• Shawn
    10.7k
    Failure to achieve a stable identity and role in life predate the Internet.Bitter Crank

    And yet, I contest, that it's exacerbated by the internet.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.7k
    And yet, I contest, that it's exacerbated by the internet.Wallows

    People have been contending that one thing exacerbates something else for a long time: the deleterious influences of cheap pulp novels on youth in the Victorian Period, or the higher hem lines and dances of the 1920s, or the lewd and lascivious scenes in the movies of the 1930s, or the anti-communist hysteria of the 1950s, or the horror of hippies in the 1960s, or violence on TV in the 1980s, or video games in the 1990s, and so on.

    It is not the case that there could be no relationship between violence on TV and violent behavior in real life, or that playing violent video games could have no effect on adolescent-adult behavior, or that viewing pornography never or always has good or bad consequences.

    The problem is that providing strong proof, never mind proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt, of a definite connection between this or that type of media and actual social or personal problems has proved impossible. And a hell of a lot of time, energy, ink, and paper has gone into the effort.

    Some behaviors have more proven consequences. We know that sexually abusing children is more likely to result in the child being a sexual abuser when he or she reaches adulthood. We know that exposing children to lead has deleterious effects on intelligence and behavior. These sorts of relationships are relatively easy to demonstrate.
  • Shawn
    10.7k
    On the Wikipedia page regarding Identity Formation, there is listed a rather straightforward breakdown of identity formation in the young.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identity_formation

    James Marcia created a structural interview designed to classify adolescents into one of four statuses of identity. The identity statuses are used to describe and pinpoint the progression of an adolescent's identity formation process. In James Marcia's theory, the operational definition of identity is whether an individual has explored various alternatives and made firm commitments to: an occupation, religion, sexual orientation and a set of political values.

    The four identity statuses in James Marcia's theory are:[6]

    Identity Diffusion (also known as Role Confusion): This is the opposite of identity achievement. The individual has not yet resolved their identity crisis, failing to commit to any goals or values and establish future life direction. In adolescents, this stage is characterized by disorganized thinking, procrastination, and avoidance of issues and action.[5]

    Identity Foreclosure: This occurs when teenagers accept traditional values and cultural norms, rather than determining their own values. In other words, the person conforms to an identity without exploration as to what really suits them best. For instance, teenagers might follow the values and roles of their parents or cultural norms. They might also foreclose on a negative identity, the direct opposite of their parent's values or cultural norms.[5]

    Identity Moratorium: This postpones identity achievement by providing temporary shelter. This status provides opportunities for exploration, either in breadth or in depth. Examples of moratoria common in American society include college or the military.[5]

    Identity Achievement: This status is attained when the person has solved the identity issues by making commitments to goals, beliefs and values after extensive exploration of different areas.
    James Marcia

    In the above analysis, I believe unrestrained use of the internet leads most often to Identity Diffusion, with an added component of Identity Moratorium. What do others think of this?
  • T Clark
    4.2k


    People have been contending that one thing exacerbates something else for a long time: the deleterious influences of cheap pulp novels on youth in the Victorian Period, or the higher hem lines and dances of the 1920s, or the lewd and lascivious scenes in the movies of the 1930s, or the anti-communist hysteria of the 1950s, or the horror of hippies in the 1960s, or violence on TV in the 1980s, or video games in the 1990s, and so on.Bitter Crank

    I'm with BC. I remember when I was a a teenager. I was very unhappy. Very. I had all the symptoms listed in the Wikipedia article. We didn't have the internet, or facebook, or virtual reality. Well, we did have VR - I created it myself in my fevered brain. So, are things worse now? The WP article doesn't indicate that the studies referenced establish that. It also doesn't indicate whether they control for user selection, i.e. are fucked up kids more likely to use FB than more successful ones?

    I really don't like facebook. It seems kind of creepy. Mostly, it just doesn't work for me. Other things on the internet and other new media are wonderful. Texting, iphone photography, and email have greatly improved the ease of keeping contact with people I like and love. As an engineer, the ease of getting information from the web has made me better at my job. I'm a really crappy photographer, but I love taking pictures of things going on in my life and sending them out to my family and friends.

    So, anyway. Hell in a handbasket. right @Bitter Crank
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    @Wallows

    I'm not sure this is completely relevant, but I thought you might be interested. Christopher Lasch was a social philosopher who wrote about how family structure and technology affect the structure of people's minds from a sociological rather than psychological perspective. He died in the early 90s, before the internet and facebook, but his writings came to mind when I was reading your posts.

    That would be interesting to know - how have the internet and associated media changed the structure of people's minds? And how much of that change is caused by indirect factors - such as changes in the family - rather than the direct effects of the new media itself?
  • Bitter Crank
    8.7k
    Our ancestors -- from hunter gatherers to 20th century immigrants getting off the boat at Ellis Island -- all survived the crises of identity formation and more. How did these billions of people manage to accomplish this amazing feat? One advantage they had was ignorance of all the possibilities for dysfunction of which we are well informed and to which we think ourselves doomed.

    I'm not making light of individual struggles; they are real and can be strenuously difficult. My own process of identity resolution was as unsightly an affair as most people's, if not more so.

    How do we all get through it?

    Time pushes us forward, for one thing. We mature physically and mentally (ready or not), society makes demands on us ("Get a job, you lazy bum!" or "Your grades are slipping, you'd better crack the books!") and so we do. One fine day we realise we are all grown up, the crises resolved or not, and we get on with it.

    "Getting on with it" doesn't mean we are all-well-adjusted, fulfilled, highly productive, role-appropriate, sensible people. Many of us aren't. We don't have to be. Like @T Clark's good enough parenting we do well to achieve "good enough adulthood". "Good enough adulthood" is hard enough. If one can achieve excellence in adulthood, fine. We'll award you a blue ribbon. A blue ribbon and 50¢ won't get you a cup of coffee.

    Getting to the grave gracefully and not too early is par. Enjoy life as much as possible along the way.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    "Getting on with it" doesn't mean we are all-well-adjusted, fulfilled, highly productive, role-appropriate, sensible people. Many of us aren't. We don't have to be. Like T Clark's good enough parenting we do well to achieve "good enough adulthood". "Good enough adulthood" is hard enough. If one can achieve excellence in adulthood, fine. We'll award you a blue ribbon. A blue ribbon and 50¢ won't get you a cup of coffee.Bitter Crank

    One of my favorite poems - Aunt Celia 1961 by Carl Dennis. Here's a link:
    https://books.google.com/books?id=VHB9RDHiEuUC&pg=PA171&lpg=PA171&dq=Aunt+celia+1961&source=bl&ots=Bi0T-LmUaq&sig=ACfU3U0b2JelRzHFD856_46PZFnJkvKjVw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiBpsf_mo_jAhVkT98KHRL6AA0Q6AEwCnoECAYQAQ#v=onepage&q=Aunt%20celia%201961&f=false

    Last stanza:

    People will tell you there are many good lives
    Waiting for everyone, each fine in its own way.
    And maybe they’re right, but in my opinion
    One is miles above the others.
    Otherwise it wouldn’t have been so clear to me
    When I found it. Otherwise those who lack it
    Wouldn’t be able to tell so clearly it’s missing
    As they go on living as best they can
    Without complaining. Noble lives, and beautiful,
    And happy as much as doing well can make them.

    But as for the happiness that can’t be earned,
    The kind it makes no sense for you to look for,
    That’s something different.


    My bold. Not a long poem. Worth a read. He's a mid-westerner like you and he has what I think of as a very mid-western sensibility. Like you.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    @Bitter Crank

    By the way - I first heard the poem on the radio on "The Writer's Almanac," hosted by another good mid-western boy I know you are familiar with.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.7k
    It's a good poem. I am familiar. That midwestern boy has pretty much disappeared, not by his own choosing. Banished and erased, more like it, by the moguls at MN Public Radio whose various enterprises reach pretty deeply into the public radio scene across the country.

    The capacity of social media to wreak vengeance on those who cross the wrong line in the sand (there are so many lines...) is great. Keillor's erasure didn't require the Internet; radio and television networks or film studios have always had the power to pull the plug on a show or a performer. What the Internet can do via social media is amplify any voices organised enough to start a wave of negative comment. Institutions of all kinds live in dread of being targeted, so they react to any potential negative spin really quickly.

    There is another factor having nothing to do with the Internet: Institutions (whether commercial or non-profit) work very hard to control their identities in the market place. Individuals without a lot of money can't really play this game. Corporations changing their names, logos, and advertising is an example. Phillip Morris Tobacco became Altria. They still sell tobacco, of course. Weight Watchers switched to WW with the tagline “Wellness that Works.” Apparently being associated with fat people wasn't good even for them. Lucky and Gold Star Corporation changed their name to LG. "Life's good." IBM doesn't make many computers anymore, but at least they haven't changed their name. Kraft and Heinz haven't become KHZ Corp. yet, anyway.
  • T Clark
    4.2k


    GK always struck me as a prickly person who maybe wasn't exactly as nice as the character he played. On the other hand - Prairie Home Companion was a truly wonderful program for an unreasonably long period of time. And it was all his. I don't mean his co-contributors weren't also wonderful, but he was the heart, soul, and brain. It was the projection of him - who he is and who he wanted people to think he is - up onto a large screen. I remember when I first started listening in the 1970s. I couldn't believe something could be so good.
  • NOS4A2
    3.3k


    Just to add, “social media” seems a grave misnomer. It is more “anti-social media” than anything social, because we are literally interacting with screens and not human beings. Perhaps this adds to the detrimental effect.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    Just to add, “social media” seems a grave misnomer. It is more “anti-social media” than anything social, because we are literally interacting with screens and not human beings. Perhaps this adds to the detrimental effect.NOS4A2

    Is this forum included as social media? I find this a very social place. I've made friends. I share personal information. We are a community. The opportunity for this type of interaction with people doesn't replace my relationships with my face to face friends and family, but it's a nice addition.
  • fdrake
    3.6k
    Is this forum included as social media? I find this a very social place. I've made friends. I share personal information. We are a community. The opportunity for this type of interaction with people doesn't replace my relationships with my face to face friends and family, but it's a nice addition.T Clark

    I think it's a special interest social space. It's definitely social, and definitely media, but it doesn't behave in the aggregate like Twitter and the likes do. Especially since we value long form responses, and our associations are based more on being interested in each others' ideas, research and other products than our larger lives.

    Of course, it's difficult not to feel fond of those you want to read. :)
  • Bitter Crank
    8.7k
    Just to add, “social media” seems a grave misnomer. It is more “anti-social media” than anything social, because we are literally interacting with screens and not human beings. Perhaps this adds to the detrimental effect.NOS4A2

    True, interacting with people in the way that this forum operates is not quite the same as sitting down for lunch together. But then, neither is writing a letter (and the recipient reading it), nor is talking on the telephone. People have been communicating electronically since about 1850, first with the telegraph. Telegraphing became an essential activity for many people almost immediately. Business operators, of course, but soon ordinary people found reasons for fast communications: "wll arriv denver noon 7-3 stgcch from golden stop" Over those 170 years we've added more electronics, but it's all pretty much the same: a message carried over wires or fibre optics.

    What I really disliked about FaceBook is that it pushes way too much stuff at one's attention. It's to immersive. I prefer to pull information when I feel like it, rather than having it pushed. Here one has to pull information. TPF doesn't send messages like "Hey, SlyWeasel just got banned!" "TClark just responded to fdrake!
12Next
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.