Published : The Dot and The Void - an article on social media

Published by Versopolis in their e-book Anti Social Media, free to download and read read An excerpt from my contribution below

“Constrain your linguistic and pictorial experience of existence into one dimension, and that’s just to begin with. This is of course, normal, for most. Adding a second dimension can be troubling. Opening the cover to a pit you might fall into. Do some even have that pit to worry about? Maybe it’s for them to choose, or maybe it chooses them.

I have a memory that comes back to me often, from when I was a child. Someone older is speaking as though I were also an adult. They express envy towards those who can be happy with simplicity. This recollection is pierced by watching a couple at a restaurant, both on their phones.

The endless idiosyncratic experience of existence in one dimension. It can be perfectly flat. You cannot even perceive its flatness. That’s how flat it can be. Now we can try and make the surface area of that expression as small as possible upon that which is flatter than flat. We do this not for the virtue of its smallness, what we might call restraint, rather than constraint. Not for minimalism’s sake either. Not to ally ourselves with the profundity of simplicity, for that is far rarer than people like to admit. Most often simplicity is stupidity. Stupidity is reduction. Stupidity is taking that which is innately complicated and forcing to not be so. Stupidity is not knowing what we do not know. What appears simple, is not, and that which is proud of its simplicity, outwardly, garishly, is actually the course of someone, something, which does not have the capacity, or the inclination towards labour, experience, growth, sacrifice, to be complex.

Complexity is the shape of the jug. Water can only fill that which it is poured into. There is always a receptacle. We choose our vessel.

So, we have more humans being on the planet than ever before. Double since the mid-70s. Many times more than ever before.

So, we have expression in one dimension and it’s within a small space. Everyone can join in now. Everyone can have at this space. It’s easy to carry around with you. Here, in our space, everyone is equal. Equality in this space. An addictive equality one might not think possible. For example, if life seems never equal, at its root level, historically, essentially, consciously, then perhaps this equality – the equality of the small, flat space - might be illusory? No.

The small space is addictive, perhaps, because it is unreal? Not to be taken seriously. We’ve been here before though. Something to get you through the night. What’s the eventual consequence of the prescription drug that saves your life on the night you need it? What if you might’ve survived anyway? No space for small regret in the small space. Keep on tweeting.

One day, in 2020, we all wake to the death of the internet. I’ll have plans.

Oswald Spengler’s highly popular theory began a whole branch of sociological and historical thought, that human history is cyclical. That it is arrogance to imagine we are evolving in an upward curve. Around the corner, then, for us, is more autocracy. Dictatorship. War. These are our histories. The populace, on social media, during a world war. Imagine. Spengler predicted, specifically, that around the millennium, Western civilization would enter its death throes and on the edge of complete annihilation, we’d have to put in place a kind of Platonic benevolent overlord, to rebalance what is best about our societies. Maybe a group of people, Oswald? Maybe a conglomerate, or a corporation? They are popular, aren’t they? The argument of quality through popularity. This is the best thing because it was bought most. Though wildly popular in his day, Spengler was dismissed as an amateur and his theory unscientific.

Puritanism, filling the space provided for it, as a return. Those who think themselves good are ready to do battle with those they think bad. What kind of battle? Not physical, it’s a phone, it’s a computer. Glass houses remain intact, amazingly. As does the small space, flattening still. One might even observe it getting smaller. So small, in fact, that it squeezes itself into a tiny ball. We’re into microscope territory.

Spengler also said, ‘Optimism is cowardice’. “

To read the full essay visit here please