Living Unknown Online

  • “λάθε βιώσας“ is one of those concepts that is not universal among modern Epicureans. I think that on a practical level living somewhat under the radar is not a terrible idea, but again this like all things requires prudent judgement. A person who decides to be a full blown hermit most likely cannot also live a truly Epicurean life due to lack of friends, social interaction etc. so to live unknown should not be taken to an extreme because this would certainly reduce pleasure.

    But I began to think about the phrase as applied to social media and internet usage. This subject (internet usage) is really important to me and I have given it quite a significant amount of thought. Many of us have had a social media presence or currently do have one. This forum is my only presence now, but prior to this I had a rocky off and on relationship with Facebook. For me, Facebook made it easy to connect with family and friends, but often horrid toxicity (among a myriad of other social media offenses) caused the platform to feel more like a burden than not. What I have found is that I actually feel better when I’m away from platforms like that. This very specific Epicurean forum gives me feelings of pleasure, interacting with my friends and discussing subjects that are important to me. But there is just something about the other platforms that bring the worst behaviors and emotions out of people.

    So thinking on this subject, I think that living unknown in cyber obscurity is not a terrible thing. Using prudent judgement to use only what platforms are beneficial and pleasurable for you, managing your time, and understand what your relationship is to the media you use.

  • This is a big subject but obviously I agree with the basic point, that security and privacy in online communications is essential, and it's necessary to be prudent about how open you can be with others about your personal details. There are related issues of censorship of information and opinion. and peer pressure to conform to norms on the big platforms. Personally I have not yet made the decision to sever all my big-platform ties, but I can see that day coming.

    For now, my interim solution is mainly to post as few private details as possible, but to be willing to provide them to individual people, over time, as you get to know them and exchange information over time. So far I have not found any adequate substitute for observation over time in getting to know someone.

    I too am interested to hear what others have to say about this.

  • And usually if you are a person of notoriety like a celebrity or politician, what you post often will come back to haunt you on the front page of a news platform.