Friday, May 6, 2011

Whacked Out And Estranged On Twitter

I am looking at Twitter, at one account in particular, one message. I came across it because this site and me both are mentioned. The message reads:

My totally whacked out and estranged uncle's blog:

The author is my nephew Matt. He and I have never spoken or communicated with each other in any way. If I remember correctly, we once looked at each other across a room.

What characterizes the statement is then two things. First, the reliance on received opinion. This is noteworthy: Matt's facebook page says he studied philosophy in college. Second, apparent lack of interest in the possibility that his whacked out uncle might be one of its readers.

In Europe, where I am now, it is becoming fashionable to refer to Americans as "androids". Meaning not machines that imitate humans, but humans that imitate machines.

Americans are watched with pity as they "program" themselves to perform one activity after another. They go to war, they go to war again, then they don't go to war. They perform financial manipulations, bankrupt their economy, then take a government subsidized holiday from their calculations. They work, they speculate themselves into unemployment. They have relationships, and then they don't.

What suggests and instigates them to load one program rather than another is unknown, unexamined. Presumably the human being that has decided to act like machine might know the answer, if the human being wasn't too busy turning himself into a machine.

For our college students, writing on Twitter is one activity among a multitude of others. The activity is its own end. Readers of the messages there may be, but no program takes account of that fact.