More Lanier

You, you, you, have the affirmative responsibility to invent and demonstrate new ways to live without the crap that is destroying society. Quitting is the only way, for now, to learn what can replace our grand mistake.

I recently read Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier.

It’s a brilliant book and not your typical “abandon social media” tirade. It is filled with unique insight from someone who really understands Silicon Valley and is in fact still a part of it.

I like how he has not abandoned the Internet wholesale and instead urges the social media giants to reform their dark and creepy business plans, encouraging us to delete our accounts at least until it is fixed.

Check it out if you want to. In the meantime, the quotations in this post are the ones I marked in my copy of the book. They make wider Escapological points beyond discussion of the Internet.

This:

What if listening to an inner voice or heeding a passion for ethics or beauty were to lead to more important work in the long term, even if it measured as less successful in the moment? What if deeply reaching a small number of people matters more than reaching everybody with nothing.

and this:

Your character is the most important thing about you. Don’t let it degrade.

and this:

You must solve problems on the basis of evidence you gather on your own, instead of by paying attention to group perception. You take on the qualities of a scientist or an artist. When you’re in a pack, social status and intrigues become more immediate than the larger reality. You become more like an operator, a politician, or a slave.

About

Robert Wringham is a humorist and the editor-in-chief of New Escapologist.

3 Responses to “More Lanier”

  1. Richard says:

    Hi Robert. The first quote in particular resonates with me. I long to immerse myself in a proper, in-depth project, but instead always seem to end up tossing around on Twitter etc., where the instant rewards (‘likes’ and so on) seem to be rewiring my brain so that I can’t face the prospect of working on something for a significant period of time without gaining internet peer approval!

  2. Richard says:

    The first of your three ‘marked’ quotations, that is…

  3. Yeah, that’s it. Addiction pure and simple. It’s a shitty problem to have. I suppose we’d be doing *something* in the gaps since it’s natural to want to procrastinate a little and to fiddle with something while unconsciously working on the real project, but this activity can be deadly when you get onto a cycle of rolling between Twitter and Facebook and Insta and whatever else. Plus, I think just staring out of the window is more useful to the brain. Even Tetris or something would be better because then you’d be good at Tetris. Plus, y’know, it’d be good to procrastinate a bit less, get the job done, and then hit the couch for DEEP idling. Richard, they’ve monetised our faffing!

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