14 December 2010

Being Together

The notion of technology being external, and of limited relevance, of one's personality is shifting. For instance, one's interaction through technology on Social Networks is becoming recognized as part one's (perceived) identity. Deprived of technology, one is not able to build such identity, and thus one exists partially. Facebook's recent picture depicting friendships worldwide is a striking example of showing those that exist.

Reasoning from radical African communalism, one could provide a new answer to the dominant rational view on identity, that, for instance, an internet search (or services like Gist) of a person now shows. As an antidote to the thus growing distance between individuals stands the African traditional view that 'reality of the communal world takes preference over the reality of the individual life'. Many might heed to such, hence, I guess, growth of building communities on the Web.

In my view, researching technology within the realm of traditional African thought could open new ways as how we perceive, and thus develop, technology. For instance, African social-ethical ideals might provide answers to technology development that otherwise focuses quite singularly on empowering the individual at the expense of the collective. Of course, such research is to be conducted in a different manner, using inclusive, collaborative methods, with open source and non-competitive approaches.

Seeing the difficulties that ensue with the prevailing Western view, I would like to encourage that technology could aim to unite people among themselves to facilitate Being Together.