On Screen-Based Religiosity

Friday, November 16th, 2018, 14:58 WIB

SYAMSUL ASRI

This short writing will focus on the notion of simulacrum/simulation from Baudrillard. Explored before the immersion of internet, simulation refers to condition where the original ideas/things/practices collide with its shadow/fake/image thus resulting from it a situation where the original end and the fake begin is no longer a question, in the form of audio-visual printing and moving image before the coming of internet. Simulation/simulacrum brings forward some degree of empowerment when the low class thus have not enough access to previous media, have a huge opportunity to elaborate by engaging in low cost socialization based on internet. 

If Marshall McLuhan declared that in current situation “the medium is the message” than this dictum also touch radically the way religiosity as social practice being exercised. From narrow perspective, religious authority is the first to be altered in this very visual cum digital era. Before the immersion of internet, NU and Muhammadiyyah, for example, enjoy the largest religious constituent among the Indonesian. But today, by the influence of social media and micro blogging, everyone could be her/his own self religious preacher and source of religious truth. Individualization is the first effect of internet immersion, but then come tribalism when social media and micro blogging-alike exercised what then called echo chamber effect, making religiosity as a very apparent entity thus very risky to be catch as political tool or market driven for specific social segment. 

In the first place I would like to think that media and its current forms not bring a new kind of religiosity (understood as observed social practices) but a new degree of intensification of such social practices (for example, ODOJ [One Day One Juz] Movement is not new phenomena in term of collective reading and finishing reading the Quran. What is new lay in its intensity of reading Quran communally in fast and cheap way because internet effectively flattered time/space. But then I remember old Hegelian dictum, “quantity changes quality”, by which, in our case, the quantity and intensity of religiosity based on internet, come with fundamental change; the precious solitude in which we find existential engagement with what so ever called the truth, is no longer lingering in our daily religious practices. Now, crowded and persistently demanding sociality and the fast and faster feedback coming from it, become the sole axis of contemporary religious life. Here, the term notifgasm (feeling orgasmic when get notification from online social platforms) and not the truth, is the primer calling for us. But maybe not.