22 October, 2020

The Troll Destroys The Other

Birthing the modern mob­, the new bully boys on Internet Street­, ‘digital democracy’ sees the political lose out for lack of fresh ideas. Discourse is left to die.

Illustration by Sajith Kumar
The Troll Destroys The Other

Martin Buber, the great Jewish philosopher once wrote a book on reverence and face-to-face relationships called I and Thou. There was poetry, majesty and a sense of sacred to the book. Meeting face to face becomes a ritual humanising relationship. Buber contrasts the I-Thou relationship full of reverence and anticipation with the I-It relationship, which is impersonal and instrumental. I was asked to read Buber by a philosopher friend of mine bef­ore I wrote anything on trolls.

Reading Buber gave you a perspective on the internet. It reminds you that technology is not complete without an act of storytelling. The story humanises the technology, provides a narrative. It is easy to confront troll and selfie on these lines. A selfie is an act of individuality seeking collectivity, desperate to sustain memory. A troll is an act of a collectivity seeking to distort a story and disrupt a community. A selfie is an invitation to a self, an act of trolling seeks to destroy the other as it cannot stand a different narrative. Within the technological realm, a selfie is an...



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