Monday, December 17, 2018

Social Media And The Future of Independent Thought

The future of independent thought is not in social media.

Social media has become Marx's great Opiate of the Masses (religion, move aside), a drug which lulls the mind and spirit into a dull state of consciousness that make one prey to the rising and falling tides of majority opinion.  It has become the great weapon of opinion, the great "Grass Mowing Sword" of Japanese legend, scything down people and opinions and institutions - anything that is not considered socially "correct".  It values conformity above independence, right mindedness (as defined by social media) instead of thinking, and entertainment about pondering.

So where is independent thought moving to?

I do not have a full understanding of this yet.  In some cases it exists on blogs but as many have pointed out, blogs are in many ways the technology of  yesterday, a slowly dying medium of communication.  Perhaps it may it exist in books as well, thanks to the growth of the self publishing movement - but again, there is a an argument to be made that books as well are a passing medium.

But I believe that both of these still hold promise, as do podcasts (which I do not often follow) and other direct to reader technologies I am not aware of. Why/  Because only these allow people to generate and complete thoughts instead of just creating visceral emotional reactions.

Just because social media is causing a drought of independent thought does not mean such thought is going away.  It is just going underground like a river through rock, only to percolate up and emerge at a point where it least expected.

4 comments:

  1. Independent thought exists, primarily, person to person. Before "social media," movies, books, etc, people talked TO EACH OTHER. Of course, this involves courage; the courage to stand for something even if rotten tomatoes are hurled at you. Courage isn't required for "social media," as can be evidenced by the verbal vomit of the "keyboard warriors." They hurl their insults and feign their bravery as they "hide behind the leg" of cyberspace.

    If you stand for something, don't be afraid to voice your stance. Fear didn't build this country, but will surely destroy it...

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  2. Good point Pete. It really is a one to one exchange, something that modern communication pretty much destroys. And the feigned courage of the social masses falls apart when confronted in real life.

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  3. Thanks Linda. On the whole, a rather sad commentary.

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