The Degradation of Human Relations Through Instant and Ever-present Communication, and the New Etiquette It Requires

Shand, John (2012). The Degradation of Human Relations Through Instant and Ever-present Communication, and the New Etiquette It Requires. Journal of the Philosophy of Life, 2(1)

URL: http://www.philosophyoflife.org/list.html

Abstract

The new possibility opened up by recent technology of ever-present, unbroken and potentially instant communication has had a fundamental effect on human relations, presenting us with modes of communication unprecedented in human history. Although there are some good effects, one of the bad effects is the potential for degradation in human relations in respect of the capacity for, and habit of, empathy, understanding and thoughtfulness between individuals, and an undermining of the expectation of reasonable anticipation in relation to others and the consequent relief from the responsibility of having such anticipation. Many technological developments have changed human life. But one that so strongly determines communication, when communication is such a central part of what it means to be a person and to have relations with others, is bound to have far profounder effects than most other technological changes. The significance of new modes of communication is set against the fact that it is very recent and utterly unprecedented in human history, and is not something that could have been taken account of as part of the adaptations of human evolution.

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