Thursday, July 31, 2008

Now that's one way to lose those Facebook blues...

Wow, this is amazing. Ze Frank, master of The Show, Color Wars, and several other great internet art projects, has taken on a really interesting project. He assumed the identity of someone else's Facebook account. I'm not kidding, read about it here and here. It's kinda trippy and I think it's a great statement about the idea of an internet identity, how much time we put into our online persona, and the lack of freedom that results from said representation.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

No choice but to trust?

This is a somewhat heavy post. I put it here to get it out of my head.

I am by nature a healthily paranoid person. I doubt because I've been deceived in the past. This means that my world view actually factors in a bit of disbelief into its model. At times this is unhealthy; a distrust of everything eventually dissolves into total self-delusion. Therefore it is important that we do trust, but that we are very careful over what to trust.

I bring this up because of multiple recent events, of which I'll only bring up one. I usually work with a news station playing in the background (this is a good strategy for web workers to allay some feelings of loneliness that can occur from working alone at home during the day). So I was watching CNBC in the background, when a news alert came in, it was a report about a judgment in favor of Boeing. That wasn't significant, what was significant was the fact that it looped. The lady was speaking, and suddenly the "feed" started looping, repeating the same 4 words over and over. They had to cut away until they fixed "the feed". It seems obvious to me anyway that the remark was pre-taped; what bothered me about this incident was that the reporter in the pre-taping was pretending to be speaking in real-time, with a quick cut-away at the end.

This brought to mind the scene in the movie THX1138 when the lady is reading the daily news on one of the hovering televisions only to have it loop, and everyone shrug it off. For those who haven't seen the flick, TXH1138 is a dystopian (lol the spell checker doesn't like that word, dystopian) movie by George Lucas about an underground consumerist culture that prays to wealth ("work hard, increase production, prevent accidents, and, be happy" is repeated over and over in the film as some unholy mantra). The move is pretty good for eschatologists like myself, but is only so-so in popular opinion. My point is that it's really depressing to see something in a dystopian movie happen in real life, and if concentrated upon it removes trust.

Trust is an important faculty in the human psyche. Without it we dissolve into insanity. Without it we cannot enjoy and participate in society. Without it no constructive thought can flourish. Trust must be placed in one's thought, one self, and in one's environment. Therefore, when I see CNBC loop like this I simply shrug it off. Not because it makes me doubt their honesty, but because I must extend my trust in order to be healthy. Extend by corollary: the concept of KISS and the belief against conspiracies must also follow from this premise in trust. Trust allows us to progress unhindered by doubt, and when it is betrayed it causes us to pause and perform cognitive dissonance. Trust assures us that many people out there aren't colluding to betray you. It removes paranoia.

I know all of this is obvious. Keep in mind that I'm a mathematician, and as such am distrustful of jumps in logic. My point that I'm getting to is that in order to survive, we have no choice as human being but to trust others, or to risk insanity, ostrichization, and oblivion. For some reason I felt it absolutely important to prove to myself this seemingly obvious fact. And it wouldn't have happened if CNBC weren't dishonest. It's a curious world when dishonesty spawns honesty.