When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you

Friedrich Nietzsche

We live in a time of cancerous technology growth which threatens to leave nothing untouched by its metastatic tendrils. Yet, even as the world overflows with devices numberless devices whose conception was impossible only a decade earlier, our lives have not become comparably filled by a similar abundance of meaning. If anything, they are becoming more empty. Depression has become 10 to 20 times more common in the past 50 years, and antidepressant use has skyrocketed by 400% in the past 20 years. But, I’m not here to bash on technology (maybe another day.)

Instead, I’m more curious about what our technology says *about us*. If we stare into this technological void that we have created, what do we see reflected back at us?

Before leaving school, I had seen videos of horses raping women, videos of people beating homeless men, and received rape threats from people who found various online personas of mine. How could my parents ever prepared  me for such a world? The one they grew up in was nothing like that. I’d seen images of women who stuck beer bottles up their vaginas and getting DPed before I’d had my first kiss. The world was a desperate, angry, horny, vindictive place and I knew no better. I never judged it, or questioned it because I was too young. This is just how people were, and I accepted it.

But, I don’t think this is how people have always seen each other. If I had a read on the generation slightly older than me, the ones who were just old enough not to internalize the “normal-ness” of these internet shenanigans, I think what they feel is a level of resigned disappointment. Their interpretation is something like “the worst people come out on the internet.” My interpretation is closer to, “the internet allows us to show a part of ourselves we keep hidden in the daylight.”

What does it say about us though? That, as soon as we had a platform for major anonymous expression, porn, and blood, and shit, and violence came spewing out in all directions?

You know the cliche about the serial killers? “He seemed so normal, so nice and polite – I would never have guessed?” Well, isn’t that how we all turned out to be?

 

 

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