Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Primitive Processes on the Internet

In continuation to the previous posting, an article by Prof Robert M Young, Professor of Psychotherapy and Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Sheffield, makes two insightful points:

1. "One of the most striking features of email forums... is that people can experience almost no impediment to expressing themselves — for good or ill. They can say something which they would be very unlikely to say on the phone or write in a letter, largely, I think, because it all feels as if it its happening in the head. You do not even have the other person’s voice cues; no piece of paper, envelope, stamp or trip to the post is required. Cyberspace has a fantasy quality. As a result, people say the most intimate thing and the most horrid things with considerable ease....

...It is also the case that one is in a private space and alone while writing, inside the head. No other face or voice is in the room. It can seem like reflecting, with no external consequences. People are usually unaware as they compose email postings that messages are archived by the recipient or automatically by the forum. There is no sense of a permanent record. It can all seem like passing thoughts, of no long-term consequence. A computer file does not feel like a permanent record. Even though it can be printed out its reality is experienced as virtual."


2. "...where people can be whomsoever they like. They change their genders, their degree of assertiveness, their sexual predilections at will. Anything goes... On the net it is easy to split into idealised and denigrated part-object relations... People are also much more generous and helpful on the net in scholarly matters than I have found them to be in the rest of life. On the other hand, people can project violently and utterly denigrate another or a whole forum and have tantrums...

...I think cues are important here. The coinage of email communications is the written word, usually composed quickly, often in haste. The keyboard is one’s palate. There is no eye contact; there are no nuances of intonation, no instantaneous chance to measure and correct misunderstandings, as there are in the feedback loops of face-to-face conversation or even a phonecall. There is no necessary space for reflection."

In context of the forum I was refering to, this makes a lot of sense.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

:) now that's what I call a case study.. though it is too close for comfort..

You sound like Calvin when he is facing Moe.. I wonder whether those forumeans will get the point..

Bravo!! Encore!!

- Surya