The Loathsome Presence of an Unmutual

Prison Watch Tower

After a period of consideration, I recently shut down my account on Facebook. I’ve been experiencing a growing sense of unease over social media, especially since I started reading Jacob Silverman’s Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection. My spouse recommended it to me after she’d read it and subsequently abandoned most social media platforms. It outlines (very persuasively) how the design and functionality of social media platforms exploit some bad tendencies we have as human beings, as well as making us collectively complicit in creating a surveillance state of our society. Our personal data is collected and profited from with little-to-no compensation made to the user. While I’d been cooling to Facebook for the past year, this put the final nail into its online coffin.

But this strikes me as just one detail in a larger picture. Facebook seems to be just one instance of a broader trend in society. Collectively, all of these trends speak to some horrible direction we’re travelling in more and more these days — a nauseating drift in the course of our society towards an inhumane and (for many) inhospitable horizon.

To this end, I’ve accumulated here some readings that address these developments or connect with them in some way. Disquieting educations, all.

I don’t pretend to have a unifying theory that connects all of these readings together. But I present them all here as the beginnings of an attempt to coalesce them into a coherent understanding of what’s going on and going wrong with things. With luck, I’ll be able to report back later with more insight into my concerns.

Image: By Paul Keller [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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