Friday, June 22, 2018

Increasing religiousity and the world with information

How information age and increasing religiosity connects?
Information happens to be the mechanism having potentials to reduce uncertainties. It  underlies the very nature of information age of our times. We are happy to be under surveillance because a) we have an urge to show how better we are than others b) we like to see others and participate in an unconscious competition of being happy/fulfilled/rich/intelligent  and so on c) we like to get appreciation through 'likes' comments and 'loves'.
We are supposedly living in an era of late capital technology driven world of impersonal, purposive and contractual bonds. We are supposed to be rational and calculative in every sphere of our lives. We are having increasingly greater control over what happens to us and how does it happen?
Technology seems to answer most of our existential uncertain questions. For example through tests now we know that its the influenaza that is causing fever and not some supernatural forces being applied to us causing the body to raise its temperature. Similarly you know with a certain degree of certainty about your future possibilities.
Well technology seems to occupy the same cognitive plane where religion dwells. Almost through the entire humanity humans invented Gods/ supernatural powers, being, forces to reduce the uncertainty within our insanely uncertain existence. All major religions of the world at one point or the other have legitimized ethnic cleansing and conversion, cultivated hatred, and most of them at present have multiple organizations in different social fronts to subtly promote such polarisation and hatred.
There is a polarisation in technological knowledge base as well. For example a close affinity with technological knowhow works as the 'cultural capital' in a knowledge base hierarchy of habitus.
The age of reason, followed by positivism, in their grand narrative supported by cliche 'enlightenment' claiming the dark age behind promised a future of logic and reason. Centuries after we hardly find any significant change in human beings' dealing with uncertainty.
The age of information instead of giving you access to the supposedly stable world of orders pushing you further towards an exposure of uncertainty.
Uncertainties are manifold now. Even after getting educated with highly demanding field your potential openings can be withered away by the inventions in artificial intelligence  and automation. You are never sure about your position in your relationships neither you have any control over your body. Moreover, even those seemingly controllable spheres like your spending habits, reading habits, learning capabilities, knowledge base, network with interested others are out of your control at present.
Hence, what we are left with is a gigantic world of information that instead of giving us a sense of security creating alternative spheres of uncertainty, desire and helplessness. What is termed as VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous)helps proving the expectations of the proposers of enlightement. Religion and science seem to work perfectly in compatible with each other. Science is creating deep dimensions of VUCA and people keep on embracing religious belief systems.
This is precisely the fertile ground for organized religion to flourish. It is expected that we will experience even greater role of organised religion and perhaps increasingly stronger effects of the same.

Pic. A palmist inside a shopping mall in 2017 Kolkata. 

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