Comment on Social Networking Tools and our Future Society

rene Tue, Nov 25, 2008
Xarene: It may be due to the circle I run around in, but I don’t see too many people becoming “slaves to connectivity”. But wherever I go in the world I see people being slaves to mind numbing transportation which in many instances seems to be for few other purposes than habit and tradition. Lately I have been hearing similar complaints as yours about the endangerment of “touch,” just a few days ago in fact I killed time at an airport listening to a little old lady from the UK going on and on that the Internet and videogames prevented people from touching each other. Actually, another old lady, the spectacular Laura Huxley, told me a few years before she recently died about her plans to have old people act as caretakers in nurseries because both vulnerable babies and physically deprived geriatric people have a great need for bodily contact, which may effectively extend their lives. Sounded like a great idea to me.

As I indicated in my comment, I am the first one to advocate physical contact as a premium value, but I do not quite understand how such activities are prevented by social networking. To the contrary, the Internet tends to bring people together. In a recent poll 69% of people questioned said that they would use Internet dating services, 62% found meeting new people difficult and Google shows close to a million search results for online dating success stories.

Spaceweaver: Your theory sounds very plausible, although I’m not much of a believer in the either/or proposition of virtual and physical conditions. Even in our immediate suroundings we constantly meet people who live in entirely different timeframes. It is possible to chat on an airplane with a stranger whose mentality might hail from an entirely different century without it getting in the way of our conversation. Time and again I find myself very much taken by your highly appreciated philosophical inquiries, it just so happens that for whatever reason any subject which even hints at trans-humanism causes many people to have an immediate knee jerk reaction. Personally I believe that there is room for several different manifestations of the specie (see description of the Great Enhancement Debate). With regards to our potential demise as feared by Xarene as a result of our increasingly digital existence I’d like to refer an early post
in which I proposed that:

the typical sci-fi interpretation that technology is out to annihilate the flesh is just another paranoid expression of Western culture’s obsessive preoccupation with the mind-body split. What we really seem to be after is the opening up of additional channels for a heightened sensory perception that will allow us to explore the full bandwidth of our evolutionary potential.