The paper proves the assumption that being a worldview of the information society postmodernism simultaneously reverberates its problems, among which is blurring personal identity. The most vulnerable part of the postmodern ideology is the implicit inability to construct steady architecture of identification. This is hampered by specific ideas related to the fundamental principle of postmodernism, i.e. pluralism leading to relativism and the loss of sustainable landmarks. Applying the pluralism principle to the full may result in unlimited choice production, which should not be considered the achievement of the information society and postmodern culture, but its main problem. The social political consequences of tolerance issues and the equivalence of opinions, attitudes and values are discussed. Lack of preferred self-identification vectors reduces the motivation for the individual to develop a stable personal identity. If no paradigm in terms of the truth can claim a given status disputes over claims of significance turn into controversies over power, thereby generating social Darwinism. The principle of pluralism actually legitimizes radical ideologies, whose extreme form is terrorism put in the mosaic and multicultural postmodern world occurs to be one of many sociocultural paradigms. Exactly the identity crisis in the conditions of mass distribution of both military and information technologies is considered the main cause of radicalism as the result of finding pathological forms of cognitive personal identity. Social cultural and worldview crises of the information society are becoming the main cause for producing endurable and irregular forms of personal identity architecture.
In this paper virtualization and simulation technologies in the context of higher mental functions in information society are observed. The category of “simulacrum” considered within the representative model (Plato) and unrepresentative model (Deleuze, Baudrillard) is considered as a key factor for the theoretical analysis of virtual reality. Virtual reality is described as a space of simulacra, special signs that, unlike signs-copies do not fix any similarity, but fix dissimilarity with reference reality generating a sequence of simulations. A problem of subjectivity is highlighted, containing the merger of the subject and simulacrum in virtual reality. Thus, staying in a real world physically, the subject transits into a virtual world mentally. There it is endowed by a new virtual body, that has nothing in common with the subject’s corporeality. There are traps for technological simulacra related to the development of phantom reality and to the possibilities of combining virtual and true reality. Nowadays, technologies are becoming such power that is capable if erasing the border between a signifier and the signified. “Virtual” events play the leading role in information space. However, they generate real consequences, again acquiring real reflections and making an endless chain of switches between the real and the virtual events. As an example of destructive simulation, the use of virtual technologies for conducting military actions or for creating and promoting news events in mass media is given. It is stated that simulacra have become an inseparable part of cultural and historical reality of information society. It is indistinguishability of virtual and real entity that is defined as a reason of transformational processes of not only the identity but also of higher mental functions.
Based on the understanding of identity as an individual’s identity with the self within the cultural historical chronotope, and experienced as the feeling of belonging/ non-belonging to some communities, controllability/uncontrollability of situations and predictability/non-predictability of events, the paper describes the processes of identity transformation in the course of a technological development. Taken as the initial point, the idea of organ-extension (K. Marx, E. Kapp) and technological extension of man (S. Freud, M. McLuhan) means that technologies are the extension of a human body and its organs. The processes of technological extension assume a particular scale under condition of information society development, within which computer-, telecommunication-, transport-, bio-, nano- and other high technologies have become an actual cultural historical force that has a power to transform a human. Special attention is paid to the fact that unlike the precedent technologies that have just facilitated some or other human performance, modern technologies of information society do not only change the human topology, widen and expand human natural abilities but also really transform higher mental functions and mediate mental processes and relations between human individuals. Man becomes not only a biological and social creature but also a technological one, i.e. so called HOMO TECHNOLOGICUS. The scale and speed of cultural historical changes make the study of the technological extensions role in the transformation of identity a key point for developing ways of comprehending their role in the life of a modern person, and also for forecasting the evolution of relationship between man and machines in the future.
The interdisciplinary approach in studies of identity has to employ methods that allow to study and compare the prognostic value of diagnostic criteria of identification which are suggested within the line of various concepts. The objective of this research is to study the steadiness and correlation of identification values according to a number of criteria, and also their relationship to subjective well-being, coping strategies, and also the severity of psychopathology symptoms in subjects without mental illness. The method of “Who Am I?” by M. Kuhn and T. McPartland was completed by a quantitative Likert scale to which extent each identity is liked (emotional evaluation), is often actualized (significance), is important for the subject (psychological centrality), and is recognized by others (perceived social recognition).
The two samples, psychology students (n1=82) and adult subjects (n2=50), show sufficient consistency of identification values, impossibility to interchange the criteria, and the possibility of reliable calculation of a single indicator coherence/incoherence in evaluations identifications. Positive assessment, psychological centrality and awareness of their identities more often contribute to choosing active behavioural and cognitive coping strategies. The additional consideration of consistency in values results in better prediction of the inclination to positive reformulation, appeal to religion and focus on emotions. Relationship of the importance of identification and depression was mediated by the emotional assessment: frequent thoughts about identification prevented depression only in the subjects with positive emotional evaluation of identity. In general, the use of quantitative assessment allows us to complete the qualitative analysis of identifications by general indicators of subjective experience of identity.
The paper discusses the effect of Information Technologies entering into the everyday life of a human, which is associated with the erosion of the identity boundaries. In respect of such technologies phenomenon, which is important for the structure and dynamics of identity, is revealed: the interpenetration of the two control systems. On the one hand, technology provides people with new means of control over the world, but at the same time we becomes controlled by the same technological expansion. Getting equipped with certain vital facilities, technologically advanced people become deprived of their privacy, so technology turns out to be the means of total control. Benefits that provide technological expansion have the reverse side. Extended opportunities to access information results in increasing the availability of an Internet user, a smart phone owner or a bank cardholder. Any private information in the network can be accessed by a third party without the user’s consent.
Personal deprivatization results in increased levels of anxiety, emergence of feelings of being controlled and feelings of insecurity. The agenda includes the issue of ethical and psychological repercussions of electronic monitoring, digitizing, and chipping via wearable implants. The paper discusses the risk of changing human living through invisible, widespread and standard technologies of control. It is shown in the paper that personal space violation is not always a result of the activities of the state, but is rather the result of misunderstanding the specifics of Information Technologies, as well as ways of using than by a human.
Realizing that technology is a not neutral issue with respect to the user is the basis for complying with ordinary ‘information hygiene’ and preventing violations of the identity boundaries.
The article examines the relationship between the spread of terrorism and the transformation processes of self-identity in contemporary society. On the example of comparing the post"modern world and fundamentalist ideology shows the contradictory nature of changing patterns of identification.
The analysis of the psychological aspect of technological progress is shown. Its psychological effects such as the development and chronology of mental illness, cyborgisation, invalidation, excess availability and loss of privacy, “blurring” the boundaries of corporeity, increase in dependence risk, change in the structure of needs and activity are considered. Developments of diagnostic criteria for each category of impact are shown.
Keywords: technical progress;
psychological effects of technological progress;
excess availability and loss of privacy;
“blurring” the boundaries of corporeality;
structure of needs;
structure of activity;
The article discusses the problems of cyborgization and disability as a consequence of technological extensions of human. Cyborgization is the process of combining man and machine, which is accompanied by substitution of natural body functions and human mind. Technological media have become integral human prostheses, and their loss leads to disability of a human and poses a threat to his\her identity. Understanding the impact of technology on a human being a representative of the information community is supposed to begin with rejecting an approach based on their neutral attitude to a person. There are three main trends in modern technology.
The first one is the complete denial of the latter and is deemed as completely hostile to a person (neo-luddism), the second one is based on the maximum convergence of human and machine intelligence (transhumanism), and the third one is the intermediate position which dwells upon “peaceful” coexistence of human and technology, and development of mechanisms to adapt to the technological reality of the information society.
The author wonders whether M. Heidegger’s idea that technology has become a European man’s destiny and challenge of being can help us find the possibility to avoid fatal scenarios of developing relationship of extremely technologically extended human and extremely humanised machines. Finding an answer to another question whether it is possible to make a person happy with the merging of technologies is the key to understanding further development of technological extension of humans.
There can be only one conclusion: remaining an enigma for its incomprehensible nature or a dream of percieving it and submission of technological advances, the technology and a human being always remain separated.