Entry: Ka November 19, 2007



< hmmm.. >

   Basically, it's almost the end of my thesis-writing journey.  Four hundred and seventeen Friendster profiles and close to 400 pages later, I'm tempted to play to the tune of Mr. Rogers: what have I learned so far?

   An e-mail from an eminent scholar from Canada who reviewed my work said it best: while my work is impressive (I feel a bit embarrassed), certain issues have to be raised.  More exactly, if I contend with the word "Friend" because of the immanent issue of trust and care in the Friendster social network, it is important to note that people don't take "friendship" literally.  The term "friend" is used in their inadequacies, he says.

   Which begs me to ask: why?  I have already prescribed the term "ka-Friendster," if only to address that what is shared is not trust and care as in friendship, but practice.  It is my way of addressing a limitation that is, in my view, linguistic.

   It's not the comment that worries me, but I'm worried about the implication of the prefix "ka."  It's not because it's my ex's moniker, but have our relationships with others descended, degraded, and degenerated into being "ka," a hyphen, and whatever practice we share?

   The Ilocano term "kabagis" lends itself well: it translates to "being of one intestine," where the friendship is so strong that both parties might as well have one shared stomach.  But the rest of the way, our relationships with people are not as strong: "ka-Multiply," "ka-text," "kaklase," "kalaro," "katrabaho."  This is how we relate to each other in this day and age: a relationship based on the one practice we share at any one context.

   I wouldn't automatically pinpoint this to something as sweeping as a "crisis of the Other," as tantalizing as that prospect would be.  I'm not a philosopher: I'm only a person interested in philosophy.  As a social scientist in passing, this is only a matter to me of a phenomenon that's just waiting for an explanation from supposed "experts" like myself.  But as a person, I should be concerned.

   Yet alas, in this world, you wouldn't find anyone concerned about anything anymore, if only because of pecuniary canons of coffee shop afternoons and finding no other meaning in Friendster anyway outside of the mindless half-hour spent on it by most people I know.  Let's face it: almost everything in this world is devoid of anything deeper than the "ka" that it is, that shallow association defined by a shared, common practice.

   Or maybe we're more inclined towards material culture: the extreme example being that special coffee you get from the dung of civets, the more common example being Friendster.

   Are we doomed?  No: there's too much hope in the world that doom is not in our near future.  Yet we doom and damn ourselves to the mindlessness of the crowd that we effectively become mindless, that everyone else is only associated with me by virtue of a prefix I append to practices like work, school, and malls.  And why?

   That's a good question.  Anyway, this is Entry #1300.

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