The Social Media Mullet: What Would Philosophers Think of Social Media? Part 4

Make Me Social’s Phil Grech named his blog The Social Media Mullet because, like the hairstyle, it will discuss the fusion of “business” and “casual” under the banner of online communications.

I just returned from a philosophy conference in New Orleans, the New Orleans Workshop on Agency and Responsibility (NOWAR). I am pretty sure the topics discussed (primarily agency, responsibility, determinism and free will) are topics that do not interest most people; in fact, I am pretty sure most ideas and concepts that philosophers discuss do not interest most people.

What’s interesting to note is that so much of the work done by philosophers, many of whose names are not known by the average person, have had major and profound impacts on all of our lives, from how our government is run to the opinions, ideas and discussions that we have over lunch.

In this post, I want to talk about Hegel with a brief mention of Schopenhauer. Honestly, I shouldn’t even bother trying to write about Hegel. He is one of the most difficult philosophers to read. Regardless, I’m feeling a little gutsy, so I’m going to chance it.

Hegel believed that the Ideal is a particular manifestation of the Geist (German for spirit); the Ideal is a totality and each particular reflects the nature of the whole. Furthermore, you need the totality in order to have self-definition.

If you’re still reading, you’re probably wondering what that has to do with Social Media, or what it means at all. For one, with sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, we can express our individuality and show ourselves as unique identities in the world of Social Media. By expressing ourselves as individuals (the particular), we gain a broader understanding of ourselves in relation to others (the universal).

This is similar to a loose interpretation of Schopenhauer’s Principium Individuationis (Latin for the Principle of Individuation) where we define ourselves as individuals. Again, we have a deeper understanding of the whole when we look at the particular. Trust me, that’s really interesting stuff.

If Hegel was still alive, he’d have a friend request waiting for him directly from me. I would be interested in a deeper understanding on his ideas of phenomenology (now that would be a lengthy comment thread). Come to think of it, there are a lot of philosophers I would befriend on Facebook, follow on Twitter and network with on LinkedIn: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, Lao Tzu, Nietzsche, Adorno, Derrida, and of course the father of Modern Philosophy, DesCartes.

Let’s conclude with a quote that DesCartes may have said, Reticulo Ergo Sum, meaning, “I network therefore I am.” Get online, show the world who you are, and gain a broader, deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you.

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Phil Grech is a Content Manager for Make Me Social. He published his first book, “Don’t Waste Your Hands”, in 2009. He studied English and Philosophy at Flagler College. In his spare time, he reads, works out, gardens and searches for good conversation.

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