“Friedrich Nietzsche established the “declaring things dead” form, when—after trying about 400 other aphorisms in The Gay Science—he struck gold with “God is dead” in 1882. Fifty percent hyperbole, 50 percent trolling. Well played, Nietzsche.”
What we do on social media platforms is often analyzed as a performance or construction of the self. On this view, what we are doing is giving shape to our identity. What we “Like” is the projected identity, or better yet, the perception and affirmation of that identity by others. This, of course, does not exhaust what is done with social media, but it is an important and pervasive element.
When we think about social media as a field for the construction and enactment of identities, we tend to think of it as the projection, authentic or inauthentic, of a fixed reality. But perhaps we would do well to consider the possibility that identity on social networks is not so much being performed as it is being sought, that behind the identity-work on social media platforms there is an inchoate and fluid reality seeking to take shape by expending itself.”
That is, our consumption, especially of information, is a mode of production. The general intellect is the sum of all that information circulation.
Google, then, is the reification of the general intellect. It manages to take human curiosity and turn it into capital.
The consequences of that are profound. Our curiosity is no longer a sign of our leisure; it’s an enormously important economic factor. To a degree this has always been true. Our willingness to pay attention to things is at the root of consumer demand. But it is now far more productive of informational goods in and of itself, thanks to ubiquitous online surveillance and data-storage capabilities. Much of the way we express our human curiosity can now be recorded and fed into algorithms and plotted on graphs of connections to generate more information, stimulate more curiosity, produce more demand. That’s why, as Gibson points out, Google’s Eric Schmidt claimed that people “want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.” Google doesn’t end lines of inquiry; it gives users momentum. The point of Google is to try to keep you Googling.”
RE: On Beauty, Which Really Does Not Have to Be Dull
“The mirror is, after all, a utopia, since it is a placeless place. In the mirror, I see myself there where I am not, in an unreal, vir- tual space that opens up behind the surface; I am over there, there where I am not, a sort of shadow that gives my own visibility to myself, that enables me to see myself there where I am absent: such is the utopia of the mirror. But it is also a heterotopia in so far as the mirror does exist in reality, where it exerts a sort of counteraction on the position that I occupy. From the standpoint of the mirror I discover my absence from the place where I am since I see myself over there. Startingfrom this gaze that is, as it were, directed toward me, from the ground of this virtual space that is on the other side of the glass, I come back toward myself; I begin again to direct my eyes toward myself and to reconstitute myself there where I am.”
Eulogy For a Friend, or A Note About Suicide
“‘Friendship is a comic art’, Gilles Deleuze says somewhere. ‘There are few people in the world with whom one can say insignificant things. You can only speak of trifles with very good friends’. W. and Lars certainly speak of trifles, of trivialities, of petty things that are undeserving of serious attention. But this insignificance makes up their friendship. It is part of its joy.”
From Adorno to Benjamin: Philosophical Penpals!
Wanted: Philosophical Penpals
The live-stream experience of Facebook is tragic, beautiful and painful. Sartre wrote about the impossiblity of communication between beings. And that is exactly what is now immediately visible at every moment, with our every post and status update: the desire of living things to discover their analogue, their double, anything that will vibrate and resonate to their own special frequency.
But however much there are forces in society trying to make us all similar (language, culture, shared entertainments and rites), our radical difference still stands out: we are all, as Bergson and then Deleuze would have it, shoots of creation, always springing forth into being and constantly being reconfigured; similarity is only found on the surface of things. So Facebook is the real time enactment of a human impulse: individual beings, strangers to each other, each in the impossible quest for a double.
Each of us is a planet, a baroque monster made up of a thousand points of experience assembled into a unique and transitory thing. We are not just seeking our second half, but really a double—whoever or whatever will resonate with the sutures that define us—each of us a unique Frankenstein pursuing the fantasy of a bride. In the face of the disappearingly miniscule chance of finding anyone like yourself, your Facebook stream is a testament to the wasted effort in discovering this monstrous brother.”
“For tenderness between people is nothing other than awareness of the possibility of relations without purpose, a solace still glimpsed by those embroiled in purposes; a legacy of old privileges promising a privilege-free condition.”