Apple vs Android, Us vs Other, etc.

So the ever-interesting pointed out an article by that specifically talks about anti-Apple anger, saying this:

Marco Arment on anti-Apple anger — I thought such a balanced essay wouldn’t inspire anger itself, but HN quickly proved me wrong.

I don’t really want to talk about the articles and discussion in question. They’re not really interesting. Apple fans trying to paint Android fans as angry fanatics trying to paint Microsoft fans as angry fanatics… Well, it’s turtles all the way down. Personally I think Marco and Andy are both displaying a remarkable myopia and confirmation bias. But what do I know?

What’s a lot more interesting is the binary with-us-or-against-us fanboy logic that happens in all these camps. For a certain class of people that love these companies and their devices, this is a battle and the other side is the enemy.

We do this all the time. All of us. We define the other as many things, people, attitudes, on an on. We dehumanise them, vilify them, mock them, fight them, whatever we must to keep our position outside of the other.

This is the root of violence. Maybe just the violence of hasty, nasty words on the internet. But still violence. In your electronics you see a microcosm which explains every outbreak of war, every genocide.

Maybe that seems a bit dramatic. Okay.

But I think it’s true. I’m willing to be persuaded otherwise, but for the moment I think it’s true.

Thankfully it doesn’t have to be like this. Especially when it comes to gadgets. I know a lot of people are absolutely enthralled by and passionate about technology (it is, after all, the practical witchcraft of this age). But we can try to remember that in order to be part of this group, I do not have to diminish another group.

It also helps to remember that these are companies. They don’t care about you; they care about your money. Why in the world would you declare strong allegiance to a platform or a product made by a company? It seems to me as if you’ve dehumanised yourself in some way with that act of allegiance. Leaving aside the dehumanisation and denigration of the other, how about the dehumanisation and denigration of the self?

Strangers in a Strange Land

I have a few friends on Facebook now. Not very many. 170 or so. I think that’s pretty excessive, but I’m too lazy to actually do anything about it. Most of my feed is composed of stuff I don’t really care about by people I don’t really know. But I’m okay with that. I don’t really use Facebook except as a curiosity machine.

I imagine I’d have a lot more Facebook friends if I was born 10 years later than I was. If I popped out around 1990 or so. I’d be 20 right now.

I went through my email contacts the other day. That’s a list of people I actually care about, and the list was far too long. It was clogging up my phone. Again, I’m lazy, so I don’t like to have to search for contacts. I like to scroll and just have them all there within scrolling distance.

I deleted a lot of people I used to have at least semi-frequent contact with. Three churches worth of people, countless youth conferences, church camps, young adults mailing lists, the whole nine yards. I was pretty gregarious. I transcended denominational boundaries.

Not a lot of long-term relationships, though. I’m down to 50 contacts, and I’m pretty sure there are few more I could get rid of there.

I checked the call log on my phone the other day. I regularly talk to 2 numbers. That’s the signal. Everything else is noise.

Strange. It turns out that the people I used to know don’t keep in touch any more. I guess they’re just not computer literate or whatever, maybe they never have been. I use social media and email for most of my communication, and I don’t mean just most of my online communication. I mean all of my communication, period. That’s my modality. That’s how I work.

The people I’m still friends with work the same way. There are very few of them, and we’re mostly separated from each other by geography.

Other than that, there’s the people at work, none of whom I’m particularly good friends with, and my family, who I become better and better friends with over the years. I see more of them than I do of that group of friends (remember that?) who swore up and down that no matter what, we’d stay friends.

I read a bit of text the other day. It was from Colin Mochrie talking about his friendship with Ryan Stiles. He said that they don’t stay in contact with each other very much but when they do they reconnect as if they’ve never left off. I suppose this is the way most of use work now.

The circumstances we met under, the circles we moved in, all of this is temporary and transitory. We move and change and go places. We could use the wonders of technology to stay in touch, but we don’t. The reality is that we don’t care as much as we used to. We’ve moved on to other circles, to other circumstances.

I’m still trying to make up my mind if I’m okay with that or not. Mostly, I’m ambivalent. Mostly, I’m okay with my circumstances and circles. They grow, they shrink, they change over the years. But if you’re ever asking yourself if I remember the old times, the answer is yes. I do. I miss them, in a way. I really don’t miss them at all, in another.

I suppose we could all get together in a few years, go to that bar or that coffee shop, sit down and shoot the shit for a while. It would probably be a nice reunion.

Or we could remain strangers in a strange land. That’s okay too.

Something happens. Or else, something does not happen.

Back in the day I used to blog about my life. It wasn’t anything grand, really. No very deep thoughts. Just some observations. Things to remember and so forth.

I don’t do that anymore.

I used to call this a personal narrative. But it never really was. I wasn’t writing to me. I was writing to me plus you and whoever else. And with the demise of blogs in general, with the audience disappearing, with the interaction gone, so was I.

That’s one story. Here’s another:

I used to call this a personal narrative. When I look back on what I wrote as my personal narrative, I realised the story sucked. There wasn’t much going on. Anything worth writing about would have to be tangential to my life story, and then it’s not so much a personal narrative but a collection of things I wanted to write about at any given moment. And why do that? What’s the value?

Or another:

I used to take myself too seriously. I used to take life itself too seriously. It’s easy to write about the things you take seriously. But when you stop taking life so seriously, you stop writing about it.

There is some truth to each of these stories, I think. Most things have more than one reason.

This morning I read a very insightful, very beautifully written piece of blogging by a friend. Not a close friend. But a friend. She wrote about her life in a way that made me feel, which is a rare thing.

Whenever I see someone do something wonderful, I want to do that wonderful thing as well.

I want to make you feel something. If that’s not too much to ask.

So maybe I’ll take up writing again, writing more often, more personally. Or maybe I’ll do none of those things. I never know how I’ll feel about that wonderful thing a few days later.

Or as Paul Auster says,

Something happens. Or else, something does not happen. A body moves. Or else, it does not move. And if it moves, something begins to happen. And even if it does not move, something begins to happen.