This may sound as far-fetched amateur anthropology, but is worth
considering. The initial motivation came from observing how protective
users are when their handsets are concerned. As there is no known
parallel of similar widespread object-attention in the recorded history,
it must be drawing on some older innate mechanism.
I found this excerpt:
What had happened was that Gloria walked in the front door of Synanon
[for drug counselling] and they had gamed her right off. Someone, on
purpose, had walked past her as she sat waiting to be interviewed and
had remarked on how ugly she was. The next person to parade past had
informed her that her hair looked like something a rat slept in.
Gloria had always been sensitive about her curly hair. She wished it was
long … What the third Synanon member would have said was moot, because
by then Gloria had gone upstairs to the tenth floor [to kill herself].
“Is that how Synanon works?” Fat asked.
Bob said, “It’s a technique to break down the personality. It’s a
fascist therapy that makes the person totally outer-directed and
dependent on the group. Then they can build up a new personality that
isn’t drug oriented.”
from Philip K. Dick, VALIS.
, which considers one particular application of Synanon and spinoff
Is it possible that there is a direct mapping between the peer group
mechanism and handset/social phenomenon ?
The combination of personal handsets, carried at all times, and social
networks with their continuous streams, creates a similar
continuous-presence environment as Synanon-like techniques. But it's not
the presence of one particular peer-pressure group; there are many of
them. These groups are just the fodder.
The continuous presence is the presence of the Network itself, the users
are conditioned to depend on it. It's a rather clever scheme, (ab)using
groups in a meta way, as a background chatter, to effect the real
dependency, on the Network, via its physical emissary, the handset. The
medium was the message, now the medium is the peer. Medium as peer has
significant advantages over traditional peer groups: it's not
committed/hardcoded to any particular ideology, it can pipe anything,
once it forced itself to be accepted in the peer role.
If this is indeed what's going on, then the current 'social' network
scene is just a preparatory stage. At some point the unreliable human
groups will be replaced with something easier to control. Once
everything is AI and bots, how will we call the real human intruders ...
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