The Individual in the Knowledge Society

What is at the center of Ghandi’s denouncement of machinery? He speaks of its presence among abusive and oppressive practices but they have existed by the powerful before automation. I was more compelled by his reference to the freedom of the mind – of the individual – that is sacrificed through the tedious machinations of factory life. Those who were once creators are now operators. They might not have created much, but they did so in a “dignified” way by being free to work at a pace and quality chosen by the individual, thus giving a person their individualness…

This is all done in the name of progress – to become ever more efficient. This becomes our obsession and our values become subservient to the inertia of improvement. But just what are those values. Are just the primary needs all that should matter? Surely not, but I see similar concerns in the knowledge society. The emphasis on the speed of the mind and the presence of unending distraction can easily “encroach upon…individuality.” How can technology evoke the individual, the creator, the self-sufficient mind?

The redditts and wikipedias of the world are one type of opportunity but they result in consensus that bubbles to the top, making consumption an easy path. Perhaps drawing on what makes the “distractions” of the web so effective, entertainment and friends, may offer a better way. Making content generation easier, more entertaining, and collaborative could help free the individual in us all that Ghandi values so much. Other ideas?