5 Sacks Adrienne
I took a walk early this morning and saw a gaggle of geese walking down the hill.
Geese walk down the hill
While discussing Japanese hedonism this week, I found myself particularly interested in the idea of anonymity and how it contributes to a hedonistic, or pleasure seeking, attitude. The modern age in Japan started when people spent less time in small areas with close family and friends and spent more time traveling and spending time with strangers in bathhouses, barber shops, and brothels (Inouye, Lecture 2/19/14). Interestingly, these activities (washing, cutting one’s hair, and sex) are all things one could have done privately and perhaps even more ritualistically, but the Japanese abandoned these practices in search of modernity. The theme of seeking connectedness among strangers with technology as a means to said end has repeated itself throughout the course of history. I have grown up in an age when people post pictures of their wives in labor for a thousand distant “friends” to see, give live stream-of-consciousness updates on Twitter, and seek out love in anonymous chat rooms. In short, the internet is the new brothel. The “connectedness” the internet provides is a mere allusion. If most people fear the feeling of getting lost and vast anonymity makes people feel that way, why have generations of people in Eastern and Western culture continued to act the same way? Perhaps when people are anonymous, for example, in a brothel or online, they find themselves recognizing that they are more or less among strangers, and feel comfortable sharing intimate thoughts, feelings, and behaviors because there is little risk of backfire. While being open, giving, and sharing, are key to a feeling of intimacy, the reactions of people who are uninvested in the long-term effects of your life are not rewarding. But, it appears this paradoxical behavior is a trap of human nature. Perhaps the more “modern” a society becomes, the less a part of society the people feel.