Sunday, January 15, 2017

A man without shame, Plato said, is a slave to desire.

And social media, the new confessional, is a magnificent shame-removal device.

In Aeon, philosopher Firmin deBrabander writes:

The approbation of the digital crowd has come to fill in for the authority of the confessor – or, to put it another way, it acts as a substitute for Socrates’ inner voice of moral conscience. People unburden themselves to their followers in the hope that their needs will be validated, their opinions affirmed, their quirks delightfully accepted. The result is a growing conformity within camps, as well as a narrowing of the shared space for understanding and dialogue between them.

Those in positions of power have always craved a mechanism with which to expose the inner beings of citizens, to reveal ‘the fragment of darkness that we each carry within us’, as Foucault described it. There are, or seem to be, rather dangerous and wild expanses within each individual. If we are to be controlled, that must be made known, and tamed. There is no better way to divide and subdue a people, and seduce them into self-regulation, than to expose their perversions but promise absolution.

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