Alberto Melucci

A society that uses information as its vital resource alters the constitutive structure of experience. The way we conceive reality and ourselves is changed in its cognitive, perceptive, and emotional dimensions: the representation of space and time, the relationship between possibility and reality, the link between natural phenomena and their symbolic elaboration are affected. Experience becomes an artificial construct: the product of relations and representations rather than of circumstances, the laws of nature, or contingency.
The accelerated pace of change, the multiplicity of roles assumed by the individual, the deluge of messages that wash over us expand our cognitive and affective experience to an extent that is unprecedented in human history. The points of reference used by individuals and groups in the past to plot their life courses are disappearing. Answering the basic question ‘Who am I?’ becomes progressively more difficult; as we continue to need fixed anchor points in our lives but even our personal biographies begin to fail us as we hardly recognize ourselves in our memories. The search for a safe haven for the self becomes an increasingly critical undertaking, and the individual must build and continuously rebuild her/his ‘home’ in the face of the surging flux of events and relations.
… The constitutive dimensions of the self – time and space, health and sickness, sex and age, birth and death, reproduction and love – are no longer a datum but a problem. The self is no longer firmly pinned to a stable identity: it wavers, staggers, and may crumble.

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