and digital possibilities. I still can’t see where the Digital Natives fit in, but I hope to find out as my child grows up.
Anyway, being immersed in the sphere of Moocs, constant twitter messages, emails and the like, I cannot help but feel that this is and will become a really big part of our future. We will be immersed in digital life & we will have to come terms with it in order to create a healthy relationship with it.
Personally, I see humanity mainly as the ability and the wish to belong to a social group (or various). This may be a very simplistic definition, but its what for me characterizes a human being in the foremost sense. Any other human elements as well as a critic approach to this wish of belonging, in my opinion, stem from it. In this sense, immersing oneself in new social groups in a digital world is just a logical next step from where we are right now. This blog is just one example of changing the “real” world employing digital means. Creating new networks & reaching out to new people, present in this new space of digitalis. (Guy from Guy Cowleys Blog put my feelings into an image, that can be seen here!)
Extending our space into a digital one is maybe also a logical development when in the “real” world we don’t have nothing left to discover. OUr geography has been out mapped 100 years ago and what is left is outer space – and digital space. I sometimes tend to see digital space like a new land, where you may get lost, encounter wonderful places, adventures and perils. its these human feelings that have remained the same, and we set about this new continent of Digital-Land. Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives are just words that are in line with these feelings.