computation and identity development

Newness is one of the central concerns of both technological and human identity development. Where is the boundary between the Old and the New? What are the conditions that enable the emergence of Newness? Is Newness inevitable? How does the Old and the New coexist, interact, and collaborate?

In 1960s, british psychologist Erik Erikson coined the term identity crisis. He believes that identity starts to take form when the need for identification ends. When a child starts to have faith, a journey of learning and growth begins. The condition of this faith is that the child feels confidence one’s choices will be embraced rather than deprived by others. Also during the same era, American psychiatrist developed transactional analysis, which claims that adults develop various games as “ritualistic transactions” in order to develop faith.  It’s based on the Freudian concept that the human personality is multi-faceted. Regardless of the which personality type individuals associate themselves with, all human beings possess multiple prior of characteristics that constantly collide within each individual as well as others. It’s the force of the interaction among the priors that manifests into thoughts, feelings, and consciousness of the Self and Other.

Berne further contextualized Freud’s human psyche concept of the Id, Ego, Superego, into the social arena by proposing a slightly different model of the Child, Adult, and the Parent. He claimed that

Freud’s concept of human psyche:

Ig ⇒ Instinct

Ego ⇒ Reality

Superego ⇒ Morality

Berne’s transactional analysis model:

Child ⇒ Reside intuition, creativity, Spontaneity and Joy

Adulte ⇒ Mitigating the Parent and the Child. Providing constructive structure to allow the emergence of faith

Parent ⇒ Restoring rules and regulations to govern behavior

Berne concludes that parent-child interactions are costly situation that demands high emotional responses. It will eventually be replaced by a more energy-efficient model of adult to adult interaction. Berne’s theory has profound implication in today’s societies which are becoming increasingly complex and centralized – systems that no longer provides space for self reflection.

It’s under this premise that our research project ThingThingThing was conceived. We hope that resting on an open-source based computational art platform, it can emerge as a new playground, where the a new identity encompassing both Self and Other emerges naturally under the promise of openness, equality, imagination and play.

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