The Dawn of the Dude

 |  June 3, 2010

It’s official. By the end of 2010 every single person on the planet with access to a computer or a cell phone will have a Facebook account. Never before has a technology managed to become so pervasive in human culture so quickly. Refusing to have a Facebook account is like leaving civilisation to go live in a cave and meditate on God.

The problem with this analogy is that Facebook might well replace God: all knowing, all-pervasive, hard to pin down, and a downright prick when challenged.

The other night as I was drinking with a group of friends, a great deal of our chit chat revolved around Facebook. At first concerns about privacy and ethics were raised: the fact that a major corporation owned all the details of our lives. After which we started happily commenting on things we had all posted on Facebook, upcoming events mentioned on Facebook and in my case, the fact that I promote my websites by paying for ads on Facebook.

Et tu, Dudeist? The scene brought to mind the famous quote from Saint Augustine: “Lord, give me chastity and temperance. But not just yet…”
During this exchange two of our group were strangely silent. When pressed, they explained that it was because they actually did not have Facebook accounts.

You read that correctly. These two otherwise normal people actually value their privacy. Consequently, I am obliged for the purposes of this article to change their names.

You see, Dichael and Dichelle did in fact once have Facebook accounts, but cancelled them. Yet unlike many people who flirt with Facebook atheism, they never even tried to repent. I asked them whether it was cold and lonely out in that desert area far away from the info superhighway about which little is known. Here there be dragons?

Actually the outsider life was fine, they said. They still used email and Google and the telephone. Unlike the People of the Facebook, they didn’t feel it necessary to know everything all their friends (in the original, old fashioned sense of the word) were up to every minute. It was nice not to be pestered constantly to join this group or attend parties in cities of acquaintances thousands of miles away. It was nice not having to have public conversations about private matters. Most of all, it was nice to have some peace and quiet.

In a manner of speaking, they had packed up their gear, moved out of town, and into a cave. And there’s a good reason founders of every major religion bailed from the established order to go meditate in a cave or in the desert or under a tree _- because all that hubbub distracts you from what’s important in life. It’s surely no coincidence that Dichael and Dichelle are two of the coolest people I know.

In The Big Lebowski, the Dude is taking a bath when a bunch of greedy creeps break into his house and start threatening him. He calmly responds with “Hey, this is a private residence, man.”

I can only hope that my heretic friends can remain equally composed when goons from Facebook show up.

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