This is an age of stagnation. Of broken dreams and thwarted expectations. What is stagnating is not just “the economy” — but us. Our possibilities and potential, the lives that we should be living. That is what is creating a great cycle of violence. Stagnation is abuse. And we are its victims. We have been cheated not just of our savings, retirements, jobs, social contracts — but of what all those free us to be: ourselves. But we are also, in our anger and despair, its enforcers. Endlessly, at least on the social web, picking on, bullying, squabbling with, decrying, outraged at, one another…for nothing that means anything at all. The abused become the abusers.
Why Twitter’s Dying (And What You Can Learn From It)
umair haque
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Umair, your thought about why twitter is being abandoned is 90% on target to me, and the remaining 10% that isn’t captured here (in my opinion) is the context that Twitter and all the other social platforms exist in, that is perhaps the source of the abuse — a culture which has wrapped itself around economic activity and transactions as it’s core values and priorities become meaningless because economic transactions in of themselves don’t create or have meaning. The price of an object or a service or an event does not encapsulate how good or bad it is, and the buying or selling of it isn’t what’s important, it’s the experience or service or product itself! We’re so busy quantifying the economic value of things and orienting ourselves around that perspective of acquiring ‘More and More Valuable Things’ that we’ve lose sight entirely on the collective fictitious nature of money, and get lost in the Game Of Finance trying to get a high score and sit on the throne, and it’s killing actual value and quality of life in society.

In essence, western ‘consumer’ culture has not prompted us to ask what kind of life is worth living, what kinds of issues are worth fighting for, or what kinds of sacrifices we are willing to make in the pursuit of excellence of character. Instead we are only prompted to want and buy things and services, and we’re told those will make us happy — but will they make us better people?.

Sure there are movements about moral issues that occur, but the systemic structures and the overarching zeitgeist have been gutted of traditional moral frameworks and priorities, which haven’t been replaced with any cohesive reverence for qualities of character, so in the end the heroes and idols of our age aren’t very virtuous, only powerful.

So I say the abuse which comes from the stagnation comes from our restlessness at not having meaningful lives. In that regard the proverbial cart is before the horse; celebrating, recognizing, and possessing culture is a kind of wealth in it’s own right, and it shouldn’t be commercialized and reduced to commodity, it should be fully experienced — while there’s all kinds of things that technology and modern logistics and finance can enable us to do, we haven’t asked enough questions about what’s worth doing, and what we should or shouldn’t be doing on matters of meaning rather than profitability.

Christmas cannot be reduced to a plastic Santa Claus in the front yard, and the meaning of the season is not in any of the presents! The ‘reason for the season’ is about the family and friends you’re giving them to and receiving them from, about being grateful for having people you love in your life. That can’t be bought or sold, but it can have the hell marketed out of it. But, when commercial interests push hard with the idol of consumption, it becomes such a different kind of religious event.

If we want to live lives of meaning where we don’t feel stagnant, we have to become a civil society in which human life and activity has a purpose beyond running on a fiscal treadmill, just trying to keep earnings ahead of consumption while feeding the ravenous maw of desire for ‘More And More Valuable Things’. We need lives in which we are pursuing grander goals than the accumulation of individual wealth, worrying about our own success and the perception of us by others.

The creation and celebration and flourishing of human experience needs to become the master,to which economic matters pay their due.

I would love to see social networks working with an awareness of such a higher calling, as I’m betting they’ll be far more enjoyable to participate in.

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