Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Comic Strip
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."
Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.
Monday, February 20, 2012
The internet, honesty, and inhibition
I ran across an interesting column in the online Wall Street Journal on Sunday. It was about how "we" behave on the internet. Especially on those social networking websites. The writer (Matt Ridley) makes a good point. And he uses some examples and comparisons I thought useful and provocative.
In many monkeys and apes, face-to-face contact is essentially antagonistic. Staring is a threat. A baboon that fails to avert its eyes when stared at by a social superior is, in effect, mounting a challenge. Appeasing a dominant animal is an essential skill for any chimpanzee wishing to avoid a costly fight. Put two monkey strangers in a cage and they keep well apart, avoid eye contact and generally do their utmost to avoid triggering a fight. Put two people in an elevator and the same thing happens—with some verbal grooming to relieve the tension: "Cold out there today."
I already knew something about this from personal experience with a monkey when I was around 5 (Smiling Faces).
But he went further because he was writing about how we overcome our inhibitions online because it is not a face-to-face confrontation. What we wouldn't say to a person standing in front of us, we are more than willing to say to a faceless stranger on the internet.
I am as guilty as anyone. I engage in comment-debates which are more accurately called arguments.
And the comments below Mr. Ridley's column proved his point. You can read his column here. I recommend you also read the comments.