One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Internet Shock

Before my first visit to USA, I was introduced (First Time) to term, “Cultural Shock” and then last summer when I went back home, I heard another term, “Reverse Cultural Shock”. I guess, before both of these shocks, I had experienced another shock and I had no term to describe it. Although, I was feeling the need for a term to be able to communicate the experience but at the same time, I was thinking that, Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” is explaining the phenomenon. People like Huntington had long sensed that a “Global Village” in “Post Ideological Divide” will resurface the historical divides and the basis of so called, “Cultural Fault lines” would be historical boundaries of the cultural landscapes.

Parallel to physical world, now we have a digital world and today’s World Wide Web is no more, just a place to find information, publish information or exchange information. It has evolved into a socializing space and people have started calling it “Second Life”. With current growth rate, Facebook is expected to become the largest country of the world. If there are physical cultural fault lines then it is natural to expect that those fault lines will also find space in the digital space. Unlike the physical cultural landscape that has its own costs for the cultural activities that go beyond the means of lots of people; internet provides most of the services free of cost. If walking across cultural landscapes gives initial cultural shocks and retuning back gives initial reversal cultural shocks then it is logical to expect having both of these phenomena on internet.
Current estimate; Facebook population is 900 million people (Though, it is an old illustration but I like it because of the multi-level comparisons)
 Seeing the exchanges of debates on social networks and on comment sections of blogs and sites, on daily basis, I am realizing that, the divide is not just on “Cultural fault lines” but it is much deeper.  Subcultures, subgroups and even groups that do not fall into any category, encounter each other with the zeal of Orcs. Sometimes, these encounters are temporary on occasional events that are just good for a no purpose chatter (The street chatters are now on the pages of social networks).

In short, it is not just cultural fault lines or sub-cultural variations or even within small groups’ differences of opinions that keep the buzz of fuss going on but it is part of human nature to buzz around things necessarily or un-necessarily. So, if the “Cultural Shock” means to experience big cultural differences then it exist and show up with much details on internet and this might legitimize the term, “Internet Shock” as parallel to “Cultural Shock”.  

Edward O Wilson (Some consider him as Darwin of 20th Century) in a recent article, “Evolution and our Inner Conflicts” argues that conflicts are pre-determined by multi-level selection. Although, I may not agree with it as a whole however, two of his paragraphs are interesting and relevant to our topic…

……….“A second diagnostic hereditary peculiarity of human behavior is the overpowering instinctual urge to belong to groups in the first place. To be kept in solitude is to be kept in pain, and put on the road to madness. A person’s membership in his group — his tribe — is a large part of his identity. It also confers upon him to some degree or other a sense of superiority. When psychologists selected teams at random from a population of volunteers to compete in simple games, members of each team soon came to think of members of other teams as less able and trustworthy, even when the participants knew they had been selected at random.”…….

What I take from this paragraph is that, if you come across a post, a comment, article and video that call you or what you recognize yourself with, as “Stupid” , it might shock you or even anger you but as it is part of human nature to see others inferior to relative to themselves so there is no escape from it. Better to accept it and learn to live with it. It is what Wilson is also recommending in its final paragraph,

…….”The eternal conflict is not God’s test of humanity. It is not a machination of Satan. It is just the way things worked out. It might be the only way in the entire universe that human-level intelligence and social organization can evolve. We will find a way eventually to live with our inborn turmoil, and perhaps find pleasure in viewing it as a primary source of our creativity.”………..

If there is a partial truth in those two paragraphs of Wilson then internet shock is a real phenomenon and it will remain no matter even if global village shrink to global home. 

I tried to keep it short but it just expanded (redundancy is another internet phenomenon :) 

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