I’m currently reading Christopher Alexander’s (et al.) A Pattern Language, so this essay from Erin Kissane was timely — she turns her attention to how these ideas of patterns affecting the spaces we build and live in apply to our online homes as well, and the ways that these spaces haunt us (and we haunt them):
Maybe for you, it didn’t start on Twitter. Maybe was forums or the blogosphere or Reddit. Maybe it was Facebook with terrible people from high school or TikTok with people who hate you for liking a thing, or not liking it enough. But we built the machines around our weird amygdalas and then we went inside them and now the machine is no longer confined to a stack of software + policy + vibes; we carry it in ourselves. We haunt each new place we enter. We can feel this happening in our bodies, which is why touch grass is so accidentally real.
We shape our structures and afterward our structures shape us, but the we of the first clause and the us of the second are not the same.
The secret heart of every panopticon is not the all-seeing-eye, but the confessional.
A great read, and the side anecdote about engineer Vic Tandy‘s linking of 19hz infrasound to ghostly sensations is a rabbit hole worth pursuing!