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    nmw 20:43:33 on 2016/11/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , actualization, , , , , , , , , , individuals, interaction, , , , , marketplaces, , , self-actualization, , , , , social network, social networks, ,   

    For some, we get lost in media 

    I opened up a copy of the New York Times today, and in an empty space within an article, there was a blurb that reads

    Social networks put individuals at the center of their own media universes

    — I am not even sure I understand what that is supposed to mean. Let alone the notion of a plurality of universes, the idea that media are not between people but rather like belly buttons for individuals to discover themselves within … I just find it mind-boggling. Then again, according to the surrounding words in the article next to this message, social media are depicted as breeding grounds for “fake news”, as cesspools for propagating mythical stories, for manipulating large populations of suckers into following this or that social media expert, leader, salesman or whatever.

    “Social” is seen as the big mistake, the errant sidetrack from the collapsing foundations of journalism. Four words seem hidden somewhere in between the lines: I told you so. Naive and forlorn like Dorothy in a dizzying whirlwind, individuals end up as victims of lever-pulling hackers, clowns and con-artists. Social media transport hoaxes and fairy tales, yet they are also instruments targeted at novice users, training wheels to guide their first steps in the cyber-landscape. The virtual world is both for the light-hearted at the same time that it’s a wide field of thin ice. Throughout this portrayal, the real world is not embodied in media. Instead, real-world people with real-world addresses exist behind real-world mastheads printed on real-world paper. They carry real-world business cards, not fake virtual URLs.

    Real-world buildings, with real-world street addresses, real-world telephones and such media are the physical conduits for real-world relationships. In contrast (so the argument), virtual facades evaporate into thin air as soon as a video screen is turned off.

    This contrast might be all good and fine, except that it is a lie. None of these things are any more real than the other. Main Street is nothing without the street sign signifying it as such. The reason why we can agree to meet at Main Street is that we both understand it to be Main Street, and this agreement is based on us both understanding how to read street signs. Indeed: we agree on many things, of which such street signs are fine examples. We can also agree on the time of day, to speak the same language, or to answer each other’s questions succinctly and truthfully. Such agreements are crucial for us to help each other reach our goals, whether we hold the same goals in common, or whether each of us is trying to reach our own particular individual goals.

    By reaching our goals, we become not only successful, we also become who we are.  We actually self-actualize our identities. For example: a writer does not simply exist, he or she becomes a writer by writing. A worker becomes a worker by working. A buyer becomes a buyer by buying, a seller becomes a seller by selling, a consumer becomes a consumer by consuming and a producer becomes a producer by producing. As these last examples show, sometimes we can only self-actualize when other conditions are met, and sometimes these conditions also require the engagement of other people. In this sense, reaching our own goals involves a team effort — as, for example, a sale involves the teamwork of both a buyer and a seller.

    Therefore, the real world is not so much a matter of separated individuals as it is the interaction and engagement of individuals with each other in a symbiotic process of self-actualization. We become who we are by interacting with one another. Our goals aren’t distinct and separate, they’re intertwined. We need to think of media as bustling marketplaces for such exchanges to take place, rather than as sterile and inert transport mechanisms. These are not empty tubes simply bridging gaps, they are stages for playing out our roles in real life.

     
  • Profile photo of nmw

    nmw 18:43:59 on 2015/05/09 Permalink
    Tags: agree, agreement, , , , contract, , , , , , individuals, , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    The individualist manifesto vs. The anti-revolutionary social contract 

    To think or not to think — no. To write or not to write… — no. To create or not to create… — that’s wrong, too. I can come up with many ideas, but where do they come from — out of thin air?

    There are some who often say: “You should live your own life, you should create your own narrative.” They are also wrong — it is not possible to invent myself or my story as being independent of the world around me. To do so would require me to step outside of any language community, to speak in something we might hypothetically call “my own language”. Yet the sun, the moon and stars, all plants and animals, the air we breathe, the water we drink, our entire lives are a matter of co-existence… we share a space with other objects and beings, and they are not only a part of our lives, they are a part of our being, and they also co-create the language we speak. We really cannot speak of anything which doesn’t exist (note that our imagination does exist), the existence of things leads us to observe them, think about them, interact with them, and also express our ideas about them using different kinds of language. We are no more free in our use of language than we are free to squint or not to squint when we look at a bright light — our squinting expresses something meaningful.

    Yet there are nonetheless people who will preach individualism, self-discovery, self-actualization, self-fulfillment,… — a whole self-centered philosophy. A philosophy that is bogus and that simply denies obvious laws of nature.

    Luckily, you are reading these words. You are trying to understand what I am trying to say — we are in this together. Night and day, the sun and the stars, all of life and death are also with us. We are all here together. The notion that we could be apart and isolated is also here, but it is ridiculous. 😉

    That said, you do not need to agree with me. Neither do the Sun or other stars. Nor does William Shakespeare. They need not speak the same language, but they might.

    I can try to convince you that my ideas are reasonable, but you are nonetheless free to think about different ideas. Perhaps you might like to think of ideas you would rather call “clouds”. I might not understand what you mean, precisely. Whatever you call “clouds” might not care at all what you think of them. Everyone is free to think as they like, but at the same time there is this curious feeling that we might be able to understand each other every now and then.

    Mutual understanding feels good. It feels a whole lot better than any notion of individualism. It feels so great, that we spend most of our days expressing ideas to each other that we hope will increase this understanding.

    We make agreements on a daily basis. We will call some things blue, other things green. We will restrict our use of terms like “ow” or “ouch” to mutually agreed upon contexts… — and likewise with almost everything else. We won’t smile when we’re unhappy (unless, perhaps, we are “acting” or “pretending”).

    Why would anyone suggest that you might be happy if you would write your “own” narrative? They would be suggesting that you should try to do something which is impossible. 😐

     
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    feedwordpress 08:21:56 on 2013/07/30 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , individuals, ,   

    Brands are Real-World Manifestations of Corporate Ego 

    Why are strong corporate brands prized, but strong individual egos despised?

    Ego

     
  • Profile photo of feedwordpress

    feedwordpress 07:28:42 on 2013/03/20 Permalink
    Tags: , celebrate, celebreation, , , critical mass, , , , , , individuals, , , , , persons, , , , , , , , VIP, VIPs   

    Happy Coalition of the Willing Day! 

    Today marks the 10th Anniversary of one of the darkest days in modern history — and I am glad that is 10 years behind us.

    The other day, a friend of mine noted another 10th Anniversary, one that I am sad that is also over: Pierre Omidyar’s omidyar.net community project. This was an online melting pot of people trying to improve the world in different ways. Sue Braiden wrote a very good column about it years ago: “Can Social Networking Heal the World?” She also mentioned my opinion — namely that money is probably not the (only, or a “sufficient”) solution to many of the world’s issues.

    There were a lot very smart people, and also people with a lot of expertise with group behavior, and most people — perhaps even everyone besides Pierre himself — were very disappointed that the project was terminated.

    Since then, I have often wondered what it would require to build such a project. Today, technology has advanced so far that many of the technological features could be replicated at little or even no cost whatsoever.

    But there are still 2 things I feel have not improved much in the past decade — and perhaps these are also some of the hurdles that have prevented something like this appearing again.

    First, the “critical mass” phenomenon is still alive and well. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can do it yourself — you can’t. Terrorists can blow themselves up, and deranged people can murder other people by themselves… and newspapers and other mainstream media will turn these morons into global icons, but I would hardly call that something to be proud of. Most projects with the aim of improving something in the world require group collaboration — and starting without a supportive circle (usually based on trusted and trusting friends) is doomed to failure — at least in something like 99.9% of cases.

    The other issue that has not changed is the idolatry of individualism propagated by mass media. Unless — as even Dr. Seuss put it — unless someone has the courage to stand up against such anti-social competitive mantras as are widespread in the most popular circles of propaganda (e.g. facebook, twitter, the New York Times and similar retard media), there is little hope that anything will change.

    Then again: I might be wrong, and/or there might be other issues that continue to prevent “a better world” from happening — what do you think?

     
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