The Digital Pubescents


Author Friedemann Karig

Friedemann Karig sees the digitalisation of society as being as crucial a phase as puberty is for any individual human being. In his talk "The Pubescent Society and the Web" in the topic focus #Hatespeech, he spoke about the overload people feel with this shift.

"Something is wrong with society" Friedemann Karig observed. It's constantly nervous, hysterical, sensitive, insecure, always in the process of sending and receiving. But it isn't just the amount of information that's growing. "The quantitative growth of the internet means a growth of the qualitative dimensions."

This makes misunderstandings on the web a big problem, especially when pictures are falsely classified. Karig therefore appeals to his listeners: "The 'Authenticity' Dimension is incredibly important and we have to monitor it constantly." Images only show a part of reality, and these slivers of reality also then fall prey to instrumentalization.

So, what does that have to do with puberty? "We're all actually pubescents" said Karig. People are just as overloaded with the digitalisation as teenagers are with their hormones. Society has to deal with a new visibility on the web. "Things that used to stay in their niche are now being discussed."

The growth of online information also evokes new conflicts. People find themselves in a state of constant outrage, Karig stated. But in his eyes, the world isn't getting worse, it's getting better. "It's just that sometimes our view is being blocked." This leads to people feeling a state of permanent inner unrest. But how can we change this state? According to Karig, this can be achieved through physical, emotional and mental maturity. And sometimes it's helpful to just turn a picture upside down. Then the bats aren't hanging from the ceiling, but are dancing upright.

"Puberty is the haunted house at the carnival of life" said Karig. It's an adventure that the society on the web has to go through. The reward at the end of it is a newly won maturity.

Photo credit: re:publica/Gregor Fischer (CC BY 2.0)