Open letter to Mark Zuckerberg on behalf of our common humanity

Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

Thank you for trying your best to make Facebook a good company. I know you have been receiving a lot of hate lately, and people have been cruel about your mannerisms. As an engineer, sometimes, as I am sure you know, it can be hard to bridge your great love for system optimization and creativity with your identity as a fellow human being to the people you are bringing your products to. But as the powerful and wealthy must be reminded from time to time, we the people are human beings no less profound in our pursuit of beauty, no less bountiful in our capacity for love, no less joyful in the company of fellow-travelers than you are, you mighty owner of human and inhuman capital.

I appreciate your conception of Meta as an extension to the universe we already share. It is an interesting vision that a lot of people should really be excited about, if they are being honest about the things that motivate them in this life: things like learning new skills, meeting new people, trying new things. The Metaverse seems novel now, it seems new, it seems like a world-transforming innovation to an Internet that already changed the way humanity accessed information.

I am writing you across strata of influence, class dynamics, place, and time, because I wish to remind you, as you strive for your immortality in obsession with this next phase of your existence, that we already have a place and a space to work, live, and enjoy recreation. It’s called reality, it’s called the universe, and it is free.

We don’t need to pay you to wear robotic gloves, augmented glasses, or special garments to participate in the world you are so generously selling to us. We don’t need to rebuild our crumbling world around your silicon microchip. We came optimally designed to participate in a real shared world, and again, it’s free. It isn’t pay to play.

I have to confess, I am highly skeptical of you and your creations. You are a brilliant man pursuing a powerful genius inside your mind. But I fear you are diverting man’s course from its optimal path. Rather than rebuilding mankind as a digital-analog hybrid monster of anti-matter, we should let mankind be what it is, which is already a creature of equal parts spirit and matter, with one foot in this world and another foot in the next.

Rather than rebranding mankind a digital avatar, rather than making him a property in a capitalist’s portfolio, we should let all human beings be free to decide for themselves who they are, and what ways they will employ to set their own lives free.

I fear for all of our souls, Mark Z, even yours. In fact, sir, respectfully, I fear most of all for your soul. For you are becoming something that cannot be sustained, your insistence on the sustainability of your designs to the contrary. You are becoming an antihumanist, Mark; though you might believe right now you are setting the whole species free, your engineers are building an immense, inescapable cage to capture and hold for all time the means of human sense and reproduction.

We are bodies, Mark. We are bodies in space and time. Engineer for us ways, instead, to unlock us from the prison that you and your comrades of capital have placed your neighbors in. Help us leave our homes; do not lock us further inside. Help us end the lockdown; do not extend it to the end of time.

My suggestion for the brokenhearted capitalists of the world, struggling in mad android desperation to destroy and regrow humanity in the image of their own pale-white and strangely melting faces is this: forget not that you are the gullible stranger you seek so longingly to sell your prison to. When you lock the world inside your mind’s black hole, you will be unable to free the ones your inner child would play with, and you will be alone, Mark. You will be alone at the end of time with no one but yourself to start up the cycle again.

And we may never again know the warmth of a truly burning sun on a cloudless summer’s day, when the warmth, the burning, the sunspots on our celestial orb, the vanished clouds, the sky, and the summer, are all beautiful artifacts of an actually accomplished day in the life of a real goddess, the only real goddess there ever was and ever can be: our mother, the planet Earth, you so desperately ask us to flee.

Go to, Mark. Go to sleep, and wake not until your dreams direct you somewhere else. Meta is an ugly mind’s idea of beauty, a profane mind’s idea of profundity, a banal tyrant’s idea of liberation, and a lazy creator’s excuse for a masterpiece.

May you and all your loved ones be effortlessly well, and may fortune favor you always as a beloved son.

Yours in humanity,

Zach Bartell

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