Communicative Ontology in the Post-Modern Context
Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) is the new in-person interaction. The United Nations International Telecommunications Union estimates that approximately 40% of the world is able to access the World Wide Web, a rising trend from less than 1% in 1995. The ability to access the Internet implies a new medium of communication. Twenty years ago, it was rare to encounter a resident of Wisconsin communicating with a resident of South Korea daily and in a timely fashion.
Now, with the rise of new social networking sites, such as Facebook, it has become common practice for people to communicate with each other through cyberspace. Global communication via the World Wide Web has become efficient and reliable, subsequently replacing initial methodologies of conversation. I am not suggesting that virtual communication has killed the capacity for conversation in physical entities; rather, I am implying that a participant of the virtual world relinquishes his physical entity but maintains his cognition—his ability to write and to voice. A World Wide Web participant is no longer restricted by geographic boundaries. The efficiency and reliability of Computer-Mediated Communication among parties is the explanation for replacing in-person interaction.
Yet, I extend the explanation further by suggesting that efficient global communication as a result of the World Wide Web is indicative of a new mode of being—more precisely, the next natural step in the progression of the human experience. I first argue that the increasing trend in Computer-Mediated Communication—which mirrors the increasing trend of global commerce in the 1700s—is a natural process of the human ontology. Then, I expand the presumption by writing that humans habitually desire to interact with each other and that national identities are constructs that hinder total-inclusive interaction. Indeed, we are inherently, as Diogenes of Sinope suggested, “citizens of the world”. I would like to be clear: I am not advocating for the destruction of national identities: these are fixed conditions that are historically engrained into the human identity.
What I am advocating for is an augmented idea of community. By utilizing the notion that Computer-Mediated Communication has become the new efficient method of conversing, I am indirectly encouraging a shift in our current idea of community. As Americans we must, as Martha Nussbaum wrote, “learn to recognize humanity wherever [they encounter] it and be eager to understand humanity in its ‘strange’ guises.” As humans, we must perceive ourselves as citizens of not only our local communities or nations—but also the global community, which includes all of its diversity that paints the human cosmos in an array of color.