I keep arguing with the automaton of bronze about the theory that popularity is consuming everything, which I feel is wrong in a number of important ways and yet has enough to recommend it as an avenue of investigation that I should really get around to making my own bastardised version that I can bother other people with.
I would probably start with the analogy of saying look at the French court at Versailles, or for that matter the court of the Han emperors, and the kind of behaviours that were rewarded and those that were punished, then change the frame to a high school, or a large corporation, or an online forum.
there are going to be common elements of status games, witch hunts, crowds with pitchforks and the occasional utter sociopath, but exactly how it gets expressed is going to differ depending on the conditions of the local terrain.
According to the non-bastardized theory, of course, investigation of the court of Versailles will find a more rational, less popularity driven society than the modern age, and looking at the court of the Han emperors you will find something still more reasonable and less driven by mindless pursuit of popularity, since entropy always increases and never decreases (i.e., must be higher in 2018 than in 1718, and higher in 1718 than 118) and death is the only escape.
(When were humans at their peak of rationality? It seems like it should probably occur when human brains have evolved into cognitive modernity, but near the beginning of the popularity-entropy slide. Maybe around 40,000 B.C.?)
it was communication technology as exemplified by Twitter that created the irreversible critical mass state that makes it impossible for entropy to decrease
before that time, the entropy levels of every group of people were not so closely linked, and if something’s entropy was too high it could collapse and be replaced by something that was low entropy
but we can never uninvent Twitter, so entropy cannot decrease any more, and it is consuming everything very quickly in a way impossible to reverse because it’s impossible to get human beings to take action against status games, and status games can no longer cause something to become irrelevant and destroyed
it took generations for a community or organization to be utterly usurped by status games, now it takes three to nine months
I said this several times
Yeah, but… this isn’t the first time that a communication technology’s gotten overtly smug or political or status-oriented. Clickbait-style journalism was around in the Twenties, even if it wasn’t called clickbait; that’s how William Randolph Hearst got rich. It ended then and it’ll end now. People don’t need to burn Twitter down, they just need to get bored or frustrated and tune out.
I don’t have a Twitter account, but half the people I know have stopped using Facebook’s core social-media features (as opposed to e.g. using Facebook Messenger as an ersatz AIM or using Facebook’s picture storage as an ersatz Photobucket). Using those features in the wrong social circles exposes you to a vicious feeding frenzy of hand-wringing and pearl-clutching, but the thing is, no one in the history of ever has asked “why don’t you get in more fights on Facebook?”, so the many people that don’t enjoy feeding frenzies are taking the obvious exit. Which makes the remaining ones more frenzied, which pushes more of them out. That looks like ever-increasing entropy if you just look at your Facebook feed, but what you’re not seeing is the low-entropy people that don’t post status updates anymore.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t care about Twitter.
It matters if Twitter notices something you like, something that makes life slightly more tolerable. Because if they do, that something is going to go away. It will be usurped by power games and nothing you can possibly do will stop it.
I still use RPGs as my counter to this. RPGs have been deemed problematic because they’re enjoyed by weird people who are racist, sexist and ableist and it just
it does not matter to me in any way.
My collection is already on my shelves, my friends already know me, what are they gonna do? Cry on WotC forums? Watch me give zero fucks.