psychology

man machine distinction

Turkle dwells on the idea that a child can give a computer the psychological abilities of a person, i.e. think or talk, but still consider it a machine. "These children who so effortlessly split consciousness and life are forerunners of a larger cultural movement." I know I am one of these kids, I started playing video games when I was 5 and haven't looked back, but why is this so groundbreaking? I guess no other generation has experienced the "computer age" like we have, but separating reality, or biological life, from virtual reality, or machines, does not take any effort at all. Maybe those from generations past just don't get it, much like my grandparents don't understand sarcasm and irony the way I do. In fact, intensive research has gone into the correlation of violent video games and violent acts in life. The classic example being that the kids in the Columbine shooting played Doom. It turns out, the correlation is non-existent. People playing violent video games, or video games of any type, easily separate fantasy from reality. The things that form our opinions and actions are peers and parents, not video games and movies. It must be our version of rock-and-roll; old people just don't get it.

More on the interconnected "SELF"

Last class I briefly mentioned a psychologist named Heinz Kohut in an attempt to draw a comparison between his Self Psychology theories and those Guattari's. Both authors share a distaste for Freud's traditional psychoanalytic conception of the self as a concrete and insular entity.

Kohut has not, by any means, incorporated media and technology theory into his work, yet he may have something to offer those of us who are interested in how "I" and its subjectivity may be necessarily connected with external people and concepts.

Kohut's theory of self psychology rests on the concept of the selfobject. This selfobject is generally a person who is experienced as part of yourself/"I" for narcissistic purposes. So, for example, the expected control we may have over others is somehow commensurate to the control we feel we have over our own bodies and minds. Our relationships with people serve us much more than just making us happy according to Kohut. They actually allow us to realize our intrinsic potentials because they are intertwined with our personal constitutions.

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