Common Sense Comes to Town!

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have. (Descartes)

A Few Thoughts on Anonymity

Posted on | November 6, 2011 | No Comments

The multiplicity of social media has also brought about a ceaseless flow of anonymous accounts, false avatars and identity thieves of all kinds. While the phenomenon in itself isn’t new, it has been put in a new light in the Internet era. The questions it raises however remain the same.

Why do we still need to act anonymously in the age of Freedom of Speech? Some will invoke security reasons. It is true that in some parts of the world the right to free speech isn’t quite what it should be; anonymous denunciations have a long history. Sometimes however this need for safety comes from the subversive character of the actions mentions or performed under the guise of anonymity. The hackers’ collective Anonymous thus goes about its stuff following its own code of ethics (as far as it really as a well-defined one…) without really caring for actual laws. Anonymity results from the discomfort between our opposition to actual rules and the recognition of this social taboo which prevents us from taking the administration of justice in our own hands.

But not everyone has a quest; many rebels without a cause create false personalities in order to avoid the consequences of their words. The lack of physical interaction is reinterpreted as license to express oneself is hurtful, even libellous fashion without a care for the impact of these words. Underlying this discourse is a strange need for self-promotion. In spite of the fact that one can be perfectly conscious of the discomfort created by one’s discourse, it remains necessary to state it in the open, to be recognized or even supported by others.

The desire to express ideas and feelings is quite laudable. But isn’t anonymity in the end the incapacity to triumph over taboos created by either our environment or us? A sign that the reality we live in is out of phase with the reality we desire, but that the desire to survive has taken over the desire to live?

Anonymity thus becomes the sacrifice of authenticity. What do you think?


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