Monday, May 30, 2011

Thumbs up for thumbs down

Let it be known how much I want to stop writing posts for this blog. I'd rather escape into snippets of passing thoughts – the kind you get on Facebook – because it makes life seem easier. I’d surely enjoy cocaine. Instead I get high on social media.

But the crash is inevitable. Because I don’t get any real sustenance from “likes.” I can’t say I get it from this blog either, but at least it forces me to think about things just a wee bit more. And while the process is mostly hell these days, I like the feeling of having gotten somewhere else afterward.

But why do it when what it really means is confronting feelings of anger, disgust and loneliness? I can’t be sure, but this op-ed piece Jonathan Franzen wrote in the Times hints at an answer:
To speak more generally, the ultimate goal of technology, the telos of techne, is to replace a natural world that’s indifferent to our wishes — a world of hurricanes and hardships and breakable hearts, a world of resistance — with a world so responsive to our wishes as to be, effectively, a mere extension of the self […] If you dedicate your existence to being likable, however, and if you adopt whatever cool persona is necessary to make it happen, it suggests that you’ve despaired of being loved for who you really are. And if you succeed in manipulating other people into liking you, it will be hard not to feel, at some level, contempt for those people, because they’ve fallen for your shtick. You may find yourself becoming depressed, or alcoholic, or, if you’re Donald Trump, running for president (and then quitting).
In sum, through commitment, you get to love and despair, which makes you who you really are, which is alive. Like or dislike?

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