Tuesday, March 25, 2014

* The Global Digital High School Hallway: Conspicuous Comparison

In a fascinating  little piece in today' s NY Times (link above) on the increasing suicide rate in the world, Professor T.M. Luhrman reflects on the impact of social media's Conspicuous Comparison on the human mind.

The digital highway has turned the entire world into a kind of  high school hallway in which millions if not billions of people are urgently aware of how they "look" to others, only in this case "others" aren't the 200 people in your high school hallway, but the 2 billion people in your digital Facebook or Twitter hallway.

The result is predictable:  Depression.

What Willy Loman taught us in Death of a Salesman is the futility of trying to be Number One in a country of hundreds of millions of people, since only one person can be Number One.

Conspicuous Comparison is the empty ritual of  the new consumerized consciousness which is spreading across the world like Dutch Elm Disease, thanks to digitized travel.


Paul D. Keane
M.A, M.Div., M.Ed.

T. M. Luhrmann, a contributing opinion writer, is a professor of anthropology at Stanford and the author of “When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship With God.”

No comments: