Bottles in the sea: online communication and the receiver with a thousand faces
“...but if we want the potential benefits to become real it's essential that we focus on less funny things and make efforts towards greater complexities and new contacts with unknown ideas.”
It's common to discover a new hobby or unusual subjects and when we search for them on the internet we soon discover many pages and communities dedicated to them. Despite being small sometimes they're composed by people from many countries sharing the same interest. Specialized fóruns can be disorganized but they also have a surpring amount of information coming from people who share their knowledge for free, sometimes inadvertently, giving the internet it's fame of having all kinds of informations at a very low cost, if any.
As sealed bottles with messages floating in the sea waiting for the casual meeting when the comunication will finally abandon it's mere pontential state, being on the internet doesn't mean it'll be accessed since there's always barriers like search engines, content agregators and the market tactics used by social media to enforce payment if the creator wants to reach his audience. Even though these do not deny the access they can strongly restrict the contact with a wider public. It's excessively optimistic to say that everything can be found on the internet, but the internet at least touches everything. Here we reproduce our connections from outside of it, therefore there's the possibility for any content, even if it depends on other aspects to leverage it's relevance.
To realize this idea of the internet free content is, by chance, to see that which is trivial or familiar to you being the unexpected and rare for others. To share your own experience and knowledge publicly, even in a limited medium to this kind of interaction, already is a way of making things more accessible. Specially because it's not necessarily a copy of something to the internet, but a true reelaboration of this subject and, therefore, dependent on who is doing it. This reformulation must ensure that the final result will be comprehensible for most people, even those who don't have the tools to reach it by themselves, making it better to lose something in translation than to allow the worries with the details block the possible dialog.
Umberto Eco considered his unread books an essential part of his personal library – containing 30 thousand books – because they were a potential research material and a clear reminder of how much he still had to learn. The posts seen but not read and the critics of books the reader may not know, as can happen here, also allow this curiosity that far from replacing the original work and profound studies, works as a intermediary for those who don't want or don't have the oportunity to reach these works and books. For those who read it's always a challenge and a invitation to devote some thoughts to it again.
With the virtual realities came the supposition that someday we'll abandon this real life as we know it, but the digital and the internet are extensions as real as the “analog” version of our existence and cannot be separated from our other life experiencies, which we still mistake to understand while insisting in considering it as something much different from our online existence. This care doesn't exclude the entertainment and the lightness common to our online interactions, but if we want the potential benefits to become real it's essential that we focus on less funny things and make efforts towards greater complexities and new contacts with unknown ideas, even if it generates that feeling of discomfort, even if it means to put aside the Facebook.
It's hard because we already do it in our daily lives, we deprive ourselves of so much in our efforts around our obligations and expectations both personal and professional that the internet appears as a relaxing tool after these harsh goals. But we also do this even despite the obligation, we spend money and time on books, parties, art, movies, theater and music and the benefits aren't tangible as in other materialistic situations. There's no clear exchange besides the experience and the contact with the work of others. Still, we keep doing it because living is also to assume that things like personal analysis, philosophy, interior reflections and imersion in art and other people's minds with the same fears, anxieties and joys are more urgent than the cheap mindless entertainment, our jobs and hedonistic pleasures, and this is the reflection we need to develop to fully enjoy our own potential with the internet.
As content creators – and in apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook we all are creators – the seduction, the tempting invitation to meet new ideas, as religions and political parties knows and teaches us very well, this invitation must seduce, convince, persuade the other to take a look at our ideas. That's the function of beauty, music, design, simple dialog, sense of community and the gratuity, be it apparent or not, in these institutions. But if their methods works then we aren't talking about condemning religions and politics because they're so good at convincing people and ploriferating their ideas. The important is that people with better proposals should pay more attention to these details, specially because many of them deem it to be vulgar or superfluous, because disarming the other and making them listen is as important as having something valuable to say.
Due to the constant dispute for our attention we end up bombarded without mercy, from Whatsapp to Instagram, cat videos, breaking news, memes, events, messages, everything fighting for our focus and this environment by itself make it harder for any attempt of a serious personal enhacement. In this virtual reality rises a service that we already know to be essential in our lives, that of the curator. Museums, galleries, literary fairs, libraries and even movie theathers, all of them act as curators, despite not always providing what we need, they allow us to navigate a complex body of work and thought while freeing us from the efforts of the specialist and the critic. Wikipedia, Google and Youtube are indeed important, but the curator can show us what we should be searching there and also convince us to give this step towards personal and intelectual knowledge.
I write from this position, as a writer and also a curator of the few things I have to share, but that I must share. From the responsiblity of giving back the learning oportunities I had, and still have, to benefit others, but also conscious of the hardships involved in sending a message to someone, hardships that I know well since they're also mine. The Pantagruelista is back with the same objective, a trustworthy and well curated content about philosophy, literature and art and the introduction of ideas capable of interrupting our mental homeostasis and this time with renewed energy to create this fertile state of cognitive entropy.