Amber Case, cyborg anthropologist, makes a strong argument that we have all become cyborgs. With the constancy technological add-ons of cell phones and computers, we have become another form of humanity. Through technology, time and space have compressed allowing us to be present in many places at once. For more, listen here.
Due to computers and especially social networking, we extend our mental self into a new person. Our digital brains and hard drives define our knowledge extending it and externalizing it. So we have access to more information then ever, but know less. In our relationships, this makes us a glutton of extended networks without intimacy or compassion.
We have s second identity. It shows up online and people interact with that other person when we aren’t there. We are always connected, and if we could manifest all of our contacts in the room, it would always be full. So we have more contacts and less friendship. It lessens the impact of friendship. We know about others more but know their self less. We know ourselves less.
People new to technology become adolescents in their online identities. Mastery of these technologies defines maturity rather than emotional health. Just try to have a reasonable conversation between games on Xbox Live. It became a social cancer of its own.
What does this mean for youth ministry? This cyborg life reduces solitude and reflection, limiting the time needed for development of actual identity. Young adults in this generation have an identity deficit. They know how to be online, but lack the ability to be connected face to face. They suck at attachment.
Knowing this, how does youth ministry:
- become a place where they look in the mirror without flinching?
- help young adults develop their created identity and reject the imposed identity they are surrounded with?
- provide solitude to reflect on their life and its direction?
- practice belonging to something transcendent?