-“Doctor…Even though I’m usually alone, I feel they’re watching me at all times.”
Sarah X. is a single young lady, working as a secretary in a car dealership. I recently came across her when I went for breakfast at my quarter’s cafeteria. Waiting for her wrap order, she was maniacally watching her phone screen and typing texts, one after the other, giving me just a perfunctory glimpse.
She was surely suffering the consequences of the trolling toll of Technology. During my half an hour stay at the counter, seated right next to her, she only raised her head away from the screen twice and only for just a few seconds. She was in fact enabling the constant observation of all her moves at a distance by total strangers. The Web watches.
Bernard Harcourt affirms that the civic damage inflicted on citizens’ privacy by the worldwide spy agencies and private corporations is quite substantial. It is being fed by the never-ending online posting of updates about ourselves and everything we do or feel.
“We are not being surveilled today,” he wrote, “so much as we are exposing ourselves knowingly, for many of us with all our love, for others anxiously.”
He described a completely new kind of human conscience that is constantly seeking, through its exposed “virtual self” in the social media, a mendacious and ephemeral sense of social approval and celebrity status. The time-consuming updates of our desires and passions have tragically enslaved us.
Wendy Hui Kyong Chun exposes the reactionary character of digital input: using a screen rather than printed matter gives prominence to the keywords. Our attention jumps from one keyword to the other, confirming our previous associations with the critical words in our conscious and unconscious mind. As we do not read arguments, we get confirmation of what we already know.
By accessing the Internet we obtain an incredible trove of useful information about myriad people, things and events at the click of the mouse. But we also relinquish to the “crowd out there” our personal judgement about them as we are being progressively, subliminally influenced by the so-called “social consensus”, which can be wrong (and often is).
What do you think? Please tell us.
Don’t leave me alone.