Some interesting thoughts on Facebook here.
On the author’s initial rush upon encountering the site for the first time and setting up a profile:
Through Facebook, I had what one might call in Lacanian terms a late-onset mirror stage. As my own spin-doctor and publicist as well as the single most important consumer of the brand I was trying to launch, I bought into myself. Early—around 2005 or 2006—I had some of my greatest victories: photos of myself that became instant classics in my own mind, personal mythologies; both the principle source and the principle engine of a precarious glamour that existed nowhere offline.
And eventual disillusionment:
The novel is concave; it allows you to spy on the interior realities of fictional people. Facebook is convex; it allows you to spy on the exterior fictions of real people. The opposition, far from complementary, implies a crisis of the human heart. A reward for looking into the depths, the novel is a catalyst for empathy. A punishment for seeing only the surface, Facebook is a catalyst for envy, and therein lies its inevitable moral exhaustion.
“I have never felt, consulting the I Ching, that it was “wrong” in the state it gave me; not because there is God or fate in divination (I believe the coin process to be an expression of randomness), but because it’s probably true that if there are 64 states or basic ways things can be, then at the deepest level of truth, all of these states are probably occurring at once.”Sheila Heti, introducing the I Ching she wrote as part of the previously mentioned Where You Are project.
On the screen, all the richness of human codes is available: knowledge, communication, all the furious chaos of one’s social life can be compressed and sent to hand.
But a flatness prevails. There is no sense of decay, of time passing, of Treat Ave following a curve that turns out to be the spine of old Mission Creek. At any point in the physical world, there is infinity in all directions, a grid that is not just spatial but temporal.
Really enjoyed this piece by Alexis Madrigal on San Francisco’s history and its present, as seen through the lens of buildings and physical spaces.