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We Are What We Click

Page history last edited by Jared Tayco 3 years, 10 months ago

We Are What We Click


Benjamin van Loon

February 14, 2013




First Impression:

"We are what we click" --- a quote I take seriously into life itself. Everything we do, online or offline, on our phones, computers or any other device, or during what ever life throws at us from talking and interacting with other people to personal habits --- everything we do defines us in ways we can't imagine, so it's best to know what you are doing first before acting upon it, regardless of what kind, or what type of action you are doing.



"Today’s war is a total war… It subjects everyone to the same way of life, puts everyone on a level with everyone else, and threatens everyone with the same death."


Reflection Proper:

Life itself, as I have realized with age, isn't often going to be turning out into the way one would like to be, like some kind of play with a planned script, but according to Benjamin van Loon: W. Somerset Maugham would say "at the root of an existential dilemma is an ethical quandary". In today's modern era, I couldn't help but think about technology and its ever-so progressing grip of change upon our lives, its effects either good for us and making our lives better or just making our lives worse in many ways to a point that we can't control what's going on our lives anymore. As the quote above says, as stated by French philosopher Jacques Ellul, "today’s war is a total war" and "it  subjects everyone to the same way of life and puts everyone on a level with everyone else, and threatens everyone with the same death". To put it simply, in the online world, especially when it comes to the topic of ethics, there's much more at stake than money and love --- everything in life is on the line, and most specifically, freedom. A very good example of this as provided by the essay is the case of Aaron Swartz: a 26 year-old man who was found dead on January 11, 2013, in his Brooklyn apartment -- death caused by suicide via hanging --- which happened a few days after the 2-year anniversary of his federal arrest (exactly on January 2011) regarding his systematic, and probably symbolic, downloading of articles from Journal Storage (JSTOR), which is known as a digital library that has millions and millions of academic articles from numerous disciplines and subjects, which then led to charges under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, due to wire and computer fraud, unauthorized information obtainment from a protected computer and reckless damage to protected computer, which is in MIT. Honestly, upon seeing and reading this case, I was entirely shocked --- it's entirely insane, really, the whole idea itself --- who could have known that one man would just enter into the basement of a building in MIT, and used a laptop which he had stored there long ago to connect to the MIT school network and run a script coined as "keepgrabbing,py" which gave him the ability to rapidly download pay-wall protected articles illegally for free--and I always thought the sort of people who would do this sort of thing are usually seen in spy movies like Mission: Impossible. The thing is that, in the subject of Swartz's case, as I read further along the essay: his death was basically, as the essay puts it, "unfortunate and unnecessary human attrition suffered in the increasingly volatile world of information"; because of what happened to him, a few years later after his arrest, he still struggled with depression and due to people bad-mouthing him online and everything about what he did is now known throughout the world, taunting him and clawing at him thanks to the horrendous comments and comebacks in the online world, he eventually decided to make himself hear those things anymore---needless to say, the online world these days is so alike the real world, but even more intense for due to connections across the world, everyone will see everything that we do and who knows --- information these days is powerful, enough to change one's life better or worst. So needless to say, even if Swartz killed himself, his "information scheme" got me thinking: there were any organizations and individuals supporting him, and they believed in one thing: freedom --- information these days, think about it, is our creation, so if it's restricted or banned, it's like saying the person who created it is restricted as well. This sort of thing still bites at me, as one of the questions that still gnaws at me in this ever-growing world of tech, but one thing is for certain though: freedom is more important than anything, like money or love, but the thing is, with the online world now questioning ourselves if we are treating our freedom the right way or carelessly giving it up, one thing we should keep in mind: we are what we click. 

5 Things Learned From Article: 


  1. I learned about the meaning of what we do online defines us.

  2. I learned about the fact that freedom is being tested these days in the online world.

  3. I learned about information in the modern digital era is the product of us, so if it's restricted, it's like telling that we are restricted.

  4. I learned that the key in finding the right path in situations involving technology and ethics and understanding our relationship with tech, and why tech can lead itself to such things like aggressive in-fighting is still questionable.

  5. I learned that freedom is more important than money and love or anything else.




5 Integrative Questions:


  1. Do you ever think about what you are doing online is defining who you are?

  2. What do you think is more important for you: freedom, love, money, or something else?

  3. Why do you think information these days is either banned and restricted from us, even if we are the ones who created such information, especially in this modern-digital era?

  4. Do you have suggestions or insights involving the promotion of protecting our freedom in the online world?

  5. What's your take on Swartz's case and its ethical-related implications?


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