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Re: The Disappearence of Sincere Conversations

2022-w19-7

The Disappearance of Sincere Conversations

Hey, I liked this text since those are topics I've meditating about lately. I wrote a few points on what it made me think.

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How many times do you have a truthful, deep conversation with someone? Probably not that often. I've been observing all around me, how people don't have common interests anymore, and instead resort to small talk about (anti)social media, and general consumerist behaviour, for example, clothes and smartphones. You could call them similar passions, but they're more destructive passions, if they can be named passions.

I've had similar thoughts, I mean, the immediate of 'social' media, designed for engagement has a lot of problems.

It's harder to find non-digital passions (maybe we are lazy?). So we have little impact in the physical world, and we are moving into virtual reality realms, like sharing ideas in a forum, in a chat, but not that much in the tangible world.

I don't say everything has to be physical. Remote work, and virtual gatherings are cool, but doesn't feel the same IMO. And perhaps we need a better balance between the physical and virtual worlds.

And as we are living in virtual communities, we don't feel them as real as traditional ones, perhaps that is a reason for degradation of real unity and friendships.

People are being increasingly alienated from their peers, resulting in ephemeral friendships, a degradation in the unity of communities, youth not caring about their parents, and the list can go on. The technological advancements have brought good and bad, but are the overwhelming majority of the advantages working for us or against us?

Alienation, comes not only from technology usage, but from everything related to our life style. If we cannot see the result of our work, we can't see the faces of people we are helping, it becomes so abstract our mind feels something is missing. And that's a problem as everything is being digitalized and systematized.

How did we get here?

One could argue things have been always like that. To a degree, I agree, though from what I see, especially with the pandemic, things have gone grossly bad. [...]

I don't know, I was born in the 80's so I can't talk about what happened before, rather than what older friends and parents told us.

That said, the lifestyle is always being broken by innovations, cheapest ways. I think travelling abroad was 'impossible' for a middle-class citizen 50 years ago, now it's kind of common. Talking in English with random people from the world was kind of unthinkable. Now you are doing it.

When things become easier, they are less appreciated, I have seen.

And then they come the greedy technological companies, fighting against the opposite. 'Everything has to be for profit', 'Everything has to be open and free'. I don't want to take a side, both parts have something I like. And I think being in the middle is kind of healthy.

Learning to make a profit as a living is good to have a sense of purpose, and also is giving away things for free. The right mix between both should give us a better world. Being radical is 'the root of all evil', but we as humans like to take sides for a sense of belonging.

We got here by excessive materialism and consumerism that have ruined human relationships. People now associate or discriminate groups based on what shoes they've got, smartphones, glasses, followers etc., and not look at underlying values. In turn, this produces a sterile, deindividualized society, in which the upmost goal is earning money to spend it on commodities.

I can't agree more. I'm thinking against materialism (describing in terms of physics the whole function of a human being) and consumerism (social and economic order that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts). Basically telling that our purpose is to buy and own things.

As usual stories, a few years ago I wasn't able to own many things. Later I had money, I had physical stuff and that wasn't the answer. What now?

Youth's dependence on social media has made generations Z and X, the most affected by this, to not talk to each other in person anymore, a sight we've all witnessed, how people are next to each other and IMs to message each other. Every product is catered towards making people more separated from each other, latest addition to the stock being the Metaverse.

I can't tell that only X, Y and Z generations are the only affected. I see my grandma only by a videocall or dry messages since she was widowed, her children don't want to visit her. It's sad.

I'm writing this text, spreading it to the world, looking for like minds, and I don't know what's gonna happen with it. It's sad too.

Since the first smartphones appeared, we changed our lifestyle drastically overnight, didn't even realize it. The internet became fully a monopoly made to capitalise and extract money from our minds. We're not prepared to deal with such a thing, we can only try and prevent, and eventually stop it, by reducing our dependence on proprietary services that work against us and instigate our peers to violence through the so-called news, they make people mutilate themselves for beauty standards, just to be accepted into a niche group.

I agree with this point. A smartphone is something marvelous, 5G, WiFi, GPS, Flash memory, small cameras, and touch screens. It's an all-in-one device that replaced everything else. We cannot live without it. It's strongly connected with our identity, our hierarchy of needs. All that for only a hundred bucks (something like a month of salary, not years).

And obviously when there is attention, the money comes, it's a part of the operation for profit (and that's not capitalism, BTW, that is about means of production).

Power looks to create monopolies, closed systems, privative data centres, and so. Yes, that's not in our best interests, but have been designed to be easy to get it, hard to get out.

We must fight for technological education, and teach people how they don't use technology, but technology uses them. The educational system has sold out to corporations, almost all universities have contracts with Microsoft.

I think 'fight' is a right word, but I don't know if people are willing to fight. For instance in my country mobile phone companies give Meta and most social media services for free. Using everything else costs money. That's not right, we are promoting using biased services. But how are people going to fight if the 'free' alternative is extremely convenient?

Another reason people get into so many vices nowadays, aside from the continuous alienation from our environment, is the fact that they want to be accepted into a group, they're desperate for it, due to not having any true connections. This can be seen with vaping in teenagers, social media, and other various distractions of the 21st century.

Well, this is key. People want, need, to be accepted into a group. And if we don't have groups (like it's happening to me when I changed cities) and there are accessible communities in the digital world, like Smol net in this case, well, it's easy to feel the belonging even if it's with random people we don't care that much. Or maybe we can meet our spouse there, or our lifelong friends.

Nonetheless, it's a worrying aspect that, I believe, we can all agree on. People need to re-learn to talk to each other, without any technological interference.

Agreed!

The goal

If we, as people, are not united, we cannot act towards opressors or bring change, which is exactly what is wanted right now. We must be more resillient towards such petty distractions, outright refusing them. A fix is to find common goals and passions between people, not ephemeral objects, social media and such, but having actual connections like before all of this.

Well, maybe we all know the phrase "[...] the dream of the oppressed is to become the oppressor - Paulo Freire".

It's kind of easy to think, "If I don't like the oppressing systems, I can create my own system", and later when your new system involves money (since everything costs money) and power (since social relationships create power), you are facing an interesting dilemma. I don't want to complain only. It's an interesting paradox for people who work on technology. Do you want to be the next oppressor?

I agree on having common goals and passions, and reducing our attachment to objects, being digital or physical.

We're plunging head first into an isolation and destruction of human relationships, perhaps like we've never experienced before and it must be stopped, with determination towards our core values and life altogether as a community. It can be stopped if we act. Stop promoting social media, which actually makes people not talk to each other, stop promoting consumerism and materialism. Promote free and open source software, and promote education showing the dangers of the current WWW.

I mostly agree, I can't think having everything free and open is a panacea, but it's definitely a tool for a better future.

I know we need a common enemy (corporations, capitalism, governments, centralization, greedy people). I know it, I've been there.

I think we need to reduce extremism and generate communities, yes, of productive people, but also with grateful hobbies, helping people outside our inner circle, and trying to give opportunities to all our close people.

EOT

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