This is a short blog but if you only have 3mins listen to the below track I collaborated* with Chilly Gonzalez and Jarvis Cocker and you’ll get an overview. (*technically just stripped the vocals and put lyrics over it 😜 the original is much better and can be found here)
It’s funny how the same old stories come back around. History repeats itself. The circle of life persists. The cyclical nature of generation following generation.
If this is the full picture then it is enough to send you into a spiral of depression. Relentless determinism. Groundhog day. Month. Year. Helpless dogs no longer trying to escape (Seligman). Eat. Work. Sleep. Repeat.
Social media regurgitates agenda. We see the same old stories, arguments and conversations trawling on our timelines or feeds. We hear the same old blogs “be more human. be less robot…… blah blah blah“.
We could split into camps. Binaries. We pick a side. Nature:nurture. Gene:environment. Mind:body. Science:humanities. Quality:quantity. This one:that one. But what if dualisms are part of the problem. Historically dualisms have got us in to some bother. If history is cyclical or at least show patterns then we would be wise to study it!
Now dualisms obviously serve a purpose. They are not so inherently ridiculous to be simply dismissed. The very fact they exist testifies to this. They provide a framework of reference to debate. They show alternatives. They are attractive particularly to the objectivist. The person who believes a perfect reality can be described if you get things just right (this then can theoretically just be explained to anyone (with ‘sense’!). It gives you somewhere to hang your hat (coat, scarf or lederhosen). This brings community, allies (as well as enemies), something to stand for and often a feeling of making sense (bringing peace of mind/person). Something many good philosophers and scientists struggle with.
The answer is not trio-ism or quad-ism. Adding more tribes only increases the size of the war. No doubt there is time to go over old ground or to have fight. We all live in the benefit of movements that have fought (whether violent or not) such as the Suffragettes, anit-apartheid or Civil Rights Movements. Pluralism however often negates tribalism. At least in theory it transcends tribalism. It looks to make sense of a conglomeration of views. Reasoning that complexity is best used viewed from a variety rather than a singular point. The tonic to singularity.
Part of the problem with dualisms is the assumption that complexity can be viewed as 2d axis. They tend to form camps. Which form strong social bonds. The outworking of this on social media is the creation of echo chambers. Consistent messages appear from both camps. Particularly on Twitter the nuance is lost in 140 characters. It can begin to become flippant or glib. It can get hostile. People generally either join in or switch off and declare the downsides of social media (I’m guilty of both!).
So what can I do? There is a sense in which I must take some responsibility for this. It is partly my fault if I’m hearing the same messages, arguments. Maybe its time to listen to new voices. To collaborate not with those from my own camps but those from other disciplines with different perspectives. Maybe we should be pro-active in following new people and having new conversations. Instead of just following the people who follow me (which in essence means the people drawn to my views!). This may mean breaking the Twitter power ratings (followers:following ratio). It may make me more socially prized but it may also stunt new conversations and increase my echo chamber.
So my challenge over the coming months is to tease out new conversations, voices and experiences. Join me!
Be more human. Be less robot.
Thanks for reading this far.