In summary, we are not disembodied minds, but touchable bodies, and who we are is inextricably tangled up with our physicality. We should ditch our phones and learn to live in our skins, again. These are our biological communication systems, highly attuned to the semiotics of intonation and accent, of facial expression and body-language; alert to the implications of eye-line and eye contact, of touch and smell, of clothes – their cut and fashion (Are they new? Stained? Ironed?); our companions’ social context: how they act and talk in groups (are they confident, shy, attentive, domineering?); how and where somebody sits or moves around a room; how they approach you; the things they own; how generous they are; the sort of tea or coffee they offer you, or the food – how they make it: how skilfully prepared and what it tastes like; how they laugh; how they hug you; how they kiss…
Online we are nothing but insubstantial ghosts, wailing and gibbering on the wind. Look at me, on this blog!
Is it any wonder that, in this miasma of incorporeal, source-less voices and images, that truth, honesty and sincerity should wither away? Nothing is more, or less, true than anything else in a world made up entirely of voices, of unverifiable assertions and verbal inventions. You are the words that you say you are. Is it surprising that colonies of falsehoods, conspiracy theories and weird, nonsensical, self-contradictory beliefs (that your gender is optional but you are compelled to choose it; that only white people can make racist generalisations) should settle and thrive, should spread vigorously through the net like mould through bread?
And should we be surprised if this protean, morphing, uncertain medium should breed unease, uncertainty and suspicion, that it should hide and protect marauding bands of bigots; that it should foster schism, conflict, hatred?