our brain and the internet
One of the reasons I find G.H Mead’s social theory so compelling is his commitment to unifying all facets of his theory – biology, psychology, sociology and even the history of ideas- in terms of one internally consistent set of general laws (and somehow manages to make sense of it all ). Social institutions thus can be seen as both analogous to and continuations of individual minds and selves, and constantly in tension of co-development and change.
Communities are for Mead whole organisms and are viewed not only in terms of mutual dependence with the individuals that constitute them but also as naturally continuous and even analogous to them, with ongoing feedback and change processes between individuals and the social. Whereas the individual has character or personality, the group or society has institutions, and Mead perceives these institutions as natural extensions of the human organism.
“the institutions of society, [the libraries, systems of transportation, the complex interrelationship of individuals reached in political organisations], are nothing but ways of throwing on the social screen in enlarged fashion the complexities existing inside of the central nervous system, and they must express functionally the operation of this system”
Now, in Mead’s time there was no Internet but I’m sure he’d say something similar in relation to the web. Take a look at these two visualizations – one of the human brain and other of the Internet and you start to get the point.
The human brain: