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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Necessary Distinctions I: Self-Knowledge Vs. Self-Reflection


Perhaps its because I am of a generation that was raised on the romance of science! that I have such a violent reaction to the techno-fantasists of today. No, not perhaps... of course, that is it.

I cannot express the amount of loathing that rolled through my being as I watched this Lifeblogging documentary.

May I also note the sweet irony that it is those who gaze into the mirror of narcissism who are the least able to see themselves. The lack of self-awareness of these people in their own pettiness staggers me.

Knowing oneself in the moment, and immersing oneself in one's past manifestations are two entirely different things, for God's sake*. While I appreciate the walk down memory lane as much as the next person (indeed, as I grow older, I drift more and more into nostalgia and recall of days gone by), I am not foolish enough to think that there is any lesson to be learned by doing so - certainly not any opportunity for self-actualization!

Which is the opposite impression that one gets from watching the bright and bright-eyed, excited technocratic "pioneers" in the video. They really seem to think that they are on to something exciting. They don't have the self-awareness to see that they are taking narcissism to a whole new level - and that is being generous - disappearing up the rabbit-hole of their own assholes in a Borg-ian fantasy that debases the whole idea of being human.

Lest you think I am over-reacting to this:
You're giving people a chance to do create meaning for themselves, and that is hugely empowering. Like, you know, that's world changing.
No, no you're not.

One maniac - and I use that word in the medical sense, because this video is thematically maniacal - invites us to imagine what it might be like to be able to recall any moment of our lives.

Uh... why don't you just ask Marilu Henner? I suppose she's attained the singularity.

The morbid and vulgar reduction of a human life to data is shamelessly portrayed in one segment that should be particularly more poignant than it is. You'll know it when you see it.

Oh, and the founder of one of these ventures characterizes the first and second oldest questions in history: "Why am I here?" and "How am I doing?" I've got some news for this philosopher: "I" is a construct of thought, so without doing any research I can say that a few things surely passed through the mind before those concerns about the self were conceived.

Good God*.

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*God is, of course, always a metaphor.

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