Just over a week ago I attended the LSE conference on the ‘social and organizational consequences of information growth and the Internet’. Last year it was on identity. Both years have been excellent. I particularly enjoyed listening to Albert Borgman who spoke about the impacts on our society. For example 200 years ago two-thirds of us were illiterate whereas today, although illiterate, we lack other skills such as texture/context. This is the ability to feel how articles originated. For example, the material you may buy for your curtains at home, just 200 years ago, at least before the Industrial revolution, a woman could visualise how it became material, the process. All this she saw when she touched the texture. It’s the context or texture. What we see today is a piece of linen as linen.
I was thinking about this a lot. It is like not having sight or the ability to feel texture when we touch something. Have we really lost something here? I was thinking how satisfying it feels to grow things in my garden, and how knowing the process, I see it when I buy something. He mentioned that more people should get close to nature, his example was gardening. It brings us back to basics, helps us to appreciate a good life. Simple things that are determined by external factors outside of our control, the weather, nature for example. It stops us thinking about things that are just not important.
He also talked about co modification. It describes what is happening today to information. Information has become cheapened. There was also moral co modification, economic co modification and e-co modification. Co modification will provide a universal uniformity that will lead to a decline of competence and comprehension, furthermore a dispersion and isolation of people from one another. Consequences are instead of a thoughtful and cosmopolitan people that I hope most of us are today, some of us have become, and will become, thoughtless and arrogant. Even though individually people are in general decent.