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Cultural Exchange via Internet - Opportunities and Strategies
Forum of the House of World Cultures, Berlin, 12 October, 1998 - ... open end

Subject:Re: Re:dialogues in and out the net
Date:Thu, 03 Dec 1998 20:06
Author:Pedro Meyer  []

Cristina, I am afraid I can not do justice to your question unless I understand it better. I have re read it several times and I am still at a loss as to what you are asking me by "what do you think?" If I can say something about this, I would in essence agree with your statement save for the fact that I can not fully comprehend what you mean by "The use of 'I' along with autobiographical information should be provided by net users for the purpose of improving overall communication through better understanding."

With regard to the other points you raised on a separate email, about the barriers for people around the world, and considering yourself to be part of a group of people of "privilege" who do have access to such options. My only observations about this that I find pertinent is to suggest you stop feeling guilty for having those privileges you make reference to. They don't stop at the internet.

They extend to health care, to the fact that you can be an artist, to what you eat, to the books you have acres to, to the future of your two children who will probably have a lot to look forward to in contrast to so many millions of other impoverished kids. Yes you and I, and probably everyone else who reads this email, have a status that is not too dissimilar to ours. I must say that I do not feel guilty for what I have because I try within what is in my power to do, to use my "privileges" in a constructive manner. After all the idea is to bring people up to a better standard of living, not to downgrade that of all for the sake of "equality of opportunity". This latter thesis was long explored by various forms of socialism and we now know how poorly that fared in real life. The goal of equality is surely a desirable one, or indeed indispensable for the benefit of mankind to retain it's humanity. The problem is how to attain such a goal. It very likely that in this forum we will not discover such a solution, nor will be find it in our life time, as I see it as a process of evolution, in which too many variables form part of the equation. For instance issue such as ecological problems are as significant as your very well considered preoccupations with technological separations between the north and the south.

In my humble opinion, we have indeed to take notice of all those issues of who is left behind, with regard to anything, the internet included, not solely. We ought to do that without feeling guilty for what we have, but in place develop a sense of responsibility to contribute, each in their own little way, to narrow those gaps, using what we have to achieve that. What else can you hope for instead ? endless sessions of beating ourselves over the head and shoulders as penitents? THAT has unfortunately been tried as well, with very poor results. With this in mind I would suggest, that instead of a shopping list of all that ails us, we come up with a few specific and very important matters that might contribute to others as well.

Having said all this, don't forget that in the process of participating on this forum, and discussing what ever it is that we are discussing, we are also discovering for ourselves and many others, how these "forums" operate, how and what they allow us to do that is different to what we could do previously (here you have me discussing with you on a subject, when I don't really know much about you other than what you wrote, yet I don't know where you are in the world, or many other interesting things which might come to bear in such a discussion). We are in effect, guinea pigs, with the hope that someday those two children you are bringing up may benefit from our experiences, together with my children and grandchildren, and all our friends and neighbours, etc... it takes time....

All best to you and your family,
from Mexico City
Pedro Meyer

on 3 Dec 1998 08:56 Cristina Ferran Jadick wrote:

Pedro, I agree with you and Ricardo, but if you don't mind, I would add a little to your argument. The use of "I" along with autobiographical information should be provided by net users for the purpose of improving overall communication through better understanding. What I mean is that when we use the internet to communicate with each other, we do not have the benefit of the usual visual (gestures, facial expressions, body language)and oral (voice tone, modulations and inflections) cues which normally provide specific context for meaning in face to face dialogue. Therefore,on the net, the autobiographical information provided in the form of "I" text, serves as a functional equivalent to visual and oral cues by giving us the background to develop a perspective from which to interpret the words we're reading...and truly understand not only what is being said but what is really meant.
What do you think?

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