Schizophrenia and Ubiquity
What happens when information access permeates increasing layers of our everyday lives? What effect does omnipresent connectivity have on our mental state?
"Ours is ʻa new form of schizophreniaʼ, Baudrilliard said of the current era, “the emergence of ʻan immanent promiscuity and the perpetual interconnection of all information and communication networksʼ leads to ʻa state of terror which is characteristic of the schizophrenicʼ, that of ʻan over-proximity of all thingsʼ (Baudrillard, 1988c:27) (Baudrillard, J., & Lotringer, S. (1988). The ecstasy of communication. Foreign agents series. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Autonomedia).
"…The schizophrenic is not,” he continues, “as generally claimed, characterized by his loss of touch with reality, but by the absolute proximity to and total instantaneousness with things, this overexposure to the transparency of the world',"
“The surplus of information has a powerful democratizing effect", says Thomas Eriksen of the University of Oslo, "since it makes it impossible for the State or self-appointed elites to dictate which knowledge each of us should appropriate; at the same time, it has – for the exact same reason – fragmenting effects. A new scarce resource is coherence.”
“Whoever is able to filter and sort the information at his or her disposal, and is thereby able to discard ninety-nine per cent as irrelevant, wins this game – not whoever is able to remember the names of Russian rivers or African heads of state”
(Obsessive egalitarianism to pluralist universalism? Options for twenty-first century education. Keynote speech, NERA conference, Oslo 10 March 2005. Thomas Hylland Eriksen University of Oslo and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam firstname.lastname@example.org).