Culture

07.03.2012

Kim H. Veltman
Dreaming, Seeing, Feeling, Thinking, Saying, Doing
Unpublished

Ever since the advent of computers, human-computer-interfaces have been an important theme not least because of great differences between the two. Machines traditionally have an either/or logic: a machine is on or off. A program is running or not running. Human beings are more complex. An essential difference is that humans distinguish between dream, seeing, feeling, thinking and doing. As the tale from 1001 Nights told so eloquently long ago, a person may occasionally have terrible dreams that do not reflect the wonderful things that will happen in reality. A person may feel miserable, and still go to work. A person may think something quite impolite or even worse about their boss or someone and wisely say nothing. In a burst of anger or excitement a person may say something they do not mean. Fortunately, what the person does visibly is usually something much more polite, balanced with a sometimes excellent façade.

The person’s actions, their facades, their masks, are significant dimensions of a human but are hardly the whole person. Even so, our legal systems were constructed on the assumption that only actions count. A child may say; I’m going to kill him/her; a grown person may think: I’d like to kill him/her, but only someone who plans to do so and does so is a murderer. People see Hollywood films about killers, murderers, terrorists and criminals daily and go back home with no plans, let alone attempts, to be anything other than peaceful citizens, loving parents and gentle spouses. Traditionally owning a copy of Playboy was no proof of illicit or criminal behaviour. It was often simply a sign of healthy puberty. Seeing the equivalent online is often nothing more. Traditionally, sublimation was not a crime. Justice is about redressing actual crimes where illegal actions have been done.
 

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