CYBER-PSYCHOLOGY:

Cyberspace: THE DISCOVERY


Instructions:Report1 What generation 5 said about cyberspace and the mind What do I think now that I know more about Newsgroups The different Attitudes in the Cyberworld How do I see these attitudes What Dr.Driving has to say about aggressive driving and road rage? What do I have to say about road rage Final considaration:RICHNESS IN DIVERSITY

THE DISCOVERY

Life in this world is an interesting adventure, which provides fascinating experiences. The feeling that I had before I registered for this class was that it might give me a few surprises. Well, this feeling proved to be true! But I guess I did not need to be a psychic to have such a premonition; with absolutely no knowledge about the Internet and Email, what else could happen but surprises.
I started to use the net everyday. In the beginning, using the net was like landing on another planet. I would never have imagined that so many people were talking to each other everyday through Newsgroups. It is quite amazing that so many people have chosen the Internet to communicate and exchange their ideas. My first impression was that Newsgroups on the Internet are a little bit like a supermarket of information.

Here is just a few of the newsgroups that I discovered on the Internet while I was using the Dejanews search engine.
1) alt.autos.sport.nhra
2) rec autos. Driving
3) uk transport
4) alt culture. Hawaii
5) boulder general
6) autos.misk

I wonder for so many days why in the name of Zeus, so many peoples choose Newsgroups to communicate, and why people feel more at ease communicating with each other through a computer. I think the cyberworld provides its users an artificial environment that gives them a feeling of security. The cyberworld also allows people to express themselves freely, and without restriction. Newsgroups allows one to create a sort of virtual personality and image of oneself which is not bound by the same social rules and boundaries that are imposed by society. The virtualreality allows one to hide or can creates any type of social class, economic status, races, gender, etc. I think that this virtualworld is an opportunity for many people to express themselves more freely, and say things that they would have a harder time to express in the "real world."

It is important to note that the society of today is changing extremely quickly. If one looks at the rate at which information was exchanged a couple of years ago, one can see that this rate has changed exponentially. These changes have created certain habits in the population. One of the main habits that people have developed in the last couple of years is getting information immediately without having to wait for a long time. People nowadays are accustomed to receiving information on what is happening on the other side of the world in just a few minutes after an event happens. I think the reason why so many people use Newsgroups on the Internet is because it provides the means to exchange information quickly.

Having spent countless hours reading those newsgroups, I realize that newsgroups have a great potential to educate. They provide the means to get and exchange a huge amount of information on so many topics. However, I also see a major problem if one does not have critical thinking skills. I gradually came to realize that in newsgroups, many people express their theories and ideas. Sometimes, they pose as experts in a particular topic while in reality they do not have any knowledge in those areas. Knowing how people are easily influenced, it makes me wonder! I think that critical thinking is a quality that is very important to have in the cyberworld because one never really knows who posts the messages.

WHAT GENERATION 5 SAID ABOUT CYBERSPACE AND MIND


Gaile Nakano, Dan Hamamoto and Marini Singh were students of the generation 5. Reading their reports gave me the opportunity to learn more about the experiences they had while they were in the cyberworld. The first thing that striked me about these three students is that they all share a very positive vision of the virtualreality, and of its potential.

Gaile Nakano sees cyberspace as a place that is changing constantly with endless interactions between people. She views the cyberworld as place where the minds of individuals meet. She saw that many people create virtual identities which help them to express themselves more freely and eventually release emotions that are building up. As a result, she sees that virtual reality can help reduce stress and improves the health. Dan Hamamoto thinks that cyberspace can be used by everyone, and will surely continue to increase in popularity. Dan thinks that virtual reality will be able to satisfy the wants and urges of many people. He feels that clicking on a link is in a way like conversing directly with the creator of the web page. As a result, the cyberworld for him is like a medium through which one could interact with other people.

Marini Singh emphasizes the importance of becoming computer literate to discover all the possibilities that cyberspace offers. She thinks that it is through mutual interest, intention, and communal concerns that the cyberworld will continue to grow. She also points out that cyberspace zones are created by choices that people make toward particular hypertexts.

WHAT DO I THINK NOW THAT I KNOW MORE ABOUT NEWS GROUPS?

I read a lot on what prior generations thought, especially what the generation five thought about cyberspace and the mind. I can say now that prior generations helped me to approach Newsgroups through a different perspective. Now, I can see those Newsgroups like a collective mind where millions of bits of information are stored and exchanged daily. The world of Newsgroups is a place where people can meet on a common ground; people do not need to belong to any particular country, group or religion. Today, this common ground is growing due to the increased input of millions of people. Everyday, more and more people add and exchange information on mutual interests and activities through newsgroups. Due to the possibilities that Newsgroups offer for its users, I believe that Newsgroups will continue to grow enormously.

I don't know if I will become a Newsgroups lifetime participant, but I will definitely use newsgroups from time to time to collect information. Using the cyberworld as a tool to get information can be very useful. I would recommend that everyone learn how to use the Internet. However, one should learn to use the Internet wisely and without excess. Today many people communicate with other people only through a computer, and unfortunately, I think that in the future, this will become an even bigger problem than it is today. The beauty of human communication is the possibility of exchanging ideas and feeling with the body and the mind. A person that chooses only one means of communication, and completely negates the other will not have a balanced life, and might easily drift away from reality. Communication needs to be balanced if one wants to appreciate its full flavor and its benefits. Please, let's not forget that we are humans and not machines.

THE DIFFERENT ATTITUDES IN THE CYBERWORD

By surfing on the net everyday and studying the different kinds of Newsgroups, I have discovered five basic attitudes regularly seen among Newsgroups' participants. The first one I found was the blind attitude. This attitude refers to people that express themselves on a topic they have absolutely no knowledge about. For example, one that expressed himself based on a stereotype like:


Subject:      Re: The Worst Drivers in America

From:         bgaynor@eagle.wbm.ca (B.Gaynor)

Date:         1996/05/25

Message-Id:   <4o7rfb$5oa@supra.wbm.ca>

Newsgroups:   alt.religion.mormon

[More Headers]



In article <4o5s6o$lkc@sjx-ixn2.ix.netcom.com>, 
sillasen@ix.netcom.com (Helen Sillasen) says: >Robert Craig Harman wrote: >>> How about France? Their so layed back that workers take
2-3 hours for lunch and then when they are done, they have to
drive like a BOH
>>> Whoa be it the person in front of them waiting for a red
light to turn green. Not jumping the light fast enough?
Here let me help you with a push from behind!

The second one is the avoidance attitude. This attitude refers to the people who will use any reasons or examples (even bad ones) to justify something they think people should avoid. For example, a list of 37 reasons for someone to not drive. Here are a couple that I copied.


subject:      37 Reasons Not to Drive

From:         "Graham Caswell" 

Date:         1997/05/12

Message-Id:   <01bc5f0f$675800a0$cf2e7dc2@default>

Newsgroups:   alt.autos,alt.auto.mercedes,alt.autos.camaro.
firebird,alt.auto.ferrari,alt.autos.machotrucks,
alt.cars.ford.probe,misc.transport.misc -No contribution to the decline of the communities. -More in touch with reality-more grounded. -More freedom -Better role model for young people.
The third one is the buffoon attitude. This attitude refers to the people who like to make people laugh. For example:

Subject: Re: Aggressive drivers in Chicago??

From: dsisbukn@interaccess.com (Scott Buckner)

Date:1997/05/27

Message-Id:  

Newsgroups:  chi.general

The best remedy for agressive drivers is this: Pull up alongside of them and frantically point to any of
their tires and yell: "YOUR TIRES ARE TURNING!! YOUR TIRES ARE IS TURNING!!" Then giggle with glee when they pull off the side of the
road to see What the non-existent problem is. After all,
last laughs are the best
laughs. Best results obtained with your window rolled up ...

The fourth one is the philosophic attitude. This attitude refers to the people who approach a problem with some kind of wisdom. For example, when one is behind somebody that is driving 25 mph in the left lane, the philosophic attitude is like the one that follows:

Subject:      Re: ROAD RAGE

From:         "Dr. Driving" 

Date:         1997/08/24

Message-Id:   <872411929.16345@dejanews.com>

Newsgroups:   az.general

If you can train yourself not to feel exasperated by
inconsiderate driver,you're ahead

The fifth one is the mocking attitude. This attitude refers to the people who chose to use certain kinds of words that prevent a constructive exchange of ideas in the cyberworld. These types of people like to make fun of others. For example, here is a person who gave an answer to something he just read about. He says:


subject: Re: Road Rage!

From:    ao984@freenet.carleton.ca (Ferdinand Trauttmansdorff)

Date:    1997/09/05

Message-Id:<3410686b.23750359@news.ncf.carleton.ca>

Newsgroups:alt.autos.sport.nhra,rec.autos.driving,uk.transport

Okay, I'am cracking now... Doc, you're doing it again.
You're hallucinating.

HOW DO I SEE THESE ATTITUDES

I think that the types of attitudes that are found in the cyberworld are the same types of attitudes that are found when one is interacting with other people in one's daily life. I named five basics attitudes for the goal of this paper, but one has to realize that there are a lot of attitudes on this planet. One's attitudes are just a representation of the characteristics and nature of one's mind. As far as the interpretation of these attitudes, I just see them as a manifestation of the spectrum of the human mind.

Of course, it is much easier to create artificial categories to understand a problem. For example, some people see the world philosophically while other see it artistically which automatically gives them very different attitudes when they are in front of a similar problem. However, one should not forget that any categories that exist are subjective and made from the expectations of the very people that create those artificial categories. A category might help you to understand a problem, but does not necessarily reflect the reality of the world. For this reason, aggressive drivers could certainly be divided into several categories. For example, aggressive drivers could be divided by their degree of aggressiveness toward other drivers. These types of categories might help to better understand the overall patterns within each category, but would probably not reflect reality. As a result, I prefer to see the attitudes of the aggressive drivers as wide as the spectrum of the human mind

I think that if one uses the philosophical approach to view the implications of the cyberworld's diversity (especially sees what that diversity could bring for our society), one would realize the great opportunity it is for each one of us to learn from such a variety of attitudes. It is because of these differences of opinions, attitudes, and understanding that people can progress in this world and evolve toward a better understanding of themselves and others. It is those very differences that give each one of us a great opportunity to put into perspective what we learn everyday.

WHAT DR.DRIVING HAS TO SAY ABOUT AGGRESSIVE DRIVING AND ROAD RAGE

In his Congressional Testimony Dr. Driving gives valuable information and gives advice about aggressive driving and road rage. Dr. Driving's research has proved that to a certain extent; approximately all drivers from time to time experience some feelings of rage or some thought of retaliation while driving. It seems that those feelings and thoughts are acquired during the childhood. Children discover very early that it is "OK" to use bad language and be mad in the car while it is not ok in other environments. It is through this process that one will acquire a road rage habit.

Dr. Driving says that most of the drivers are not aware of the strength of their inner road rage. The road rage and aggressive driving usually develop in a series of steps along which the driver generally has the choice to either continue the conflict or withdraw from it. Dr. Driving put much emphasis on the need to train drivers to develop a smart driving philosophy and be able to apply emotional intelligence skills in traffic. In other words, to rediscover the "Aloha spirit driving". Dr. Driving thinks that this would make the road a nicer place to be with fewer accidents.

If one visits his web site, one will see that Dr. Driving points out 20 components of aggressive driving which are divided into five zones of aggressiveness. Dr. Driving thinks that the most efficient way to help aggressive drivers is through a group approach. It is through a group that the driver will find role models. The group is seen as the most powerful method for initiating social change.

WHAT DO I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT ROAD RAGE

I think that Dr. Driving is absolutely right when he is talking about the importance of training people to develop a "smart driving philosophy". Training people will surely reduce aggressive behaviors and road rages. I do also think that people acquired road rage habit during their childhood, however I think that today's environment expand greatly the road rage phenomena. People nowadays have to work two jobs just to be able to eat and pay their bills. In addition to that, some people have children to raise and even take classes at universities in hopes of improving their situation.

Today, society is functioning at such a high speed; this creates a very favorable environment for road rage to manifest. Though I think that road rage could be reduced by training people, I do not think that training by itself will remove road rage. The main reason is that road rage is only the top of a gigantic iceberg. I think that any rage usually appear not because of one cause, but because of multiple reasons. Among these multiple causes, for example, social problems could be one of the major causes that are responsible for road rage to appear. I think that if the society could solve its problems and create an environment that is more balanced, then road rage would not occur as often as it does today in our society.

FINAL CONSIDERATION: RICHNESS IN DIVERSITY

As I said before, one of the reasons why Newsgroups are so successful in our society is because people enjoy transmitting and receiving information very quickly. Newsgroups are a wonderful tool for expressing oneself anonymously, but it is for that very reason that people should think critically when they obtain information through a newsgroup. One of the main reasons is that one never really knows if the source of the information is reliable.
Today's society expresses itself through such a great variety of philosophies, and ethnicities that, unfortunately, this diversity sometimes pushes people to express consciously or unconsciously many stereotypes and prejudiced ideas. However, two things must occur to eliminate prejudices and stereotypes. 1) A good communication. 2) Learning more about other people. Well, guess what, with good critical thinking, newsgrougs can be a good means of communication, and can also be a good way to learn about other if one is willing to listen to what other have to say. Let's not forget that it is this great diversity of opinions and information that creates the richness of those Newsgroups.

While one is using newsgroups, it is important to keep in mind that functions of newsgroups vary and are created by oneself. Everyone uses them according to his own goals, and whenever his goals change, the function also changes. Newsgroups can be used in leisure or as a way to get information on a particular topic. They give the possibility of asking a question to thousands of people at the same time.

Nowadays people are becoming increasingly individualistic. One could easily see Newsgroups being used in the future as part of the socialization process. The main danger that I can see in the cyberspace in general is that some people choose cyberreality as their only way of socializing. It is important to show future generations that Newsgroups are a wonderful tool of communication. However it is also important to warn them of the danger of using Newsgroups as their only mean of communication.

Considering the power that computers have in our daily life, I think that it will be necessary in the future to include special warnings through teaching or activities connected to the cyberworld in general, and Newsgroups in particular. It is essential that this warning make people aware that there are many ways to communicate with other people, and that going to an extreme with any of those means of communications will have negative results in their life and their psyche.

In conclusion, I think that Newsgroups are a great way to communicate with others as long as the computer does not become the only mode of communication. I'm persuaded that, with some critical thinking, newsgroups can be a very useful tool of communication.


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