Privacy, Individuality Eroded by Creation of the Communal Self

Personhood could shift in coming years as technology continues to raise privacy concerns by changing the way humans interconnect.

In Privacy Fears Intensified by Tech That Knows Where You Are, National Geographic reports:

"As location-based technology advances, your computer, cell phone, and other mobile devices may soon be able to pinpoint and transmit your exact location as you travel. And developers hope that an emerging network dubbed the geospatial web will tie these devices together to create a unique new user experience. People tapped into this new web will be able to communicate instantly with nearby users, participate in digital community activities, and get advertising for businesses that are literally around the corner."

But of course. Those who believe in "New Age" and "energy healing" phenomena such as telepathy (including clairvoyance and clairaudience, or in another spiritual tradition, opening of the 'third eye'), already have the inner experience of interconnectedness at a deep level -- one dubbed the 'sixth sense' because it transcends the limits of the known five senses.

Technology is now creating a sixth sense of its own, an interconnectivity as yet unknown because it has not yet been made possible by science.

And that raises privacy, and therefore legal concerns, as National Geographic notes:

"But even in its infancy, the concept of an electronic network that can track and communicate a person's every move is raising a host of questions about user privacy. In many countries privacy law hasn't caught up with emerging technologies, says Lauren Gelman, assistant director of the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society in Stanford, California."

With respect to tracking children (already Wired magazine has reported that wireless electronic tracking units are planned for some California schools), National Geographic notes: "The Walt Disney Company recently introduced Disney Mobile, a line of cell phones equipped with GPS technology that offers a host of family-friendly tools. The The Family Locator feature, for example, allows parents to track their kids in real time and display their locations on maps on the phones' screens."

But questions about individuality also should be raised, since these new devices will not only allow us to track and locate one another, but also to communicate holographically across distances (as we are already beginning to do via the Web and cellphones), instaneously through implants in the body, and perhaps ultimately, in ways that direct connect remote brains. The question then is whether this is the ultimate promise and physical fulfillment or embodiment of siddhis ('powers') of meditation, or rather the negation of the same.

Or is it a question of how these newfound abilities will be used--to infiltate and invade, or to invite and create community and closeness?