Existentialism in the Age of #SocialMedia

existentialism

Existentialism as street art – Graphic by Montag

It was the summer of 2014. The online community was in the middle of the twitterstorm that had been raging since the Ferguson riots. I was enjoying beautiful vacation time in the south of France — waking late, drinking far too much of the produits du terroir, and generally having lovely times in the warm Languedocien sunshine.

Despite the noise and fury that had previously emanated from my @iammontag Twitter account about the amount of time that people spend online (and my short-lived #offline campaign), one of the first items on my vacation to-pack list is always my laptop. So when Ferguson kicked off I was able to keep up with the developments on the internet.

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News – huh! – What is it Good For? (Say it again)

parliament mono

Houses of Parliament from Westminster Bridge – Photo by Montag

Have you ever seen the once-familiar in a whole new light? Looked really hard at something (or someone) previously taken for granted, and regarded it/them completely differently?

It happened to me once at junior school. I remember staring at one of my then friends. It was strange. It was like I was doing so for the very first time. A train of thought alighted upon me: Who is this person? Why am I hanging around with him? Why is he my friend? I stopped being so chummy with the lad shortly after that. It wasn’t that he’d done anything wrong. It’s just that awakenings can do that to you.

I had a similar episode regarding the concept of broadcast news a while ago.

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Anti-Quantic

Connected (mono)

Outdoor Art at YSP – Photo by Montag

The information age.

A new industrial revolution powered by silicon electronic technology, binary arithmetic and computer science.

I’m one of the worker bees of this epoch. You’ll find me buried deep within the hierarchy of corporations composing symphonia of code on the plastic piano, or perhaps helping those already dependent on technology to cope when a malfunction occurs.

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Social Fiction

So here we are.

The future.

Featured Image -- 2322014 is certainly in the realms of that which in the nineteen-sixties and seventies we used to designate as “the future”. We’ve long passed Arthur C. Clarke’s milestone of 2001 (nothing remotely HAL-like existed then), and all except the last date point in Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles are already in the past (the date yet to come is the title of the final chapter in the Bradbury novel, April 2026).

We now exist in that tomorrow we used to eagerly read about as children. It’s extremely interesting therefore to revisit Isaac Asimov’s predictions for 2014 made in 1964: flying cars, robots, videophones, enforced leisure.

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