12.12.2022 – genius trickery

genius … trickery
mistaken metaphor … is
anything better
?

So much genius and trickery and money have gone into a mistaken metaphor.

The competition to create and own the digital square may be good business, but it has led to terrible politics.

Think of the hopeful imaginings that accompanied the early days of social media:

We would know one another across time and space;

we would share with one another across cultures and generations;

we would inform one another across borders and factions.

Billions of people use these services.

Their scale is truly civilizational.

And what have they wrought?

Is the world more democratic?

Is G.D.P. growth higher?

Is innovation faster?

Do we seem wiser?

Do we seem kinder?

Are we happier?

Shouldn’t something, anything, have gotten noticeably better in the short decades since these services fought their way into our lives?

I think there is a reason that so little has gotten better and so much has gotten worse.

It is this: The cost of so much connection and information has been the deterioration of our capacity for attention and reflection.

And it is the quality of our attention and reflection that matters most.

From the Opinion Piece: The Great Delusion Behind Twitter by Ezra Klein in the New York Times, 12.11.2022

The article was about Twitter and social media in general.

It brought to mind an article in Time Magazine about the Information Super Highway that was being built in the 1990’s.

The article touched base on all the hoped for hopefuls listed in this essay, especially the amount of knowledge that could be gained with this new cyber access to information, but it ended with a warning.

Do not, the articled cautioned, confuse knowledge with wisdom.

It really didn’t make us smarter and with the sky-has-fallen anxiety that is eating many of us alive, can anyone doubt that the cost of all this connection and information, the deterioration of our capacity for attention reflection, is both a real cost and too high a cost.

I have to agree it is the quality of our attention and reflection that matters most.

Seems someone would have seen this coming but who would have stopped it.

Their scale is truly civilizational.

And what have they wrought?

Well, more money for them I guess.

I like to think of these new tech billionaires and all their money earned through their genius and trickery and being so smart.

I like to think about them and then I like to remind myself that the feller who signed a pretty much toss-off contract back in the late 1950’s to supply McDonald’s with paper napkins is also a billionaire.

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