Thirty figs and a Techno-Communicative Transition

Even writings had to appear, to the preletterate populations of the American continent, as a mean of superhuman communication, as a sign of power, almost divine.
When emerge a new communication technology, thanks to the creation of new media for the transmission of information, new communicative forms in extension and for the processing model of the information become possible; as a result there are new processes of techno-communicative transition during which mythologies, imaginary, interpretative models, projective models and methods are shocked and called into question, subjected to a twist and distorted, causing disturbances of the individual minds and in communicative interaction.

In these transitions something happens, affecting not only the communication but also the cognitive activity and the mind itself, understood as a process of perception, processing and projection of worlds.

It is a new relationship between the universe of broadcasters and the universe of receivers. When the technological transformation invests the universe of broadcasters up to produce a change in the format of the issues the social mind suffers an effect of maladjustment, imbalance, starting a random movement and tumultuous research during which occur a real epidemics of the pathology of cognition, because the universe of receivers continues to operate cognitively and effectively on interpretative and interactive models and cannot decode properly the mass of signals in entry.

The mass of informations that today receives in one week a person who plays cognitive activities, interconnected with the digital machine, is higher than informations a man of a traditional society receives over a lifetime.

The interweaving of information and competitive economy leads to a veritable anxiety in front of the proliferative and unlimited labyrinth of the circulating informations on the communicative networks, and comes to transform, often, the confusion in panic. Each information source identifies itself as indispensable, and any information could be the decisive information for social mind, whether it be an economic information or an information for survival.

In an essay entitled The memory and the absence: oral tradition and civilization of writings in the America of conquistadores (1979), the anthropologist Anita Seppilli, studious of the symbolic experience, understood as an autonomous dimension on epistemological plan, in relation to the  rational_conceptual dimension, described the history of a illiterate native in the period of the Spanish conquest.

In the story, his master, a Spanish “alcalde”, a day gave him a basket with 30 figs to bring to his friend, another “alcalde” who lived thirty miles away. In the basket put also a letter: in the letter there was a clearly reference to 30 figs, and there was writing of more and less. The native took the basket and went. During the journey, after he had stopped to rest under a tree, taken by hunger, decided to eat a dozen of figs. Then resumed the journey until the destination. The friend of the master, after having read the letter, enumerated the figs and punished the native with a good number of lashes. How did he know the lack of the figs? Wondered the poor man. The “alcalde” replied that the letter said that the figs were thirty, but it lacked a dozen.

The next time, when his master gave him to bring to his friend others 30 figs and a letter, the native, arrived in the middle of the path, after he had stopped to rest under a tree, taken by hunger ate a dozen of figs. First to travel the path to the destination, however, took the letter and hid under a stone.

(Freely taken from: Franco “Bifo” Berardi “Psicopatie, trasformazioni tecnologiche e mente sociale”, in Cyborg, november 1992)

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