Communication Technology and the World Spirit

Abstract

This paper aims to demonstrate how the global socio-cultural impact of the increasing interconnectedness of the world enabled by the development of communication technology can best be illuminated by Hegel's conception of the historical progress of the so-called ‘world spirit' towards consciousness of itself. In Hegel's philosophy the term ‘spirit' refers to a kind of social or collective form of consciousness that comes about as a result of the emergence of a totality of relations of mutual recognition between people. At a certain level of global integration, local ‘spirits', such as the ‘spirit' of a particular nation, become subsumed under a ‘world spirit' whose content is the universality of rights and fundamental values. For Hegel, such lived universality is ‘world spirit' that is conscious of itself as ‘world spirit', which is itself modernity as the ‘awakening of Reason in history'. Due to the creation of a global medium of instant communication, which makes possible a globalized totality of relations of mutual recognition, the manifestation of universalizing modernity is far more pronounced now than it was in Hegel's day.
However, the ubiquity of global communication and information channels can bring to the fore the stark contrast between particularist tradition and universalist modernity, which in turn can provoke forms of nationalist and fundamentalist resistance. Nonetheless, it is to be argued that, as such resistance relies on the medium of the ‘world spirit' in the form of global media attention, it amounts to a distorted form of the demand for recognition and inclusion.



Author Information
Simon Skempton, National Research University - HSE, Russia

Paper Information
Conference: ACERP2013
Stream: Ethics; Religion; Philosophy

This paper is part of the ACERP2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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