The information that is given by the media (especially TV) about the facts of the world, when they are not manipulated for subversive purposes, are generally ends in themselves, that is, completely useless.
The media compete for those who offer more news in the best form, but the result is that the use of this information is inversely proportional to their quantity.
Information makes sense only when it allows some form of interaction. If you describe a problem, you must also propose a way to solve it, otherwise addiction is induced and the user becomes indifferent to things, even to the most tragic ones.
Too much information is likely to crush the responsibility of the individual. The media, in fact, while addressing millions of users, actually produce information only for individuals, since there is no form of sharing in the management of news, there is certainly isolation and therefore a sense of powerlessness.
The web, in this sense, seems to be, at the moment, a valid alternative to television and classic one-way media.
The web allows some very important things:
- the possibility of obtaining personalized information, useful for one’s business and interests;
- some form of interaction is possible on the information obtained, to the point that the information initially received may undergo substantial changes;
- the receiver can in turn become an issuer, creating a sort of virtuous circle of virtual information;
- multiple users receiving similar information can decide to organize themselves and do something around the information received;
- the quality, the truthfulness, the feedback of the news can be verified in real time.
Of course you have to be careful not to fall back on the same mistakes as classic media. The web in fact, even more than TV, lends itself to offering an incredible amount of information, difficult to manage.
When you begin to archive the news received, without even reading it, convinced that you can do it later, the web is already turning into a useless tool.
The communication offered by the web is currently much more democratic than that offered by the media managed by the capital (radio, TV, newspapers etc.), for the simple reason that its birth was spontaneous and its management does not yet have management centers univocal, since large companies have only been interested in this form of user-interaction since relatively recent times.
The communication of traditional media is today all the more universal the more empty and standardized. It is uniform information, consistent with the communication standards required by large capital. As such, it is almost totally devoid of content useful for facing and solving the typical problems of advanced bourgeois societies.
The value of this information is equal to that of the prayers for the Egyptian mummies. Not only is it information-chatter – Heidegger would say – but it is also information whose prevailing content, more or less masked, is always commercial. Even when information does not sell anything specific, it sells itself as a minimum.
The traditional media have given us an enormous knowledge of situations and realities very far from our daily life and have led us to believe that, even if we could not solve any of the great problems that afflict humanity, our political representatives could have done it, which certainly have means far superior to that of the common citizen.
The collapse of this illusion has certainly contributed to the rapid spread of the network, which is the possibility of interacting directly with any person in the world. However, now we must not risk having nothing important to tell us.
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Web users claim to feel part of the global village only because browsing has virtually reduced distances to zero. In reality it accentuated them. And for a variety of reasons:
- the users of the network are mainly concentrated in the most developed areas of the planet and with the network they have increased their possibilities, while increasing the distances towards those who live in the less developed areas;
- a sure integration of the differences, due to cultures, religions, ethnic groups …, implies a real process of direct, reciprocal confrontation, which has very little of virtual, and in any case or the virtual places itself at the service of this process or not serves to confirm the existing;
- large financial holding companies and multinationals have a concept of “globality” aimed solely at the valorisation of capital, so anti-globalism is perhaps the best way to implement the concept of “global village”;
- men can feel cosmopolitan by virtue of a philosophy of life or even just by a simple inner predisposition (induced for example by an existence lived according to nature), without for this needing additional confirmation on the level of telematic means.
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The effort that is made to seize the technology related to the use of the computer is always disproportionate to the results obtained, since these mainly concern the intellectual sphere, not the entirety of the human being.
Computer-related activities tie man to machine in a rather exclusive, one-sided, individualistic relationship. Man mentally endeavors to learn certain actions, which in turn refer to other related actions by analogy.
In other words, computer science risks presenting itself as a sort of vicious circle, in that it fails to develop man in his inner complexity. The relational skills of a computer scientist are essentially no more developed than those of a drug addict continually looking for his dose. The junkie wants to be friends with everyone if everyone is willing to justify him in his addiction.
Computer science develops reason but atrophies feelings. Develop the mind but reduce the spirit. This limit can be dangerous, since the considerable power of IT means is likely to be managed by people with little sense of the common good.
With computer science and even more with telematics, science becomes self-referential and in the name of scientific progress, quantitative knowledge, hierarchically organized, ends up producing only disasters, as it inhibits the development of other forms of creativity and socialization, which they are specific to man.
Computer science offers the possibility of rational control of reality, but reality cannot be controlled only in a rational way. There are other aspects that are no less important, aimed at the livability of reality: love, friendship, altruism, emotionality … up to artistic and poetic expressions.
Information technology risks producing amorphous subjects in terms of human feelings and private and public morals, people who are poorly engaged on a social and political level, and substantially individuals capable only of making technical decisions.
Entrusting such powerful personnel to the management of such powerful means can be dangerous. The lack of familiarity with the contradictions of real life can lead to making absolutely arbitrary choices, which obviously the political and economic power will justify in the name of the complexity of things.
In the name of an abstract complexity it is possible to totally misunderstand the needs, even minimal, of real life, which is always characterized by contradictions that are the result of human freedom and which therefore inevitably escape computer-based interpretations, which however complex are, are always schematic.
In short, if the individual has personal problems in the way of relating to others, he can also sublimate this handicap through information technology, but if the satisfactions he finds do not have positive feedback in terms of social relationships, that is, if it is not avoided with careful to confuse the “ends” with the “means”, the result of the process will inevitably be very illusory.
By now the information is so vast and complete that to check an individual’s learning abilities it is preferable to submit it to maieutic tests. The individual (for example, a candidate for something, but also a simple student from high school or university) should draw the answer to a specific question from his own experience or sensitivity, and not from his previous knowledge.
That is, in the face of a specific problem or statement or hypothesis of solution, of which the candidate can easily have a considerable amount of information available relatively quickly, what personal considerations can he make?
A notional memory effort should not be made, but a sort of personal reworking on the basis of easily available information materials, testimonies inherent to that problem, examples with similar content, etc.
From the point of view of the content we already have everything: what we need is the ability to obtain it and, having done this, the ability to rework it in a useful, practicable way: which does not mean that the reworking must necessarily be original or unpublished. We are not asked to be geniuses but only concrete people who reason with their heads.
Knowledge, with the web and multimedia, has become everyone’s heritage, at least in the West: it no longer makes sense to maintain an asymmetrical relationship between those who know and those who do not know based on the scarce diffusion of knowledge, on the confidentiality of knowledge, on the inaccessibility of sources …
The most difficult problem to solve is that of how to put to use this vast amount of cognitive data.
In short, it is much better to simulate a sort of particular situation and see how the candidate gets along rather than asking him to repeat standardized things.
If we want to practice it in memory, it is sufficient to make it do things in which memory is a must: eg learn the script of a theatrical performance or recite verses or sing a song. All in a very creative way. The mnemonic repetition can only be part of a specific workbook, it can no longer be the rule with which to verify learning.
WORDS AND FACTS
Words that do not correspond to the facts are destined to age prematurely, but those that correspond to them, if they do not age, are dangerous. Better uselessness to madness: it does less damage. A philosopher who walks off the ground is better than a politician intent on transforming the world according to his own ideology.
When in the Gospels it was said that the Sabbath is made for man and not vice versa, the end of an ideological primacy was preached, an abstraction by virtue of which it was claimed to establish the difference between good and evil.
If it is necessary to give primacy to the human being, it is clear that no definition can be given of this being. The human being is in fact characterized by needs that change constantly, and by the freedom of conscience, which is elusive.
The human being is the set of social relationships that he experiences, the ever-changing result of these relationships. And in these relationships the most important thing of all is conscience, that is, the possibility of freely choosing the best solution to the problems faced.
Here, the difference between an ideological position and a humanistic one lies precisely in the fact that the first does not act until it finds the best solution, or acts without taking reality into account (as in all cases of terrorism, for example).
A humanistic or democratic position is instead flexible, in that it takes into consideration not only the needs but also the conditions that limit the possibility of solving them.
Political philosophers are often worth nothing, because they prefer big ones to small steps, so they either don’t engage in politics at all, or they do it as fanatics, not having the pulse of the situation.
Only people make revolutions that change history: revolutionaries only have to prepare the moment when the fuse will be lit.