Teresa Numerico

Social networks, digital platforms, and Narcissus myth

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Social Networks, Digital Platforms, Narcissus Myth, Image Recognition, Psychic and Collective Individuation, Digital Representation

Technical infrastructures offer new environments for social relationships, as it became apparent in the recent pandemic situations. Digital platforms are often invisible, but they deeply influence the way we interact and socialize with each other. This paper explores some of the ambiguous consequences of the pervasive role of digital networks for sociality: from the substitution of the concrete objects with their digital counterparts, as in the project of the Internet of Things (IoT), to the quantification of social spaces and their consequent commodification and the anticipation of the metaverse, ready to come. All technologies contribute to the psychic and collective individuation of human beings, so they are political tools – as Stiegler explained distinctly – because they provide the means for defining human subjectivity. Digital platforms could capture all individual capabilities of representation, so that it is possible to exclude subjective interpretations. The case of Narcissus is exemplary to explicit some of the effects of the lack of limits between imaginary reflexes and concrete objects and bodies. The myth shows the output of this misunderstanding: it ends up in preventing any reaction, up to the point of causing a complete paralysis.

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