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Category Archives: Celebrating Difference

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN TODAY: Summarizing the Issues

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As globalized members of the internet community, we have  lost touch with the bio-rhythms of our unique locations.  We follow global fashions and share global concerns. By implication, we have lost touch with our immediate communities, our neighbourhoods, our streets and lanes.

Our issues may  no longer be immediate and local. We might raise funds for Somalian children—which I cannot argue that it is not a worthy enough cause.  The implication of our de-localized concerns is that we have also lost the sense of shared culture that comes with the feeling of belonging to a particular, specific and a locationally-defined community, which by definition is rooted in tradition, religion and inheritances.

To go back to one of the one of my earlier arguments, now more than ever culture can no longer be defined as a shared inheritance. Culture has moved to the personal sphere.

And, don’t these new practices of culture demand a redefinition of culture, and by implication also of multiculturalism?

Thus, to summarize the argument thus far:

Thesis 1: Humanism is bigger than culturalism

Thesis 2: Technology has redefined our social interactions and our sense of community

Thesis 3: Identity is no longer rooted in culture, community and religion. This is what it means to be a technobot

Thesis 4: Consequently historical issues have lost relevance as also have historical debates about multiculturalism.


Google is the new God of the TechnoBots

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The other day, a church tried to lure in believers by putting up on its notice board the statement, “Google does not have all the answers.” It got me thinking, God or Google, who answers questions better?

Ask Google something, and the search field never comes up empty. The answer might be as intelligent or ridiculous as the question is, but that is beside the point. If Google says the Answer to the Ultimate Question is not 42(as we found in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe) but 24, or 0, who is to argue with any finality? Is it not enough that there is always an answer in Google?

Ask God a question and all we have silence.  And since we are in desperate need for answers, and loosing patience we “look” back into our “souls”, look at intermediaries, signs and symbols, pundits and popes, and hit upon an answer. More likely they merely fulfill our emotional needs.

Considering that both Google and God give us the answers in our own images—as the question so the answer—do we need to quibble?

Can we just go ahead and declare, that today, as throughout human history, we are inventing a new god and are busily building a new religion around it? Google is the new god of the humanals and internet our new religion.

The best thing about this new god and religion is that we no longer to fight wars to prove that this one is better than any other religion.  After all, the whole world is an ardent believer of Google.

Celebrating Non-Difference and the Birth of the Technological Being

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When I look at how much we share, I am amazed that we have waged so many wars and undergone so much conflict to prove that we are different.

But whether we are metropolitans, slum-dwellers of Dharavi, shepherds in the Andes — birth, mothers, memories, consciousness, sorrows, joys, disease and death are not the only things we share. Both the rich and the poor got buried in the ashes of Pompeii and are swept away by tsunamis.

It is not just the physical conditions of our life and death which is our shared human heritage. We share the workings of our minds and consciousness. We are tool-makers and structure-imposers on reality, whereby we look at the world and receive, meditate and regurgitate technologies. And that is why, irrespective of our educational and economic status, we in the 21st century are the technological beings.

Whether we are sherpas listening to a radio in the foothills of the Everest, or a banker in New York, technology has become so deeply ingrained in our lives that we notice it no more than we see the atmosphere. No doubt, there is a wild variance in the application of technology in individual lives,  but  still it travels throughout the world, much like the toxins of a manufacturing town.

And as technological beings, we have adopted a new God!