We started this discussion about the meaning of photography and of images as memes with the basic question whether we are more or less connected today compared to people of the past. I think that you can guess where I stand on the issue. Overwhelmingly, I believe that we are more connected. Photographic images are representative of memes and the more we share photographs and other forms of information and memes, the more we are connected as a global community.
So if you are engrossed in your communication with a larger community than just the people around you, then you are more connected. I emphasize the word just. Don’t ignore the people you are with. You are interacting directly with them in a much more human context than can ever be achieved electronically. Indeed, failure to do so can, for example, totally ruin your love life. You are treading perilously close to what William Congreve (1670-1729) (not William Shakespeare) said in his “The Mourning Bride (1697):”
“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned
Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.”
If you to any degree believe in the concept of memetic evolution, then you accept, to that degree, the view that this kind of replication through social communication of ideas (and images) is essentially a manifest destiny. We are meant to do it and must do it in order for our culture (a global and interconnected culture) to evolve.
This said, it must be pointed out again that technology expands choices. It does not make ethical decisions. There is as much misinformation as valid information on the internet. I am constantly dismayed by the foolishness on social media – doctored images and false “facts” to name but two. It is as if everyone’s brains had turned to mush!
As we reach for the for a better world through communication of images, memes, and ideas; as we literally reach for the stars, we must remember what, this time William Shakespeare, said:
“The fault, …, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”