Natural presence

Natural presence is borne by the body and the mind and is bound to place and time. Cultures evolve when time is shared over longer periods. Being in a place for long periods of time, when space has become a place in which a certain culture is shared, a variety of presences can contribute to the communication processes because a 'common ground' has been established. This also happens in mediated presence. The sense of place helps to orchestrate mediated and witnessed presence because shared values and a shared culture are expressed in the sense of place. A trusted and shared culture helps to mediate trust to others who are not yet known to us.

A person's natural presence is limited in time. We are mortal beings. When faced with the possibility of death, people's presence is challenged. When one is confronted with information that may have a deep influence on one's survival, 'intelligence' changes. A more heightened awareness of presence may be the result. One wants to deal with issues in a way that one did not previously. Survival is a very powerful drive, which makes all sort of latent talents manifest themselves. It can create focus, courage and perspective. When faced with illness, people's natural presence changes, basic energy may be problematic. Whenever possible, the mind still likes to connect, and such connections are appreciated.

People like to transcend the boundaries of time and place and use memory, anticipation, illusion, imagination and states of rapture, as at a party, to achieve this. When technology helps people to transcend the limits of time and place, people appreciate this too. When people are immersed in what they do, they tend to forget the specific time/place configuration that they are present in. Also, when people are immersed in technological environments they can lose their awareness of their physical environment and physical well-being.

Technology has become embedded in the biological environment that human beings inhabit. Human beings and their social systems create the technology and adapt to the technology as well. The cyborg identity of human beings is an issue that is, and should be, explored further (Haraway 1991, Henwood et al. 2001). The question is whether the awareness of the invasion of (medical and other) technology into our identity, changes its impact or not. If so, questions can be raised about what kind of awareness this is, how can one nurture such awareness and at what point does awareness make a difference.