It was the history of this term I had in mind when I got engaged in a discussion about the effects of Facebook, Twitter, and the like over at The Thin Veil.
Brandon Vogt, the blog's author, talks up this book by Nicholas Carr titled The Shallows. Brandon and Mr. Carr's opinion is that internet social media erodes our connection between personality and the body, thus destroying or preventing real relationships. To put it in Brandon's words, "most people use social media to have relationships devoid of physicality because physicality brings it with it so many other demands: the sacrifice of meeting at someone somewhere, the awkwardness of body language, the demystifying of physical appearance, etc."
I don't disagree! He puts his case very well! I just think it should be framed in context of the term "person." Meaning, I agree that social media such as facebook "overall . . . stands firm against physical relationships, and more so against all things physical," but I think that this is just practical evidence of social media participating in secular society's gradual erosion of our understanding of the term "person," and society's gradual destruction of an appreciation for the intrinsic value of the "person."
The below is a comment (with some edits) I made in the discussion. Most of the discussion with Brandon Vogt was destroyed when Blogger experienced their little Ground Hog day reset. Click the link to his blog above to see his reply!
"Over at Dr. Stacy's blog, Accepting Abundance she quotes an essay by one Scott Gilbert. The quote struck me as a positive addition to our debate.
"In my eyes, the person who equates the death of a microscopic clump of human cells with the agony of a gassed Jew who has seen his family members, community, culture, and body systematically destroyed, has lost all moral authority."I think this quote very well demonstrates the arbitrary-value system that you and I both know inheres in the modern secular man. I quote this, because he is basing the intrinsic worth of an individual on that individual's experience of society.
This is exactly what facebook, twitter, etc. has the danger of doing. Teaching society that worth is dependent upon the robustness of one's experience with society.
I think it telling that there are so many pictures of parties, and travels, and adventures on everyone's facebook profile. It is a given, people upload their personality into the internet, but I really don't think the seperation of the personality from your body is the issue!
Why? Because facebook is frequently used to encourage physical activity. That and twitter are where you post updates to the game, updates about the party, pictures to explain yourself, expose yourself, and draw others in (perhaps?) to your lifestyle.
When you're on facebook and get agitated with a brother, sister, son, daughter, husband or wife, you aren't getting agitated at them because of the disconnect between personality and body, but because of the disconnect between your understanding of the value of a person, and the actual value of a given person.
You get annoyed when you get distracted, because your sense of worth, and the worth and closeness of your friend is tied up in social experience. Someone is only worth your time and energy if the activities of their social life appeal to you, i.e. possess the cool factor, or the novelty factor.
As a result of facebook, twitter, etc. the beauty of monotony loses its color, and you behave as if there is no universal intrinsic value of a human person, you behave as if socialization is everything.