I have always had a nagging generalized sense of suspicion around everything that is Facebook and social media related and I am suddenly able to pin point with more precision the reasons for it.
The Like button is evil and has to die!
Like comes straight from 1984 Newspeak, it is ugly, poor, superficial and frankly sad shorthand for too many concepts that we are obviously too lazy to express in full.
Like has been stretched to mean more than the verb “to like’ means. Or, more accurately, verbs that express many disparate concepts have been squeezed to fit into little I Like. While t is totally appropriate for me to say I Like about your favorite gnocchi recipe, movie or book, a little more nuance is required to properly reply to statements like “This group of presidential candidates is made of bumbling, illiterate, warmongering, idiotic baboons”. Although I strongly agree with this statement, I really don’t like the possibility, no matter how remote, of having one of these bumbling, illiterate, warmongering, idiotic baboons reside in the White House.
Even worse, I have seen people like statements such as “My mother is undergoing a dangerous surgery procedure, please keep her in your thoughts.” Hopefully the many likes this particular post received were meant to imply “I am sorry to hear these sad news about your mother’s health. I will keep you both in my thoughts and I hope that she recovers soon” rather than the unlikely but logically correct interpretation “I like the fact that your mother is sick.” Talk about impoverished language and just sheer laziness! We are voluntarily shrinking our vocabulary and therefore our brains not because an evil Party and a Big Brother are forcing us, but because it is cool and everybody else does it.
Orwell lamented a similar communication and self-expression indolence in his time. Since Orwell, and long before him, many a theory have been generated about the connection between the richness and structure of a language and the culture and thought process of its speakers and we now have proof that the language we learn to speak as children determines how we think.
(see for example HOW DOES OUR LANGUAGE SHAPE THE WAY WE THINK? by Lera Boroditsky)
Is it possible that our society is in fact getting more ignorant, stupid and lazy? It would certainly help explain why Americans are not really that worried by the fact that the republican party cannot produce anything better than a bumbling baboon to represent them. I suppose that if they were to really think about it, it would hurt too much.
In conclusion, Liking is making us stupid. We need to stop it
If you agree, please Like this post and share it on Facebook.