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<nettime> World of strangers
twsherma on Wed, 28 Jun 2006 18:41:26 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> World of strangers

We live in a world of strangers. Because more and more of us choose to
live in cities, we find ourselves living in a world of strangers. We find
privacy in the city, and loneliness. As we gain autonomy and our sense of
individualism grows, it is more and more difficult to convince others that
we are trustworthy. There are two ways we can prove our worth, with
credentials and through ordeals.

Credentials include credit cards and drivers licenses, and educational
certificates. We have identity tags like social security and passport
numbers. To supplement our credentials we must submit our physical bodies
for measurement and examination. We must establish our reputations through
ordeals. Photographs are taken. We are asked to take drug tests for
certain jobs, say a hair strand drug test or a simple saliva test. We are
asked to place our hands on devices that verify our identity through hand
geometry analysis. We are instructed to stare into video cameras for iris
scans. These ordeals have become common in many aspects of our personal
lives. We live in a world of strangers and it has become increasingly
difficult to establish and maintain our reputations.

In this world we still rely on personal, instinctive judgment--the way a
person looks and smells, the sound of their voice, and if they can look us
in the eye. The way a person moves or responds to our touch still tells us
a lot. But our intuitive skills only tell us so much. What kind of music
does this stranger like? What are her favourite movies? Does he eat meat?
Before we have sex or exchange body fluids we must determine the
probability of various kinds of infections. Credentials are important, but
ordeals are usually necessary to close the deal.

Nerve Theory: http://www.kunstradio.at/2006A/H5N1en.html

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