Is naive realism associated with technology

The search for knowledge - reality and perception in the philosophical, media and religious space based on the feature film "The Truman Show"

Table of Contents


2.1 Objective Reality and Subjective Reality
2.2 truth
2.3 Perception
2.4 Limits of Knowledge?

3.1 Manipulative power of the media
3.1.1 Consumer society and capitalism
3.1.2 The screen
3.2 Media presentations of authenticity
3.2.1 Talk show
3.2.2 Reality TV
3.2.3 Web Cam
3.2.4 Reality and Fiction

4.1 Frame narrative: the concept of Truman Show
4.1.1 Levels of reality in The Truman Show
4.2 The Truman Show and Plato's cave
4.2.1 Shadows on the wall of the cave
4.2.2 Unleashing
4.2.3 Ascent to the light
4.3 Literary predecessor: Time out of joint
4.3.1 Who am I?
4.4 Reality and representation: vita and forma
4.5 Truman's world of experience
4.5.1 Dream and love
4.5.2 Married life and social environment
4.5.3 Breakdowns and paranoia
4.5.4 Escape attempts
4.5.5 Disappearance
4.6 Christof's visions of totalitarian surveillance
4.6.1 George Orwells 1984
4.6.2 Aldous Huxleys Brave New World
4.6.3 Jeremy Bentham Panopticon
4.6.4 Michel Foucaults Monitor and punish
4.7 Reality of TV viewers
4.7.1 The ritual of the television audience

5.1 Biblical elements in The Truman Show
5.1.1 Creating the world and creating the show
5.1.2 Paradise and Seahaven
5.1.3 The Fall of Man and Truman's Knowledge
5.1.4 Man before the omniscient God
5.1.5 The walk of Jesus on the water and Truman
5.2 Gnosticism in The Truman Show
5.2.1 Gnostic worldview
5.2.2 Gnostic anthropology
5.2.3 Gnostic Gospels and The Truman Show Finding the right way Ignorance as the origin of suffering Knowledge and Liberation The role of the teacher
5.2.4 Gnosis and Technology




The question of the possibility or impossibility of a faithful perception of objective reality opens up new dimensions of discussion in view of the highly technological progress in the existing living environment. The developments and changes on a global level are characterized by the conquest of planetary space and the decoding of the micro and macrostructures of life, such as genetic connections. Researchers and scientists bring together tiny building blocks of knowledge by trying to answer age-old and yet fundamental questions about reality, that is, the origin of man, the earth and the universe.

Originally, reality denoted the unconcealment of nature. In prehistoric times, nature, with all its designs of plants and animals, water and rocks, as well as man, was the subject of world interpretation. Pre-Socratic philosophers like Thales or Heraklit searched in the Physique, nature, for a unified primordial ground to which everything can be traced back. They found out that the phenomena of nature carry their origin and development within themselves and are determined by internal, peculiar factors.

The thorough observation of natural phenomena brought about an expansion of knowledge and brought that Poiesis, the artificial. By imitating nature, humans developed useful artifacts. Aristotle realized that both the Physique as well as the Poiesis to follow a purpose, or towards a goal, thelos, are directed. Today, nature can be distinguished from the artificial solely in that nature carries the blueprint within itself, while the artefact has arisen from human planning.

Socrates, Plato and Aristotle put man at the center and put the validity of human knowledge to the test. They took the view that the primal principles of nature transcend the limits of human thought and perception and belong to a transcendent, metaphysical realm. In modern times, Kant was concerned with the question of whether space, time and form were objective a priori exist, or whether they are merely conceptual concepts of a subject of knowledge, with which only the relative order of movable things next to one another or one after the other are systematized and rationalized.

In the meantime, innumerable images of reality of different characteristics and ways of thinking have emerged. Radical constructivism is an interdisciplinary scientific direction of the 20th century, which is viewed as a further development of the epistemological position according to Plato, Kant, Wittgenstein, etc. What they all have in common is the assumption that man measures the world with his own measure. The approaches of constructivism open up new perspectives on problems of today, which are closely linked to the search for reality.

The present age is particularly characterized by the destruction of nature and the rise of media culture. As a result, a significant part of our view of reality is conveyed through the media. Only a fraction of what we call reality is based on immediate views of nature. This worrying circumstance gives cause for questioning the reality.

The underlying questions, with which this work deals and which need to be approached, are: Can humans develop higher mental abilities and thereby gain supernatural knowledge? Is he able to reach reality on his own, or is his path blocked by the new media that were just created by himself?

A closer look at the feature film provided the decisive impetus for choosing this topic The Truman Show based on the script by Andrew Niccol and directed by Peter Weir, which made it clear that this film illuminates existential and profound questions as well as evokes diverse analogies. For this reason, the following considerations will be based on the film The Truman Show explained. To emphasize various elements, the description has been divided into chapters and essays. Chapters 2 and 3 include theorized explanations of the terms, which facilitate a better understanding of the analysis and links of the film presented in Chapters 4 and 5 The Truman Show serve.

The present work does not aim to answer the above complex questions, but rather highlights various aspects that deal with the problem of realizing reality. These include philosophical, media and religious ideas of the relationship between man and the world, God and the world. My work is not up a Targeted, but takes several paths and is to be understood as an invitation to reflect on life, relationships, the present culture and the future.


The knowledge of the "true" reality has always been a human endeavor that fades into infinity or into uncertainty. Reality initially means " the world as it is, the total of the given. "[1] Everything that is found in the world represents a single reality. The world as a whole relates to a size that goes beyond all astronomical conceptions of mankind. Due to the physical bond between humans and the earth, the meaning of the term “world” as an earthly, globally present occurrence is predominant in everyday language usage.[2]

The fundamental questions regarding the position of man in the world, the meaning of his existence and the world as a whole have preoccupied mankind from the beginning and accompany it to this day. As early as the fourth century BC BC illuminated Plato in his famous Allegory of the cave at the beginning of the seventh book "Politeia", The State, the question of the actual character of reality and indicated the difficulty of understanding it. For centuries, philosophy and numerous interdisciplinary sciences have devoted themselves to the question of reality and its recognizability with decisive, if not final results.

The humanities and natural sciences try to explain what holds the world together at its core. They have expanded the knowledge considerably and opened up new ways and perspectives with every evidence of the origin of the world. In the scientific understanding of reality, the nature of reality is transformed into structures and systems that function as a part, but are incomprehensible as a whole. All theories in the world come up against their limits, because unconditional and limitless knowledge is required in order to be able to understand nature and creation.[3]

The riddle of the all-outlasting reality remains unsolved in view of human subjectivity and impermanence, there is no absolute certainty here. The living world as a whole is a puzzle, the parts of which are scattered throughout the universe. The hoped-for knowledge can be experienced instantly when a piece of the puzzle is discovered and tied to the appropriate place. If the puzzle piece turns out to be unsuitable in retrospect, the knowledge turns out to be an unsuitable illusion. After all, the whole of the world is more than the sum of its parts.

The theory of knowledge or epistemology, derived from the Greek word epistemé, which means understanding, knowledge, knowledge and insight, is the branch of philosophy that deals with the question of how knowledge and truth are to be obtained and which natural limits of knowledge are set.[4] Knowledge is a novel experience that relates to the world or to humans. Insights are models of reality that arise through perception, experience or reflection. The flash of inspiration is a special form of inspiration or knowledge. Epistemology only looks at things in so far as they appear to the human cognitive apparatus. The “doctrine of being” of ontology, on the other hand, which the Greek words óntos for being and logos for doctrine and reason includes,[5] claims to have a "supernatural" confrontation with things in themselves.

Reality as presented from the human perspective is relative, selective, or partial. Because the term “reality” is a term used to form contrasts, the point of reference must be specified when using this noun, for example the reality of people, the reality of the media. The reference creates a difference, the term is thus used selectively or partially. According to the writer Wolfgang Welsch, the expression “reality” is also relative, “when we ask, for example, about 'the reality of God'. But 'reality' has a completely different meaning. Now it means something like ,Existence', ('To be' in the sense of 'existence'). "[6] The relativity of God's existence is based on a modern dilemma. You cannot prove God, but neither can you prove that there is no Almighty God. Just like Anselm von Canterbury's conception of God, the universe is also something beyond which nothing greater can be thought. According to Ludwig Feuerbach, God is the open interior of man, and the knowledge of God corresponds to the self-knowledge of man.

2.1 Objective Reality and Subjective Reality

In the epistemology of philosophical realism, a distinction is made between directly experienced reality and transcendental reality. Reality here is the physical, transcendental world and reality contains all subjective appearances of this reality.

The philosopher Immanuel Kant coined the world accessible to humans through perceptions, ideas and feelings with the terms "world of appearances" or phenomenal world. In contrast, Kant called the objective reality independent of man the world of "things in themselves" or the transphenomenal world. This world of "things in themselves" is described in sciences and their theories are verified or falsified.[7]

The writer Wolfgang Welsch calls the world accessible to man “comprehensive reality”, whereas he calls the world independent of him “basal”. Reality is complementary when it includes nature like culture, i.e. when it is to include all living beings and things. Basically, on the other hand, the expression "reality" according to Welsch is used,

when we relate to the given as it exists independently of our interpretations and forms its basis and immovable measure. The total of the real, the basic reality is what everything underlying.[8]

People take it for granted that there is a real world that exists completely independently of their experiences, thoughts or language. They have access to this world through their senses, and through their language people can relate to real objects in the world. Most people see causality as a real relationship between objects and events in the world. "It [the causation] is a relationship through which one phenomenon causes the cause, another causes the effect."[9] The Gestalt psychologist Kurt Lewin also takes the view that things are real when they have or can have an effect: "What is real is what works."[10] In this respect, subjective inner states, for example emotions, are also regarded as belonging to reality, since they also have an effect.

The search for causes and effects is proof that causality is the law that a large part of science believes in. Not only the opinions of scientists, but also those of laypeople in everyday life are permeated with ideas of causality. Knowledge of causal relationships can be obtained through precise empirical observations. People will partake of the truth when they closely observe phenomena and accurately report these observations. If all observers of a phenomenon arrive at the same conclusions, these conclusions are to be regarded as true, regardless of the personal opinions of individuals and regardless of the historical and cultural context.[11]

Whoever strives for a knowledge of reality wants to know how something actually behaves. Truth is certain knowledge of reality. When reality comes into play as an instance of truth, then it has the meaning of "factuality" and means the stock of facts. Facts are something non-linguistic that may make a statement true. In John Searle's words, facts are "conditions in the world which satisfy the truth conditions expressed by statements".[12] If the statement is true, then it accurately presented the fact.

2.2 truth

Believe those who seek the truth and doubt those who have found it. (André Gide)

Various scientific disciplines deal with the search for true knowledge of real relationships. They explain what the world is like and are tirelessly looking for further connections. What does it mean to claim objective knowledge of the external world - knowledge that is not based on subjective ideas? This question is related to the concept of truth. True statements about the world reflect it as it is and not as it would be desired.

In general, a knowledge, insight or statement is considered true if its truth can definitely be shown, i.e. proven. Verification and provability are conditions for discovering the truth. In a classical perspective, truth can be understood as a correspondence of statements with reality, as a responsible interpretation of realities, as the truthfulness in interpersonal dealings and as a social agreement.[13]

Especially in philosophy from antiquity and up to the present day, numerous definitions and theories regarding truth have emerged. These theories view the truth from a different point of view, or to put it in Heinz von Foerster's words:

The concept of truth, if you take it seriously, is a chameleon of the history of philosophy with a - depending on the user - always slightly different coloring - with Descartes the word has spots, with Kant stripes, with Schopenhauer points.[14]

The most widespread conception of truth is the correspondence theory of truth, which goes back to the philosophers Aristotle, Plato and Socrates and says that truth arises from the agreement of reason and matter. The correspondence of an assertion or judgment with what is in reality is truth. For Aristotle, truth meant, in Greek aletheia, "Reality" in the sense of "unconcealment".

People use language to share their thoughts and observations with one another. Words look like pictures when they describe observations. When words correspond to the events or objects in the world, they depict the world as it is. This view is called the correspondence theory of language in the philosophy of science.[15]

The correspondence theory of language is a social correspondence that connects the word to the world and makes it truth. Language was originally formed from sensual perception and always meant something concrete. In the course of time, language has moved far away from the pictorial content of the word, it has become strange and abstract. In this regard, Rainer Patzlaff points out that many people do not know that, for example persistent etymologically a stiff neck means that you have to be with your fingers engages and with your feet ver stands.[16] In the face of this collapse of language, truth in language is difficult to justify, and it cannot be precisely clarified how words correspond to experienced realities.

Based on the correspondence theory of truth, the evidence theory, represented by René Descartes and other rationalists, considers statements to be true if they agree with an obvious, plausible judgment, such as an apple and another apple results in two apples. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz and idealistic philosophers are among the representatives of the theory of coherence.[17] In their opinion, the truth of a number of statements is that they are coherent, i.e. compatible with one another without contradictions, e.g. if someone is unmarried is single. The consensus theory of truth, advocated by Karl-Otto Apel, describes a statement as true if as many people as possible agree to this statement after weighing all possible objections and arguments.[18] An example of this would be: The earth rotates on its own axis and circles the sun.

In contrast to the listed theories, which evaluate the term truth positively, Alfred Tarski developed the semantic truth theory and used the example of the "liar antinomy"[19] occupied. Similar to Sokreates' statement "I know that I know nothing", the phrase "I lie" is also paradoxical: If a liar says that he is lying, then that means that he is both lying and speaking the truth, because if he is if he says the truth he is lying, and if he lies he is not lying, but is telling the truth. As a result of the semantic closeness of the language, according to Tarski, no definition of the concept of truth can be used without contradictions.

The systems theory according to Niklas Luhmann understands truth as a symbolically generalized communication medium. A fundamental distinction is made between truth and knowledge: truth is what is really the case and communication is only the way of describing and communicating it. As the starting point of his argument, Luhmann uses a difference between the environment and the system, according to which the environment is only experienced and processed in a system, for example economy, media or society: "Every [...] system only has the environmental contact that it enables itself, and no environment 'in itself'. "[20] Luhmann emphasizes that the outside world clearly exists and that real contact with it is possible. But he notices that the numerous systems into which the world is divided create not just one but manifold ideas of reality. In that the system marks a difference to its environment, the system creates itself and can be seen as closed and self-referential from an operational point of view. Furthermore, every distinction has its blind spot; it cannot be observed at the same time in the process of differentiation; it can certainly be observed in a second-order observation[21] observed and subsequently rationalized.

The theory which has the observer's observation as its subject and from What Questions on How Rethinking questions is also called radical constructivism. According to constructivism, there is no “system-free, objectifiable, ontological world. The only thing that can be achieved is that one system observes what another system observes. "[22] The outside world actually exists, but man grasps it within the scope of his comprehension. In the outside world, for example, there are no colors, only light of different wavelengths. This light phenomenon is conceptualized and described by humans, and it turns into a system of color spectra. All concepts are human constructions.

Language is an essential system of distinctions that regulate behavior and facilitate communication and interaction. Luhmann defines the concept of communication as a threefold selection made up of information, communication and understanding. According to systems theory, communication problems can be seen through and solved if those involved step out of the established system and talk about their way of talking to one another. Although Luhmann rejects absolute knowledge, he sees so-called meta-communication as an opportunity to produce “true knowledge”. This ultimately leads to the paradox that there is true truth and "untrue truth".[23]

In his book Truth is a liar's invention Heinz von Foerster clarifies that the use of the concept of truth has a terrible effect: "He creates the lie, he separates people into those who are right and those who - it is said - are wrong."[24] Because the one who speaks of the truth makes the other person a liar, directly or indirectly, Foerster's goal is to make the concept of truth itself disappear. With this, Foerster ties in with Frank P. Ramsey's idea of ​​redundancy theory, which states that the word “true” is superfluous at all. In this sense, Foerster advocates replacing the reference to the truth with the idea of ​​trust. He also aptly notes that the term truth means war, since in this case truth is aimed at the exercise of power and oppression. In the course of history, many millions of people were mutilated, tortured and burned in order to violently enforce the idea of ​​truth.[25]

The above-mentioned conceptions of truth show that the term has both positive and negative connotations. For the term truth there are numerous other theories of truth as well as theories that try to prove the indefinability of the term. The various and sometimes contradicting aspects of truth develop a multitude of questions, the core of which is: Does it make sense at all to speak of truth, and if so, whose truth is valid?

2.3 Perception

Basically, the human perception occurs internally, externally or mentally. Inner perception relates to processes in the human body such as emotions and sensations. External perception takes place through the five senses. Thought perception notices the activities of thinking.[26] Since people name and interpret their own perception, they mix internal, external and intellectual perception without being able to differentiate them.

In today's empirical, experimental psychology of perception, the structure, processes and performance of sensory, e.g. auditory, acoustic, haptic-tactile information are examined with regard to mental processing.[27] The external stimuli stimulate a physical effect of the sensory receptors. These stimuli are now analyzed, structured and put into context over several levels in the brain. Only this successive processing of causal relationships enables a perception that turns a stimulus into a perception, an experience.[28] The perceiver activates the "translation" of the information received in a mental model, which seems suitable for the respective situation. Unimportant details are masked out by the brain in this process and are not taken into account by the conscious mind.

The perception is integrated into their species history and takes place on the basis of previous experiences, prior knowledge and social norms. Since the brain only processes signals that have already been shaped or designed, conscious perception is already an interpretation and assignment of meaning. The perception varies due to the individual memory contents, moods and thought processes of the perceiver.[29] As a result, every being has its own perception. This becomes evident when several witnesses observe and describe the same event in different ways. While some people think figuratively, others orientate themselves more towards sensory impressions and experiences. Another example of simultaneous perceptions of reality would be a text that is read and assessed differently by experts and laypeople, but also from expert to expert.

These principles of subjective perception make it clear that perception does not take place through mapping, but through a constructive, cognitive processing process. The sense organs are the gates of the brain to the world, but the “reality” of the individual subject is limited to the world of experience and reality of experience.

Proponents of radical constructivism, including Paul Watzlawick and Ernst von Glasersfeld in particular, assume that man does not find his world, but invents it. This view is also shared by the neurobiologist Gerhard Roth:

Reality and thus experience, consciousness, perceiving, imagining, remembering, etc. are - so we may speculate - an 'invention' of the brain in connection with the integration of multisensory information, its design through experience content that is present in the memory and the enabling of action planning.[30]

The image that is conveyed to people through the senses is not a true representation of reality, but can be understood as a creative process. Perceiving and recognizing are contingent constructions that could also turn out differently. That is, “the world we experience is so and got to be the way she is because we they did so ”.[31]

If a person can assume that the world he experiences is a construct of his brain, this view leads to making him solely responsible for his thoughts, knowledge and actions. According to Glasersfeld, what constructivism ultimately wants to say is “that we owe the world in which we think we live to ourselves”.[32] The consequence of this basic idea is that it is not possible for people to see the world as a whole or outside of their own psychological and physical limits. Reality in itself eludes the possibility of knowledge, since the human being is always bound to the reality of his experience.

Giambattista Vico's catchphrase of the 18th century Verum ipsum factum - the true is the same as the made - is revived in this constructivist context. Vico claims that God only knows what the real world is like because He created it and therefore knows both the blueprint and the building blocks.

Likewise, man can only ever know what he himself makes, because only the builder himself can know about the things he puts together, what the components are and how they were connected to one another.[33]

2.4 Limits of Knowledge?

Man penetrates into the vastness of space and dives into the depths of the seas. But the biggest puzzle still remains himself. The question “What is a person? What is the I? ”Offers different approaches, but no definitive answers. From a behavioral point of view, the human being is that which develops into his personality in a continuous interplay of genetic material, experience and upbringing. He is a thinking and feeling, furthermore a very curious being, who cannot turn off the questioning.

Modern technology and the joint efforts of thousands of scientists made it possible to decipher the human genome. Under the star -Series “Hirnforschung” a number of articles were published in 2002, including a scientific contribution by Frank Ochmann with the title “This is how the self is created”. Here the philosopher and brain researcher Gerhard Roth deals with neurobiological findings on the ontogenesis of the individual, i.e. with the biological development of humans from the egg cell to sexual maturity.[34] Biological research has shown that regions in the brain of an embryo begin to fold in the womb and that hearing develops at an early stage. After the birth, the baby gradually gets used to the great outside world, of which it will remain a part and partner for life. As soon as the toddler can speak, his ability to wonder comes to the fore. The child begins to grasp the meaning of what his senses perceive through questioning. With language, the child also learns different versions of the reference to reality, such as direct, indirect and apparent. Overall, it learns "to deal with different degrees of reality and types of relation to reality."[35]

While dealing with everyday language, Ludwig Wittgenstein discovered that there is not just one language, but a wide variety of "language games". He called the language and the actions in which it is embedded the language game.[36] Just as every figure in the game of chess draws its meaning from the game as a whole, words also acquire their meaning through their use within a game, or as Wittgenstein put it: "The meaning of a word is its use in language."[37] Every language game belongs to certain situations or a certain context. An understanding of reality is only communicated in the life-world context of the individual. Wittgenstein claims: "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world".[38]

The everyday language use is bracketed with the concept of truth. Since there is no language, there is no truth either: "we have to accept the plurality and relativity of truth".[39] The consequence is that one can no longer speak of the truth in the classical sense. However, people do not manage to cease their curiosity and thirst for truth either.

The thirst for knowledge and language provide a decisive basis for a subject's further understanding of the world. Knowledge satisfies human curiosity, knowledge unfolds creative human power. For the development of an individual's understanding of the world, the cultural conditions of the environment in which they grow up and live are fundamental. Humans grasp reality within their sensual, linguistic, temporal and spatial limits and therefore have only limited knowledge of real world processes. Because every person understands reality from his point of view, the individual way of perception and interpretation determines what the individual calls reality. As a result, a "kaleidoscope of realities" is created[40]that everyone builds up in themselves and in which everyone lives.

This fact leads to the conclusion that scientific knowledge is also based on the phenomenon and is therefore incomplete. Anyone who appropriates the methods of science must ask the question of the limits and the value of scientific knowledge. The theories of science are unable to clear up the inner nature of being and the mystery of reality, since they are limited to the respective subject area and anchored in the respective time and culture. Science cannot claim any universal truth. Those who strive for the unconditional truth of knowledge end up in their own subjectivity, "any content beyond that cannot be guaranteed."[41] The crucial experiences in life cannot be expressed in theories and formulas. Its driving force is based on that necessary and close relationship to the reality of being through which a person can come to deeper insight.

A penetration into the true reality is not absolutely denied to humans by nature. The reality of being is accessible to the human mind in its entirety, but only partially understandable. The innermost core of life is the creative force. It is a new creation full of life, a profound wisdom based on imagination, intuition and inspiration; not a lifeless connection between cause and effect. Science will never succeed in uncovering the sources of the creative spirit. The highest attainable knowledge can only be a brief glimpse.

The reality of man is the reality of consciousness in which the ego lives feeling, feeling, thinking, wanting and acting in relation to its world: "Being-in-the-world means: being in relationships, to relate to these relationships."[42] The characteristic of being human is expressed in the ego's ability to be self-aware.The human being is the only living being that can reflect on itself. This ability is always dependent on space, time and social structures. This reciprocal relationship between the self and the world is the fact of a reality-constructing subjectivity that takes place in a given historical and social world.

Human forms of perception are to an extent historical and shaped by the achievements of the imagination.

Such shaping by role models and imaginations is a general cultural, not just a modern phenomenon. Only the role model that used to be perceived by religion, ritual and art is now largely taken over by the electronic media.[43]


In search of truth and reality, people - consciously, unconsciously or subconsciously - fall into the clutches of a constructed reality, the authenticity of which is an illusion that fakes people into the possibilities of true knowledge. Highly developed electronic, digital and audio-visual media have long paved the way for the general public. In the meantime, an entire media society has emerged that dominates people's everyday lives.

The term medium means something like “transfer”, “mediation” or “mediocrity”. Media studies treats all media as means of mass communication and differentiates them according to their type of function. Audio-visual media are treated as media of observation and perception. Storage and processing media enable information to be recorded, they relieve people's memory and provide an "external memory"[44]. Transmission media are used to transport information, messages and content.

Media are metaphorical body extensions; they serve to expand and enhance the human sense organs. The messages of the media shape human thinking, perceiving, experiencing, remembering and communicating.

In a society shaped by mass media, reality is increasingly that "what we construct as reality through media use, then believe in it and act and communicate accordingly."[45] The hypothesis of the literary scholar Siegfried Schmidt is that media "are available and can be used as instruments for cognitive and communicative constructions of reality."[46]

Media provide non-present rooms and times on the computer and television screens. The possibility of being able to interact with texts, images and sounds on the screens is becoming "virtualization"[47] called. Human-machine communication takes place in the virtual environment of cyberspace.

Immersion in a computer-controlled simulation of apparent worlds is the core of virtual reality. When immersing in virtual reality, the visual impression changes depending on head or body movements, the spatial perception is simulated according to the movement, which makes the illusion of being in the scenery of this "second" world almost perfect. Humans navigate the computer's data world with their natural body movements.[48] Virtual reality is a tool for creating simulations. In disciplines such as physics, chemistry, astronomy and medicine, there are many possible uses for virtual reality techniques. Microcosmic and macrocosmic phenomena only become "obvious" and thus understandable through projections into the virtual world.

The media are closely connected and interwoven with modern societies. The overabundance of media information leads to an increase in references to space and to a loss of meaning in time. According to Marc Augé, we live in a "planetary age" today:

We live in the age of changing orders of magnitude, certainly when it comes to conquering space, but also on earth. [...] finally, images sent by satellites [...] allow us an instantaneous and often simultaneous view of events that are currently taking place at the other end of the world.[49]

The metaphor of the “global village” refers to the changes in social relationships under the influence of the mass media. The media sociologist Marshall McLuhan coined the term “global village” in 1967, long before the Internet began. In his work The medium is the message he wrote: “We live in a brand new world of simultaneity. Time has stopped, space has vanished. Today we live in a global village ... in a simultaneous happening. "[50]

McLuhan refers to the idea that electronic circuit technology connects people around the world and that this implosion of the world creates a "global village" that unites every age group, every conviction and nationality. Through the media, events are brought in from afar and experienced first hand, even though there is no physical presence. In this regard, McLuhan can be seen as the thought leader of the computer and internet age. The world is merging into a global village through the computer's electrical information superhighways. Users all over the world cross spatial barriers via the Internet and chat rooms and meet in a virtual community.

3.1 Manipulative power of the media

The last few decades have been marked by the beginning of the effects of our technologized living environment, which has led to radical changes in traditional social concepts: “Near and far interlock; with the possibilities of visually enhancing the appearance of the human environment infinitely, the 'wide world' suddenly shrinks, becomes infra-tiny. "[51] According to Augé, this excess of space paradoxically correlates with a narrowing of the planet, for example through population growth. The gap between the multitude of spaces shown and the narrowness of the spaces effectively available to the individual grows irrevocably. The modernization process aims at the individualization of the individual "and strives to separate him from those complexes that give his life in the relationship and through it meaning."[52]

Habits have the power to shape our lives.

(Michel de Montaigne)

Apparent presence, phantom existence lead to a gradual loneliness of the human being. Today, interpersonal relationships and bonds are not infrequently subject to the sign of imagined presence. The lonely person can perceive, inform himself and communicate via cell phone, Internet and with the help of a webcam, and he is relieved of the need to be personally present at the scene of the events, but this process only hinders the opportunity for true knowledge. Even when humans actively operate devices, they remain largely passive, which is the handling - around walk, move around, be active - as far as the living world is concerned. His experiences are reduced to taking in mediated fragments of the world.

Those who observe activities for most of their lives, experience conveyed without actively acting themselves, without critically examining and questioning them, risk losing the feeling for reality. They get caught in the web of selective representations of reality, which cannot even come close to doing justice to the authenticity of world events.

3.1.1 Consumer society and capitalism

Those who do not own and use a television, cell phone or computer these days are simply considered to be living behind the moon. People have become multiple consumers: they buy a device that guarantees them countless other consumption options. Consumers can now make non-stop use of the abundance of offers. The offered goods are presented in the liturgical order of recurring advertising praised. Dreamlike images and promising promises lead to an irrigation, to a captation of the senses, which makes naive people believe that they have found eternal happiness. The mere use of human impulses and feelings primarily serves the purpose of enriching the masses.

With regard to the change in technology and economy with the associated space and time structures, Jameson Fredric considers the connection between economy and culture to be particularly important in today's information and high-tech age, a consumer and media society. Jameson recognizes a clear connection between postmodern culture and contemporary capitalism, emphasizing "that this worldwide (yet American) postmodern culture is nothing more than the specific superstructure of the very latest wave of global American military and economic domination."[53] Today's capitalism permeates and colonizes the nature of the unconscious and manifests itself in the destruction of nature and agriculture and in the rise of the media and the advertising industry.

According to Fredric Jameson are

our inadequate representations of an immense communication and computer network are actually just distorted representations [...] of contemporary multinational capitalism. The technology of today's society [...] [offers] a preferred short form of representation in order to grasp a network of power and control that is difficult to grasp with our minds and imaginations.[54]

He calls this the new stage of capitalist development. It is characterized by three aspects. First, by the emergence of a new flatness or superficiality that extends to the whole culture of the simulacrum. By simulacrum, Jameson means Plato's term: the identical copy of something whose original never existed. Second, capitalism undergoes a fundamental change in the very world of objects, which has become a series of simulacra, and the location and character of the subject. The third aspect relates to the loss of affect.[55]

3.1.2 The screen

The screen has become an indispensable part of people's lives; it gives private life the focus, orientation and scale; it determines the timing, unites consciousness and knows no social barriers. The screen expands one's own little horizon immeasurably and gives even the poorest the feeling of being connected to the happenings in the big, wide world. The screen intervenes centrally and universally in the life of all of humanity and has become the epitome of modern life. Media technology has opened up effective possibilities for influencing the senses and perception of the viewer, so that the sensory irrigation can be enjoyed in continuous consumption. This media overload of stimuli harbors the danger of an attack on the autonomy of the individual.

Television entertains people by preventing them from watching

talk to each other. (Sigmund Graff)

Television is still to be seen as the primary part of the information and consumption space. Above all, the television series, which are part of the everyday world of the most varied of individuals, have opened up access to the vastness of space. In the form of television, a series of imaginary identifying features is imposed on the entire globe. TV series are potentially open to all conceivable topics. This means that all sorts of problems and conflicts can be staged in them, so that the viewers choose from this supermarket of feelings what concerns them, what they know and recognize.[56]


[1] Wolfgang Welsch (2000): “Really”. Variants of meaning - models - reality and virtuality ", in: Media, computers, reality. Images of reality and new media, Ed. Sybille Krämer, 2nd edition, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp (p. 169-212), p. 175.

[2] See Peter Prechtl and Franz-Becker Burkard (eds.) (1996): Metzler Philosophy Lexicon. terms and definitions, Stuttgart / Weimar: Metzler, 567.

[3] See Reality Forum: Science reality, 02.05.2003:, accessed: January 14, 2005.

[4] Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia: Epistemology, 02.05.2004:, p. 1, accessed: November 28, 2004.

[5] Cf. Meyers Kleines Lexikon Philosophie (1987): ed. from the editorial office for philosophy d. Bibliographer. Inst., Mannheim; Vienna; Zurich: Meyer, p. 299.

[6] Wolfgang Welsch (2000), pp. 176-177.

[7] See Peter L. Berger / Thomas Luckmann (1993): The social construction of reality. A theory of the sociology of knowledge, Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, p. 43.

[8] Wolfgang Welsch (2000), pp. 176-177.

[9] John S. Searle (2001): Mind, language and society, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, ​​p. 19.

[10] Press office of the University of Augsburg: Between persistence and change, 11.07.2004:, accessed: 13.09.2004.

[11] See Kenneth J. Gergen (2002): Constructed realities. An introduction to social constructionism, (translated by Eric Kearney) Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, p. 26.

[12] John Searle (1997): The construction of social reality. On the ontology of social facts, Reinbek near Hamburg: Rowohlt, p. 219.

[13] See Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia: truth, 29.03.2005:, accessed: April 2, 2005.

[14] Heinz von Foerster / Bernhard Pörksen (1998): Truth is a liar's invention. Conversations for skeptics, Heidelberg: Carl Auer Systems, p. 29.

[15] Kenneth J. Gergen (2002), p. 33.

[16] See Rainer Patzlaff (1999): Media magic or the domination of the senses, 3rd revised Ed., Stuttgart: Free Spiritual Life, p. 32.

[17] See Peter Prechtl and Franz-Becker Burkard (1996), pp. 565-563.

[18] See Peter Prechtl and Franz-Becker Burkard (1996), pp. 267-268.

[19] Cf. Alfred Tarski (1935): "The concept of truth in formalized languages", in: K. Berka / L. Kreiser (ed.): Logic texts, Berlin: Sigma 1981, (p. 443-546) p. 473.

[20] Niklas Luhmann (1984): Social systems. Outline of a general theory, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, ​​p. 146.

[21] See Siegfried J. Schmidt (1994): "The Reality of the Observer", in: K. Merten / S. J. Schmidt / S. Weischenberg (Eds) (1994): The reality of the media. An introduction to communication science, Opladen: Westdeutscher Verl., (Pp. 3-19) pp. 5-6.

[22] Siegfried J. Schmidt (1994), p. 7.

[23] See Niklas Luhmann (1992): The science of society, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, ​​p. 167 ff.

[24] Heinz von Foerster / Bernhard Pörksen (1998), p. 29.

[25] See Heinz von Foerster / Bernhard Pörksen (1998), p. 29.

[26] See Eberhard Eckerle: To embody perception through design, 12.10.2000:, accessed: November 25, 2004.

[27] Peter Prechtl and Franz-Becker Burkard (eds.) (1996), p. 565.

[28] See Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia: perception, 04.11.2004:, accessed: November 25, 2004.

[29] Wikipedia:, see note 28.

[30] Gerhard Roth (1994): The brain and its reality. Cognitive Neurobiology and its Philosophical Consequences, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, ​​p. 328.

[31] Ernst von Glasersfeld (2002): "Introduction to radical constructivism", in: Paul Watzlawick (Ed.): The invented reality. How do we know what we think we know? Contributions to constructivism, (P. 16-38) Munich: Piper, p. 29.

[32] Ernst von Glasersfeld (2002), p. 17.

[33] Ernst von Glasersfeld (2002), p. 26.

[34] See Frank Ochmann: Brain Research - Part One, in: Stern, No. 25 of June 13, 2002, pp. 77-86.

[35] Wolfgang Welsch (2000), p. 203.

[36] Ludwig Wittgenstein (2001) [1987]: Philosophical Investigations. Oxford: Blackwell. German edition: Philosophical Investigations. Critical Genetic Edition. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, ​​p. 108.

[37] Ludwig Wittgenstein (2001), p. 20.

[38] Ludwig Wittgenstein (2001), p. 21.

[39] Gerhard Fasching (2000): Phenomena of reality. Occult and scientific worldviews, Vienna: Springer, p. 293.

[40] Gerhard Fasching (2000), p. 5.

[41] Hans Günther Russ (2004): Theory of Science, Epistemology and the Search for Truth. An introduction, Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, p. 45.

[42] Erika Fischer-Lichte / Isabel Pflug (Eds.) (2000): Staging authenticity. Theatricality, Vol. 1, Tübingen, Basel: Francke, p. 151.

[43] Wolfgang Welsch (2000), p. 205.

[44] Knut Hickethier (2003): Introduction to media studies, Stuttgart: Metzler, pp. 20-21.

[45] Siegfried J. Schmidt (1994), p. 18.

[46] Siegfried J. Schmidt (1994), p. 17.

[47] See Sybille Krämer (ed.) (2000): Media, computers, reality. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, ​​2nd edition, p. 13.

[48] See Encarnação, Pöppel, Schipanski (1997): Reality versus Virtual Reality: Strategic Options, Opportunities and Diffusion Potentials, Baden-Baden: Nomos, p. 54.

[49] Marc Augé (1994): Places and non-places. Preliminary considerations for an ethnology of loneliness, Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, p. 41.

[50] Marshall McLuhan (1968): The magical channels. Understanding media, Düsseldorf: Econ, S.29

[51] Paul Virilio (1993): Speed ​​revolutions, Berlin: Merve, p. 52.

[52] Marc Augé (1994), 39.

[53] Fredric Jameson (1993): "Postmodernism - on the logic of culture in late capitalism", in: Huyssen & Scherpe (ed.): Postmodern. Signs of cultural change, Rowohlt: Reinbek, (p. 45-102) p. 49.

[54] Fredric Jameson (1993), pp. 79-80.

[55] See Fernand Kreff (2003): Basic concepts of social and cultural anthropology in the globalization debate, Berlin: Dietrich Reimer, pp. 66-67.

[56] See Martin Jurga (1999): Television textuality and reception. Studies in communication science, Vol. 41, Opladen: Westdeutscher Verl., P. 163.

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