Saturday, December 8, 2018

التعديلات الجينية.. هل سنشهد قريباً ظهور البشر الخارقين؟



ما هو مسار التطور العلمي، في أي مجال، على مر التاريخ؟

كما جرت العادة، البداية بالنسبة إلى الإعلام والمؤسسات الحكومية والدينية هي شجب التجربة العلمية وما ينتج عنها ورفض فكرة تطبيقها، ثم وصفها باللاأخلاقية والدعوة إلى اتخاذ خطوات قانونية تجرمّها وتهدف إلى الحيلولة دون تكرارها، وإصدار الفتاوى والآراء الدينية التي تؤكد أنها ضد المبادئ، التي أكدتها الكتب السماوية، وبالتالي تحرمّها وتصفها بأسوأ الكلمات التي تحط من قدرها وتضع القائمين عليها في صفوف الشيطان أو المرضى النفسيين Psychopaths.

الوصف في الأسطر القليلة السابقة لا يرتبط، بالضرورة، بالحالة التي سيتحدث عنها هذا المقال، فهو أمر تكرر عبر التاريخ، وأمر شهدناه وقرأنا عنه مراراً في أزمنة ومواقع جغرافية مختلفة، فهو مرتبط مثلاً بما حدث لجيوردانو برونو وجاليليو جاليلي، عندما أكدا، وبشكل منفصل، أن الأرض ليست مركز الكون؛ وهو ما خالف أسس مدرسة أرسطو، التي اعتمدتها الكنيسة الكاثوليكية كجزء من عقيدتها الدينية... هذا الأمر كان كافياً للكنيسة آنذاك من أجل محاكمتهما وإصدار أحكام ضدهما بسبب وقوفهما وراء أفكار تخالف المعتقدات المسيحية (التي كانت هي قوانين الدولة، فالكنيسة كانت تمثل الزعامة السياسية أيضاً).. لذلك قضت بإعدام الأول حرقاً، وبسجن الثاني في منزله حتى موته.
 
محاكمات العلماء.. إلى اليمن، جيوردانو برونو، وإلى اليسار غاليليو غاليلي.
لماذا بدأنا هذا المقال بالعودة إلى الماضي؟ لأن شيئاً لم يتغير؛ مع كل ما حققته البشرية بسبب التقدم العلمي والتطبيقات التكنولوجية التي تبعته، وفي مجالات عدة، لانزال في حقيقة الأمر ثابتين عند تلك النقطة، نرفض التحديث ونحارب كل ما هو جديد ونشكك في أي أمر يهز أرض معتقداتنا، التي نؤمن بأنها أرض ثابتة صلبة، لن يطرأ عليها أي تغيير.

اليوم، نواجه أمراً مشابهاً تماماً.
بعد عقود من البحث والدراسات في مجال الوراثة والجينات وأسرار الحمض النووي، توصلنا إلى فهم أكبر فيما يتعلق بأجسادنا وفسيولوجيتنا وأسباب إصابتنا بالأمراض، أو بالأحرى قابليتنا للتعرض لها... نحن الآن ندرك أن هناك جينات مسؤولة عن كل جانب من جوانب حياتنا، من القدرات العقلية والجسدية، إلى قابلية أجسامنا للحصول على حياة طويلة أو قصيرة، إلى نوع الشخصية التي سنمتلكها.

لماذا تمت هذه الدراسات، ولماذا قضى علماء عديدون سنوات وسنوات فيها؟ للتوصل إلى فهم شامل حول الحياة، وللمساهمة في تحسين ظروف معيشة كل منا، والدفع باتجاه التوصل إلى علاجات لأمراض لا تزال تفتك بالملايين حول العالم.

البداية في أي حرب على أي مرض هي بفهم مسبباته وآلية عمله للتمكن من وضع دواء يشفي من يصاب به، أو يحول دون الإصابة أساساً به؛ مثلاً عبر اللقاحات الطبية التي تقدم للأطفال لمنع إصابتهم بالأمراض الخطيرة لاحقاً في حياتهم.

العالم الصيني "هي جيانكوي" He Jiankui المتخصص في علم الأحياء، والذي يشغل منصب أستاذ مساعد في الجامعة الجنوبية للعلوم والتقنية في الصين، أعلن ولادة توأم (أختين) قام هو بالإشراف على عملية تعديلهما جينياً في رحم أمهما، لماذا؟ للحيلولة دون إصابة أي منهما بمرض الإيدز... بالطبع هذا الأمر تم للمرة الأولى في تاريخ البشرية. 
هي جيانكوي
من المنطقي أن تكون ردة الفعل إيجابية، فالطفلان سيكونان في مأمن طوال حياتهما، ولن يتعرضا أبداً للإصابة بمرض لم يتمكن الأطباء والباحثون من التوصل إلى علاج له حتى يومنا هذا... لكن ما حدث كان مختلفاً، الإعلام بدأ بشن حملات ضد العالم الصيني، السياسيون اتهموه بالقيام بعمل مخالف لأخلاقيات العمل العلمي والطبي والإنساني، والمؤسسات الدينية سارعت إلى مهاجمته وتحقير إنجازه وتحريم ما قام به ووصفه بأنه يحاول لعب دور الله.

في حقيقة الأمر، هذا الدور لعبه العلماء منذ قرون، وبنجاح؛ فقد تمكنوا من تفسير أسباب الإصابة بالأمراض والتوصل إلى علاجات وأدوية تمكن المصابين من التغلب عليها ومواصلة حياتهم، بدلاً من المعتقدات بأن أرواحاً شريرة هي التي تقف وراءها... العلماء والأطباء، فهموا طبيعة مشكلات صحية كانت تؤدي في معظم الحالات إلى الموت في الماضي، وتمكنوا من حلها باستخدام أقراص أو حبوب تواجه الميكروبات والفيروسات التي تسببها، بدلاً من انتظار القدر والاكتفاء بالدعاء والصلاة للمرضى، الذي يعانون ويتألمون بشكل تصاعدي حتى وصول لحظة الموت... العلماء شرحوا لنا كيف يعمل الكون وأوضحوا لنا قوانينه وفسروا لنا الليل والنهار، بدلاً من أفكار الأرض المسطحة التي تدور حولها الشمس والكواكب والنجوم.

واليوم، يريد الإعلام والسياسيون والمؤسسات الدينية منع وصولنا إلى المرحلة القادمة من التطور البشري؛ مرحلة سيكون لدينا فيها أشخاص يمتلكون مناعة ضد الأمراض، قوتهم الجسدية والعضلية أفضل بمرات مقارنة مع حالنا اليوم، قدراتهم العقلية تكاد تشبه من نصفهم اليوم بالعباقرة، حواسهم متطورة، ويمكنهم العيش لعقود طويلة إضافية مقارنة مع متوسط الأعمار الحالية في العالم... بمعنى آخر، سيكون لدينا أفراد يمكن أن نسميهم البشر الخارقين Superhumans.

هل من سبب للاعتراض على هذا الأمر؟ هل يمكن للتفكير السليم أن يرفض صورة هذا المستقبل المشرق للبشرية؟ بالطبع لا... لكن الذين يعترضون على هذا الإنجاز العلمي يسألون: لو تحقق هذا الأمر، ماذا سيحل بنا، نحن البشر "العاديين"، عندما نصبح الأقلية ويصبح العالم خاصاً بالـ Superhuman؟

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Nietzsche and Ascetic Priest



Nietzsche is considered to be one of the most influential philosophers and thinkers in history. His thoughts and views regarding a variety of issues created a new and, somewhat, independent school of thought.
            In many of his works, Nietzsche tries to find a new foundation for the western civilization, creating a new set of thoughts that replaces the already-existing basis. His philosophy states that morals which, in great part, depend on the heritage of religions that are mostly based on the Judeo-Christian concepts and that define good and evil and identifies the relation of man with his reality, should be re-evaluated.
            His criticism of religion was one of the most evident aspects of his philosophy. Collier regards Nietzsche as one of those who made the most effective arguments against religion in the last one hundred and fifty years. The author states that religion for Nietzsche is “part of a slave rebellion in morals - a substitute for the unsuccessful slave rebellion in reality” (Popora et al.).
           Even the basic concepts such as the definition of good and evil have been presented differently, as, according to Nietzsche, the definition is related to weakness and strength: Nietzsche defines the Christian religion, saying that it represents “everything weak, low, and botched; it has made an ideal out of antagonism towards all the self-preservative instincts of strong life.” On the other hand, Nietzsche’s concept of good is described as: “All that enhances the feeling of power, the Will to Power, and power itself in man. What is bad?--All that proceeds from weakness. What is happiness?--The feeling that power is increasing,--that resistance has been overcome.” He also explained his ideas about Christianity with the following: “I call it the one immortal blemish upon the human race” (Nietzsche and and Hollingdale 127).
                       
THE ascetic priest
            According to Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, an ascetic person is one who is “practicing strict self-denial as a measure of personal and especially spiritual discipline,” which means that he/she is an individual who leads a life of reflection and a painstaking process of self-denial for reasons that are strictly related to religion.
            The ascetic ideal “valorizes self-denial, and stigmatizes satisfaction of the rapacious and sensual desires” (Leiter 261).
            Nola gives us a more thorough definition when he states that the word “ascetic comes into English from the Greek ‘asketes,’ monk or hermit. In classical Greek the word ‘asketo’ meant training in general, such as in athletics or gymnastics, or for the arena, etc. And the word ‘askesis’ meant a way of life involving training. It can easily be seen how the word was adapted to refer to those who indulged in a training of the self in denial and sever abstinence” (505).
            The ascetic priest lives in self-denial, refuting the natural world in its entirety. According to this view, this priest’s initial view of life is one of disgust because it brings nothing more than suffering and hurt. According to the religious view, life as we know it began with a mistake and is going on in its path as a punishment for that mistake, and the main purpose of living it is to reach the starting point; the point where it all commenced.
            Nietzsche, in the passage in question, explains his view regarding the ascetic priest by explaining the contradiction which is evident in the fact that this figure has been present in almost all historic periods, which signifies that it logically should represent some kind of an element facilitating the lives of man throughout his existence on this earth, but, in the same time, it has always been a figure that rejects life in all its aspects, as it awaits impatiently its end. The ascetic priest regards life as an evil that brings nothing but suffering and unnecessary pains to those who make part of it.
            Nola explains Nietzsche’s view regarding the resentment which is able to support the priest's denial of himself and of life, by stating that “it grows and becomes triumphant; but it does so at the expense of other instinctual capacities for life. There are diminished and ultimately stunted or crushed.” The author highlights the way in which resentment works: “resentment plays a leading role in causing the periods to lead an ascetic life;” and it “is an instinctual drive in priests, and is a particular manifestation of the will to power enabling them to master life itself, that is to resist all the impulses to life and to be hostile to it while continuing to live” (505).
            Nietzsche states that ascetic priests attempted, in all possible ways, to dominate humans in every matter related to their being; their most important objective is to dominate the most essential element: The ascetic priests’ “will to power which seeks not to master some isolated aspect of life but rather life itself, over its deepest, strongest, most basic conditions” is the most evident element in their school of thought (On the Genealogy of Morals III,11). And this, according to Nietzsche, can be seen in the way that religious figures always tend to force their ideas concerning the meaning of life and its purpose and the way it should conducted, and they tend to reject all opposing opinions, in some cases even violently.
            According to Nietzsche, philosophers, throughout history, relied on the ascetic ideals in their views. Clark explains the views of Nietzsche by stating that philosophers “have accepted... an ‘other-worldly’ account that reflects the ascetic priest’s devaluation of human existence.” According to the author, philosophers established their concept of morality through the rejection of sensual pleasures that are “necessary for the development of a higher spirituality.” As a matter of fact, Clark affirms that Nietzsche believed that “the philosopher’s understanding of higher spirituality (as excluding sensuality) derives from the priest's ascetic ideal.” This leads us to the most important factor in Nietzsche’s argument which is that philosophers, according to his point of view, should “discard the ‘repulsive and gloomy caterpillar form’ they borrowed from the ascetic priest” (170).
            Another author who attempts to go through the ideas of Nietzsche regarding the issue of the ascetic priest is Strong, when she states that
The ascetic priest alleviates temporarily the disasters of moral life. Nietzsche lists the “innocent” means as (a) reducing the feeling of life to its lowest point (e.g. yogic trance), (b) mechanical activity, (c) “petty pleasures,” and (d) the formation of a herd. Such means are referred to as “innocent,” because they are all generally approved by the society that they are keeping together. In using these diverse means, the ascetic priest is not curing men of increasingly “dominating sense of pleasure” - he is no physician. Rather he is merely alleviating the discontents by providing temporary palliatives (255).

            Strong describes the method in which the ascetic priest, according to Nietzsche, preserves his ideals, and that is through the protection of a specific kind of life and through keeping it from “crashing through nihilism into nothingness.” Most probably, the will to remain in power over the rest of the people came out as a result of this protective instinct that ascetic priests have to protect their realm: “The ascetic priest can tolerate no power... on earth... which does not first... receive a meaning, a right to exist, a value as a tool to the ascetic ideal, as a way and means to its goal. Such an ideal triumphs so completely that there is simply no opposition” (255-256).
            Contrary to what the reader may be expecting, we find that Nietzsche does not argue against the principal ascetic ideal; instead he finds it somewhat positive, as it gives man the possibility to observe the various matters of life from a different point of view. After having explained the contradictions in the ascetic ideals and basic thoughts, we must keep in mind that, as Nietzsche suggests, we cannot consider the ascetic ideal as a wrong one because no point in life is objective in an absolute manner. Nietzsche states that only through achieving the possibility of observing the angles of life from different perspectives can we achieve knowledge. Bishop suggests that Nietzsche has a certain fondness for ascetic priests and for their ideals, as “the resolute will of the ascetic priest to transform life in something Nietzsche genuinely appreciates. For asceticism has provided the most significant means for humans to overcome their animal-level existence - ascetics do not shrink from their psychological endowment, but flourish in it” (313).
           
           

CONCLUSION
            The main point in Nietzsche’s criticism of the ascetic priests (and the ascetic ideal) is the attempt of enforcing their thoughts regarding morality (thoughts which originate from the Christian teachings) over society and individuals. The most significant factor is that the ascetic priest always tries to put what is important in his view above what is needed for the advancement of human life and society. The continuous attempt to undermine what is necessary for human life and to label many of its requirements as immoral, is of crucial importance when it comes to the opinions of Nietzsche, this includes the general view of life itself and the creation of a moral aspect from the suffering of humans. By doing that, the ascetic priest exercises the ultimate power over humans because he represents himself as the source of true knowledge and the path to the divine, which leads him to dominate everyone and lead them as herds.
            Ackermann gives us a better explanation of how philosophy and ascetic ideals can be of benefit to humans, by suggesting that
The three great slogans of the ascetic idea - poverty, humility, and chastity - are always encountered in the lives of great, fruitful, inventive spirits. These ideals are not virtues, as claimed by the apologetics of philosophers, but the painful natural conditions of their most creative existence. The asceticism of poverty, humility, and chastity does not ultimately mark the deepest link between philosophy and the ascetic ideal. Values change over time, for example, suffering, which was once a virtue, but is now a vice. (102)
            The ascetic priest spreads his views in an attempt to exert power over the people. Explaining the suffering and pain, which are a misfortune, as the source that allows us to live; while any attempt to reach any acts of will, such as health, strength, or happiness, is presented as something beyond reach. Not only that, but the ascetic ideal affirmed the fact that accepting such views is a precondition to the correct aspect of living.
            The ascetic priests, by rejecting all the things that this life offers and determining that humans have no choice in any of the factors formulating any aspect of their lives – calling on them to accept whatever suffering and pain as, by doing so, they go on the path towards another life – are in total contradiction with their desire to dominate every aspect of people’s lives. And this, according to Nietzsche, is the greatest contradiction of all.

Works Cited
Ackermann, Robert John. Nietzsche: A Frenzied Look. Amherst, MA: The university of   Maccachusetts Press, 1990.

‘Ascentic.’ Merriam Webster Online Dictionary. 2006. 7 December 2006
            <http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/ascetic>

Bishop, Paul. Nietzsche and Antiquity: his reaction and response to the classical tradition.             Rochester, NY: Boydell & Brewer Inc., 2004.

Clark, Maudemarie. Nietzsche on Truth and Philosophy. New York, NY: Cambridge University   Press, 1990.

Leiter, Brian. Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Nietzsche on Morality. London, England:       Routledge, 2002.

Nietzsche, Friedrich, and R. J. Hollingdale. The Twilight of the Idols and the Anti-Christ.            London, England: Penguin Group, 1990.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. On the Genealogy of Morals - A Polemical Tract. 1887. Malaspina    University-College. 2001. 7 December 2006
            <http://www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/Nietzsche/genealogy3.htm>.

Nola, Robert. Rescuing Reason: A Critique of Anti-Rationalist Views of Science and Knowledge.             Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003.

Porpora, Douglas V, et al. Transcendence: Critial Realism and God. London, England:      Routledge, 2004.

Strong, Tracy B. Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of Transfiguration. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2000.






Old and New Testaments




The Christian faith is based on the teachings, the factors of belief, and the knowledge found and presented in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
            The Old Testament, or as it is called by Judaism 'Tanakh', was written by different authors over a time period that exceeded a millennium. As Larue explains, the Old Testament is a set of chosen writings collected, re-written and revised by individuals that can be identified as Hebrew-Jewish. The author states that the contents of the Old Testament vary in subjects, references and meanings as they include “such diverse materials as prophetic oracles, teachings of wise men, instructions of priests and ancient records of the royal courts. Some material is historical, some is legendary; some is legalistic, some is didactic. For the most part the literature was written in Hebrew, but a few passages were written in Aramaic.”
            The Old Testament is composed of several books, and even though the number of those books varies from a religious group to the other, the content is the same for all of them. The Jewish holy bible contains twenty-four books, while that of the Protestant Christians contains thirty-nine. This difference is related to the fact that some chapters within the Old Testament are considered to be independent books for a certain religious institution, but are considered to be parts of other books for other religious institutions.
            The New Testament, on the other hand, is believed to be the word of God. According to Barnett, “Jesus, although the central figure of the New Testament, himself wrote nothing. His message was delivered orally, and for twenty years after the close of his earthly ministry the memory of his followers constituted the only record of its content” (13).
            Concerning the way the New Testament is arranged, Perkins explains that “the writings are arranged in groups. The four gospels are grouped together at the beginning” (1). This is the reason why we find the gospel that was written by Luke separated from Acts, which is considered to be the second part of his work in the gospel.
            Perkins states that:
[Beside the parts mentioned earlier] we have fourteen letters that were either written by Paul or were attributed to his authorship. The last [is] Hebrews... The others, whether by Paul or by disciples writing in Paul’s name, are divided into two groups, each in descending order of length. The first group comprises letters addressed to churches. The second... [is] addressed to individuals. Then we have a group of seven letters that were attributed to other apostolic figures. [And] finally, Revelation. (1-2)


UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE
            It must be stated that the Old Testament and the New Testament, for the Christian school of thought and belief, form the unity of the holy bible, as there are within the New Testament references to passages within the Old. Examples of such references are found throughout the New Testament:
· NT: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (The New Testament, Matthew. 1:23).
 OT: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive,
      and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (The Old Testament,  Isaiah. 7:14).
·  NT: “See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them” (The New Testament, Mark. 1:44).
 OT: “This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest” (The Old Testament, Leviticus. 14:2).
            To mention just a few more examples, we find Luke 1:10 (NT) - Leviticus 16:17 (OT), John 1:23 (NT) - Isaiah 40:3 (OT), Acts 1:20 - Psalms 69:25 (OT), and Romans 1:17 (NT) - Habakkuk 2:4 (OT).
            To understand the New Testament in all its aspects, a thorough knowledge of all the parts of the Old Testament is needed. Referring to the context in which it was mentioned within the Old Testament is essential for anyone who desires to reach the complete religious knowledge. It is somewhat difficult to refer to the Old Testament and to retrieve the meanings and the teachings from it; “The critics of the Old Testament find the material hard to understand and even to relate to their lives.” One of the important factors regarding the Old Testament is that it teaches the “Christian Community by situating its faith in a historical context, by reminding it of the social character of that faith, and by insisting on the traditional dimension of the faith... The New Testament is unintelligible apart from of the Old Testament” (Harrington 122-123).
            According to Boadt, the Old Testament forms the background for understanding the New Testament proclamation of Jesus (546).
            Another view is that by understanding the Old Testament, we can have a total comprehension of the message of Christ: Greidanus states that “preaching from the Old Testament... provides a fuller understanding of the person, work, and teaching of Christ than does preaching only from the New Testament” (32).

Works Cited

Barnett, Albert. The New Testament: Its Making and Meaning. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger             Publishing, 2005.

Boadt, Lawrence. Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist     Press, 1984.

Greidanus, Sidney. Preaching Christ from the Old Testament: Contemporary Hermeneutical         Method. Cambridge, UK: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999.

Harrington, Daniel. Interpreting the Old Testament. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press,       1991.

Larue, Gerald. Old Testament Life and Literature. 1968. 15 November 2006
            <http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/gerald_larue/otll/chap1.html>

Perkins, Pheme. Reading the New Testament: An Introduction. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist      Press, 1978.

The King James Version (KJV) of the New Testament of the Holy Bible. Evans Mills, New York:            Tri-County church of Christ, 2005.

The King James Version - The Old Testament. Albany, OR: SAGE Software, 1996.




Systems Development Concepts




           This article presents a thorough explanation of the various processes related to systems design and to the problems that face the conventional, or traditional, methods according to which computer systems, of all kinds, are designed. The article will then explain why the traditional approaches of system design are considered to be techno-centric.
            Before being able to answer the main question of this article, we should define certain terms in order to clarify all the elements that will be discussed later on.
            Simmers (2004, p.542-543), states that “a computer system is an electronic device that can be thought of as a complete information-processing center. It can calculate, store, sort, update, manipulate, sequence, organize, and process data. It also controls logic operations and can rapidly communicate in graphics, numbers, words, and sounds.”
            Another definition is presented by Avgerou and Cornford (1998, p.1), as they state that information systems “refer to information and data handling activities in human organizations. Information handling in this sense is a purposeful activity sustained over time, and includes the activities of collecting information, storing it, directing it to appropriate places and people, and utilizing it in various tasks within the organization.”
            The designer of the system attempts to identify a specific problem within a given environment of work, for example, and creates a set of processes that should be able to resolve that problem according to pre-determined instructions and requirements (Kelkar, 2004).
           
SYSTEM DESIGN
            A system is supposed to handle a variety of issues related to an organisation and to enable the people that deal with those issues to function properly, swiftly, more efficiently, and more accurately. This usually also involves the interaction (inter-connectivity) between all those working in a specific section.
            The person (or group of people) that are supposed to design the desired system should study and analyse thoroughly the problem sphere, identifying the various elements and factors involved in it, proposing different system options, put them into test (preferably in real working environments), and finally selecting, with the help of the management of the organisation in question, the best solution.
            Computer systems designers, almost from the very beginning of this field, tended to work exclusively within their technical realm; meaning that they were identifying the problem and creating the solution that, evidently, was successful, but that was only operable and facilitated to themselves and to people of the same technical background. This created a reality which made it, somewhat, hard for average users, who are also supposed to be the end users of today’s computer systems, to deal, interact, let alone produce efficiently using those systems.

            The main problem in this context, as explained by Doherty & King (2005, p.2), is that the designers do not, in most cases, follow most required steps in what concerns the analysis of the impact of utilising the computer solution on the organisation and in what concerns the interaction between the created system and the human factor of that organisation. According to Poulymenakou & Holmes, 1996 (in Doherty and King, 2005, p.2), “the adoption of techno-centric development approaches can be a very dangerous strategy, as it encourages developers to deliver and implement the information system, and only then, if at all, worry about adapting it to its organizational context.”

            The conventional methodology, which depends solely on creating a computer system that is successful in resolving a given problem and that works from a technical (or computer programmable and configurable) point of view, is considered to be techno-centric because the most important factor in designing the system, which is the human factor, has not be taken into consideration fully by the designer (or the designers) during the implementation of their initial plan of work.

            Many specialists and researchers keep on calling for a methodology of system design that focuses more on the social aspect of the created tool: “little progress has been made in the development of practical socio-technical methods and approaches that have succeeded in making the transition from research laboratory to widespread commercial usage”                            (Doherty & King, 2005, p.2).
            Davidson and Chiasson (2004, p.6) state that the three main stages of information technology are the development, the implementation, and the assimilation. They stress on the fact that all the details that are related to the daily use of the technology may not be seen at the time of planning because the “attention is focused on overall business goals and implementation strategy.” This makes the period following the installation and the initial implementation highly important as all the social and human related factors must be adjusted and modified to suit the users and the organisation as a whole.
            There are various examples of systems that were created according to the conventional, techno-centric, approach and that have failed at the time of implementation because the designers lacked the social-oriented element in their design. Doherty and King (2005, p.2) mentioned several failed experiences of this kind; cases such as the London Ambulance System, the Taurus System, and the Benefits Payment Card System.
            Other examples were presented by Davidson and Chiasson (2005, p.6-12) who reported that the electronic medical record systems (EMRS) that were used in two healthcare organisations were also a cause of concern, to a certain extent. The authors confirm that the original systems created for the health organisations needed to be socially modified through the implementation of TUM (Technology Use Mediation) during system development stages and throughout the period in which the systems were in use. “System configuration required changes to software infrastructure and code. Organizational size influenced the availability and the effectiveness of mediation resources.”

            Another factor that is involved in the conventional approach is the total underestimation of previously existing systems which is also another characteristic of techno-centric methods of design and system development. Ignoring the ‘old’ systems leads the designer to create something that is totally new to the organisation, and this also excludes the effects, the advantages, and the usability of the previous system. The usability of the system and the ability of people within the organisation to work with it came as a result of a long period of system modifications (whether hardware or software) and of personal training and different processes of errors and corrections; which is what can be considered as the social-related side of system development. All those elements will be totally discarded by the designer during his/her development of the new system, which will result in the new system going through the same stages that the old system passed through, and this is another form of time-related and financially-related losses to the organisation.
            Chae and Poole (2005, p.19) pose an important question: “Is it possible for a large-scale information system to be developed ‘from scratch’?” Their explanation confirms that:
Accounts of system development and the systems development literature often focus primarily on the new system and tend to underemphasize the role of pre-existing systems... Few pay much attention to the role of pre-existing information systems in IS [Information Systems] development. To the extent the new system must integrate with pre-existing systems or use existing hardware and software... Existing systems have also been regarded as problems or barriers to the development of new IS and as disablers of IS-based organizational innovation and change… This approach, too, tends to treat pre-existing systems as objects, black boxes (e.g. Markus, 1983).

            Those mentioned above are the most notable points when studying computer design in its conventional method, which is, as can be seen, techno-centric.

CONCLUSION
            Even though conventional approaches of system design have been applied from the beginning of the age of Information Technology, they are still techno-centric. What designers should focus on are those system characteristics that are more operable by the individuals of an organisation; this includes the interface design, the language used within the various parts of the system (those related to both the software and the hardware). Another important point is the adaptability to the organisation that requested the system; the designers should understand fully that various factors that can lead the newly created system to be more social-oriented and to be what the organisation needs.
            Techno-centric designs can work, but only in technical related fields and sections. Previous systems should be studied carefully before initiating the design plan for new ones; this will enable the designer to understand what characteristics worked previously, what structure are the employees and the managers used to work with, and which tools can be re-used within the new system.
            Anderson and Vendelo (2004, p.27) explain the problem of techno-centric design by stating that “when introduced into a field, the technical system often needs to be changed to take into account the more holistic requirements that are present in the field, as users need to accommodate the technology in their daily routines.”





Reference List
Anderson, K. V. and Vendelo, M. T. (2004) The Past and Future of Information Systems, Oxford:             Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.

Avgerou, C. and Cornford, T. (1998) Developing Information Systems: Concepts, Issues and         Practice, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Chae, B. and Scott, M. (2005) 'The surface of emergence in systems development: agency,           institutions, and large-scale information systems', European Journal of   Information     Systems, 14, 19-36.

Davidson, E. and Chiasson, M. (2004) ‘Contextual influences on technology use mediation: a       comparative analysis of electronic medical record systems’, European Journal of            Information Systems, 14, 6-18.

Doherty, N. and King, M. (2005) 'From technical to socio-technical change: tackling the human    and organizational aspects of systems development projects', European Journal of        Information Systems, 14, 1-5.

Kelkar, S.A. (2004) Structured System Analysis and Design, New Delhi: Prentice Hall of India.

Simmers, L. (2004) Introduction to Health Science Technology, New York: Thomson Delmar
            Learning.





Community


Within the modern forms of the political and/or geographical structures of states, a wide range of factors has been modified and altered comparing to what was the case in the previous historical eras in human societies and geopolitical basis of states.
A state is defined by the Advanced English Dictionary as the body that is organized politically under a single government, as the group of people comprising the government, or as the territory that is occupied by a nation.
From the above mentioned definitions, it is evident that a state is, basically, composed of elements such as territory and people. People themselves are either one single group of individuals (which includes also families) or a composition of a variety of groups. Each group can be considered one community.

Community
The term ‘community’ has not been identified clearly as other terms have been. The reason of that is the vast elements that should interact in order to create a single entity that can be considered and accepted as a community.

According to Macvler, a community is “any area of common life, village, or town, or district, or country, or even wider area.” He then explains that a community is “a focus of social life, the common living of social beings” (23-24).

According to Macvler’s understanding, a community is based solely on geographical parameters, “village, town, or district, or country”. But this is contested by other authors and researchers in the field. Jonassen and Land explain that a community must share far more elements than just location; “a community has a significant history, a common cultural and historical heritage. This heritage includes the shared goals, belief systems and collective stories that capture canonical practice,” and all these elements form what can be considered as a common knowledge base (36).

Wood even states that there are specific factors that should be shared for a community to be taken as such; “a sense of common purpose..., an assuming of mutual responsibility, acknowledgement of interconnectedness, mutual respect for individual difference, mutual commitment to the well-being of each other, and commitment by the members to the integrity and well-being of the group" (7).

According to Bruhn, the characteristics that identify the concept of community are three “mutually agreed upon as a minimum, namely locale, common ties, and social interaction” (249-250).

As can be seen, a community has been always seen as a group of people who have the same, or similar, background, culture, goals, belief systems, and way of life.

In the modern state, the term ‘community’ usually refers to smaller centres that are far from the heavily populated areas, or to various minorities within a society; a community can be based on a different religion from the main-stream religion within the state, can be a group of people with origins that are of a different political or geographical state than the one where they presently reside, or can be simply a group of people within a specific economic, cultural, or financial sphere of interest.

Spatiality of the state
Each state is defined through the existence of many factors; such as political borders, geographical location, and history.
Lefebvre explains that the state has three distinct types of space: The first is national territory, which is the physical area that the state occupies and modifies through the creation of roads and other transportation routes, through the creation of financial institutions and connections, and through other means. All what is mentioned, according to the author, “results in a shapeless mixture, in chaos, despite the administrative order and spatial logistics of the state”. The second type is the social space, which is a kind of a man-made structure of institutions and regulations working according to certain values that are communicated through language. The author explains that the first type is natural while the second is artificial. The third type is the mental space, which “includes the representations of the state that people construct” (Brenner, et al. 85-86).
           
Community within the Spatiality of the contemporary state
Some contend that the community and the state are one thing; the main idea to clarify here is that the state is not the community; a certain community can make part of a state, but it does not, in any case, represent it or implement its views, regulations and ideas on the state as a whole.

An example of this can be found in what concerns certain economic or production communities; these are usually maintained under the supervision and the control of state laws and regulations. According to Lefebvre, “the aim of [the state space] is to make [the interests of various economic communities] appear homogeneous... [and this] allows the state to introduce its presence, control, and surveillance in the most isolated corners” (Brenner, et al. 85-86).

It should also be noted that modern states attempted, to a certain level of success, to open the door for participation in what concerns governance in rural areas (which are considered as independent communities); and this was the spark for constructive results regarding the spaces and the periods in relation with democracy, for instance. “Opportunities for participation may be influenced by the stability of the community power structure, the level of competition – or lack of it – and the personal skills and attributes of the individual. Barriers include time, family commitments, employment situation, expense, perceptions about the nature of the leadership,” and more (Woods et al. 2).