The paradigmatic shift from a modern, industrial society, based on energy, to a post-modern, post-industrial society , based on information, has taken place. Despite the King Canutes trying to stop the third wave, Marie Antoinettes saying what revolution? , ostriches in a very vulnerable position, it is clear that the revolution is over. However, one needs only read the popular press to realise that most people are acting and speaking as if nothing has changed. We are merely going through another recession. Opinions differ only with respect to how long it will last before things get back to normal . We have gone through a revolution, and things will never be normal again. If we sleep through the current turbulent transition, undisturbed by the confusing co-mingling of the death rattles of the industrial society and the birth cries of the post-industrial society, we will wake up, unprepared, in an entirely different world.
Whereas we are familiar with the technophobes, among us and within each of us, who argue that nothing has changed, we are less familiar with the technophiles, among and within us, who argue that everything has changed. Many who gravitate to virtual reality/cyberspace tend to view themselves as entering a brave new world in which nothing is familiar. There is a tendency for people, involved in virtual reality/cyberspace, to overemphasis the subjective map in over-reaction to the traditional over-emphasis on the objective world. Each subjective reality is equally reliable and valid. There are no absolute standards of ethics, logic or aesthetics. What is good, what is true and what is beautiful are relative to each person. It is understandable that standards defined largely by dead white Anglo-Saxon males be challenged by live people of different colours, different ethnic backgrounds, and different sexes. However, there are a lot of babies in that bathwater! It may be necessary to throw it all out and then start rescuing the babies which are worth rescuing. However, if we throw out rationality itself - that is, the faith that there is an objective world and that it is possible for us to create a progressively more and more accurate and more and more complete subjective map of it - then there is no basis for deciding what to keep and what to throw away. Recognition of participant and observer effects, in the technosphere and sociosphere respectively, as discussed above, by extending the definition of rationality, may salvage some of those babies.
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