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Bored Lonely Angry Stupid (vox.com)
218 points by laurex 18 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 126 comments



My theory is that social media, the internet, and these manufactured communities trick our brains into feeling like we belong to actual communities -- when in reality, we do not. I work remotely and I'm no stranger to being "alone" -- and as an experiment, I did a "social media" detox for about 6 months -- I deleted all social media off my phone (FB, IG, dating apps), I blocked all "social" forums on my computer (HN, reddit, etc.) and even though throughout my entire adult life I've considered myself an introvert (which I probably am), I randomly started to interact with people around me. This was actually pretty surprising.

I've never been a "good morning, Joe!" bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed kind of person, but that's exactly what I became. I started getting better at conversations, more interested in people around me, and just generally in more of a "social vibe." I've always been terrible at remembering names, and instead of brushing it off (after all, who cares about remembering random old guy #7 from coffee shop #4?), I started keeping notes of names and appearance in my phone, so I don't forget who's who. It's actually kind of mind-blowing that my personality underwent such a palpable change.

I've since sworn off dating apps and attempting to limit my social media as much as possible. HN and reddit are probably going to get blocked again soon, too.


> My theory is that social media, the internet, and these manufactured communities trick our brains into feeling like we belong to actual communities -- when in reality, we do not.

I was having a discussion with my daughter about this just last night, where I made a similar point.

I was pointing out how celebrities (particularly, but not solely, movie stars) are always playing a role, even in interviews, etc. When they make a public appearance that isn't overtly as a character, the role they're playing is their "movie star" persona. Unless you are an actual friend of theirs, you don't really know what their true authentic selves are.

Social media, it seems to me, has caused everyone to do the same thing. In social media, people tend to be playing a role -- that role being what they view as the best version of themselves. But it's not their true authentic selves any more than with the celebrities.

I think this has caused a serious degradation in the social fabric. Before social media, the most common interactions you had were with friends and family, and you were mostly interacting with their authentic selves. After all, nobody really knows you until they've seen you at your worst.

Interactions in social media are not like that. You're interactive with people playing parts, and that interaction is no longer genuine human contact. It just has the window-dressing of that.

Loneliness and isolation is the logical result of that. It's a bit like replacing most of your food with "dietary fiber" that is made to look and taste like food. It will fill you up and taste good, but in the end you'll still starve to death.


> ... the role they're playing is their "movie star" persona ...

That's the same everybody is doing in their lives.

If you go to buy some groceries you are not yourself. You are playing your "polite shopper persona". When you area talking to your boss ... your subordinates ... your kids ... your spause ... your extended family ... your colleagues ... your students ...

You get the picture. Most people are a mixture of roles they play in front of others.

The people that are themselves and don't play any roles for anybody are perceived to be assholes.


The distinction is that those are each different personas. They allow you to express a different part of yourself in different contexts.

The problem now is that when everything is public, there is no opportunity to be anything that is unpalatable to the general population, or anything that might prospectively be at some point in the future. You can't go be with your weird friends and joke about weird stuff because now it's visible to your boss and your mother and your future boss and your future mother in law.

In many ways this can be solved with pseudonyms, but that's the polar opposite of real name policies and the like, and you still need people to be able to feel comfortable enough that their pseudonym won't be linked back to them in a way that could impact their social status or job prospects, or you'll still get the same self-censorship that turns everything into a bland fake public performance.


My SO was a HS teacher for a while, so I have a tiny bit of insight, though it may be dated. Per my SO's discussions:

Nowadays, the most popular girl in school, always a coveted title, is not the prom queen, nor the most wealthy princess, nor the queen of the clicks.

It's the same exact person in every HS in America, every tween girl hangs on her word and turns on the swings of her moods and hair color.

It's Beyonce.

(It may be Ariana Grande today, or someone else, but back when my SO was teaching, it was Beyonce)


This is a good point. The collapse of local social hierarchies makes status competitions much more alienating and intense. It must be weird to have no shot at meeting - let alone dating or befriending - the most popular girl in school. The increase in status legibility - the ability to compare yourself against others and reduced ability to take solace in self-deception and local status - might also have negative effects.


Maybe that's how it was for "normal" people. For weirdos, life before social media was loneliness and isolation.

Today, no matter how esoteric your passion is, you can find 1000 other people with the same interest on the internet and talk to them 24/7. This is the golden age of the oddball with the unusual interest.

That's not to say your points are wrong or that things are perfect. But let's not pretend there aren't both pros and cons!


As someone who grew up with modems and BBSes in the 80s, I can say that the ability to connect with other weirdos has existed long before modern 'social media'. If you were a nerd, you had HAM radio even before BBSes.


Cheap, ubiquitous access is a game changer, especially in the 3rd world.


Don't you ever think ubiquitous lowers the quality as much as it raises the possibility ?


I used to believe that. And I see just too much negatives about it. You're half connected for tiny thing that may be important for you at one point but may not be, at the same time you're cut off from people sharing your place.

I guess cities today are so fluid people don't make connections, but to me that is a long term bomb ticking.

Oh and I was incapable of social bonding before, so I was pro-internet at first. In a way it's a mediocre medicine for the wrong diagnostic.


It goes further than that though. Everyone shows different aspects of themselves and puts up false fronts and so on, and they do it differently in each of their relationships.

I sort of wonder if the idea that we have an authentic self is just as poisonous as the increase in superficial interactions.


> I sort of wonder if the idea that we have an authentic self is just as poisonous [...]

Especially since when the people try to determine their true self by subtracting the roles they play, they end up with benevolent inner asshole.


“To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight – and never stop fighting.”

–EE Cummings

With an assist from Brené Brown and _The Gifts of Imperfection_


I have a counterpoint. Perhaps ~unique, but still, and maybe not that unique here.

Without the Internet, I'd be far more limited in communicating with others who share my interests. Or even have much of a clue what I'm going on about, or why.

In academia, and later in the NGO community, I had coworkers and colleagues. But once I went freelance, and especially since I came to love isolated rural places, there was literally nobody local to talk shop with.

I mean, I love my wife and our family and friends, but none of them are at all technical. The nearest hackerspace is some hundreds of km away. And anyway, OPSEC limits what I could talk about, in any case.

With Mirimir etc, I am "playing a role". But it's a game, and it's fun.


> Unless you are an actual friend of theirs, you don't really know what their true authentic selves are.

People put on a front for their friends, too. And spouses. Even themselves (who people really are often emerges only when they under extreme stress). Being drunk also strips off the facade to some extent, like being a "mean drunk".

I have different faces for the internet, work, friends, lovers, family, etc. We all do.


This is true, and I don't mean to discount that. There's a couple of important differences, though.

The face that people put forth in social media is much more artificial than the faces we put forth to people we have real relationships with. So, in a sense, it's a difference in degree.

When you have a real relationship with someone, you put on a face in a sense, but it's a fairly shallow sense. What your friends, lovers, family, etc., see is, generally speaking, authentic. It's just not the whole story -- I may have a different style and emphasize different parts of myself with my friends as opposed to my lovers, but those are still authentic, true aspects of myself. I'm not pretending to be a person I'm not. Also, over time, anyone you're close to gets to know your true self -- even the parts you wish they didn't (or maybe that you didn't even know existed). If that's not true, then the relationship isn't really that close.

I will exclude internet and work relationships from this, as those are of a different, and much more artificial, type.


> It's a bit like replacing most of your food with "dietary fiber" that is made to look and taste like food. It will fill you up and taste good, but in the end you'll still starve to death.

So you're saying social media is kind of like Soylent ;) -- I agree!


It is made of people


> Interactions in social media are not like that. You're interactive with people playing parts, and that interaction is no longer genuine human contact. It just has the window-dressing of that.

> Loneliness and isolation is the logical result of that. It's a bit like replacing most of your food with "dietary fiber" that is made to look and taste like food. It will fill you up and taste good, but in the end you'll still starve to death.

What's interesting is that this basically makes social media a honeypot to those with histrionic or sociopathic tendencies. I wonder if, in the long run, we'll tend to look at the typical "influencer's" Instragam or YouTube account the way we today look at an e-mail from some very wealthy prince in Nigeria who somehow needs our help transferring his billions out of the country.


>My theory is that social media, the internet, and these manufactured communities trick our brains into feeling like we belong to actual communities -- when in reality, we do not.

Same with celebrities - some people have trouble disconnecting the fact they're intimately familiar with celebrities (or at least the carefully crafted details they share) and confuse that with actually knowing said celebrities. I think that's what triggers the bizarre behavior of stopping these people and asking for a picture, saying hello, etc.

I sort of have the opposite reaction: I'm viscerally uninterested in the lives of celebrities because we're not friends. My wife has finally learned not to tell me Gwen Stefani is pregnant or whatever after I ask "Really? When's the shower? What should we bring?!?"


Being uninterested in celebrities has saved me a lot of time. I've sat at a dinner table where my friends chatted about some celebrity getting married or something and at then end of it, there was really no value except that they all connected around some loosely connected gossip about a celebrity.

It's some times the juicy stuff that gets people interested at first and then they go down to the point of knowing so much more than is necessary.

Another one I find kind of off-putting is how so many of my friends are very well versed in "famous" serial killers and their histories. Why don't people spend as much time learning about things that brought good to the world and not misery/suffering?


This is a false economy though - part of being able to participate in society is having a range of acceptable small-talk topics to engage with people on, and celebrity culture is a very easy one to stay sufficiently versed (literally just scroll a newspaper frontpage once a week or something) which provides a very safe in if someone wants to talk about that.

It's the same reason you should (though it is harder) have some passing knowledge of local sports teams, because its a big shared cultural touchstone.

It's the reason I'm really happy I started experimenting with vegetarian food, because it gave me something interesting to talk with and a possible point of shared interest as well.


>This is a false economy though - part of being able to participate in society is having a range of acceptable small-talk topics...

Which is fine, I just choose to opt out of that particular topic. Have you heard the joke about the vegetarian marathon runner? He never knows which one to brag about first. Seriously I agree being prepared to discuss a variety of topics is a good idea but it's something within the confines of politeness I can be honest about.

If someone asks "Oh did you hear Shania Twain got a new puppy?" I can honestly say no I don't keep up with her and leave it at that. I'm happy to talk dogs, just not Shania. We can always find something else to talk about.


Ann Landers once wrote:

1. smart people talk about ideas

2. average people talk about events

3. dumb people talk about other people

I sometimes think about that when I engage in gossip, and am annoyed with myself.


I wonder where biographers fit into this model?


A good biography talks about all three.



That's awesome.

I'm also reminded of something that Scott Adams wrote in a forward to one of his books.

To paraphrase: we're all idiots, even the smartest of us. Not all the time, but given the right situation...


You could extend this criticism to all small talk. It’s the same with the dinner table (or card game or water cooler) conversations about the latest Sportsball game and which team sportsed really good last night and which athlete’s stats are getting better and so on. Or how great the latest Game Of Thrones was or how awesome the Avengers movie was. Zero value besides the shared interest/connection.


Yes of course we all need a bit of cultural literacy. Honestly humans want to celebrate the lucky among us and being a famous actor or actress is a huge accomplishment. Those people put in a great deal of time and effort to their craft and they managed to succeed where thousands others just like them didn't.

But the same can be said of SV rock stars, Fortune 500 CxOs, etc. Even if I recognized Donald Knuth or Sundar Pichai on the street I wouldn't approach and say "I love your work, may I have a photo?". I draw the line at assuming I have a personal relationship with anyone just because I happen to know of them or about them. And frankly since we're not friends I'm not invested in learning anything personal about those people.

That's where I think society is broken: making the lives of famous people a miserable hell because they can't have a shred of privacy, and mining every detail of their lives to sell banner ads / click bait click-throughs, TV shows, etc is just a bit too far for me.


A couple times I've caught myself saying "I know a person who..." when what I meant to say was "I follow a person on Instagram who..." It was really eye opening.


I've found myself doing the same thing. But you can work next to someone in a cubicle for years and know less about them than you would from subscribing to someone's blog (assuming it's honest). I value in-person interaction, but I've also gotten to feel like I know people with whom I've only interacted with online, via email and MUDing back in the day.

How well you really know someone is hard to quantify.


Are you a social media on your phone guy? I mostly have been a social media on my PC person and I think when I'm out I do take note of the people around me but I wouldn't start a random conversation with someone. Mostly because everyone else is on their phone.


> Are you a social media on your phone guy?

I think that as a single 20- or 30-something, being a social-media-on-your-phone-person is kind of the default. It's a bit awkward at first, but I think most people are pleasantly surprised when you start a conversation with them randomly. I usually start with a compliment ("I like your hat/dress/shoes") or I ask them what they ordered ("that looks/smells great, what is it?").

It's so strange that we've collectively lost this skill in what seems to be less than one generation.


>It's so strange that we've collectively lost this skill in what seems to be less than one generation.

Yeah, super weird. Similarly, people talk on the phone less these days and are losing that skill, too. I’ve been increasingly hearing people say this in recent years.


Talks don't give you time to act.


Are you saying that in the sense of putting on a persona? Just trying to understand...


I believe our brains value physical proximity more than anything else. A bit hyperbolic, and you can sometimes have a super strong connection with someone far away through letter etc, but someone you can sit next too and feel ok/happy/safe will quickly imprint your brain as someone important for you.


social media, the internet, and these manufactured communities trick our brains into feeling like we belong to actual communities -- when in reality, we do not.

Good point. Experience of computing before the time of the the 'net is the main reason I've been little-attracted to the 'promises' of phones, or distance -anything-. I learned from the BBS's and Usenet that long-distance-socializing may feel engaging, but is not a life-long nutritional substitute.

Audio and even video may seem like a vast improvement over a crappy 300-baud text-only modem. But it's entirely possible that few people would like Mona Lisa after they saw her in action in a video.

The trouble with illusions is: disillusion. Is the article right about "a rising American hope for a limitless self"? It doesn't come in a box.


I wrote this paper for a class at university in 2002 that relates to some of what you're saying: https://web.stanford.edu/class/symbsys205/facetoface.html

It's funny to read now because it predated social media for the most part. When I say social networks in the paper it's a theoretical concept which we might call a "social graph" now.

I didn't mention it in the paper but that class also introduced me to the concept of Dunbar's number (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number) I guess I'd TLDR it this way now: Internet connections are weaker than in person ones but they probably still take up a slot in your social graph. That graph is probably capped somewhere around 150. So it's not super surprising that when you freed up some space by disconnecting from the internet communities, you felt compelled to fill it back in with people in physical proximity with you. It's a cool personal experiment and it would be interesting if it could be replicated more scientifically.


Super cool paper!

I think there has been some scientific inquiry into this idea of a "limit" to certain "mental faculties" -- in a graduate seminar I was attending a few years ago, I remember reading about how "attention" is capped to 2-3 points of interest in our visual field. The experiment was done with movies if I remember correctly.


Thank you! Yeah, I think Dunbar's number has been proven experimentally. Of course I'm probably guilty of applying it too liberally outside of the limited contexts in which the science has proven it (the pitfall of pop psychology/sociology.)

But I agree it's super useful and interesting to think about quantifying and enumerating the limits of human capability where possible. Maybe that's somewhere else we differ from the attitudes of the 18th century romantics from TFA.


Also along these lines I find its easier to connect with people when you become a "regular". I have made friends at the gym with people who would normally be outside my social circle. I have a neighborhood bar/restaurant I go to at least once a week and make sure to remember people's names who work there and tip well. They remember you and will become friends if you want that. Also, if your dating and bring someone to a restaurant where they all know you and treat you well, it shows good social status!


This sounds like an interesting experience. I had my Facebook deactivated for 6 months, and started to sorta-kinda notice the same thing. I really should do it again over the summer and see what happens when I have much more time and freedom.


This is a fascinating comment. Thank you for leaving it.

I'm actually optimistic that online discussion via various avenues has a lot of positive potential, but I really enjoyed your detailed observations.


Hmm I tried that too, year since I was on any social media, still just as lonely lol.


A quick question to maybe further prove your point, how many people, that you only knew through social media, contacted you during your detox to find out if you were ok and what had happened?


Did you notice any downsides from the experiment?


I just got back a month-long trip by myself. It was interesting to note that a ton of people I talked to before going, friends, family, acquaintances, were all shocked I would travel alone. The overwhelming response was, "aren't you going to get lonely?" I think it's important to be alone and enjoy your own company.

Working remotely too, I get a very similar question. "Don't you miss working with people?" I work with people all the time, but I think that being alone magnifies the effect of spending quality time with people, rather than just spending time together for the sake of being together.


A lot of people don't understand that being by yourself is no the same thing as being "lonely". "Lonely" implies that you are missing interaction with others. When I'm alone, I generally breathe a sigh of relief because a lot of the time socialization is work for me, and it's work I'm not very good at.

I'm almost never lonely when I'm alone, I'm too involved in whatever I'm doing. Even if I'm bored, I'm generally not lonely. I get more lonely when I'm in a group of people I don't really know well than I ever do when I'm alone in my own house. Mostly because I wish I knew them better than I do and wouldn't feel so left out.


Solitude: A voluntary disconnect. Pleasant. You can return to socializing whenever you want.

Loneliness: Being alone against your choice, seemingly unable to change it, even when you are in contact with people.


Donald Hall wrote beautifully about this: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/double-solitu...


Oh yes: "Now and then, especially at night, solitude loses its soft power and loneliness takes over. I am grateful when solitude returns."


I had a similar (relating more to social media than people), but qualitatively different, experience last fall.

My partner and I went on a trip for a few days. While relaying the plans to some coworkers and visiting colleagues while out for lunch I was asked for my instagram handle so they could see my photos. I replied I didn't have one. The group started into shock and said, to summarize, nobody can follow along to my trip. All i could say was I don't care.

Of course, there are many other ways to share photos if I want, but keeping a live journal of it wasn't why I went...


A lot of people don't get this. When I tell I like companies, everyone's fine.When I say I equally like being on my own, a lot of people get funny about it. I could sit in a room just with myself for weeks and I'd be fine and I'd enjoy it,while a lot of people would go crazy pretty quickly.


It's just my guess, but I think that most people are so uncomfortable with their own thoughts and feelings that they have to continually drown them out with idle chatter. The problem is that they select those others very carefully so as to avoid any ideas that may impinge upon their established worldview.

Perhaps it comes down to that there are just very few genuinely curious and intellectually honest people in the world, the result being that the majority (i.e. the others) self-select their environments and then either ignore others or, worse yet, attack them.


Perhaps there are some genuinely curious and intellectually honest people who learn from interacting and experiencing with others.

Perhaps more.


I just did the same thing for 2.5 months. I got really lonely ..lol.


I've definitely noticed this trend in my own thinking - hyper-individualism, along with a healthy dose of woe-is-me. It's especially bad on sites like Tumblr, where people list out their mental health problems along with other ways they define themselves in the header of their blog.

On the one hand, I think it's good that people are discussing things like depression, anxiety, etc. more openly. But as someone who has struggled with depression and feeling suicidal at various points, I think there's a healthier way to frame your thinking, so that you're not acting like depression, or loneliness, or sadness are inevitable, and like you have zero control over your mood or feelings.

I had this epiphany after going through a break up, where I could feel myself heading towards a depressive spiral. I was obsessing over how sad I was, replaying happy moments and unfulfilled fantasies about the future in my head...and then I realized I was actually making myself feel worse, and that I could actually make myself stop wallowing in my own sadness by thinking about other things.

I think the most important thing to do is to get away from staying in your own head and overthinking things. Interact with other people in real life (not on social media), do physical exercise, practice mindfulness meditation, and try observing your feelings and separating your sense of self from those feelings.


This is the meaning of the phrase, "depression is a choice." Unfortunately, depression robs you of the skills you need to make the choice.

Glad things worked out for you.


A bummer this perspective is shunned. This is exactly what I realized when I went through many years of depression. I never saw a therapist: "If I can't fix or accept this on my own, it's not worth fixing."

I slowly started seeing more friends, thought deeply about why I felt so horrible via substances, and eventually came out the other side. Now, you simply cannot get me down, and I'm lovin' it. :)


I believe it is shunned because it points the blame back mostly on the sufferer. Since it's a "choice" it's often deduced (incorrectly) that it's similar to choosing something menial like what clothes you want to wear or what you want to eat for lunch.

Instead, if you want to think this way (that depression is largely a choice) then you need to reflect on the fact that one can make a series of choices in order to better control one's mood and outlook. A sustained series of choices over a period of time can elevate the mood and mental state.

This isn't ignoring the fact that some should seek professional help, or chemical aides in getting this done. Depression is simply a spectrum (like everything else these days) which may or may not require more outside sources to circumnavigate.

In that way it's a choice, and becomes less of an issue with "someone is broken, but they choose to be". Their selective consciousness is controlling their outlook.


>because it points the blame back mostly on the sufferer.

It's certainly perceived to do that, but it can also be read as putting the power to change back mostly on the sufferer. Which is exactly right. Unfortunately it's a chicken/egg kinda situation where the advice is right but entirely indigestible to someone in need of it.


Happy to hear you've got yourself back on track :)

I heard/hold a similar take on depression that sounds a little nicer, for better or for worse: it's an issue for which you must seek the answer to on your own, but the problem is that the condition itself takes away your motivation to do anything about it...


Thanks, I'm doing a lot better now. I definitely think this is something that has to be learned over time - at my lowest point, if someone gave me this advice I'm not sure I would have been able to use it effectively.


That's the joke. It's just not funny. But please, don't discount therapy. It can hardly hurt.


The only thing that has been working for me was following traditional Catholic teachings to a "t". I know religion is taboo in scientific circles, and educated people think of it as just another psychological tool, but it's actually the other way around. Catholicism encompasses everything about psychology, but while remaining grounded in the philosophical truths and principles that make up objective existence.

Without that, we have no anchor, and so psychological principles change regularly as the leaders of the field "learn more" about how they were previously mistaken (and then wipe their hands clean of the damage done to innocent people by their incorrect teachings, as they cover it up and move on). Saint Frances de Sales and Saint John Bosco were called masters of human psychology, and secular psychology is only now catching up to them in agreement.

Before we can get rid of negative problems in ourselves or others, we must first understand the nature of ourselves, and of the problems, because if we misunderstand these true natures, we're going to be remedying it the wrong way. And thinking of life or the mind as merely effects of the material world is already starting off on a bad principle, and leads to things like over medication, presuming that the mind can be fixed by changing things in the physical brain, which is really only a telephone by which the soul interacts with the physical world.

I know enlightened minds will scoff at these ideas, assuming religion to be for the ignorant, and maybe I am an ignorant fool, but anyone who agrees that there are absolute and objective truths will see clearly that the world is going insane. Parents proudly teaching their children that they can choose their gender, encouraging safe spaces where intellectual growth is supposed to be sought by mature young adults, grown men and women spending all their free time chasing every physical and mental pleasure as slaves of their passions without ever accomplishing anything of value, left wondering why they feel unfulfilled at the end of each wasted day.

Anyone who recognizes these truths and is frustrated by the world going in the wrong direction, especially with how it has been addressing (or rather enabling and encouraging) mental health issues, should not scoff at the ideas, principles, values, and beliefs that produced men and women who were willing to give up every good pleasure on earth for the honorable and noble goal of selflessly doing good for others in this life, that they may reap rewards for themselves and others in the next life. The Catholic Church has produced so many saints like Saint Benedict, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint John Paul II, Saint Mother Theresa of Calcutta, and so many more that you'd do well to look further into what biases and inaccurate beliefs you have against its objective, intellectual, noble truths.


You may find the story of science fiction author John C Wright interesting. Wright was an atheist who converted to Roman Catholicism at the age of 42. He once said, "If Vulcans had a church, they'd be Catholics."

https://strangenotions.com/wright-conversion/

His book "The Golden Age" from his younger atheist years is grand post-scarcity sci-fi for those interested.


> I know religion is taboo in scientific circles, and educated people think of it as just another psychological tool

I've spent years working with scientists in research labs. In my experience, this isn't as true as people assume. There are plenty of hardcore scientists who are also religious.


I know a couple spiritual scientists, but they all critically adopt practices based on their personal philosophy... so I don't consider them to be "religious".

Religion requires dogma and worship, surrendering free will in the extreme. Those spiritual scientists fall in the same ballpark as agnostics/atheists (myself) that learned some life lessons from Marvel comics, Miyazaki animation, and other modern myths.


I've known scientists (in the hard sciences) who were evangelical Christians, Baptists, strict Jews, and so forth. They were certainly more than just vaguely "spiritual". Two of them even tried to convert me (I am roughly agnostic).

I wouldn't venture to guess as to whether they are less common than in the general population (although it wouldn't surprise me), but they certainly exist in enough numbers for me to have met multiples of them. In fairness, though, I have met and worked with quite a few scientists over the years, so I consider it unsurprising to have met religious ones.


Implicit argument from authority.

Just because hardcore scientists are religious, anything about the religion they choose. They are mutually exclusive.


Hey friend, don’t judge. The world is progressing as it should. There are a lot of people and we don’t really know how to give them super productive things to do, so they chase what they want. We have enough food to feed the world, and yet can’t due to human nature.

Gender and sexuality and identity and really all of reality is fluid.

Seriously, it’s good that you’ve found solace in Catholicism, spread the word and help other people who may benefit, but don’t cast judgement on people living their lives.


I'm in no way judging other people's souls, but we can and must judge right and wrong for ourselves. And if, along the way of learning right from wrong for ourselves, we realize that right and wrong applies to more than just ourselves, and we find solid evidence of this, we must believe accordingly. Truth is Truth. Reality is not fluid, our existence is very real, and so are the laws of reality just as real as the laws of physics. They apply to all people at all times, and they still would have even if you and I were never born.


> Truth is Truth. Reality is not fluid, our existence is very real, and so are the laws of reality just as real as the laws of physics.

But we still learn, right? Some things we once thought to be real turned out to not be.

From Wikipedia[1]:

> The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, which concluded that heliocentrism was "foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture".

I believe there are plenty of gaps in human knowledge into which people can pour their faith and turn to religion for answers. Some of those answers may one day prove to be correct and others prove to be wrong.

For more than half the existence of the Roman Catholic Church, they believed that the sun went around the Earth. It was a model that seemed plain as day. It was also wrong.

I agree with your statement "we can and must judge right and wrong for ourselves". I also believe in being humble with respect to what we "know" to be true.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei


That's a very complicated subject. Read it from a pro-Catholic perspective if you truly are unbiased, and you will see that it is not as cut and dry as you'd think. Incidentally I was just reading about it again the other day from this Catholic Dictionary printed in 1885: https://archive.org/details/catholicdictiona00addirich/page/... It starts on the bottom of the right page. Click the right page to go to the next. Archive.org is wonderful.


Thanks for the link, though the exact nature of the inquiry into Galileo was not my point. It was accepted _as truth_ that the sun went around Earth by a great many people back then.

Going back up the chain in this thread, pesmhey said: > Gender and sexuality and identity and really all of reality is fluid.

To which you replied: > Truth is Truth. Reality is not fluid, our existence is very real, and so are the laws of reality just as real as the laws of physics.

I can't speak to what pesmhey intended with "all of reality is fluid", and I don't agree with that as phrased… What we perceive as reality is limited by our understanding of it. If you look up and watch the sun travel across the sky, it's easy to think that the sun goes around the Earth, just as the moon does.

It would be folly to say that humanity collectively hasn't learned a ton about human biology over the past 100 years. When it comes to gender, sexuality, and identity, we're continuing to learn and what may be seen as "truth" today may prove to be not quite right with more knowledge.

Just this week, in fact, there was the news about Caster Semenya and how the olympic folks think her testosterone levels are too high for her to compete as a woman[1]. 100 years ago, they couldn't have tested for that (testosterone was apparently discovered around 1890[2], so I don't think they would have had tests for levels of the hormone then).

To be clear, I'm not trying to make a point about the Catholic Church, but rather about truth and reality. The Catholic Church can move forward with time. I wish more people in this country would get on board with Laudato si[3] and see "climate as a common good" that we need to take seriously. (Of course, most people in the US are already on board with respect to the need to address climate issues, but those holdouts are a problem.)

FWIW, I acknowledge that progress is not always forward and that there are, indeed, aspects to our current time that will prove to be objectively problematic when we look back at them from some time in the future (just as there always have been). I don't know how common it is in actual practice, but I think stifling contentious discourse at universities is likely to be harmful for the advancement of knowledge over time.

Anyhow, this has become a ramble, and it wasn't really my intention to write an essay. Given that, I'll just stop rather than write a proper conclusion. Sorry :)

[1] https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/how-caster-semenyas-case-c... [2]: https://youmemindbody.com/reproductive-health/The-Elixir-of-... [3]: https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/docum...


It's true that we're learning more about the physical nature of the universe, and that's called science, which the Catholic Church has been a major proponent of all along, as a way to learn more about God's creation.

But the physical nature of the universe is only the physical nature. There is another nature of the universe that is above the physical, and that the physical deviates from sometimes due to the corruption brought into the world by the fall of man.

That "metaphysical" nature is real, even though you can't experiment on it in a lab, and some examples are sexual identity and gender. These are not fluid, even if sometimes the fallen world deviates from it. There are exactly two genders, man and woman, and we are born into those genders, which nobody chooses except God. Sometimes we may have the wrong hormones, but that's part of the fallen nature of the world, and our job is to correct those hormones through science to match our physical gender.

This may seem trivial, but it's a very important example for me because the idea of being a Man and a Woman are very little known or understood by any of us today, whereas centuries ago they were widely understood and accepted, and this plays an integral factor in how I should raise my children as a Father and Man and the Husband of my wife, and the model I should set for these roles, and similarly my wife's roles, what they should be, and the example she ought to give them of a Mother and Wife and Woman.

But when we start to teach young people that these roles or even genders are all social constructs instead of roles built into our very nature which we must recognize and learn how to fulfill, we're soon going to have a chaotic world with everyone doing pretty much everything wrong.


Okay, I see where you're coming from and appreciate you taking the time to clarify.

There is evidence that there has always been a homosexual subset of the population. One can say that this is part of the "fallen" nature of the world, or one can say that this just an aspect of nature based on the makeup of the individual.

Anyhow, I understand where you're coming from, even if it doesn't match my worldview. This is not the kind of thing that one can easily convince another about given that, as you say, "you can't experiment on it in a lab". At a certain point, we do have to take some things on faith.


south america follows catholic teachings to a T and they have too many children to support. I think your black book lied to them.


The Catholic Church also held orgies in its sacred halls, enabled and hid a variety of pedophiles, and led a variety of violent conflicts for selfish gains. That doesn’t mean Catholicism is bad, or even “the church”. but citing a few saints as evidence that something is good is some pretty serious cherry picking.

Religious structure is good. People do better when they have a compelling framework and a strong social community. The issue with specific religions is it holds specific beliefs as a pre requisite, so it’s hard to just jump in amidst large bodies of diverse opinions and conflicting scientific evidence. Most people would benefit from joining any well intentioned religious group. And most of the moral arguments for any specific one tend to be compatible with the rest. So yeah, religion is generally a good thing for people; no, it’s not fair to claim it’s unilaterally good; and in general, mixing emotional arguments with world views on the nature of existence is likely to annoy others.


The saints are people who followed the principles of the religion. It's disingenuous to suggest that the actions of those who flouted Christianity's principles and rules should be allowed to define it.

> mixing emotional arguments with world views on the nature of existence is likely to annoy others

Perhaps, but the moral framework you cite as a benefit of religion is inextricably tied with a particular view on the nature of existence. People are far more likely to follow rules if they make sense.


It’s not that disingenuous when it’s the officials of the governing body of the faith as defined by the faith.

But this is the problem with any movement from feminism to Catholicism. It’s defined by its members but it’s members are individuals. If a group of people in the name of a movement do a bunch of things that most find disagreeable it’s not easy to separate them from the vanilla definition of the movement. There’s no objective definition of a collection of ideas. Religions and political persuasions can’t be intrinsically good, (though perhaps they can be intrinsically bad). There are certainly excellent ideas to be found in feminism and Catholicism. Yet Individuals in a belief system still have their own beliefs. There’s no purity of belief that can be identified. It’s a pointless endeavor.

And thus, saying my belief system is good as evidenced by these good people adhering to said system is a meaningless statement. I have no reason to believe that your interpretation of said system is the same as theirs. Similarly pointing to the villains of the system doesn’t mean anything either.


That's the beauty of the Catholic Church: there is purity of belief. There is a core set of things that all Catholics absolutely must believe, and any who do not, are not truly Catholics. These beliefs are laid down in many different ways and in many different books but they're all saying the same thing. The "table of contents" of these beliefs would be a book called the Catechism of The Catholic Church: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM Even though it's a full book of its own, it only barely touches on the core beliefs of our religion, like a tree trunk. The branches go very far and very wide, and you'll find them in all the writings of the Saints, all the writings of the Fathers of the Church, the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Bible, and many other good books. A good portion of them are laid down for free online at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/index.html which has the Catholic Encyclopedia, Summa Theologica (Summary of Theology), many writings of the Fathers of the Church, the Bible, and many other Catholic Church documents such as Papal encyclicals.


I object that "religious group" is a per-requisite (we live in a religion-soaked culture still, it's a default).

Most people benefit from joining any structured organization with strong-shared belief system. For example, the military very specifically operates and trains this way (it's in the wording - "a soldier will..." etc.). There's of course obvious reasons they should, but the concept is the same - build up a shared base of truth.

If we look to another area, think about the term "company man" and what's actually happened in the last 50 years to how the big corporations (or maybe any?) treat their workers. That used to once be a source of a identity and purpose as well (possibly not the most healthy or reliable one) but it's very much something which has changed. The active effort to kill the Union movement has similar consequences.


Couldn't agree more with that. Despite some of the talented thinkers the Roman Catholic church has produced, there are too many obviously despicable things they've supported to hold them in very high regard in my views (their refusal to allow women in leadership is another one which just doesn't jive). It's not honest to ignore that the bad parts were created by the exact same doctrines and structures that enabled good parts. After all, "By their fruits you will know them."


> The Catholic Church also held orgies in its sacred halls

You were lied to, my friend.

> enabled and hid a variety of pedophiles

Individuals did that, and that's very sad and damaging.

> and led a variety of violent conflicts for selfish gains

Read up on the Crusades (and Spanish Inquisition) from a Catholic perspective. It's not as cut and dry as people make it.

> The issue with specific religions is it holds specific beliefs as a pre requisite,

That's fine, as long as the beliefs are true.

> so it’s hard to just jump in amidst large bodies of diverse opinions

Look into any religion hard enough and you will find all categories of them to be logically and historically unsustainable except Catholicism. That's why I'm here. It is the only belief system fully compatible with intellectual integrity. Saint Thomas Aquinas said the same thing when he said that anyone who actually looked into Islam would see clearly that it is utterly absurd and full of contradictions.

> and conflicting scientific evidence.

There is none.


> Look into any religion hard enough and you will find all categories of them to be logically and historically unsustainable except Catholicism. That's why I'm here. It is the only belief system fully compatible with intellectual integrity. Saint Thomas Aquinas said the same thing when he said that anyone who actually looked into Islam would see clearly that it is utterly absurd and full of contradictions.

Roman Catholicism says that communion will turn wine and bread into literal flesh and blood. How on earth is that "compatible with intellectual integrity"? Or believing in a literal virgin birth? Another thing I can't intellectually justify is insisting on priest celibacy and keeping women out of the priesthood.

I'm not going to debate in favor of Islam, but it seems that mainstream protestant beliefs (or at least those which I'm familiar with, the beliefs of United Methodism) are just as capable of claiming the good parts of Christian philosophy, without insisting on the parts which clearly just exist due to the the Roman Catholic penchant for power wrangling and hierarchies.


> Roman Catholicism says that communion will turn wine and bread into literal flesh and blood. How on earth is that "compatible with intellectual integrity"?

That is called Transubstantiation and it is a daily recurring miracle. Miracles, by definition, are God bending the rules of physics, which He created and continually sustains, and is thus allowed to bend. This is philosophical but logically consistent.

> Or believing in a literal virgin birth?

Another miracle.

> insisting on priest celibacy

That's a rule, and put there for a very good reason. The less divided your heart is by worldly cares, the more you can care only for the people God put in your care.

> keeping women out of the priesthood

Just as much as men are kept out of giving birth. Consider this quote from G. K. Chesterton: "How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No. A woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute."

> are just as capable of claiming the good parts of Christian philosophy, without insisting on the parts which clearly just exist due to the the Roman Catholic penchant for power wrangling and hierarchies.

They say "you are saved by faith alone" and "the Bible is the sole authority on religion" and yet the Bible literally says "you are not saved by faith alone". That's plenty enough to disregard all their remaining arguments in my opinion.

After using the process of elimination, only the Catholic Church's doctrines remain intact.


So for #1 and #2, you just hand-wave your doctrine as "miracles" that defy all otherwise known and consistent laws of the universe. Doesn't seem like intellectual integrity to me.

And #3 and #4 are directly at odds. You say Priests are not allowed to have children, which is why they are celibate (fair enough) but we all know children can't be born without both a Father and Mother involved. So when men choose not to have children for the priesthood, it's seen as noble. But Women aren't given that same choice in your view (Except they are, because nuns exist, yet Nuns cannot ever actually lead the Church).

Why don't you admit that the reason the Catholic church does not allow women priests is not because "a women's function is laborious" (a function not all women naturally can even do, otherwise why can't barren women be priests?), but rather because you take the words of Paul literally and do not allow a woman to hold authority over a man? That's the real reason and you know it.

Also, the "faith alone" thing is a bit misunderstood to be honest, mostly caused by how protestants overload that word. They basically mean that you cannot be saved by works alone under any circumstance, and that if you are unable to produce any works but have faith, you can still be saved (the example here is the penitent thief on the cross). After that, they consider works to be a natural outcome of legitimate faith, and that if you have the chance to do works and don't you'll lose your justification by faith.

There's a sermon by Wesley on that here: http://wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley/the-sermons-of-john-wesley...


> So for #1 and #2, you just hand-wave your doctrine as "miracles" that defy all otherwise known and consistent laws of the universe. Doesn't seem like intellectual integrity to me.

It is not intellectually dishonest to believe that God, who governs the universe and it's laws is able to suspend them if he so chooses.

> Why don't you admit that the reason the Catholic church does not allow women priests is not because "a women's function is laborious" (a function not all women naturally can even do, otherwise why can't barren women be priests?), but rather because you take the words of Paul literally and do not allow a woman to hold authority over a man? That's the real reason and you know it.

No, that is not the real reason. The idea that men and women are complementary is rooted in Christian teaching since the beginning. My understanding is that the reason women are not allowed to be priests is partly because during mass the priest stands in for Christ ( in persona Christi ) and Christ was born a man. Women hold authority over men all the time in the Catholic church, many doctors of the Church are women.

> Also, the "faith alone" thing is a bit misunderstood to be honest, mostly caused by how protestants overload that word. They basically mean that you cannot be saved by works alone under any circumstance, and that if you are unable to produce any works but have faith, you can still be saved (the example here is the penitent thief on the cross). After that, they consider works to be a natural outcome of legitimate faith, and that if you have the chance to do works and don't you'll lose your justification by faith.

This is just a long winded way of saying you are not saved by faith alone.


Doctor of the Church means a teacher whose teachings are universally applicable to everyone in the Catholic Church. It has nothing to do with authority. Many nuns were traditionally teachers of children, too. And each of the female doctors of the church, as far as I know, where nuns who submitted all their teachings to their superiors and confessors, who then examined and verified her writings for orthodoxy (1 Timothy 2:14) before recommending them for others or permitting them to be published (cf. Imprimi Potest).

St. Paul's words come from a deeper natural distinction between man and woman, and have to do with the fall of Adam and Eve, where Eve was the one who was deceived by the serpent, and also that Eve was created from Adam, and thus woman from man. Man was created first, because man is the default gender of humanity, and from man came woman. "But now man is born of woman," St. Paul also says, "and all things are from God." We are equal in dignity but not in our roles. Some women cannot bare children, but all men cannot bare children. Some men cannot be priests, for example if castrated, yet all women cannot be priests, because man is the gender God assigned to fatherhood and leadership, to represent his fatherhood and paternal leadership. Yet we are not to lead as the world leads, by "lording it over" others; we are to lead as Jesus led, meekly, humbly, with gentleness, by example, and doing everything in our power to help those whom God has put in our charge to accomplish their duties, unlike the Pharisees who "lay heavy burdens" on their charges "but will not lift one finger to help them carry it." Everyone has the heavy burden of going through a wearisome life, and our jobs as fathers are to show them how to make that burden lighter, first and foremost by bringing them to Jesus, who says "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

St. John Paul II talked a lot about this subject about 45 years ago, here's a PDF with a clickable table of contents: https://d2wldr9tsuuj1b.cloudfront.net/2232/documents/2016/9/...


What makes, for example, Hinduism unsustainable?


[flagged]


I'm not pretending to know anything I'm trying to understand what the op meant with this remark.

>Look into any religion hard enough and you will find all categories of them to be logically and historically unsustainable except Catholicism.


It was a joke. Take a chill pill. As far as I am concerned, all religion is nothing but a brain management technique to allow us to elevate ourselves over our basest of instincts. Beyond that the difference is primarily influenced by when the religion evolved, where it evolved and is a matter of specifics. That said, Hinduism is interesting when it comes to the concept of moksha because no other known religion (there could be other ones that state this idea, but I don't know) talks about it - the world is an illusion wrapped around your eyes, wake up from it! But that's me, my subjective view. Someone else might find something else as more interesting. Someone who dislikes this comment will downvote it.


What is a social organization but a group of individuals?


When individuals agree on basic absolute truths, they are organized into a social group. When a few individuals deviate from what the original group agreed on to be absolute truth, and the remaining individuals who do agree with the originally agreed upon original truths say that those people are not "one of us", even if the dissenters shout "we are part of the original group", it's obvious to everyone that they aren't. This is also true of the Protestants (Luther, Zwigli, Calvin) and all heretics before and after them. But it's just as true for those in the Church who do evil, because even though they aren't committing formal heresy, they are showing by their evil actions that they do not really know the God that we teach, because otherwise they wouldn't be doing evil. That's not to say they aren't formally part of the Church -- the Catholic Church is a hospital for sinners just as well as a museum of Saints. But these evil people don't at all represent what we teach, because they don't follow it. I myself have done plenty of wrong in my past and I have no excuse except that I was a poor excuse for a Christian, and I did not represent what my holy Church teaches, and for that I am deeply ashamed. But that doesn't change that what my Church teaches is true, even though I did not understand it correctly it apply it to myself well.


Sure


Better to just read philosophy & psychology from respected sources of academia than an ideology that ruined many lives unjustly. One major negative of religious influence is creating an assumption of free will existing and thus clouding the judgment of the person which can result in depression. The person becomes less aware to how everything effecting them is external forces they have no control over. Then blaming themselves instead of accepting reality.


If we don't have control over anything, isn't accepting that even more likely to lead to a downward spiral of depression?


I think the reality is that we don't have control over everything, not that we don't have control over anything. At a minimum, we have control over our own actions. I also think that accepting what we don't have control over is a path out of depression, not into it.

But that may depend on how much a control freak a person is.


We have control over our own will, and pretty much that alone. God has ultimate authority over everything else, and works with all things for the good of those who love him and serve him faithfully.


You literally don't, unless you had control of the "starting point" being your birth. One cannot make an action of their own without the influence of the external forces upon oneself. This isn't a bad thing, it's just reality and even studying this brings awareness to how God cannot even have own will. Once again that's not a bad thing.


It's a bit strange to think that the one who is powerful enough to not only create the universe but sustain its existence with just as much power every nanosecond would be unable to stop things from happening within creation if it were against his will, or unable to make something happen within creation if it were in his will.


Understanding the deepest sense of reality is best for navigating what's thrown at oneself. Even if one has no control over what happens in life, such as one's thoughts, or actions because its all decided by a linear progression of external forces upon oneself and one's genetics. Ultimately it comes down to the individual desiring to be the best person they can be with using their awareness to their advantage. I can definitely handle problems & emotions better when understanding how nobody has a choice in how they are as a person. Specifically if I'm wronged by someone. That's just a small portion of what philosophy and psychology can be used for in living life.


I find this concept of the "history of emotions" unconvincing on so many levels. Between the mind-body problem and our coarse understanding of the brain, it's hard enough to talk sensibly about emotions in the present. That language changes and new words are invented is hardly evidence that the spectrum of human emotions (and where we lie on it) has undergone a fundamental shift. The problem space here is complex, mysterious, and rife with opportunities to conflate the map and the territory. The authors are exploiting this confusion to sell a pre-determined narrative about social media which, while great for Vox articles and Ted talks, doesn't actually offer any new knowledge.


The assertion that "for most of human history boredom and loneliness have been the norm" is idiotic. The 19th and 20th centuries in america are not "most of human history". For the actual vast majority of human history, we were hunter-gatherers. We operated in tight social circles, and, and I'm just assuming here, we were rarely alone. I don't know how bored you would be as a hunter gatherer, either, but I suspect not terribly.


The phrase you put in quotation marks is not an actual quote from the interview, and I didn't interpret it as suggesting this.

An actual quote is: "So for most of human history, loneliness or boredom were just accepted features of the human condition."

In my view it's different to say that boredom and loneliness were accepted _when they occured_, rather than saying they were the norm, which might mean they were experienced most of the time.


I've been hunting, when I was much younger.

So I can attest the hunting part of "hunter-gatherer" can be exceedingly lonely and boring. It's mostly being very still and quiet, waiting for a prey animal to wander by.


It's mostly being very still and quiet, waiting for a prey animal to wander by.

Yep.

In his teens, my dad used to make money by killing foxes for the bounty on their head when one was raiding some farmer's chicken coop. If you could do it in one night, it was good money. The more nights it took you, the lower the de facto hourly pay.

He would lay perfectly still for several hours in the dark by himself with a cocked gun waiting for the fox, often with bugs crawling over him that he didn't swat at because that would involve moving. He usually got it the first night.


This depends on the game being hunted, and really only applies for certain big game hunting like deer. Fowl hunting is a social event, walking along with some friends and at a dog, same with rabbit hunting. I think in hunter-gatherer times it is very likely people hunted in a group in order to better corner an animal or shepherd it towards a trap.


Were you hunting like primeval man, or modern man?


> Over the course of the 19th century and 20th centuries, these older senses of vanity, of the vain futility of life, fell away. And as a result, what we see today is that when people post on social media, there’s no sense of their own limitations as humans. There’s often little modesty, or little fear that one could be going too far in self-promotion.

Apparently I was raised with outdated values, since I am pretty much always aware of the vain futility of life and the serious limitations of my humanity. I don't understand the current culture of constant self-promotion and especially the public advertising of what used to be considered moral failings.

I lived over half my life without the internet, though, so it's not hard for me to imagine a world without smartphones and the online world. I spent a lot of time in the mid-90s online, then was mostly offline for over five years, then connected again around 2003 or so. For the past few months I have been seriously considering going completely offline again, and my current work situation makes that possible except for a handful of administrative tasks that would take maybe ten minutes a week. If I completely disappear from here, I've followed through on the thought.

I think the point of TFA might be that the damage to our culture due to always being connected outweighs the benefits. It sure seems that way to me.


I think this is right. At least the lonesomeness and monotony. That's how I remember my childhood and I grew up in Alaska in a tiny fishing town in the 70s-80s (...) so that put a lot of my experiences back a bit, but the flip-over of the internet in the 90s and then, you know, phones, just changed everything. The way that extra time can be absorbed now, entirely without friction, is a step change on the pace of how a person experiences the world. Long idle times are more painful now, though they were always a little painful. That acute discomfort drives us back into "action" and we've built a world around ourselves that is one big dopamine feedback loop and . . . that's fine.

Like it's not better or worse but it's just how we live and it's extremely different than how we lived 30 years ago (and so on down the pike) and these huge step changes happen more and more often the richer and better at communicating we get. Which is totally, totally fine.

Sometimes you gotta marvel at those fast changes. Glad to see people studying/documenting this. Amazing to think how this suite of emotions will be coded in another 20 years.


Maybe. But I was already bored, lonely, angry and stupid before devices and social media were even invented.


Though not TV and the telephone. The interviewee isn't really blaming the Internet, but rather many of the trappings of modernity. The Internet and the smartphone may exacerbate it, but the overall thesis is that we've spent about a century becoming more and more connected, and more and more continually entertained.

I'm not entirely sure I buy the notion: Shakespeare describes characters who troll for entertainment(Don John, Iago), and Jane Austen's characters often grapple with boredom. Our expectations do seem to ratchet up with our technological ability to fulfill them, but I feel like it's more of a hedonic treadmill. Boredom and loneliness may be, on some scale, roughly constant.

I do believe that social media has allowed us to ratchet up the effects of the "angry" and "stupid" part, possibly to unmanageable levels.


But more or less than today?


I love the Verizon phone ads on there, "Be the first to Real Time!" They really make the point.


My experience with being online, is that: if you're in a messy online environment, you can comment or raise your voice, but it's nessesary NOT to follow your comment's responses. Our brain unfortunately accept everything that we don't want to put in our brain. And it hurts.


Bored and lonely? I blame my military deployment.


The other BLAS.


I think this article might be the final trigger to convince me to switch to a dumb phone


You’ll get lost. Many gas stations don’t have maps anymore.

And what will you do at concerts? Listen to the music?


it's a historical plateau. if you were born in 1899 you may have lived as: baby (vaccinated), child (student), farmer (subject), citizen (worker), ally (soldier), employee (consumer), retiree (investor).

if you were born in 1999 i am hard pressed to imagine over the next 100 years you will see this much of a sea-change. in the most hyper-optimistic development: baby (ivf), child (self-educated), teenager (self-starter), adult (colonist), neural map (biomachine), rebirth (clone).

far more likely you see space stagnation after a manned mars mission in the 2060s, and various forms of "new" movements arising arguing for ethics around engineered reproduction both for humans and animals to be reworked around a global utility model due to various food and water shocks, a type of one-child-world policy.

it could very well be that a dominant monarchy reappears, since empires with long lived monarchs provide at least 50 years of stability if managed correctly, and we are approaching various global inflection points in the 21st century which could cause a large and unnecessary loss of human life due to poor long term planning (family management in the developing world, too many abortions/immigration in the first world causing genetic displacement and social revolutionary movements, extreme weather events stretching global insurance/banking/money markets and the typical decline of the concept of civil liberties for an new enforced set of social civilities with fragmentary groups echoing radical ideas in secrecy - which historically leads to insurrection and civil war).

people don't really change as quickly as their technology does, so it's very dangerous to hear all thoughts without also having some type of pan-humanist framework in which to put them and try to form relative links between superficially disparate ideas. it's much easier to jump to contrast and division, and then force the issue, the radicalization of at risk youth into violent murder in public spaces is especially concerning, the school shooter phenomenon is mutating into a church shooter or a mall shooter, a park shooter, a club shooter. half a dozen coordinated shooters could shut down an entire city, at which point every city will need check points and will have to become gun free, a sort of TSA for metropolitan and then suburban areas. i wonder if at some certain point life would be safer in a prison than outside one. technology will advance towards safety and must necessarily lead to schemes with voluntary basis of total monitoring, eg food credits if you allow permanent personal surveillance. the cheesy 80s dystopia now creeping over the horizon. the hug and squeeze technique of totalitarianism, where you're crushed between abundance and fear is a model that is being exported globally and seems quite profitable and certainly preferable to war, famine and disease.




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