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The disconnected individual - an introduction

As mass media bring the world into the home, not only is human experience of the world reduced to convenient common denominators, but also personal space shrinks around the individual. At the same time, the mobile telephone puts people potentially on-call anywhere, anytime and network-based tele-activities bring hitherto outside pursuits into the home and private space. A new clause will have to be added to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guaranteeing the right to be disconnected from the network!

Curiously enough, in an age when hype would have us all joyously connected to universal networks, the dilemma of modern man and modern woman is that he or she is in fact fundamentally disconnected from the surrounding world.

Putting the concept of the "individual" into perspective will help understand this situation. It would also be an important step towards understanding what mutations are likely to affect the person and beyond him or her, society itself, with the advent of the so-called Information Society.

The current notion of "individual" is a recent invention. Yet its significance is so all embracing and self-evident, we can hardly conceive that in the past such a notion would have been unimaginable. It is not easy to talk about the subject as words tend to mislead us. They are so steeped in current meanings and current practices that it is difficult to use them to describe a different reality.

Society is now seen by the individual as something separate, extraneous, often hostile. Many changes over the years have contribute to this rift between the individual, society and the world around him or her. The split extends into the heart of personal activities and perceptions of self. Part of our feeling that the individual is outside and separate from society springs from the heritage of our scientific forefathers. They set out to understand the mechanisms of the world and our relationship to it, by adopting the supposedly neutral position of an outside observer. In addition, only those phenomena were considered that could be reproduced in a laboratory, itself cut off from the rest of the world. Current scientific theories point to the vanity and misguidedness of such a choice.

The other texts of The re-connected individual are:

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ISSN: 1664-834X Copyright © , Alan McCluskey,
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Created: July 3rd, 1996 - Last up-dated: July 3rd, 1996