Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Babylon Keyboard

Divided we stand
And together we fall
- Thievery Corporation: The Richest Man in Babylon

Babylon: polite, funny, angry, arrogant or insane - we’re all talking to ourselves, or at least seeking gratification in having someone read our thoughts.
But are the people behind our clever titles and witty pseudonyms real?
Millions of caged minds itching to be free of the mundane drudgery of modern life.
Millions of frustrated Shamen, Sangomas and story-tellers spewing their magic or drivel into the wires, throwing their bones in the hope that somebody will answer the calling chant.
The irony is that the social interaction that takes place is hollow – the face we present to the world is a mask, even more impenetrable than the mask we present in face-to-face interaction at work or in the street. While this cyber-social interaction seems easier (given the time we have to present our responses and structure our sentences) ultimately it is empty. For while or anonymity should allow us to present some deeper self to the world, it fact it allows us greater scope for self-deception.
By the same token, (and again ironically) the capacity to hurt, or be hurt, is exponentially greater, given this mask of anonymity and the absence of physical restraint.
And so it is that we end up consumed by what we will say next, dredging ever deeper for content that will fulfil our need for self gratification.
Each too busy listening to our own cleverness to really hear (let alone care) what is going on out there.
It is social interaction without an umbilical to honesty; all meat and no substance.
It is mental activity without social restraint; all substance and no meat.


elasticwaistbandlady said...

Hmmm, now this is honesty at its best and you have the finger on the pulse of what it means to blog.

Lately I feel a disconnect and even annoyance at my fellow human beings outside of my own family. Flesh and blood friendship carries obligations and action while an Internet friend only requires a few passing words of consolation or support in times of trouble. In the computer realm there isn't such a thing as the friend who makes you wait for thirty minutes at a restaurant for her to get there, you don't have to bring chicken noodle soup to an Internet friend when they're ailing. No real duties but also no real disappointments either. Nobody asks you if their butt looks fat in their new jeans and expect an honest answer either. We have the luxury to censor our first response to things here and even delete them if so desired. Sadly, we can't take back hurtful things we say to others in real life. On the Internet we can fine tune and hone pleasantries, jokes, personal opinion but how often does the same person find themselves rendered tongue tied when in a face to face encounter with other people?

Honestly, I don't expect too much from blogging anymore. It's just another passing phase for my short attention spanned self.

White Man Retarded said...

Very well put. On the other hand, I would never have had the opportunity to talk with you even at this 'hollow' level (your word) without the computer. So, I think it is neither good or bad, but just is. I think the attributes you describe also depend on the honesty of the person you are conversing with. Isn't deception used even in face-to-face interactions? What do you think of this: I've been wondering lately if everyone feels the same way about something, but where the difference comes in is the ideals people base their reactions on. Take for example the War right now. You posted something which I reacted angrily about, but we may feel the same about. Our differences stem from what we think would fix the problem. Does that make sense? Anyways, humans are flawed, we know it for the most part, but we are too insecure or shallow to allow ourselves to be human, hence the dishonesty, whether it be face-to-face or online.

Pisces Iscariot said...

I think the point I was trying to make was that in a face-to-face interaction there are many more factors governing our behaviour - body language being the most obvious.
Not quite sure what you are saying in the middle there, but yes, of course everyone sees things from their own perspective and difference of opinion is good. But arguments arise when one or both sides are misinformed, or when emotions dictate responses.
There is never only one way to 'fix a problem' but all solutions stem from addressing the issues and attempting to identify the cause of the problem.

White Man Retarded said...

I knew what you were trying to say, in regards to body language and such, but what drives the body language and other factors in our behaviour? I think identifying the problem is just a beginning. That is the easy part.

Pisces Iscariot said...

One would thinks so, but with all things being the way they are it is sometimes difficult to get below what is presented on the surface - just as we present the world with protective masks so the powers that be will fabricate all sorts of masks in order to maintain their positions of power.
For me, scepticism is the strongest tool - just because something is accepted as true does not make it so. I also believe that world events do not happen in isolation - where there is dissent, unrest, protest, terrorism, there is a root cause, usually involving the misuse of power.
As I have said before, I am not an advocate of violence, but if we do not at least try and understand the motives of those who perpetrate violent acts then we are lost.
Things are never quite how they seem, a frightening concept, but I would rather live with that fear, than not know.