Much of the material we have covered in our projects intersect in unexpected ways. But one main reason for this has to do with a major false underlying assumption relating to the digital-the passive and active players. The majority of the material dealing with digital impacts are based on naïve assumptions that the developer/owner as the active agent, while the user is the vulnerable, clueless and passive agent. This logic can be seen in ongoing discussion with Cambridge Analytica and Facebook where only CA and Zuckerberg are active agents, and the abused users are passive. Yet if you look at the follow-on, a fascinating subtext emerged when the huge majority of the users went ‘whatevers’ and just went back to checking their likes and posts. As Miller and his group have noted: look at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/why-we-post. The digital is defined by the users—a phenomenon we have seen dramatically in Second Life’s history.
But if the user is actually the key player then one key question has to be: Why are they so heavily engaged in the digital given all the problematic impacts of that engagement (emotional, social, psychological, physical)?
This is the driver for the Ikigai analysis—looking at existing motivators and potential motivators (or change agents). Who we see ourselves as and how we see that relationship with everything around us, is central to understanding how and why we make the decisions we do. Why we get drawn into a catfishing episode, why we take on a digital avatar in a virtual world, why we use an app to modify our ‘casual’ appearance before we post…
But it also helps us to understand why it is so difficult to modify our behavior, and maybe with digital, learn how to disengage (at least temporarily).