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The business of the inner life: economics, communication, consciousness and civilisation

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Abstract:

Communication systems are structured by economic forces which use them to optimise sales, and politicians who increasingly live by slogans and repeated sound bites. Both want people to act without much reflection, and may threaten to turn human beings into imitiations of the computers they use. Theorists first noticed that communication systems channeled goods and services, structured political geography, and created their own pictures of the world. They went on to describe communications devices which act as extensions of human senses. Now communication systems try to structure our inner lives. This paper examines reflective consciousness and its relation to civilisation. It suggests countervailing forces which make for thought and turn the ordinary aspects of life into art.

Keywords: Advertising; Commnications; Communications Industries; Economics; Information Systems; Society

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 23, 2001

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