Ghostly (Re-)Semblances and Specular (Con-)Figurations: The Age of the Advent of Technologism and the End of Communication?

Ghostly (Re-)Semblances and Specular (Con-)Figurations: The Age of the Advent of Technologism and the End of Communication?

Raymond Aaron Younis
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4168-4.ch004
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Many thinkers conceptualize authentic communication in terms of an interpersonal encounter, for example between an “I” and a “you,” a living subject and a living subject, unmediated by objects, electronic gadgets, or ICTs (informatics and communication technologies), or through an authentic human dialogue involving openness, choice, freedom, courage, and almost always, some risk and uncertainty. In the elevated language of Buber and Maritain one might say an existentially charged encounter between two (or more) beings involves opening up to each other, calling each to the other, face to face, thus allowing living truth to emerge.
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There can be little doubt that informatics and communication technologies have transformed, and some would say rendered problematic, not just such ways of thinking about relations and authenticity between human subjects, but also the very question of the possibility of such relations, especially given the global phenomenon of simulation, social media, avatars, and technologically mediated communication at almost every point of our personal, interpersonal and professional relationships in the digital age. The following questions will be explored in this chapter: What are the changes to and effects of ICTs on our communicative relations in the 21st century? Is it still possible to speak of authentic interpersonal encounters in the light of the emergence of informatics and communication technologies and their proliferation in the digital age, in the paths opened up by thinkers like Buber and Heidegger (for example, 2017, 2016, 2013, 2002A, 2002B, 1998, 1984, 1982, 1976A, 1976B, 1973, 1971, 1967, 1966, 1955, among many others)? And what should one do, given the acceleration and intensification of the advent of technologism in our time?

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