Meta Dissonance

Meta dissonance


Peripheral vision is where we sense and notice, the human instinct alive. Enter the Metaverse to take that away. Facebook just went Meta. It's consistent with the idea that the algorithm and information management supersede human experience.

Aristotle wrote the blockbuster book Physics. His students titled his second work Metaphysics. The Greek prefix—for “after,” “beyond”—meant the second book had come after the first.

How did a word that had such interesting origins end up becoming so self referential?

Since the topic of Aristotle's second book was what lies beyond physical reality, people took the current meaning to be: “Beyond physics.” “Meta,” then became “a level beyond.” Thus, the self-reference industry was born. 

People used to express anxiety about being in the know by using proper grammar. Now they do it with pseudo-technical language. Like meta.

But herein lies the dissonance.

Zuckerberg attempts to get “a level beyond” the current problems by rebranding the (parent) company:

“From a business perspective, I think that this is going to unlock a massive amount of digital commerce, and strategically I think we’ll have hopefully an opportunity to shape the development of the next platform in order to make it more amenable to these ways that I think people will naturally want to interact.”

Facebook internal “badger” is trying to put the company “behind” (via Wired):

“Friday is going to be my last day at Facebook. It makes me sad to leave. I don’t think I’ll ever have a job as good as this one … Unfortunately, I don’t feel I can stay on in good conscience. (1) I think Facebook is probably having a net negative influence on politics in Western countries … (2) I don’t think that leadership is involved in a good-faith effort to fix this… (3) I don’t think I can substantially improve things by staying.” 

Nick Carr says people are all too willing to pick simulation or altered state over reality:

“Facebook, it’s now widely accepted, has been a calamity for the world. The obvious solution, most people would agree, is to get rid of Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg has a different idea: Get rid of the world. […] 

His goal with the metaverse is not just to create a virtual world that is more encompassing, more totalizing, than what we experience today with social media and videogames. It’s to turn reality itself into a product. In the metaverse, nothing happens that is not computable. That also means that, assuming the computers doing the computing are in private hands, nothing happens that is not a market transaction, a moment of monetization, either directly through an exchange of money or indirectly through the capture of data. With the metaverse, capital subsumes reality. It’s money all the way down.”

Marshall McLuhan is consistent with his view of how the metaverse created a “changed, altered” state:

“Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don't really have any rights left.”

Contrast with Alda Merini who suggests how the “in between” is all too human:

“I like people who know how to listen to the wind on their skin, feel the smells of things, capture their soul. Those who have flesh in contact with the flesh of the world. Because there is truth, there is sweetness, there is feeling, there is still love.”

In a world that measures and converts everything into currency, do beauty and love still have value?


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