Dope Machines

You keep me up some nights, trying to figure what you mean.
I don’t know if it’s right. I don’t what you’re asking.
When you laugh and you say, “I was only joking.”
And it still feels wrong. I’m always asking these questions:
“Are you just playing dumb? Or trying to get a reaction?”
When you laugh and you say, “I was only joking.”
We got our eyes on screens, all of these dope machines.
Isn’t it funny how they feel so much like dreams?
Am I trying too hard, oh I’m not trying at all…
I see it in your eyes, I feel it in my bones,
You coming out tonight? We gonna end up alone?
Just so I could pretend I was only joking.
We got our eyes on screens, all of these dope machines.
Isn’t it funny how they feel so much like dreams?
Am I trying too hard, oh I’m not trying at all…
I got three or four things I’ve always wanted to tell you.
I got two or three secrets I don’t think you could handle.
A little closer to me, I was never joking.
Come a little closer to me, I was never joking.
It’s fair to say this song is a companion piece to One Time Thing, filling in the gaps of a particular kind of fling: so many pictures and texts — the digital detritus of attraction and flirtation in the modern world. Camera phones. Social media—we’ve taken all these things that are central to what it means to be human and digitized them into simple binary equations, algorithms and questions. Things like: Who do I like? Who likes me? What group(s) do I belong to? All these buggy little programs create a digital self that is a (mostly) polished reflection of our actual selves. And they’re addictive because they take the important questions, the ones we obsess over as humans, and quantify them into digestible bytes. Our social instincts, insecurities, and ambitions are primed and we are all over that shit.
On balance it’s all pretty stupid, because we know that we are far more complex than these silly little brands we turn ourselves into online. But if you consider for a moment how this entire thing is just a metaphor that we’ve agreed upon: that websites are “places” (which they absolutely are not, they’re programs), that these pictures and quotes are “people” (which they’re not, they’re like little magazine ABOUT people) — it’s fascinating. Two billion (or some number) people have all agreed upon one system of metaphors, these images on screens that we decipher in our brains and codify into massively complex virtual societies. What a bunch of brainy schmucks.
And if you happen to be reading this on some such device, in a metaphorical “space,”, well then allow me to simply say “hello and I hope your life brings you joy and that we can meet some day and have a coffee perhaps, or a pint.” Since that was the point of this whole thing anyway: to make us feel connected when we are in the lonely metaphorical spaces of our minds.

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