Saturday, 18 October 2014

Learning ubiquity

Over the course of this paper, I have found that when faced with arguments such as Heidegger's notion of readiness-to-hand (98) and its implications for the ways we (don't) think about the technology we live with, and perhaps especially Luhman's posthuman insistence that society is no longer a "human" one (5), I find it the most natural thing in the world to struggle with these concepts for a few hours, maybe a couple of days, and then at the end of it suddenly retcon my own knowledge from a snide "what is this heresy?" to an equally superior "well obviously".

Growing up between the '90s and early 2000s, I was involved in the social revolutions of email, instant messaging programs, social network websites and downloadable music and movies. I have lived through one of the largest cultural paradigm-changes in history, have been on both sides of what we now know as the digital divide, and as ubiquity continues to colonise and settle in all regions of our cultural database, I have to wonder if my attitude is simply a coping mechanism, the result of some overlooked repository of internalised technophobia breaking the surface of my unconscious, goaded out by data that threatens to rewrite my cognitive map.

Have I learnt effectively? And am I the only one whose values are pre-ubiquity in a post-ubiquity world? The warnings of police to online daters following a woman's gang-rape after agreeing to meet somebody she met on Tinder directly regurgitate rape culture's victim-blaming rhetoric, which far precedes the concept of ubiquitous media. Is media too ready-to-hand (Heidegger, 98) for us to responsibly use without juggling a job and dense philosophical study, even if "we" are the police, the government - the people who design this media?

Who is learning, and learning what?

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