The Social Network

The human mind is said to have many computer-like qualities. The ability to reason inductively, to compare finite bits of data and draw objective conclusions from them. To store massive amounts of data and rapidly retrieve selections by Boolean logic.  But they operate entirely on instructions prepared by someone who has done the
pre-thinking and reduced  the problem to a point where
logical decisions can deliver the correct answer.

Computers fail quickly when human socialization muddies the water. Digital processing cannot quantitate what the science of psychiatry doesn’t understand all that well either. So as the human brain more closely approximates digital processing, it more excludes the rules of socialization that only the right side of the brain comprehends. Enter Harvard computer science student Mark Zuckerberg.

He’s fascinating to watch from the first scene of “The Social Network”. He instantly exhibits a “steel trap mind”. He processes concepts and formulates almost instantaneous responses that cut to the chase of the issue at hand. And in so doing, diverts the social consequences that then pile up as he goes along.

The prime directive is making his creation work, never mind that he built it on the ideas of others who eventually become irrelevant. The prime logic is to nurture the growth of the creation as an end in itself, discarding those without whom it would have never grown. They aren’t needed and so are discarded like booster rockets for a space vehicle, coldly and efficiently.

Zuckerberg is a new millennium monster that created a social network the nature of which he had no conception of other than as a picture on a laptop screen, reducing life to a database. A paradox that a man with pathologically bad people skills created the world’s most popular human networking location.  A terribly scary human information processor that functions with the efficiency of an IBM mainframe and wonders what the problem is when his discards start getting in the way of progress.

Impeccably acted, immaculately directed.  Newcomer Jesse Eisenberg chills to the bone.  Maybe a vision of a product of the ever-persuasive Internet, the full nature of which we really don’t understand yet.

A must see for Jesse Eisenberg, who will not win the Oscar but delivered a stellar performance.

I give it Four of five uncomprehending scowls.

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