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What hath Zuckerberg wrought?


My opinion

on Facebook

is just one of a quadrillion opinions.


However, my opinion

is as valid as

the other


although a bit stranger.


Facebook is advertised as a social network,

a supposed tool for social intercourse.


We supposedly are acting in a social manner.


Yet there is something missing

that drastically damages

that face-to-face interaction.


It is the actual face of the other.


I call on

the 20th century philosopher

Emmanuelis Levinas

(12 January 1906 – 25 December 1995)






(From Wikipedia)

to assist me

in my need to clarify.


Levinas’ message

“when one person looks upon another’s face

the gazer feels an immediate empathy

for the other.”


That empathy may turn into complete

suppression of self-interest.


The observer does something

completely out of character

and performs a charitable act

that benefits the other.


This is because of the very personal

face-to-face situation.


One of his examples comes from a novel

Levinas read years prior.


The scene depicts a German lady

who immediately hates a Russian soldier

the minute she sees him.


The soldier is removing partially decomposed bodies

of fellow Russian soldiers,

that are the result of the WWII Russian invasion of Germany.


As the German lady, who is in rags,

and has only one loaf of bread to her name,

looks into the Russian’s face

her rage subsides.


She sees him as a human being

who is suffering

in his work

as much as she is suffering from poverty.


This face-to-face encounter

causes a complete turnaround of her rage.


She hands him her only possession,

her loaf of bread.


That is the point that Levinas wishes to make.

Looking at a fellow human being,


is our basic being.


It is the one thing that keeps us alive.


We argue, disagree and go to war.

But when two humans face each other

the hate melts away.


And the following is all I want to say;


There is a problem with Facebook.


We are either going overboard in agreeing with each other,

being politically correct

 – – – – OR – – – –

if we have different points of view

it often degenerates into name calling

or misinterpreted comments.


I am guilty.


I have no solution.


It is the nature of Facebook.


We are immune to the real face-to-face nature that Levinas speaks of.


We may know each other,

we may remember each other from past associations,

yet there is an anonymity

that creeps in and voids the real face to face.


Allow me to voice an opinion,

yes, I have a lot of those.


Since we can do nothing to create

an actual face-to-face while we are on Facebook

let us attempt

to visualize

the other person

and the situation that he or she

may be in.


What hath Zuckerberg wrought?