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Japan: The other side of the chasm

From the perspective of global communication, one may say that the world today is divided into two groups: those who are connected to the Internet and those who are not. While the small but growing minority who are connected participate in an increasingly active and complex global net culture, the unconnected majority does not.

The “chasm” between these two worlds was the topic of a post last week by blogger essa at the Uncategorizable Blog. Essa asks: How does the world of Internet users look to someone who is not connected? In a post called “The other side of the chasm” (キャズムの向こう側), the following explanation is proposed:

グールドという人の本だったと思うけど、地球を代表する生命は、いかなる意味でも人類ではなくバクテリアだという話が書いてあった。個体数でも生息範囲でも種の豊富さでも、どういう基準で代表を選んでも、人類はおろか多細胞生物を選ぶことはできないという話だった。

I think it was in a book by Gould that it was written that the [form of] life which best represents the Earth, by any meaning, is not humankind, but rather bacteria. It was written in this book that, in terms of population size, or range of habitat, or abundance of varieties — by whichever standard a representation is selected — not even multicellular organisms are eligible, let alone humankind.

しかし、単細胞生物には多細胞生物を認識することはできない。単細胞生物が多細胞生物を見ても、見えてくるのは、おそらく、ひとつひとつの細胞だけだ。「細胞の中身は多少違うけど、俺たちと同じ細胞には違いない」と思うだろう。単細胞生物には細胞同士の相互作用は見えず、細胞の中身の違いしか、自分たちと我々の違いを認識できないだろう。

However, unicellular organisms cannot recognize multicellular organisms. When a unicellular organism sees a multicellular organism, what it sees is each cell [of the multicellular organism] individually. [The unicellular organism] probably thinks: “The contents of the cells are somewhat different, but there's no mistake that they are cells like us.” Unicellular organisms probably do not see the interactions between one cell and another, being aware only of the differences in contents of cells, while unable to differentiate between “they” and “we”.

犬のしつけの本を読むと必ず「飼い主が犬の上位にあるように犬に認識させなさい」と書いてある。犬には、群れの中での上下関係に基いて行動する本能があって、甘やかされて自分が上位であると思わされてしまうと、リーダーとして行動する本能が働き出す。そうすると、状況に対する群れの行動を全部自分が判断しなくてはいけないと思う。しかしもちろん、人間社会の中で適切な行動を導ける本能は無いので、犬は混乱してしまい、吠えたり噛みついたりすることになるそうだ。

If you read books about training dogs, it is always written that [one must]: “Make the dog aware that the dog owner is of a rank superior to that of the dog.” Dogs have an instinct for behaving in accordance with hierarchical relationships of their group, so if they are spoiled and come to think of themself as superior in rank, then an instinct to behave as if they were the leader comes into play. When this happens, they come to think that, in responding to situations, they must take every decision for the group. But of course, in human society, there is no instinct for leading the way to appropriate actions; apparently dogs get confused by this and [respond by] barking and biting.

一緒に住む限り、犬には人間と犬の違いがわからず、匂いと上下関係しか認識できないのだろう。

As long as they [humans and dogs] live together, dogs do not notice the differences between humans and dogs, and only recognize smells and hierarchical relationships.

池田清彦さんが、生命の進化は古いシステムが新しいシステムに変化することではなく、古いシステムを残したまま、その上に別のレベルで新しいシステムが構築されることだと言っていた。

Ikeda Kiyohiko [Professor of Biology at Waseda University] claims that the development of life is not a change from an old system to a new system, but rather that in [such development] the old system is left the way it is, while a new system is constructed on top, at a different level.

だから、全ての人がキャズムを超えるのではなく、キャズムを超えてむこう側で新しい秩序を構成しその一部となる人と、そういうものと無縁のまま生きる人に分かれるのではないだろうか。

Therefore, it is not everybody who crosses the chasm; rather, it would seem that there is a split between the portion of people who cross the chasm and construct a new order at the other side, and those who continue to live as they had been, indifferent [to the change].

キャズムのこちら側の人から見ると、むこう側の人も同じ新陳代謝をする同じ人類に見えるし、同じ社会の一員で同じものを食べて同じ乗り物に乗り同じお金を使い同じ政治システムに支配されている。だから、どこをどう見ても同じ人間である。

The way that people on this side of the chasm see it, the people on the other side appear to be similar human beings undergoing metabolic change, members of a similar society, eating similar things, riding in similar vehicles, using similar money, ruled by a similar political system. Therefore, however they look at it, they see the same human beings.

でも、キャズムを渡った人には、全く新しい別のレベルの秩序が見えていて、彼らはそこで生きている。

However, the people who crossed the chasm are able to see a completely new, different level of system, and it is there that they are living.

人類全体に対するネットの普及率がある閾値を超えると、全ての人にキャズムを渡ってもらおうと無理しなくても、アーリーアダプターだけで相当な人数になり、そこに充分な複雑さが生まれ生態系が回るようになる。

When the popularization of the net among all of humankind passes a certain threshold, even while not every person unreasonably forces themself to cross the chasm, still even just with the early adapters there will be a considerable number of people. A sufficient complexity will take shape, and an ecosystem will begin to function.

その世界を認識できる人とできない人は、それぞれ別の世界に住むようになるかもしれない。

The people who recognize this world, and those who do not, may each come to live in different worlds.

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