alteri me cogitant esse, ergo sum
i swear panel 6 made me think Girl had taken up smoking
Who’s to say that what we do now isn’t engaging with the world around us? I don’t think that we’re engaging any less- it’s just that the world as we know it has changed radically with the advent of the internet, and we’ve adapted to it. First it was the dialup message boards, then email, then newsgroups and IRC, then instant messaging, and now we have social networking websites. We’re still interacting with the world- just differently.
I agree with The Angry Pun. Just because many of our experiences are technologically mediated doesn’t make them any less real or meaningful, as long as there’s another human being on the other end, or as long as we BELIEVE there’s a human on the other end. It’s all about making some kind of connection. I think that it’s probably harder to get the same amount of contact out of a computer mediated discussion than out of a face to face one, though.
Cat’s joke is awesome!
@Jessica, @The Angry Pun
It seems to me that a moment may be just a little less valuable when it’s something captured and commodified. That our first though upon experiencing a sensation is, “this would make a good tweet” — that our every action is tinged with the desire to attain e-popularity — seems to detract from our experiences. Ignoring the rare poet or artist, human experience has always been something ephemeral. To make it less ephemeral, to me, makes it less human.
@sdj – So what about that rare poet or artist?
I agree with sdj (and thus Girl) to some degree: if you go on vacation with the intent of taking lots of pictures, the photo album becomes your goal rather than soaking in the experience. However, that’s not quite the same thing as coming home from dinner and tweeting “I just had the best Aloo Gobi of my life. Highly recommended, would buy again A+++”. In the latter case, the author was present for the meal, has had the experience, and now wants to share it with others.
Humans have always had the urge to share our experiences; technology is simply a means to this end. Before people said, “This would make a good tweet,” they asked, “Where’d I put my camera?” Before that, they made sketchbooks and journals, or took souvenirs. Girl’s central message, however, is timeless: we shouldn’t allow our urge to document the moment interfere with our ability to enjoy the moment.
“Humans have always had the urge to share our experiences…”
Surely this claim is non-falsifiable.
If we have access to the experiences of others, then those experiences have always-already been shared. We only observe things that have been shared, so there is an implicit and fatal selection bias at work in our data set. Therefore, we cannot say whether or not people have ever existed who did not have the desire to share their experiences. Indeed, isn’t that the punchline of the strip?
Also, this one:
When I went backpacking through Europe (I’m sooooooo hip :p), everyone I was traveling with took hundreds of pictures. I didn’t even bring a camera. To me it’s like, there’s already a million pictures of these places, and they’re easy to find. I wanted to really see these things, and while everyone was getting the best angles and lighting of this or that, I just tried to soak up the sights. I guess I just don’t care to have the best Facebook pics.
To me, moments are meant to be experienced, not collected. You can’t always share a moment with everyone who wasn’t there. Hell, you can’t even remember all of them for yourself. And that’s ok, that’s not the point.
Maybe I’m a hypocrite though, cause I copied all their pictures onto my computer afterward. Now that’s win-win.
I’m not sure about unmediated experience. We mediate experience when we understand what we see and feel through ideas. There’s nothing wrong with orientating our experiences towards an audience, or towards learning from them. That can help us engage with the world.
But I am kind of scared of the commodification of experience through things like micro-blogging and digital photography.
I guess when I used to think “This would make a good blog post” it would encourage me to think the issue through properly. But with micro-blogging, we don’t have to properly formulate anything. It’s too easy.
“I don’t feel anything anymore”
How might one go about sharing unmediated experience? And why? Exactly how or in what way might mediated experience seem other than authentic? Perhaps the insertion/intrusion of mediation allows people to feel as though they’re sharing experience. Possibly the desire to do so is somewhat faint, and only galvanized by the means being so readily available. As annoying as it is…
“we cannot say whether or not people have ever existed who did not have the desire to share their experiences.”
Perhaps I should have worded that differently. I agree that in all likelihood, someone, somewhere, at some time, felt no need to document anything, and because of that we don’t know they ever existed; that, as you say, is the joke. What I meant wasn’t that every person feels the need to document their experiences; I meant that the need has little to do with time, place, or technology.
It’s easy to blame modern media and drive-thru culture and The Kids Today, but this behavior is older than the Internet. Constantly tweeting about a vacation in progress isn’t that different from obsessively photographing the places you visit or trying to transcribe a professor’s lecture verbatim. I don’t think it’s about e-popularity, but a desire to turn a moment into an object, in the hopes that that object will allow us or others to feel what we felt. The catch, though, is that documenting the moment, in whatever form, means taking yourself out of it.
So, Girl, are you going to simply remember that conversation, or are you going to make a comic out of it?
I just posted this one to my tumblr.
In the words of Jewel, “Sometimes I feel the same”
And the moral of the story is… if you do not engage the world, it will engage you!
I would buy this, but I would also bet someone else has this same dream, only in the past, and has fulfilled it.