Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Re-approaching Nearness: Online communication and its place in Praxis

by Ulises A. Mejias
abstract: "An interesting transposition has happened. It used to be that the farther things were, the more difficult it was to know them. Today, thanks to communication technologies, we often develop relationships with what is far at the expense of what is immediately around us. This paper explores the increased irrelevancy that the near acquires through our use of online technologies. But by proposing a model of praxis that incorporates our actions online as well as offline, this paper also argues that online technologies can play an important part in bringing the epistemologically far near to us, and making the physically near relevant again."
Mejias' observation that we tend to associate virtuality with an "alternate reality" divorced from the physical reality we inhabit is really helpful. Online communication doesn't allow us to escape from the physical world. It simply extends the boundaries of that physical world.