A new Op-Ed in The New York Times by Bret Stephens is worth reading. With all the controversy surrounding Facebook’s practices and motives, Stephens digs down to the fundamental reason behind Facebook’s profound effects on the demoralization of our culture.
Since starting this blog, I’ve come to terms with Facebook’s role in my own struggle with depression and its all-too-common accessories: 1) wanting what others have, and 2) believing what people post is real and true.
In a previous post, “Getting the Most Out of Facebook,” I included a Forbes study that linked Facebook to depression. What Stephens uncovers in his piece goes much deeper in implicating the company, the technology, and all of us.
“But the deeper reason that technology so often disappoints and betrays us is that it promises to make easy things that, by their intrinsic nature, have to be hard…. Tweeting and trolling are easy. Mastering the arts of conversation and measured debate is hard. Texting is easy. Writing a proper letter is hard….Having a thousand friends on Facebook is easy. Maintaining six or seven close adult friendships over the space of many years is hard.”
I refuse to allow myself or my kids to escape this learning. The art of conversation, measured debate, writing a letter, making and keeping a friend, these are what separate us from the mob. Face-to-face makes us rise to the level of our better angels. Plato wasn’t just a genius; the dude was a soothsayer.