Living in the underground

For thousands of years we have lived in the sunlight. By sunlight I’m referring  not to the actual sunlight, but to the space of meeting between human beings which was the natural locus of life.

Because there was no technology and no organizations in the modern meaning of the word to mediate between individuals, they were forced to meet and to make life happen in real life encounters. But as social life grew more complex and technology came on the scene, life has undergone radical changes. I used  “undergone” on purpose, because, indeed, it may be said that life has gone underground.

Life as we live it today is no longer taking place in the sunlight, but in the underground of a very complicated social-technological world. Take me, for example. Before modern age, if I wanted to make myself heard, I would have been forced to go into the public square and shout at the passers-by. Today, I can sit comfortably in my Swedish chair and use the internet to shout at the world. Of course, I have no reason to believe that somebody will actually hear me, but the very fact that I cannot know this for sure and the fact that the web (world wide web) is practically spreading all over the world, gives me the naïve faith that my voice will have some kind of echo. Because Google, arguably one of the most entities in the world, has not as yet taken notice of me, I have to rely on Facebook to enhance visibility.

Now that I’ve mentioned Facebook, the thought comes into mind that this is one of the most prolific forms that the underground has taken. I no longer need to speak to a close friend about what’s troubling me, because now I can let the whole Facebook community know what’s up merely by updating my status. Unlike the toxic and useless World of Warcraft or even Second Life, Facebook has managed to build a fully respectable reputation for what is just another instance of the underground. This is not to say that the underground is bad. As in the case of the metro (subway) network, it turns out that all the modern life forms that function in the underground are highly efficient. It’s just that they lack sunlight.


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