Contemporary technology has been implicated in the rise of perfectionism, a personality trait that is associated with depression, suicide and other ills. This paper aims to explore how technology can be developed to promote an alternative to perfectionism, which is a self-constructionist ethic.
This paper takes the form of a philosophical discussion. A conceptual framework is developed by connecting the literature on perfectionism and personal meaning with discussions in information ethics on the self, the ontic trust and technologies of the self. To illustrate these themes, the example of selfies and self-portraits is discussed.
The self today must be understood as both individualistic and relational, i.e. hybrid; the trouble is a balance. To realize balance, the self should be recognized as part of the ontic trust to which all information organisms and objects belong. Thus, technologically-mediated self-care takes on a deeper urgency. The selfie is one example of a technology for self-care that has gone astray (i.e. lost some of its care-conducive aspects), but this can be remedied if selfie-making technology incorporates relevant aspects of self-portraiture. This example provides a path for developing self-constructionist and meaningful technologies more generally.
Technology development should proceed with self-care and meaning in mind. The comparison of selfies and self-portraits, situated historically and theoretically, provides some guidance in this regard. Some specific avenues for development are presented.
The question of the self has not been much discussed in information ethics. This paper links the self to the ontic trust: the self can be fruitfully understood as an agent within the ontic trust to which we all belong.
Gorichanaz, T. (2019), "The self and the ontic trust: toward technologies of care and meaning", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 395-408. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICES-09-2018-0073Download as .RIS
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