Sometimes, when writing a text, one knows that it will bring problems. But sometimes too, there are problems that are worth having. So, parapetado and waiting for the aluvin, is that I give the key convinced that many people will not agree at all, but with the certainty that it is an interesting topic for everyone.
Let's see, then.
The trend is growing. The first pop-up that caught my attention was a Dignity posting (
the artist formerly known as Calu Rivero, Prince and to look for her at the angle) that says:
"I like to create and express myself freely. I have long since deprived myself of posting things because I do not want to expose my ideas and feelings to the automatic and depersonalized assessment of a 'like'."
And this week, three colleagues whom I respect a lot, published the following on social networks:
Example 1: "
Six months without internet at home. Rediscover my records, my books, my drawings and go for a walk because s. Some moments of mental disconnection are watched watching Netflix but not much more.
I recommend it to everyone."
Example 2: "
Today uninstall WhatsApp. S
I feel that at this time it is necessary more than ever to take care of our attention and cultivate the silence so that the capacity for focus and concentration flourishes again, lost between so much interruption."
Example 3: "
I am to put together a self-help group "Addicts-cheers-to-Twitter-on-the-phone". Step 1: watch video: " (and then a video shows how to uninstall the phone's Twitter app)
In all cases there is a perception of the technology if not as
dangerousat least like
harmful. And in the declaration of disconnection of the digital, there is the last conviction that there was a past time where life was slower, where we live in a buccal and pastoral environment, where sitting on old trunks and green pastures, surrounded by swallows and little sheep of fur, we dedicated ourselves to the sweet perception of time, the kind conversation and the weighting between good and evil without the interruption of digital.
When I explain that this is not real, that it is repeated throughout history, there are some people who say "but this time it is different, it was never so." I regret inflicting a narcissistic wound, but friends, it doesn't matter when you read this: it was always "never was so." That yesterday never existed. The terrible nostalgia of a past that never happened is suffered.
Neither so much nor so little
December issue of the MIT Technology Review talks about the phenomenon of how social media accounts are increasingly "real", but where "real" is a production of reality. Where more and more people in TikTok play songs in pajamas like "if I just got up and I could sing", when in reality that is a production: a nightmare of images in mirrors where the real is not real, but the simulacrum of a reality, a scenario in which Baudrillard – a French philosopher who maintains that fiction was sometimes more real than reality – would have had fun.
In English there is the expression "hang on the candlestick". It refers to the greatest moment of uncontrolled party. Imagine, then, the society, in the middle of a crazy party and "hanging from the chandelier" of technological use. While we sway from one place to another and paddling manacamente, on one end we have the social networks – especially Instagram and TikTok – that bring us closer to a true Augmented Reality:
where everyone does the same as us, but better. They eat, but spectacular food; they travel in avin in business class, but they get tired and bored; they become crme brle sommeliers and live – in short – an improved version of a normal life; an augmented reality.
The candlestick now goes to the other end, where we have the phrases from the beginning: social networks, internet, technology manipulate us:
I "disconnect" and return to natural and calm life (ah we can discuss a long time what is natural).
In short, we swing wildly between one position and the other. But to the extent that the momentum is loosening, the trap is to think that the intermediate position is the most "moderate", a "just medium", when the truth is that we are still hanging from the lampstand and several meters from the floor. And while we get tired of the arms and below we begin to vacuum and pick up the broken dishes, it will be good to ask how we got here and what is the SAME number.
Technology neither good nor bad, nor neutral
Melvin Kranzberg was a professor of technology history at the Georgia Institute of Technology and created something known as the six laws of technology. The first law is probably the most interesting. He maintains that: "Technology is neither good nor bad, but neither is it neutral." It is definitely irresponsible – when not plainly naive – to believe that technologies appear in society without any consequences or what is even more blind, to believe that they will only have positive consequences. But in the same way that believing that "everything is good" is not very clever, it is equally unclear to believe that "everything is bad." However, it is tempting to think that "we are facing a risk never seen" or as they say now, "stuck in the digital age." But where does that fear come from?
Fear is a biological mechanism to get our attention. We were scared when we heard the growl of the bear in the forest, we are scared when at midnight we are alone in the garage and listen to someone else's footsteps. Nothing makes us more attentive than fear. If we pay attention to stimuli that we perceive as threatening, the emerging is fear. And fear makes, in turn, pay more attention. Do you understand how it works? Fear and attention shake hands and feed each other. We pay attention when the emotion of fear is involved because we want to protect ourselves and those around us.
Herbert Simon, Nobel prize of Economa and creator of
The concept of the attention economy says that "in a world rich in information, the wealth of information means a shortage of something else: the scarcity of whatever information consumes. the attention of its recipients."
In short: there is no better way to get attention than to generate fear. And a culture of fear is possible because, for a matter of biological survival, we have a vocation to pay attention to what scares us. And fear is amplified when you add our disability or lack of control over a technology. Genevieve Bell, for more than twenty years Intel resident anthropologist, argues that every technology that changes the way we interact with others, our relationship with distances and our relationship with time will generate fear. And few things affected – and affect – the three previous points such as internet, social networks and smartphones.
Where do I put this fear?
Evagrio Pntico was a Christian monk born in the year 345 and the author of the first list of evil vices (in his version there were eight, then Saint Gregory the Great left them in seven and the seven deadly sins). Evil vices were always provoked by demons, they were never the monk's responsibility. For example, the "demon of noon" attacked between ten in the morning and two in the afternoon. During those hours the monk must work, but the devil impedes him. It makes "the sun seem to move slowly and even motionless and the day seems to have fifty hours." Then, the evil demon made him stick his head out the window and see how much was missing for dinner time, made him go out to the garden, in the heat of the sun and see if there were other monks to talk. If the monk wanted to read, the demon forced him to rub his eyes, look at the wall, criticize the spelling of the text, close the book, place it under his head and finally the demon made the monk fall asleep in a light dream. Terrible, the devil.
Today we understand that poor Evagrio was not a victim of a devil who made him sleep, but that he would simply be very bored of his monastic life. However, Evagrio considered that it was not he who was guilty, but the devil, who, knowing the weakness of the flesh, made him look out the window instead of reading.
Let's replace the demons that come "from outside" (by the way, the demons took the form of naked bodies, food or everything that tempted the monk in question) by
Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook and the equation is the same. It is not we who are wrong, it is the big companies that tempt us. And so the Stanford University Laboratory of Persuasive Technology is named as a place where "they work to see how to use the web pages and mobile applications that we use to manipulate what we think and what we do" when in reality -segn They explain on their own website – since 1997, they are teaching and warning the importance, both in university and industry, of the use of ethics in persuasive technology.
Fear always attracts more attention. We find it much more comforting and reassuring to lie in the fear imagined by a laboratory full of evil demons (will they be the same as Evagrio monk?), That while perverse ren conjure up new ways of catching us with videos of panda puppies that sneeze, to admit that It is not the social networks that manipulate us, but it is we who consume them by our own will. No demons needed. We fix ourselves. We have to take charge.
Remember that, in any case, every technology has consequences. The steam engine generated unknown levels of pollution until then, the radio allowed propaganda that installed ideas such as Nazism, electricity caused us to be awake at night and sleep less, and the fire and ax allowed us to hunt and protect ourselves from the beasts, but also kill our enemies and set fire to their villages. Technological change always brings a change in power relations, in the control of capital, in skills and knowledge that – to a greater or lesser extent – is mixed and distributed again in ways that are always difficult for us to imagine ( in fact, we are still waiting for flying cars).
The promise of refuge in a hypothetical past, where attention was not sparse, where we did not suffer from "much information" (Diderot, the creator of the first encyclopedia, already complained of being overwhelmed in 1755 holding that "as the centuries continue to develop , the number of books grow continuously, and one can predict that there will come a time when it will be almost as difficult to learn anything from the books as from the direct study of the entire universe "), a time where we had all the World time, is a fallacious argument. As fallacious as the supposed benefits of digital disconnection, which paradoxically is never a private act, but is communicated on social networks.
Fight against windmills
The real battle, then, is with ourselves. The person who only talks about football, the philatelist who does not leave his attic, people who only read and do not interact with others. The battle is with the excess. No matter what. But it is difficult for someone to announce on social networks: "Since I stopped following Independiente every Sunday, I have regained my pleasure for reading, calligraphy and have reaped rosehip" or "Today I close the hood of my Fiat 600 and I’m not going to work on his mechanics anymore. I dedicate myself to the reading of Proust and the composition of sonnets encased. "
In short: demons are never outside, they are always inside one. But it will always generate more attention – and ultimately, more fear-, imagine them hidden between the keys, mouse and screens of our phones, willing to absorb our soul and tear away the will.
Of course, when we think about letting go of the clutches of collectors or Instagram, we also talk about fighting two windmills that are different: while in the first the blades come "from outside" (the goal of the soul team or the end of season of the series that you are we have to see), the blades of the second come "from inside" and it costs more to avoid them (
did they like me? be an influencer? or the real and final question: do you want me?).
In 2005, when e-mail was the prevailing communication technology, CNN happily published a headline that said: "E-mails negatively affect the IQ more than marijuana," citing a study by Dr. Glenn Wilson, a psychiatrist at King's College of the University of London. A few clicks are enough to find a document of poor doctor Wilson explaining with tiredness "this study was poorly presented by the media. The comparison with the effects of marijuana and lack of sleep were made with previous studies and were not done by me" .
Afternoon you asked: when my wife asks me why I forget things, I will tell her that it is because of the mails, that I am just one more victim of digital manipulation.
It is that or a demon, that she chooses.
. How Evagrio (t) a monk of the fourth century (t) explained the hobby and tiredness for social networks – LA NACION