Many generations ago, long before Blackberries and Starbucks, there was a time when we could only interact with other people while they were still alive.
Things now are not so simple.
First, writing was invented; then television, and now the web.
The whole environment has changed, but our brains have not. We are still made for jungles and savannahs but we interact more with iPhones and computer screens than anything else.Â Surely, this has had an impact.
A long time ago, the only things we interacted with that we couldn’t see were ghosts and gods. Now, we interact with more invisible people than we ever have. What happens as a result of this is indescribably complex and will likely take generations to truly understand.Â Marshall McLuhan figured a bit of it out, but media keeps changing, so it’ll take much more than that.
But there’s something else. This is the first generation when most of us have interacted so much with our own media. We used to think of Dan Rather as exemplifying trust. We believed in his story, had faith in his myth. But now it’s ourselves we’re seeing on a screen. What happens then?
I know that when I interact with a blogger or a celebrity of any kind, I am interacting with a blurry, half-constructed version of a person, with only what I’ve read or seen to base the interactions on. I engage with the construct instead of the person, and only later discover who the real person is. I know people do this with me too– I can see it by the emails I receive.
My question is this: are we starting to believe our own myths? Is producing, and watching our own media leading us to believe the images we create? I don’t know the answer, but I do have a feeling about it.
Comments on blogs lead us to interact with people who believe in our myth.
We get calls from media talking to us as though we are experts instead of people.
This was rare before. Now it happens to more of us than ever.
What happens now? I don’t know, but I believe that what we need more than ever is to see through our own bullshit, as well as everyone else’s.
School will not teach us this. Our government will not tell us either. It is up to us.
We need to build a resource that will show us what our own lies really are.