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I’m finally, definitely, fully leaving X, and probably all social media. For real, and for good. And I’m encouraging people to do the same. I’ve been on these platforms watching what has been passing for debates about the Middle East crisis for a few weeks now, and I’ve really reached the point of no return.
The thought first arose when I was talking with my daughter about a poem she’s reading in her Chaucer class at college, called Parliament of Fowls. The story is about this guy who is reading a book by Cicero concerning concept called “common profit,” which is basically a cross between Hayek’s “catallaxy” (where the free market arrives at the ideal solution) and Hegelian synthesis. If everyone argues their point of view in a marketplace of ideas, they will arrive at the common good. But then the guy falls asleep and has a dream where he ends up at this giant gathering of birds — a parliament of fowls — who are having a big argument about which boy eagle a particular girl eagle should choose to marry.
And they’re all just arguing for their own self-interest. It’s like one big Twitter of birds. It’s all just twitter. Musk may have changed the name to X, but it remains this twitter of birds, of people not engaging in good will to reach a common understanding at all. In Chaucer’s story, Nature finally steps in and asks the girl who she wants to marry, and she says she’ll come back next year and choose. Instead of the finalized, definite ending, we get this sustained uncertainty — what we talk about on Team Human all the time. We celebrate the unresolved, the in-between, the ambivalence that keeps us alive. That keeps us coming back.
And Twitter has no tolerance for that ambiguity. It’s missing the moderated, the emotional, the poetic…the whole human experience. And when I look at how the platform, and ones like it, are being used to…