Last light, Stone Steps © Robert Sommers 2023

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy 2017

Hope that you all enjoyed your New Years, we certainly did. Great food and drink and a healthy splash of liberal angst. Much obliged to the hosts.

Jeff Barney sent this interesting talk over, which merits watching. Although the speaker is bagging on the millennials I think it points to failures and trapdoors that we of any generation are guilty of and that bear paying attention to in today's world.


I am not on Facebook. I was for a fairly short period but I am too compulsive for that sort of thing. I am on two other social forums where you get likes, Google + and DPReview. He mentions that there is a physical dopamine release in your brain when you receive a like on social media and how addictive they can be. I know of what he speaks and understand how stupid, consuming and pavlovian getting into one of these loops for attention can be. Cyberdrugs. Social affirmation is literally quite intoxicating. More on compulsion loops here and here. Or the always interesting Robert Sommers on reward theory.

Something tragic happened to someone we knew a few years ago and I remember asking my wife if she had mentioned it on Facebook. I will never forget her answer; people on Facebook don't do life issues real well.Which leads to the question if we are substituting a fake cyber existence for real intimacy? A place where the emotional content must remain in an extremely narrow bandwidth. Fluffville.

How is the Blue Heron Blast any different? Great question, perhaps it is not. I am not really attached to the numbers and stats anymore, after the 10 millionth Google view it seemed stupid to worry about a hundred million. Not that I am out of the woods or above that sort of thing, not in any case. My worry is am I sharing something real? Can I touch my world with something beautiful, educational or otherwise relevant in an intimate way over such an open forum?

This is a bit of an oversimplification but the ancient greeks believed in three major drives, eros, the drive for love and sex, thanatos, the death wish and the one hardly anyone knows about, thymos, the need for public recognition. Plato mentioned in in Phaedrus, Logos was a chariot driven by Eros and Thumos. The Greeks and Freud would have just had a field day with social media. As would McLuhan when he saw how the new technology so ably herds the sheep.

I think that Sinek's cautions about the presence of your phone in your life are well worth considering. Any of us connected to the net know that we have to find a healthy balance with the physical world and the real or corporeal people that actually inhabit our own personal universe. The likes are like sand in an hourglass. Are we substituting a thin and illusory cyber existence for real life and relationships?

What can we produce in our lives that will be meaningful and actually stand the test of time?

I think that it is interesting to see who uses what in social media. Facebook is omnipresent, you practically can't comment on a newspaper without being a member. Snapchat and Instagram both seem pointed at a younger group of users, perhaps more visually based. But Twitter, now why is that the choice of so many egomaniac celebrities and our President to be?

I think it is because there is no chance for a dialogue, it is the ultimate one sided pronouncement tool where there is no danger of discourse and proclamations are limited monologues composed of a few characters. You get to dictate on Twitter, a favorite occupation for dictate-ors.

Not much else to say. If you are on facebook or looking for your phone when you wake up and before you give your child his or her bottle, it might be time to pull the plug. I am sure that there are recovery groups for this kind of thing. We oversharers have to constantly ask ourselves; how much is too much?

Life, it's the real thing.™


Ken Seals said...

Twitter seems like just a shorter form of blogging. (Said with a smile)

Anonymous said...

I don't follow any blogs other than The Blast, and I do not have any account in any social media. I read Blue Heron Blast because having known this blogger for 40 years, I know the depth of his mentality, the scope of his curiosity, his love of beauty, and his desire to spend time in a meaningful way. Ultimately I follow the Blast because it's a damn good read...easy to skim, or delve deeply. I also like the whimsy of the music videos, and magnificent photography, which show that Robert does not want to fall into the deep abyss of taking himself too seriously. That said, I have never sensed any of those virtues in a tweet...or the shallow stream of consciousness sound bites that we see, when they are delivered to us as a prop for what used to be called "news".

Maybe I live a sheltered life, but I respectfully disagree with your post Ken. (Also said with a smile}