Cyberspace lacks an aura and atmosphere of communication: Official

Tuesday, December 28, 2021, with the efforts of the Office of Islamic Studies on Cyberspace (OISC) the seventh live webinar titled “Cyberspace and Its Impact on Social Communication System of Muslim Communities” was held.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Tuesday, December 28, 2021, with the efforts of the Office of Islamic Studies on Cyberspace (OISC) the seventh live webinar titled “Cyberspace and Its Impact on Social Communication System of Muslim Communities” was held.

The meeting is organized by the Office of Islamic Studies on Cyberspace (OISC), by the cooperation, Heyatonline, ABNA News Agency, and the Representation of the Supreme Leader in Farabi Campus of the University of Tehran.

At the beginning of the meeting, Shaykh Mahmoud Rafian the scientific secretary of the meeting said: Today’s  society  has  easy  access  to  communication  technologies,  including  email,  blogs,  cell  phones  and  social networks. According to the idea of Walter Benjamin, reproduction of artworks in the digital environment has reduced the aura of artwork. Cyberspace lacks an aura and atmosphere of communication. The amount of contacts and communication increased. But in terms of the quality, communication between people has decreased. In real life, a small percentage of communication is verbal and textual, and most of it is body language, eye and touch contact that has been lost in cyberspace.

The scientific secretary at the meeting, Mahmoud Rafian then introduced the speaker of the meeting and said:  Shayhk Dr.  Ahmad Olyaei has PhD in culture and communication and teaches at Baqir al-Uloom University. Now He is the director of public relations of the office of Islamic Development of Islamic seminaries.

The concept of cyberspace

At the beginning, Dr. Ahmad Olyaei explained the concept of cyberspace. He said: cyberspace is a concept describing a widespread interconnected digital technology. The term entered popular culture from science fiction and the arts. Some consider cyberspace to be just a notional environment in which communication over computer networks occurs. But we believe this space is a real space.

He referred to some statistics about the presence of social media users in Iran and said: The membership rate in social networks has increased from 53% in 2018 to 65% in 2021.

Reasons behind the presence of people in cyberspace

Dr. Oliaei talked about the reason behind this phenomenon. He attributed the reason to Postmodernism and its five characteristics. He said: According to postmodernism, the five most important features of today’s society are:

  1. The disappearance of the distinction between culture and society
  2. Emphasis on style over content
  3. The disappearance of the distinction between high and popular art and culture
  4. Complete culture of time and place
  5. The decline of metanarratives

Cyberspace lacks an aura and atmosphere of communication

Referring to Walter Benjamin’s theory and reducing the aura of artworks in reproduction of artworks, the Baqir al-Ulum University professor said: Virtual communications provide a lot of access to humans, but it lacks aura and the atmosphere of communication. For example, in a virtual family group where the family members are parents, children, and grandchildren, everyone speaks equally and there is no standing to respect the elder. In this type of relationship, there is no embrace and no respect. While in religious and Islamic sources feeling in social relations and mercy are emphasized. In a narration of Osoul Kafi: Imam Baqir stated: whoever gets angry with his family member let him approach and (gently) touch [them]; for the feeling of family affiliation, when stimulated by touch, induces calmness.

 Opportunities in cyberspace

Finally, Dr. Oliaei pointed out the importance and opportunities available in cyberspace, saying: Cyberspace has some benefits as well. Among its benefits is civilization, which can establish a great social civilization through cyberspace.

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