[NetBehaviour] last post for a while - on Facebook/Metaverse

Alan Sondheim sondheim at gmail.com
Sun Sep 25 22:18:43 CET 2022

Hi and thank you and agree with you to an extent. The problem is one of
age; I use Fb "intelligently" I think, but for many, all of these social
programs take away from real life, not add as an adjunct to it.
Increasingly people are living to an extent on all of them; that's clear
for example from Quanon and the effect Twitter. I think you would find that
older people who already have had their social landscape somewhat evolved
would behave differently in relation to these programs than those who have
grown up with them. I remember as far back as 1996 or so, I was in Fukuoka,
and watched a friend teach an English/Japanese class, and most of the
students were on early cellphones even then. On the other side of things,
cybercriminals are wreaking havoc on institutions at this point; even
drones are under attack. Finally, the issue is coming from above - "Meta"
is fundamentally different from "Facebook" - and the changes are
troublesome, reflected as well in magazines like Wired. It's what I wrote
about re: "testimony" and "textamony" - thinking of the former as, for
example, the memoirs of holocaust survivors and the latter, generating
false memoirs, false testimonials, etc. We're already seeing the spread of
false news -
Best, Alan, and thank you again -

On Sun, Sep 25, 2022 at 9:05 AM Edward Picot <edward at edwardpicot.com> wrote:

> Alan,
> Yes, I agree - but on the other hand I also think that a lot of people
> use social media in a much more grounded way. On Instagram I'm in touch
> with a lot of small-scale makers who live in the same area as me. They
> post notifications to each other about new work that they've made
> available on Etsy, or when they're going to be running a stall at an
> arts and crafts fair somewhere. It's just a part of how they carry on
> their business and get the word out there about what they're doingThen
> there's Maria, who works at the surgery where I work, and she's got
> three kids at different schools in the area. She has to drive several
> miles to work down country lanes every morning: if there's been an
> accident on one of the country lanes which is blocking the traffic,
> somebody will have posted a note about it on the local Facebook page or
> on one of her WhatsApp groups before she sets out, and she drives round
> a different way. If the bus doesn't come to pick up one of her kids and
> take them to school, she'll know all about that in advance in the same
> way. So, I do worry about social media and its impact on our lives and
> our view of reality, but I also think a lot of people just incorporate
> it and repurpose it as part of their everyday lives, in a way which
> perhaps does help to prevent it from divorcing them from reality and
> dragging them into the metaverse.
> Is the real problem that people are being fed false narratives about
> what's going on in the world by social media, advertising, media in
> general, and those narratives are preventing them from engaging with
> issues of deprivation, social injustice, climate change etc. - or is it
> that people are simply mostly too busy with their own individual
> struggles to lift up their eyes and see what's going on around them on a
> larger scale - or is it that they can see the problems, but they're
> powerless to do anything about them? Maybe all of those in combination.
> Edward
> On 9/24/22 4:26 PM, Alan Sondheim via NetBehaviour wrote:
> >
> >
> > */Taking a break from posting on Netbehaviour, I miss other
> > voices. But I did want to send this out, from a few days ago,
> > thinking about the fast-forward transformations of social
> > media. And apologies for previous posting too much. - Alan/*
> >
> > ___
> >
> >
> > As if I were speaking extemporaneous at a conference, not
> > knowing anything about anything, but thinking important things.
> >
> > http://www.alansondheim.org/speaking.jpg
> >
> > Surfaces: Metaverse / Facebook / Youtube / TikTok / Twitter
> > I'd like to begin by considering the change of Facebook to Meta
> > with the implication of metaverse . Facebook originally got its
> > title from the fact that it was a Facebook that it was almost
> > like a yearbook for students . The face of a student would be
> > reproduced and there would be commentary and there would be
> > interconnections between that student and another student and a
> > scan of students and a community and a scan of community . Face
> > and book are both material objects . They exist in the real
> > world they are subject to decay and destruction. They come
> > together with the idea that one is an open book . The face is
> > there to be red and the book is there to be carried about as an
> > object as a friend. They interact . This is important because it
> > ties the virtual to the real in a very materialized way. By the
> > time you reach meta or metaverse , you're in a different world .
> > You're in the world which is sutured from the outside world a
> > world which is made of pixels or other uniform grids . The
> > implication is that you can live in a metaverse. Metaphors of
> > metaverse is defined as a totality which is external to the grit
> > and dirt of the real world. You know where this is going already
> > . The division between to clean and proper body which is the
> > body of fascism the body of totality and totalization and the
> > body of dirt the body of gristle and bone is enormous. United
> > States life span it's going down . Arable land is going down .
> > Climate change is far more brutal than it was ever expected to
> > be . Larger cities are getting tent cities within them some
> > cities underground cities cities on the margins even within the
> > city of people who are homeless people who are sick people who
> > have access to little education people who are absented from
> > education in other words . Every spaceship launched into outer
> > space carrying millionaires or billionaires is already producing
> > an encapsulated world and we all know this, a world which is
> > sterile in relationship to the grid below. We are talking about
> > escaping to Mars because we want to live the violence and pain
> > behind. We will bring the violence and pain with us. This is one
> > of the oldest tropes in science fiction. The flesh can't escape
> > the flesh . But Facebook is moving away from the real face and
> > the real book just as YouTube is no longer about you but more
> > about the tube . And you know where this is going I notice that
> > the talk about the network society is increasingly headed
> > towards abstraction and using almost the same language the
> > neoliberalism or corporations do I know this that corporations
> > are now attacking the individual bodies of their employees at
> > the lower levels by posting ads In which the enemy is the union.
> > You know where this is going. This is a very real crisis because
> > on one hand for example we worry and become upset about the work
> > with the war in Ukraine but on the other we get excited about
> > the possibilities of living in the Meadow in the metaverse . We
> > use blockchain instead of filthy money. We talk about inter-
> > continent interconnectivity and the opening of the world and all
> > the data in the world to all of us. But that isn't true and that
> > has never been true. The number of people the amount of people
> > we have left behind is almost inconceivable. The amount of drugs
> > in the United States and elsewhere, in particular fentanyl in
> > the opiates is inconceivable. What it's doing to whole
> > populations of people who have no way otherwise of being in the
> > world and are vulnerable to these things is inconceivable.
> > Starvation and bad health care are inconceivable but they're
> > found in every country in the world at this point. People are
> > turning towards what might be called magical thinking, not
> > because they're ignorant, but because they've been marginalized
> > all along . Magical thinking connects the grit with the network,
> > the face/book with the meta/verse. It revolutionizes that . It
> > gives power to that. It's a lottery. The metaverse on the other
> > hand is junk . It solves nothing . Yes , it can be used in
> > robotics for the handling of medical and dangerous materials.
> > Yes, all those things . But those things depend on connectivity
> > with the "idiotic real" to use a phrase . The idiotic real is
> > the world we live in where magical thinking falls flat unless
> > it's carried by the barrel of a gun or cyberwarfare . They can
> > do anything. The wealthy build their islands , own their islands
> > and their compounds , associate with the wealthy . We all know
> > all of this. This is the worst thing about what I'm writing ,
> > that we all know this we all know all of this. And we are
> > powerless to do anything about it we working in Crete. We work
> > in increasingly abstracted modalities . We are borrowing from
> > the same neoliberalist concepts in the world that the
> > industrialists use. And we realize even then that we're doing
> > nothing but a kind imitation of power that itself is power. Our
> > universities may be brilliant and are doing brilliant things but
> > at the same time when you live downtown in the city and you see
> > the homeless here and you see people who are dying of drugs on
> > the street and this is happening in front of you day in and day
> > out the world appears very different. And I wanna mention the
> > drugs just for a second because the fentanyl is getting worse a
> > report yesterday showed that some of the newer drugs are being
> > disguised as candy for children particularly as M&Ms and as
> > chiclets things of those shapes . There has to be action with
> > sub action. There has to be action on the ground as well as
> > within the networks. By that I don't mean network displays.
> > There are enough beautiful displays within and without virtual
> > worlds to last a lifetime. There's not enough food on the
> > ground. There's not enough awareness that things have to be
> > acting and acted upon on the ground in the ground among our
> > neighbors among our friends. This isn't as much fun as thinking
> > about the metaverse and it's quote possibilities UN quote . But
> > it's a hell of a lot more immediate. It has to be done now . It
> > has to be done by people putting down their cellphones which
> > they won't do of course and looking around them . And this has
> > to be on a large scale not the kind of small movements that are
> > being written about in small bits talking about how the world
> > can be made better period the world can't be made better until
> > we abandon the metaverse and everything it stands for and turned
> > more towards the face and the book. Towards slow slow knowledge
> > . Towards knowledge that has to be absorbed on the ground with
> > physicality in relationship to computation and networks . The
> > physicality disappears in the metaverse. The latest developments
> > are smaller pixels so when you're wearing your may I ask you
> > will not be able to tell whether you are in the real world or
> > the artificial world. Delusion Guattari would have had a lot to
> > say about that. Everything I'm saying here again is so trite as
> > to be ridiculous . A 5 year old could take this apart. But
> > that's not the point . The point is is that if we keep going in
> > the direction that we are we're going to increase abandoning our
> > schools and abandoning our medical systems heading more and more
> > towards shorter life spans and more and more to local wars and
> > local diseases and healthcare emergencies around the world.
> > That's just a fact that's a fact that's been known since the
> > 1960s . That's just a fact that's all it is. Sorry this isn't
> > more academic. But the Academy itself is increasingly siloed and
> > increasingly developed its own internal way of speaking its own
> > conferences its own colloquia it's own networks it's on meetings
> > it's own conferences . Moving farther and farther away from the
> > people who at one point it might have served. Though perhaps it
> > never served them in the first place. In any case reading and
> > writing skills are going down around the world. Not out the
> > window perhaps, but down below, elsewhere than where our minds
> > are taking us . All of this btw isn't luddite, far from it; it's
> > the opposite. It's towards the dirty and improper body , the
> > inverse re: Kristeva. It's towards breaking down the walls of
> > legislation against minorities, women, sexualities, the poor -
> > anyone pushed to the side by the false meritocracy of wealth,
> > power, family. Again, None of this is new . I just have to keep
> > repeating that. It almost sounds like the old Marxist routines.
> > But it's not that . It's a way we have all been subsumed under
> > the sign of networks. As if we can't think without them . As if
> > they grant us an inconceivable power of being able to interact
> > with people worldwide. With other planets, galaxies, species. As
> > if power were no longer around the corner, but is now within us.
> > It's a seduction and somewhat insidious - something's that's of
> > course been claimed with every new innovation in the world. But
> > this seduction is everywhere and everywhen , from the ease of
> > looking up ancestors to ignoring the increasing pain in the
> > world . So what is to be done? I honestly don't know. I don't
> > expect anyone anywhere to suddenly turn around and abandon
> > electronics or networking or anything else that the digital
> > revolution has brought us . So it's not a question of that at
> > all. That's a given . That's the world we live in. The problem
> > is what are we going to do about the fact that the world is
> > increasingly unable to sustain us. If it can't sustain the poor
> > if it can't sustain the sick and the elderly if it can't sustain
> > the other it can't sustain us. And I have no answer whatsoever
> > for this . I spoke that almost breathlessly because it's the
> > truth I have almost I have no answer for this . But we need to
> > be aware of these things and we're out in the street when we're
> > wearing our goggles when we're voting when we're passing tent
> > cities When we're wondering why there's so much crime when we're
> > wondering why there's so much agony when we're wondering why
> > there's so much violence in this street when we're wondering why
> > we can't breathe the air anymore because of fires all around us
> > and we can't drink the water because it's contaminated and we
> > can only look on with envy at people who are escaping to islands
> > that they owned in the ocean which one do you think get flooded
> > . The rest of us are going to be underwater for a long time. The
> > rest of us are going to be underwater forever . Here's a motto :
> > I said there are no beautiful people or all of us are beautiful
> > people . And we have to act on that. And at this point it's
> > probably useless. Which is why I woke early this morning at 5
> > after going to bed And thinking this is the way the world is:
> > it's no longer a face and a book - it's a Meta .
> >
> >
> > ___
> >
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