Cyber-skepticism

The British newspaper The Guardian pulls together a number of books that are criticizing our brave new cyber-world:

The way in which people frantically communicate online via Twitter, Facebook and instant messaging can be seen as a form of modern madness, according to a leading American sociologist.

“A behaviour that has become typical may still express the problems that once caused us to see it as pathological,” MIT professor Sherry Turkle writes in her new book, Alone Together, which is leading an attack on the information age.

Turkle’s book, published in the UK next month, has caused a sensation in America, which is usually more obsessed with the merits of social networking. . . .

Turkle’s thesis is simple: technology is threatening to dominate our lives and make us less human. Under the illusion of allowing us to communicate better, it is actually isolating us from real human interactions in a cyber-reality that is a poor imitation of the real world.

But Turkle’s book is far from the only work of its kind. An intellectual backlash in America is calling for a rejection of some of the values and methods of modern communications. . . .

The list of attacks on social media is a long one and comes from all corners of academia and popular culture. A recent bestseller in the US, The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, suggested that use of the internet was altering the way we think to make us less capable of digesting large and complex amounts of information, such as books and magazine articles. The book was based on an essay that Carr wrote in the Atlantic magazine. It was just as emphatic and was headlined: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Another strand of thought in the field of cyber-scepticism is found in The Net Delusion, by Evgeny Morozov. He argues that social media has bred a generation of “slacktivists”. It has made people lazy and enshrined the illusion that clicking a mouse is a form of activism equal to real world donations of money and time.

Other books include The Dumbest Generation by Emory University professor Mark Bauerlein – in which he claims “the intellectual future of the US looks dim”– and We Have Met the Enemy by Daniel Akst, which describes the problems of self-control in the modern world, of which the proliferation of communication tools is a key component.

The backlash has crossed the Atlantic. In Cyburbia, published in Britain last year, James Harkin surveyed the modern technological world and found some dangerous possibilities. While Harkin was no pure cyber-sceptic, he found many reasons to be worried as well as pleased about the new technological era.

via Social networking under fresh attack as tide of cyber-scepticism sweeps US | Media | The Observer.

If you want to read any of these, download them on your Kindle from the Amazon box on this blog.  Oh, I guess we are dependent on the internet even as we criticize it.  But don’t these books make some valid points?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Dan Kempin

    Hmm. I’m not sure I really buy the argument.

    “Turkle’s thesis is simple: technology is threatening to dominate our lives and make us less human.”

    Quite the contrary, I think the technology reveals what it IS to be human. (i.e. fallen) Thus the impulse to blame the technology, because the alternative is to acknowledge the problem we can’t solve.

    Consider: A generation or two ago technology was advancing toward “labor saving devices.” The vision for that future (think “tomorrowland’) was a world where people had the leisure to spend time together and take up cultural pursuits. The reality is a sedentary lifestyle.

    Consider the advances in food production and preservation. The vision was a world where no one was hungry. The reality is an epidemic of obesity.

    Now we come to the advances of communication and technology and (brace for a shocker) people do what is easy. Who could have seen that coming.

    So what do we conclude: It’s the fault of technology that people behave obsessively. It’s the fault of McDonalds that people act gluttonously. It’s the fault of Wal Mart that people want to buy more than they need because it is cheap and available.

    Maybe the philosophers of this age should find the courage to consider the problem with humans, who cannot be happy even in such a technological utopia as we have today.

  • Dan Kempin

    Hmm. I’m not sure I really buy the argument.

    “Turkle’s thesis is simple: technology is threatening to dominate our lives and make us less human.”

    Quite the contrary, I think the technology reveals what it IS to be human. (i.e. fallen) Thus the impulse to blame the technology, because the alternative is to acknowledge the problem we can’t solve.

    Consider: A generation or two ago technology was advancing toward “labor saving devices.” The vision for that future (think “tomorrowland’) was a world where people had the leisure to spend time together and take up cultural pursuits. The reality is a sedentary lifestyle.

    Consider the advances in food production and preservation. The vision was a world where no one was hungry. The reality is an epidemic of obesity.

    Now we come to the advances of communication and technology and (brace for a shocker) people do what is easy. Who could have seen that coming.

    So what do we conclude: It’s the fault of technology that people behave obsessively. It’s the fault of McDonalds that people act gluttonously. It’s the fault of Wal Mart that people want to buy more than they need because it is cheap and available.

    Maybe the philosophers of this age should find the courage to consider the problem with humans, who cannot be happy even in such a technological utopia as we have today.

  • WebMonk

    These books are nothing new. I have some books of almost the exact same premise written in the mid-nineties. Now, if those books were predicting the rise of communication methods and styles we see today and decrying what we were about to become, that would be one thing, but they weren’t – they were moaning about how the online communications of that time (pretty much just email) had destroyed real and human interaction.

    The pattern goes like this: 1) write an alarmist book on some topic. 2) hopefully make lots of money.

    I haven’t read the book mentioned here, but nothing in any of the description makes me think it’s any different.

  • WebMonk

    These books are nothing new. I have some books of almost the exact same premise written in the mid-nineties. Now, if those books were predicting the rise of communication methods and styles we see today and decrying what we were about to become, that would be one thing, but they weren’t – they were moaning about how the online communications of that time (pretty much just email) had destroyed real and human interaction.

    The pattern goes like this: 1) write an alarmist book on some topic. 2) hopefully make lots of money.

    I haven’t read the book mentioned here, but nothing in any of the description makes me think it’s any different.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Hmm… maybe I should quit writing fiction and start writing paranoia-themed dribble. And, get a doctorate in the process so I can seem important.

    Back on the central theme: technology is like anything else we have. It can be a boon or a curse, depending upon how it’s used.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Hmm… maybe I should quit writing fiction and start writing paranoia-themed dribble. And, get a doctorate in the process so I can seem important.

    Back on the central theme: technology is like anything else we have. It can be a boon or a curse, depending upon how it’s used.

  • Tom Hering

    I’m surprised the list of books didn’t include Jaron Lanier’s You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto. I’ve heard more interviews with him on this subject than with any other author. (There’s a Q&A at the Amazon link.)

    The objection to the cyber critics at the end of the Guardian article seemed a bit lame:

    He also pointed out that the “real world” that many social media critics hark back to never really existed. Before everyone travelled on the bus or train with their heads buried in an iPad or a smart phone, they usually just travelled in silence. “We did not see people spontaneously talking to strangers. They were just keeping to themselves,” Kist said.

    That was true in some parts of the old, real world. Like big cities. But not in all parts of the old, real world, which was mostly composed of smaller communities where people were generally open to meeting strangers.

    When I walk into my favorite small-town coffee shop now, I see a change that has taken place in just the last few years. More and more customers have their heads buried in laptops, or are hunched over smart phones. Their body language clearly says “leave me alone.”

    Customers used to glance around to make eye contact and start a conversation. Even someone reading a book would do that, and the book would become the start of a conversation, “What are you reading?” Who dares to ask a laptop or smart phone user, “What are you looking at?”

  • Tom Hering

    I’m surprised the list of books didn’t include Jaron Lanier’s You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto. I’ve heard more interviews with him on this subject than with any other author. (There’s a Q&A at the Amazon link.)

    The objection to the cyber critics at the end of the Guardian article seemed a bit lame:

    He also pointed out that the “real world” that many social media critics hark back to never really existed. Before everyone travelled on the bus or train with their heads buried in an iPad or a smart phone, they usually just travelled in silence. “We did not see people spontaneously talking to strangers. They were just keeping to themselves,” Kist said.

    That was true in some parts of the old, real world. Like big cities. But not in all parts of the old, real world, which was mostly composed of smaller communities where people were generally open to meeting strangers.

    When I walk into my favorite small-town coffee shop now, I see a change that has taken place in just the last few years. More and more customers have their heads buried in laptops, or are hunched over smart phones. Their body language clearly says “leave me alone.”

    Customers used to glance around to make eye contact and start a conversation. Even someone reading a book would do that, and the book would become the start of a conversation, “What are you reading?” Who dares to ask a laptop or smart phone user, “What are you looking at?”

  • Booklover

    I agree with all of the statements the above authors make. I have long lamented that we are “alone together.” I have also lamented the shallowness of Facebook. In many families, including mine, each of us is in a different room with his or her own electronic friend, and that includes me, on this blog. :-) When our adult son is with our family, he often opens his phone to communicate elsewhere and we tell him, “Be where you are!”

    But each age has its menace that interferes with personal relationships. There was (and is) the TV. When I walk into a family’s home and we have to visit over the blare of the TV, I don’t feel welcome. Many husbands sit after work until bedtime in front of the TV, rather than communicate with their families.

    For many young adults whom I know, the “reality” of facebook, TV, movies, talk radio, and that which the smartphone provides, is more real to them than real life.

  • Booklover

    I agree with all of the statements the above authors make. I have long lamented that we are “alone together.” I have also lamented the shallowness of Facebook. In many families, including mine, each of us is in a different room with his or her own electronic friend, and that includes me, on this blog. :-) When our adult son is with our family, he often opens his phone to communicate elsewhere and we tell him, “Be where you are!”

    But each age has its menace that interferes with personal relationships. There was (and is) the TV. When I walk into a family’s home and we have to visit over the blare of the TV, I don’t feel welcome. Many husbands sit after work until bedtime in front of the TV, rather than communicate with their families.

    For many young adults whom I know, the “reality” of facebook, TV, movies, talk radio, and that which the smartphone provides, is more real to them than real life.

  • Tom Hering

    Booklover @ 5, I saw this at a couple of large, open-house dinners that friends-of-friends threw over the holidays. Most of the kids and young adults spent the whole time lost in laptops, smart phones, and computer games, while the older adults shook hands, introduced themselves, and engaged in conversations.

  • Tom Hering

    Booklover @ 5, I saw this at a couple of large, open-house dinners that friends-of-friends threw over the holidays. Most of the kids and young adults spent the whole time lost in laptops, smart phones, and computer games, while the older adults shook hands, introduced themselves, and engaged in conversations.

  • WebMonk

    “But not in all parts of the old, real world, which was mostly composed of smaller communities where people were generally open to meeting strangers. …. Customers used to glance around to make eye contact and start a conversation. Even someone reading a book would do that, and the book would become the start of a conversation, “What are you reading?””

    Tom, I’ve lived my whole life in small towns (except for the last 5 years) and I’ve never seen what you describe. My wife is from REALLY small town farming community, and it was never like you describe.

    I’m sure somewhere that actually happened in a small town and maybe your small town was one, but I’d be willing to bet it was so extremely rare that it merely proved the general rule that it was never like that in 99% of America – small-town or big-city.

    Stop to talk with friends, acquaintances, or someone you’ve seen several times but not talked to yet – sure.
    Stop to talk with strangers – virtually never.

    Also, this will vary wildly with the personality of the people in there. I’ve been interrupted by strangers just coming up to chat in Starbucks and Borders before while I’ve been reading or working on my laptop. In each case, it was an extremely outgoing sort of person.

    That sort of person will be more than willing to begin a conversation whether the other is reading, studying, writing, working on a laptop, or is eyes-closed listening to an iPod. It’s much more a function of personality type than small-town vs big-city. The only times I’ve ever been approached by a stranger just to strike up a conversation in a coffee shop has been in a “big city” environment.

  • WebMonk

    “But not in all parts of the old, real world, which was mostly composed of smaller communities where people were generally open to meeting strangers. …. Customers used to glance around to make eye contact and start a conversation. Even someone reading a book would do that, and the book would become the start of a conversation, “What are you reading?””

    Tom, I’ve lived my whole life in small towns (except for the last 5 years) and I’ve never seen what you describe. My wife is from REALLY small town farming community, and it was never like you describe.

    I’m sure somewhere that actually happened in a small town and maybe your small town was one, but I’d be willing to bet it was so extremely rare that it merely proved the general rule that it was never like that in 99% of America – small-town or big-city.

    Stop to talk with friends, acquaintances, or someone you’ve seen several times but not talked to yet – sure.
    Stop to talk with strangers – virtually never.

    Also, this will vary wildly with the personality of the people in there. I’ve been interrupted by strangers just coming up to chat in Starbucks and Borders before while I’ve been reading or working on my laptop. In each case, it was an extremely outgoing sort of person.

    That sort of person will be more than willing to begin a conversation whether the other is reading, studying, writing, working on a laptop, or is eyes-closed listening to an iPod. It’s much more a function of personality type than small-town vs big-city. The only times I’ve ever been approached by a stranger just to strike up a conversation in a coffee shop has been in a “big city” environment.

  • Tom Hering

    Webmonk @ 7: So, given both your examples and mine, the objection at the end of the Guardian article – which said a “real world” where strangers talked to each other never existed – is wrong. Yes?

  • Tom Hering

    Webmonk @ 7: So, given both your examples and mine, the objection at the end of the Guardian article – which said a “real world” where strangers talked to each other never existed – is wrong. Yes?

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I have mixed feelings. Virtual life has been a considerable boon to me personally, as I suffer from a shyness disorder and find it hard to deal with people face to face. I have far more social interactions every day, now that I can do it through the internet, than I used to.

    On the other hand, if these changes are creating a world with more and more people who are like me, that is emphatically not a good thing.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I have mixed feelings. Virtual life has been a considerable boon to me personally, as I suffer from a shyness disorder and find it hard to deal with people face to face. I have far more social interactions every day, now that I can do it through the internet, than I used to.

    On the other hand, if these changes are creating a world with more and more people who are like me, that is emphatically not a good thing.

  • WebMonk

    Ok, ok, Tom. If you take the article’s claim in a woodenly literal sense, yes it’s wrong. There always have been and probably always will be some people who will stop and chat up strangers more or less at random no matter what they are doing.

    So yes, the article is wrong if you take it to mean that no one has ever started up conversations with strangers.

    That’s not what the article meant, and you know it.

    The intent of what the article is saying is correct — a world at large where strangers commonly began conversations with each other at the diner or coffee shop never existed. Cries about how modern communication styles have destroyed that world are lamenting a past that never existed except in very tiny exceptions.

  • WebMonk

    Ok, ok, Tom. If you take the article’s claim in a woodenly literal sense, yes it’s wrong. There always have been and probably always will be some people who will stop and chat up strangers more or less at random no matter what they are doing.

    So yes, the article is wrong if you take it to mean that no one has ever started up conversations with strangers.

    That’s not what the article meant, and you know it.

    The intent of what the article is saying is correct — a world at large where strangers commonly began conversations with each other at the diner or coffee shop never existed. Cries about how modern communication styles have destroyed that world are lamenting a past that never existed except in very tiny exceptions.

  • nbfzman

    hmmm…I guess I’ll escape from real life interactions by reading some books that tell me how the internet allows us to escape from real-life interactions.

  • nbfzman

    hmmm…I guess I’ll escape from real life interactions by reading some books that tell me how the internet allows us to escape from real-life interactions.

  • Tom Hering

    Webmonk @ 10: Okay, okay. ;-) Let’s agree that friendly strangers have always been the exception, not the rule. I think the argument can still be made that technology is making stranger-friendliness even less common. If people are preoccupied with “communications” when they’re out in public or at social gatherings, they’re less available for serendipitous interaction with others. Yes?

  • Tom Hering

    Webmonk @ 10: Okay, okay. ;-) Let’s agree that friendly strangers have always been the exception, not the rule. I think the argument can still be made that technology is making stranger-friendliness even less common. If people are preoccupied with “communications” when they’re out in public or at social gatherings, they’re less available for serendipitous interaction with others. Yes?

  • Tom Hering

    nbfzman @ 11: I’ve never seen people show up at holiday dinners and then sit there the whole time reading a book.

  • Tom Hering

    nbfzman @ 11: I’ve never seen people show up at holiday dinners and then sit there the whole time reading a book.

  • Dan Kempin

    I think the whole premise is flawed here . . .

    First, how were the days before technology any different in the HUMAN aspect? People in coffee shops have their heads buried in laptops. A few years back they had them buried in newspapers. What, really, is the difference except that newspapers weren’t as good?

    And what makes interaction somehow better because it takes place with a stranger in a coffee shop? My wife is now connected–meaningfully connected–with many people she hasn’t seen in years through facebook. She is more in the pulse of local communication than I am, again through facebook, and she by no means keeps her face “buried” in it.

    I fail to see how technology is the issue here.

  • Dan Kempin

    I think the whole premise is flawed here . . .

    First, how were the days before technology any different in the HUMAN aspect? People in coffee shops have their heads buried in laptops. A few years back they had them buried in newspapers. What, really, is the difference except that newspapers weren’t as good?

    And what makes interaction somehow better because it takes place with a stranger in a coffee shop? My wife is now connected–meaningfully connected–with many people she hasn’t seen in years through facebook. She is more in the pulse of local communication than I am, again through facebook, and she by no means keeps her face “buried” in it.

    I fail to see how technology is the issue here.

  • Tom Hering

    “I fail to see how technology is the issue here.” – Dan Kempin @ 14.

    Because of the way many people use it. Technology multiplying specific behaviors. It also depends on the definition of inter-personal communication. Sharing typed words across the internet is certainly such, but a low form of such, as it lacks physicality.

  • Tom Hering

    “I fail to see how technology is the issue here.” – Dan Kempin @ 14.

    Because of the way many people use it. Technology multiplying specific behaviors. It also depends on the definition of inter-personal communication. Sharing typed words across the internet is certainly such, but a low form of such, as it lacks physicality.

  • Tom Hering

    Social technology is to personal relationships what Gnosticism is to flesh-and-blood Christianity.

  • Tom Hering

    Social technology is to personal relationships what Gnosticism is to flesh-and-blood Christianity.

  • jbo

    I think Booklover has the greatest point about how these devices effect families. While the debate goes on about how it effects casual interaction in society, as a teacher, I witness how these devices impact the family as students spend more time “alone” with their phones and laptops. Parents actually do text their children when it is time for dinner. To which each family member brings along their own phone in case their attention is needed elsewhere.

  • jbo

    I think Booklover has the greatest point about how these devices effect families. While the debate goes on about how it effects casual interaction in society, as a teacher, I witness how these devices impact the family as students spend more time “alone” with their phones and laptops. Parents actually do text their children when it is time for dinner. To which each family member brings along their own phone in case their attention is needed elsewhere.

  • nbfzman

    @Tom 13:

    I have.

  • nbfzman

    @Tom 13:

    I have.

  • WebMonk

    @Tom 13 with nbfzman 18:
    Me too.

  • WebMonk

    @Tom 13 with nbfzman 18:
    Me too.

  • DonS

    From my point of view, in the homeschooling world, I think that things like Facebook have been a boon to women who often feel trapped in their homes with young children — rarely getting the opportunity to have intelligent conversations with adults. This connectedness to other friends in like circumstances is a great help to their well being, as they labor to raise up our next generation of Christians in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

    Like any other tool, it can be abused. I remember back in the 90′s, when AOL “chat rooms” were the rage. You would enter one and find the same people in there — seemingly present all day long. At least with FB, you are interacting with people you know. It’s way better than video games or TV. And there is an indisputable benefit of being able to re-connect with people from your past. It is so cool to me, for example, to be friends with my youth pastor from high school, over 30 years ago. And it has restored my relationship with my sister, from whom I was somewhat estranged for years.

    I try to limit myself to 10-15 minutes a day on FB. As in everything else, temperance and self-control are key. As Dan @ 1 and others said above, when a particular piece of technology is perceived to be a problem, that problem is generally with the user and not the technology.

  • DonS

    From my point of view, in the homeschooling world, I think that things like Facebook have been a boon to women who often feel trapped in their homes with young children — rarely getting the opportunity to have intelligent conversations with adults. This connectedness to other friends in like circumstances is a great help to their well being, as they labor to raise up our next generation of Christians in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

    Like any other tool, it can be abused. I remember back in the 90′s, when AOL “chat rooms” were the rage. You would enter one and find the same people in there — seemingly present all day long. At least with FB, you are interacting with people you know. It’s way better than video games or TV. And there is an indisputable benefit of being able to re-connect with people from your past. It is so cool to me, for example, to be friends with my youth pastor from high school, over 30 years ago. And it has restored my relationship with my sister, from whom I was somewhat estranged for years.

    I try to limit myself to 10-15 minutes a day on FB. As in everything else, temperance and self-control are key. As Dan @ 1 and others said above, when a particular piece of technology is perceived to be a problem, that problem is generally with the user and not the technology.

  • DonS

    Hmm, weird. I tried to post comment 20 twice, and it got sent to moderation purgatory. I had to separate “chat room” into two words to get it posted.

    This filtering software is nuts.

  • DonS

    Hmm, weird. I tried to post comment 20 twice, and it got sent to moderation purgatory. I had to separate “chat room” into two words to get it posted.

    This filtering software is nuts.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    When my husband would spend what I thought was too long on the computer, I would come into his office and teasingly tell him, “Put your hands above your head and step away from the computer.” It worked pretty well to get him to move on and it wasn’t nagging and whiny. Then we would talk or do something together rather than just pursuing separate interests.

    No one in our family likes talking on the phone or texting, but my son does get sucked into classic shows on youtube like old Batman and Bonanza. I do have to peel him away from that often by luring him with some game.

    The thing is gadgets do what you want. You don’t have to compromise. Playing with your kids may involve field hockey in the soggy backyard or playing Candyland, etc. While you may be interested in them, the activity is not as interesting.

    Probably certain personalities are more susceptible to long hours of tech communication or internet surfing or whatever comes along. Still the only constant is change and it doesn’t look like this is so bad. It may even promote harmony because some find the time spent doing it relaxing.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    When my husband would spend what I thought was too long on the computer, I would come into his office and teasingly tell him, “Put your hands above your head and step away from the computer.” It worked pretty well to get him to move on and it wasn’t nagging and whiny. Then we would talk or do something together rather than just pursuing separate interests.

    No one in our family likes talking on the phone or texting, but my son does get sucked into classic shows on youtube like old Batman and Bonanza. I do have to peel him away from that often by luring him with some game.

    The thing is gadgets do what you want. You don’t have to compromise. Playing with your kids may involve field hockey in the soggy backyard or playing Candyland, etc. While you may be interested in them, the activity is not as interesting.

    Probably certain personalities are more susceptible to long hours of tech communication or internet surfing or whatever comes along. Still the only constant is change and it doesn’t look like this is so bad. It may even promote harmony because some find the time spent doing it relaxing.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Nothing new.
    “The medium is the message.”
    – McLuhan, 1964

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Nothing new.
    “The medium is the message.”
    – McLuhan, 1964

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #15,

    “Sharing typed words across the internet is certainly such, [inter-personal communication] but a low form of such, as it lacks physicality.”

    I don’t know. Some of the most well thought out and meaningful conversations I have had this past year have been on this blog. That is not to denigrate the old face-to-face, but according to your logic the historic practice of reading and writing letters was also a problematic technology that isolated individuals from meaningful communication with others in the room.

    Technology can certainly exacerbate a tendency, but I reiterate: Technology is not the problem.

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #15,

    “Sharing typed words across the internet is certainly such, [inter-personal communication] but a low form of such, as it lacks physicality.”

    I don’t know. Some of the most well thought out and meaningful conversations I have had this past year have been on this blog. That is not to denigrate the old face-to-face, but according to your logic the historic practice of reading and writing letters was also a problematic technology that isolated individuals from meaningful communication with others in the room.

    Technology can certainly exacerbate a tendency, but I reiterate: Technology is not the problem.

  • Stephanie

    The books (and articles and essays and…) make some valid points. But they aren’t necessarily *new* points. Or not entirely anyway. Just off the top of my head – Turkle covered some of this with Life on the Screen at least 13 years ago (when I read the book as part of a class I was taking), the ‘hey, look at the Amish approach to technology’ is basically chapter one of Sclove’s Democracy and Technology, and Postman is always good for a ‘technology is not the be all end all; *think* about how you use it’ (Technopoly). Then again, I sort of don’t mind these topics coming up in the news again. It’s basically my college major.

  • Stephanie

    The books (and articles and essays and…) make some valid points. But they aren’t necessarily *new* points. Or not entirely anyway. Just off the top of my head – Turkle covered some of this with Life on the Screen at least 13 years ago (when I read the book as part of a class I was taking), the ‘hey, look at the Amish approach to technology’ is basically chapter one of Sclove’s Democracy and Technology, and Postman is always good for a ‘technology is not the be all end all; *think* about how you use it’ (Technopoly). Then again, I sort of don’t mind these topics coming up in the news again. It’s basically my college major.

  • Porcell

    Joseph Weizenbaum, one of the early professors of computer science at M.I.T, in 1976 wrote a seminal book, Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation in which he displayed ambivalence toward computer technology and warned against giving machines the responsibility for making genuinely human choices. At the time few paid serious attention to this book

    Later in an interview he stated:

    The dependence on computers is merely the most recent — and the most extreme –Â example of how man relies on technology in order to escape the burden of acting as an independent agent,” Weizenbaum told the journal. “It helps him avoid the task of giving meaning to his life, of deciding and pursuing what is truly valuable

    Weizenbaum, also, argued that students from the elementary through high school level were not intellectually mature to deal with computer information and calculation.

    We progress from facts, to information, knowledge, and on rare occasion to wisdom. Computers are essentially stuck at the level of information

  • Porcell

    Joseph Weizenbaum, one of the early professors of computer science at M.I.T, in 1976 wrote a seminal book, Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation in which he displayed ambivalence toward computer technology and warned against giving machines the responsibility for making genuinely human choices. At the time few paid serious attention to this book

    Later in an interview he stated:

    The dependence on computers is merely the most recent — and the most extreme –Â example of how man relies on technology in order to escape the burden of acting as an independent agent,” Weizenbaum told the journal. “It helps him avoid the task of giving meaning to his life, of deciding and pursuing what is truly valuable

    Weizenbaum, also, argued that students from the elementary through high school level were not intellectually mature to deal with computer information and calculation.

    We progress from facts, to information, knowledge, and on rare occasion to wisdom. Computers are essentially stuck at the level of information

  • WebMonk

    Porcell, one of the problems with Weizenbaum’s view is that he was making a lot of fairly dramatic statements and predictions back in ’76 based on the technology of that time. The statements were based on the various things he believed, such as his views on how much decision-making ability computers should be given.

    However, computers today make a billion times the level of decisions made when he voiced his concerns, and yet his concerns haven’t yet been manifest. That’s a pretty strong indicator that his concerns were misplaced.

    Likewise his concerns about young students being warped by their lack of maturity to handle computer information and calculation – today there is a hundred billion times the involvement with those things by young students, and yet the predictions he made haven’t been seen. Again, a strong indicator that his concerns were misplaced.

    Taking those concerns and applying them to today is likely to have about the same accuracy they had back then – next to zero.

  • WebMonk

    Porcell, one of the problems with Weizenbaum’s view is that he was making a lot of fairly dramatic statements and predictions back in ’76 based on the technology of that time. The statements were based on the various things he believed, such as his views on how much decision-making ability computers should be given.

    However, computers today make a billion times the level of decisions made when he voiced his concerns, and yet his concerns haven’t yet been manifest. That’s a pretty strong indicator that his concerns were misplaced.

    Likewise his concerns about young students being warped by their lack of maturity to handle computer information and calculation – today there is a hundred billion times the involvement with those things by young students, and yet the predictions he made haven’t been seen. Again, a strong indicator that his concerns were misplaced.

    Taking those concerns and applying them to today is likely to have about the same accuracy they had back then – next to zero.

  • Porcell

    WebMonk, as far as I know, Weizenbaum never retracted his views on the danger of computers tp serious thought. Before he died in 2008, he would have been quite familiar with contemporary computer developments.

    I knew the fellow back in the late seventies, when he was at M.I.T. and was quite familiar with his views.

  • Porcell

    WebMonk, as far as I know, Weizenbaum never retracted his views on the danger of computers tp serious thought. Before he died in 2008, he would have been quite familiar with contemporary computer developments.

    I knew the fellow back in the late seventies, when he was at M.I.T. and was quite familiar with his views.

  • WebMonk

    Porcell – your point is … what? That he never changed his mind even when none of his predictions came true? That’s hardly a commendable thing.

  • WebMonk

    Porcell – your point is … what? That he never changed his mind even when none of his predictions came true? That’s hardly a commendable thing.

  • Helen F

    What I’m finding curious is the vast array of things visual, even so-called “family games” are played on the screen! Have to wonder what kind of “brave new world” is in our future!

  • Helen F

    What I’m finding curious is the vast array of things visual, even so-called “family games” are played on the screen! Have to wonder what kind of “brave new world” is in our future!

  • WebMonk

    Helen – fewer board games played around a square of cardboard and more “board” games played around screens would be a good guess. :-)

  • WebMonk

    Helen – fewer board games played around a square of cardboard and more “board” games played around screens would be a good guess. :-)

  • Helen F

    WebMonk #31,
    Yes, unfortunately. It kind of creeps me out that so much these days is in the form of “screens” of some kind; maybe it’s because I recently watched that old movie, “1984″?

  • Helen F

    WebMonk #31,
    Yes, unfortunately. It kind of creeps me out that so much these days is in the form of “screens” of some kind; maybe it’s because I recently watched that old movie, “1984″?

  • WebMonk

    Wait, I thought you were joking. The fact that it is on a screen vs on cardboard is a fundamental matter of concern for you??

  • WebMonk

    Wait, I thought you were joking. The fact that it is on a screen vs on cardboard is a fundamental matter of concern for you??

  • CRB

    No, not just games, but so many things in life seem somehow to be increasingly attached to a screen and I envision a future system like that depicted in the above-mentioned film. That’s why I think it’s creepy!

  • CRB

    No, not just games, but so many things in life seem somehow to be increasingly attached to a screen and I envision a future system like that depicted in the above-mentioned film. That’s why I think it’s creepy!

  • WebMonk

    CRB, the fact that you can conflate 1984-like screens with computer and TV screens is rather disturbing.

    I’m serious about this, have you ever had any psychological counseling? Having concerns about objects like TVs spying on you is something that needs to be dealt with.

  • WebMonk

    CRB, the fact that you can conflate 1984-like screens with computer and TV screens is rather disturbing.

    I’m serious about this, have you ever had any psychological counseling? Having concerns about objects like TVs spying on you is something that needs to be dealt with.

  • CRB

    Nope, I have no such fears. I merely offer it up as a future possibility in a high-tech world.

  • CRB

    Nope, I have no such fears. I merely offer it up as a future possibility in a high-tech world.

  • WebMonk

    Ok, I’m very glad to hear that. Things like schizophrenia and alzheimer get all the limelight (and deservedly so), but fear of various types of things is a serious disorder.

    As far as fearing that TVs and computer screens may someday be co-opted into spying, ala 1984, don’t worry.

    Using screens to spy would be a REALLY stupid way to spy – ridiculously expensive, technologically difficult, extremely inefficient, nearly impossible to implement, easily stopped, etc, etc.

    You ought to be more worried about your light bulbs spying on you. Literally. Those would be a much better/easier object through which to spy.

    Of course, by that time you’re into silent black helicopters with Men In Black making people disappear along with with total brainwashing through subliminal messages from satellites beamed into our heads that can be blocked with aluminum foil. In short, by the time a person could realistically have fears of TVs or light bulbs spying on people, they’re into full-blown cuckoo land.

    Were we to ever arrive in cuckoo land for real, the govt spying on us would be the least of our worries. :-D

  • WebMonk

    Ok, I’m very glad to hear that. Things like schizophrenia and alzheimer get all the limelight (and deservedly so), but fear of various types of things is a serious disorder.

    As far as fearing that TVs and computer screens may someday be co-opted into spying, ala 1984, don’t worry.

    Using screens to spy would be a REALLY stupid way to spy – ridiculously expensive, technologically difficult, extremely inefficient, nearly impossible to implement, easily stopped, etc, etc.

    You ought to be more worried about your light bulbs spying on you. Literally. Those would be a much better/easier object through which to spy.

    Of course, by that time you’re into silent black helicopters with Men In Black making people disappear along with with total brainwashing through subliminal messages from satellites beamed into our heads that can be blocked with aluminum foil. In short, by the time a person could realistically have fears of TVs or light bulbs spying on people, they’re into full-blown cuckoo land.

    Were we to ever arrive in cuckoo land for real, the govt spying on us would be the least of our worries. :-D

  • Porcell

    WebMonk, Joe Weizenbaum understood that the computer was an extreme example of the attempt of most men to avoid the rigor and difficulty of qualitative judgment.

    I once heard him give a lecture at the Technical University of Berlin in 1973, making the point that modern man, based largely on the “Enlightenment,” yearned for some sort of “scientific’ or essentially mechanical reason that would relieve him from wise, qualitative judgment. He, also, remarked that the German people had a strange fascination for mechanical, authoritative judgment, outside of hard individual judgment, that was one of the reasons for their attraction to fascism.

    Weizenbaum, who in the early seventies created Eliza, a computer program that simulated psychological advice, finally came to understand that computers couldn’t come close to the sort of human relationship between a mother and child or between religious people and their God. For a while he headed the M.I.T. program of artificial intelligence, until he understood that this was essentially a hopeless project. He suffered much personal criticism for this, as artificial intelligence had become a pet M.I.T. project.

    In my view Weizenbaum was a prophet. He well understood the danger of the computer, though he was one of the early professors of computer “science.” Personally, I enjoy the computer but am well aware of its limitations.

    It is interesting that Weizenbaum, a Jew, who lost many of his close family in the Holocaust, returned to his childhood neighborhood in Berlin for several years, where he died and is buried. He in fact loved Germany, though he was haunted by the Holocaust, which, in my view, had a lot to do with his skepticism of computer “science.”

  • Porcell

    WebMonk, Joe Weizenbaum understood that the computer was an extreme example of the attempt of most men to avoid the rigor and difficulty of qualitative judgment.

    I once heard him give a lecture at the Technical University of Berlin in 1973, making the point that modern man, based largely on the “Enlightenment,” yearned for some sort of “scientific’ or essentially mechanical reason that would relieve him from wise, qualitative judgment. He, also, remarked that the German people had a strange fascination for mechanical, authoritative judgment, outside of hard individual judgment, that was one of the reasons for their attraction to fascism.

    Weizenbaum, who in the early seventies created Eliza, a computer program that simulated psychological advice, finally came to understand that computers couldn’t come close to the sort of human relationship between a mother and child or between religious people and their God. For a while he headed the M.I.T. program of artificial intelligence, until he understood that this was essentially a hopeless project. He suffered much personal criticism for this, as artificial intelligence had become a pet M.I.T. project.

    In my view Weizenbaum was a prophet. He well understood the danger of the computer, though he was one of the early professors of computer “science.” Personally, I enjoy the computer but am well aware of its limitations.

    It is interesting that Weizenbaum, a Jew, who lost many of his close family in the Holocaust, returned to his childhood neighborhood in Berlin for several years, where he died and is buried. He in fact loved Germany, though he was haunted by the Holocaust, which, in my view, had a lot to do with his skepticism of computer “science.”

  • WebMonk

    That’s all very nice Pete, and I am somewhat familiar with Weizenbaum’s views since I read his CPHR work, and studied his life in general a little bit because a professor got me interested in him.

    All that is to say, yes, he was a very smart man, and he made several significant advancements in computing. That doesn’t change the fact that he was dead wrong in most of his predictions of the future.

    You can talk about how great he was all you want, and he was, but that doesn’t change the fact that your @26 recapitulation of Weisenbaum’s fears is merely repeating baseless concerns. The guy can be a genius and still get things dead wrong. His fears about what technology would do to people turned out to be completely baseless.

    Who knows, maybe another 9 orders of magnitude advancement in computers from now will show his fears to be valid, but based on the previous 9+ orders of magnitude advancement that brought about few to none of his fears, I think it’s pretty safe to say he was wrong in that area.

  • WebMonk

    That’s all very nice Pete, and I am somewhat familiar with Weizenbaum’s views since I read his CPHR work, and studied his life in general a little bit because a professor got me interested in him.

    All that is to say, yes, he was a very smart man, and he made several significant advancements in computing. That doesn’t change the fact that he was dead wrong in most of his predictions of the future.

    You can talk about how great he was all you want, and he was, but that doesn’t change the fact that your @26 recapitulation of Weisenbaum’s fears is merely repeating baseless concerns. The guy can be a genius and still get things dead wrong. His fears about what technology would do to people turned out to be completely baseless.

    Who knows, maybe another 9 orders of magnitude advancement in computers from now will show his fears to be valid, but based on the previous 9+ orders of magnitude advancement that brought about few to none of his fears, I think it’s pretty safe to say he was wrong in that area.

  • Porcell

    WebMonk, you assert but hardly prove that Weizenbaum was dead wrong. Weizenbaum, with far better insight than Sherry Turkle, understood the fundamental flaw of the computer, namely that it basically dealt with binary information that doesn’t come close to approximating the complexity and subtlety of truth.

    I remember Weizenbaum saying that at base the computer was a dumb machine based on oughts and ones that flattered the egos of lightweight folk due to its informational speed.

    Compared to the biblical writings of Paul or John, or, say, even of our contemporary, Veith, the computer is a cipher. Weizenbaum, an early professor of computer “science” in the heart of the technical world of M.I.T, had the courage and perspicacity to speak out about the serious limitations of cyber nirvana.

  • Porcell

    WebMonk, you assert but hardly prove that Weizenbaum was dead wrong. Weizenbaum, with far better insight than Sherry Turkle, understood the fundamental flaw of the computer, namely that it basically dealt with binary information that doesn’t come close to approximating the complexity and subtlety of truth.

    I remember Weizenbaum saying that at base the computer was a dumb machine based on oughts and ones that flattered the egos of lightweight folk due to its informational speed.

    Compared to the biblical writings of Paul or John, or, say, even of our contemporary, Veith, the computer is a cipher. Weizenbaum, an early professor of computer “science” in the heart of the technical world of M.I.T, had the courage and perspicacity to speak out about the serious limitations of cyber nirvana.

  • WebMonk

    Porcell, are you purposefully playing ignorant, or have you entirely forgotten Weisenbaum’s book? The book has numerous predictions based on his views, none of which have come true. (well, almost none – he had some general sociological predictions that have arguable panned out, but none of his predictions based on his views of computer-human interaction have come true)

    Now, you can repeat over and over again that Weisenbaum’s views are right, but that doesn’t change the fact that the predictions based on his views never came true, and that indicates that his views had some major and fundamental flaws.

    You/he can say that computers flatter the egos of “lightweight folk” with their speed, but when you consider that computational speed has increased a BILLION-fold since he wrote that and none of his predictions based on that view came true, you have to admit his view must have been fundamentally flawed.

    Actually, I take that back – you don’t have to admit anything, and you can ignore all the facts, clinging to your baseless opinion for as long as you like.

    Hmmm, could it be you are one of the “lightweight folk” whose ego has been so inflated by the billion-fold increase in computational speed that you refuse to accept basic reality when it disagrees with your opinions? Maybe Weisenbaum was right after all!

  • WebMonk

    Porcell, are you purposefully playing ignorant, or have you entirely forgotten Weisenbaum’s book? The book has numerous predictions based on his views, none of which have come true. (well, almost none – he had some general sociological predictions that have arguable panned out, but none of his predictions based on his views of computer-human interaction have come true)

    Now, you can repeat over and over again that Weisenbaum’s views are right, but that doesn’t change the fact that the predictions based on his views never came true, and that indicates that his views had some major and fundamental flaws.

    You/he can say that computers flatter the egos of “lightweight folk” with their speed, but when you consider that computational speed has increased a BILLION-fold since he wrote that and none of his predictions based on that view came true, you have to admit his view must have been fundamentally flawed.

    Actually, I take that back – you don’t have to admit anything, and you can ignore all the facts, clinging to your baseless opinion for as long as you like.

    Hmmm, could it be you are one of the “lightweight folk” whose ego has been so inflated by the billion-fold increase in computational speed that you refuse to accept basic reality when it disagrees with your opinions? Maybe Weisenbaum was right after all!

  • Porcell

    WebMonk, exactly which of Weizenbaum’s views proved untrue. By 2008, he was well aware of the speed of computation, though, again, as far as I know, he never retracted his fundamental view that computers were essentially dumb machines based on oughts and ones, no matter how fast their computational speed. Computers, which essentially deal with information, give people the illusion that they have knowledge or even wisdom.

    Like Turkle in her recent book, Weizenbaum saw back in the seventies that computers would make people less human. He was especially concerned about the effect of computers on young minds.

  • Porcell

    WebMonk, exactly which of Weizenbaum’s views proved untrue. By 2008, he was well aware of the speed of computation, though, again, as far as I know, he never retracted his fundamental view that computers were essentially dumb machines based on oughts and ones, no matter how fast their computational speed. Computers, which essentially deal with information, give people the illusion that they have knowledge or even wisdom.

    Like Turkle in her recent book, Weizenbaum saw back in the seventies that computers would make people less human. He was especially concerned about the effect of computers on young minds.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “Turkle’s thesis is simple: technology is threatening to dominate our lives and make us less human.” A fascinating claim, given that technology is actually a very large part of being human. Oh, wait, but he’s talking about this new-fangled technology, and not the technology we’ve had around for generations and come to know and love and cope with and consider very normal. Ah, gotcha. Yes, of course, this new technology will certainly be the end of us, as all new technology always has been. Except the old stuff that we’ve gotten used to. But new = bad. Right. Ahem.

    I mean, does anyone else find it humorous that so many people are using attacks on all these computers with their fancy ones and zeroes to sell books? “I feel threatened by this new mode of communication! Please purchase my more entrenched form of communication that is less new.” No … just me? Even so, I have to imagine we could have had this same discussion back when the book became popular.

    “Use of writing tools is altering the way we think to make us less capable of digesting large and complex amounts of information, such as epic poems and oral histories told around the fire! Why, back when I was a kid, people memorized everything. They had to! Now everyone writes it down on some piece of papyrus and forgets it. All the kids have their noses in scrolls! How will humanity survive, I ask you?!”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “Turkle’s thesis is simple: technology is threatening to dominate our lives and make us less human.” A fascinating claim, given that technology is actually a very large part of being human. Oh, wait, but he’s talking about this new-fangled technology, and not the technology we’ve had around for generations and come to know and love and cope with and consider very normal. Ah, gotcha. Yes, of course, this new technology will certainly be the end of us, as all new technology always has been. Except the old stuff that we’ve gotten used to. But new = bad. Right. Ahem.

    I mean, does anyone else find it humorous that so many people are using attacks on all these computers with their fancy ones and zeroes to sell books? “I feel threatened by this new mode of communication! Please purchase my more entrenched form of communication that is less new.” No … just me? Even so, I have to imagine we could have had this same discussion back when the book became popular.

    “Use of writing tools is altering the way we think to make us less capable of digesting large and complex amounts of information, such as epic poems and oral histories told around the fire! Why, back when I was a kid, people memorized everything. They had to! Now everyone writes it down on some piece of papyrus and forgets it. All the kids have their noses in scrolls! How will humanity survive, I ask you?!”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Here’s the thing. It’s not that every complaint about computers/the Internet/mobile devices is wrong. It’s just that they so rarely justify the fear they want us to feel.

    I mean, I totally get the struggle to deal with new technologies, new forms of communication. I struggle with it too, and I see others doing so as well. That’s to be expected in a time of transition.

    My wife and I both have iPhones. When we were home for Christmas, we talked about when it was appropriate to use them (or one of the many laptops owned by other family members that we could use) when hanging out with family. Is it rude to pull out the iPhone and check Facebook when everyone’s sitting around on couches, digesting their massive BBQ feast and/or snoozing? Didn’t seem so. Is it rude to do so when people are having a discussion, especially if they’re talking to you? Probably.

    So I formulated a rule that seems to work for us. I call it the Newspaper Rule. Nobody thinks it’s rude for you to pick up a newspaper and read it when things are quiet, or everyone else is reading the newspaper, or whatever, and thus it’s fine to do the same with an iPhone or laptop. But it would be rude to pick up a newspaper and start reading it while someone was talking to you, so it’s rude to do so with an iPhone or laptop.

    Here’s the thing about that rule: there’s nothing in it that inherently applies to new technology. It really does apply to newspapers, books, and magazines — all forms of communication we consider somewhat established or even antiquated, and which are not being held up as threats to (our) humanity.

    IPhones are no different than newspapers. And I say this as a guy who likes to read the newspaper with dinner, while his wife reads the newspaper as well, occasionally stopping to discuss an article with each other. This new-fangled newspaper technology is tearing our family apart!!!!

    Also, to chime in on some of the discussion above, only three years ago, I was on a trip to Washington, D.C. with my wife and her high school Science Olympiad team. She had to chide one of the girls on the team who was being anti-social at dinner one night (we went out to a restaurant and all sat at a big table together) for, are you ready? … reading a book at the table! Yeah, I know, you thought it was going to be sending texts, right?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Here’s the thing. It’s not that every complaint about computers/the Internet/mobile devices is wrong. It’s just that they so rarely justify the fear they want us to feel.

    I mean, I totally get the struggle to deal with new technologies, new forms of communication. I struggle with it too, and I see others doing so as well. That’s to be expected in a time of transition.

    My wife and I both have iPhones. When we were home for Christmas, we talked about when it was appropriate to use them (or one of the many laptops owned by other family members that we could use) when hanging out with family. Is it rude to pull out the iPhone and check Facebook when everyone’s sitting around on couches, digesting their massive BBQ feast and/or snoozing? Didn’t seem so. Is it rude to do so when people are having a discussion, especially if they’re talking to you? Probably.

    So I formulated a rule that seems to work for us. I call it the Newspaper Rule. Nobody thinks it’s rude for you to pick up a newspaper and read it when things are quiet, or everyone else is reading the newspaper, or whatever, and thus it’s fine to do the same with an iPhone or laptop. But it would be rude to pick up a newspaper and start reading it while someone was talking to you, so it’s rude to do so with an iPhone or laptop.

    Here’s the thing about that rule: there’s nothing in it that inherently applies to new technology. It really does apply to newspapers, books, and magazines — all forms of communication we consider somewhat established or even antiquated, and which are not being held up as threats to (our) humanity.

    IPhones are no different than newspapers. And I say this as a guy who likes to read the newspaper with dinner, while his wife reads the newspaper as well, occasionally stopping to discuss an article with each other. This new-fangled newspaper technology is tearing our family apart!!!!

    Also, to chime in on some of the discussion above, only three years ago, I was on a trip to Washington, D.C. with my wife and her high school Science Olympiad team. She had to chide one of the girls on the team who was being anti-social at dinner one night (we went out to a restaurant and all sat at a big table together) for, are you ready? … reading a book at the table! Yeah, I know, you thought it was going to be sending texts, right?

  • WebMonk

    Really Peter? Are you serious?

    Wow. Ok, since you seem to have forgotten most of the book, let me pull just one example from memory. If you really insist on more examples, I can pull the book off the shelf at home and type you up a great big list of incorrect predictions.

    Weisenbaum stated with great vehemence that speech recognition by computers was a worthless path to follow and that it would be very harmful mankind’s ability to speak and reason if it were pursued.

    Ok, make it two example.

    Any sort of artificial intelligence was derided by him as being both futile and destructive of human intelligence. If you consider what he called AI, and what we have today, we are many steps beyond what he was talking about, and yet we don’t see any destruction of human intelligence even vaguely resembling what he described.

    And you know what, after typing those up, I’ve come to a realization: there is no set of facts which could ever change your mind, Leavitt. I could list a hundred failed predictions and it would be completely useless in any conversation with you. You’ll just ignore those things, too. I’m sure you’ll have reasons why the things I wrote above aren’t valid or something. I hope you enjoy yourself denying them.

    Perhaps some other reader will benefit from this series of comments.

  • WebMonk

    Really Peter? Are you serious?

    Wow. Ok, since you seem to have forgotten most of the book, let me pull just one example from memory. If you really insist on more examples, I can pull the book off the shelf at home and type you up a great big list of incorrect predictions.

    Weisenbaum stated with great vehemence that speech recognition by computers was a worthless path to follow and that it would be very harmful mankind’s ability to speak and reason if it were pursued.

    Ok, make it two example.

    Any sort of artificial intelligence was derided by him as being both futile and destructive of human intelligence. If you consider what he called AI, and what we have today, we are many steps beyond what he was talking about, and yet we don’t see any destruction of human intelligence even vaguely resembling what he described.

    And you know what, after typing those up, I’ve come to a realization: there is no set of facts which could ever change your mind, Leavitt. I could list a hundred failed predictions and it would be completely useless in any conversation with you. You’ll just ignore those things, too. I’m sure you’ll have reasons why the things I wrote above aren’t valid or something. I hope you enjoy yourself denying them.

    Perhaps some other reader will benefit from this series of comments.


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