We share memes to impart direct, sometimes secret, knowledge. We talk and write in cliches and aphorisms to cut to the heart of the matter [insert old school smiley face emoji here~ 🙂 ] in other words, we use the most reliable, time-tested information delivery system with the least chance of its meaning being confused and getting muddled on the receiving end of the equation.
And even then, it’s an iffy proposition.
Let me tell you story. Last night I entered the lobby of LEARNING Rx, a business whose purpose is to tutor children who are falling behind or failing in school. I was there to pick up my daughter,who is failing. To my left was a single 40ish woman, no doubt waiting on a LEARNING Rx client as was I. She was in the too-familiar pose of the cell phone savant (see girl in meme above) , intent on her game and filtering out the world around her further with ear buds. To my right was an older woman with a boy of 6 or 7 years, each plugged into the mainframe outlet and staring into their phones, locked into one or the other thumb-intensive pursuits these hand-held reality-canceling systems infinitely deliver.
Definition of Rx from Merriam-Webster: something resembling a doctor’s prescription in being an advisable or corrective course of action…
Has there ever been a better object lesson of the proverb Physician, heal thyself? But then, that may have some of the spirit of the situation, but not the letter. How about Stupid is as stupid does combined with Hidden in plain sight? That might be closer to the heart of the matter. There are other pithy phrases that apply here, and may or may not have anything to do with my impulse, struck upon after a brief deliberation, to strangle both women with my fucking bare hands!
The moral of the story, one that, at least, kinda fits my point of view: A blind physician is leading the blind. Or, more graphically on point, Heroin addicts are openly shooting up in the lobby of a Betty Ford clinic … and nobody cares enough to confront them and point out their folly.
Post script to the story: I took my daughter’s phone away months ago because she was addicted to snapchat and God knows what other application that conditions us like slobbering Pavlov’s dogs to download, upload and get the hits. She’s still having trouble in school even after the distraction of the phone has been taken away. I can’t imagine there would be any hope for her if she was still connected to the phone.
(Update on the postscript to the story: Last night (1/8/20) we caught my daughter in her room with a phone she’d purchased clandestinely from the local grocery store. Sitting on the floor with her back to the wall as we ripped the phone away from her, the scene was surreal to me, like a junkie caught in the act of shooting up with a little bit of Regan from the Exorcist folded into my daughter’s demeanor. As she pressed her back against the wall and hugged her knees to her chest, I swear there were dark circles beneath her eyes, but it had to be the lighting and my dismay with the situation I thought we had already handled rearing its head again, as the family unit was plunged back into a collective attitude of indignity and malignant shame. My wife took the phone to the fireplace and smashed it with a hammer. The struggle continues…)
Taking this sentiment to the macro level, one must ask what hope is there for a society that would prescribe itself alternative medicine (LEARNING Rx and its myriad proxies) as it overdoses on the controlled substance stubbornly refuses to acknowledge is the problem in its own hands?
Forget being in different worlds, good luck trying to bridge the light years of misunderstanding from separate universes! There is no baseline from which our conversations can be started. From its highwater mark of “finding common ground,” the Rules of Discourse have been devalued to sloganeering sales pitches and discredit default swaps. It’s only a matter of time before this latest bubble (the interpersonal, and Big Tech vs. Alt Tech Communications Bubble) bursts.
Disinformation Superhighway: the nexus of deceit
Just as Director for Research and Scientific Computing at CERN’s cryptic statement on the hadron collider’s 2009 experiment code named AWAKE, “Out of this door, might something come through…” a CERN scientist 20 years before AWAKE came up with the invention of the World Wide Web.
Squarely in the “no good deed shall go unpunished” category, the Internet is slowly metastasizing into the abomination the whore of Babylon was prophesied to ride in on. Once upon a time, before the monopolizers of all media: Zucker, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Cook and Pichai perfected their AI Pretorean Guard, the Web was awash with alternative voices sporting diverse ideologies, Guy Fawkes all, primed and ready to fight the power by spreading the Words. Albeit sometimes babble, the exchange of ideas, freely writ and freely spoken, upon the open-information display of computer monitors around the world began to threaten the established order with the force of revelation.
This laissez faire dynamism of free flowing ideas via the World Wide Web was exceedingly brief. Never before had there been the glut of such diverse voices, easily accessible at the speed of light, crying out in the public square. My personal example is specific to the once-great video hosting platform youtube circa 2010-2016 when I was exposed to the varied world views and divergent voices of such creators as Styxhexenhammer666, Tim Black, Sane Progressive, HA Goodman, Sargon of Akkad, The Doctor of Common Sense, An0mally, John Ward, V (the Romanian), Andy Warski, Jean Francois Gariepy, Destiny, Jeff Censored, Jay Dyer, Extreme Narcissism TV … just to name a few who thrived during that short-lived Wild West and thrash metal phase of Internet connectivity. A few of the above-named creators have been completely disappeared and scrubbed from the site, and all of them are being banished to the fringes of the algorithmic gulag that has willfully been created to stifle their ability to be seen. In the signature words of ENTV’s man without a pop culture, the inimitable Scott Franklin Ree: “Coming to you from the shadow lands, the home of the shadow banned.” The ability of Alternative Voices to cultivate and grow an audience has been negated by the Big Tech corporate powers that be.
The GooglePlex of multinational media giants, having recognized the boon they’d accidentally gifted to the masses, huddled up, synchronized their watches, then, stood up with one voice, cried havoc and let slip the bots of war. Cleaving to Draconian and arbitrary Terms of Service, youtube has menaced, bullied and purged a large percentage of the original creators who made the golden age of alternative content creation so revolutionary. Never had so many divergent voices and diverse POVs come together to vie for clicks and views. With the phase-out of the old guard of content creators, fade in to a youtube of pay walls and priority creators, corporation-friendly shills and CNN-endorsed fake news.
The aperture through which Free Speech is tending seems to ratchet down each day. The American ideal, codified by the First Amendment to our country’s Constitution, is one Nation’s concept to which the majority of the world’s population need not apply. On the contrary, Free Speech is, to the majority, hate speech which necessarily should be blocked, banned and deplatformed for the greater good of peoplekind.
Thus, why should American-based multinational corporations in Silicon Valley and the skyscraped canyons of Manhattan (whose products and services accommodate more people than most world governments combined) pretend to pay it lip service even as their actions speak louder? Free Speech = Hate Speech is to Hate Speech = Free Speech as oxymoron is to palindrome.
Had old Karl Marx lived during the cell phone age do you think he’d have ever have posited religion as the opiate of the masses? Never before in history have the people of a nation or of the world so willingly subjected themselves to the authoritarian manipulation of mass surveillance in exchange for some, albeit high level, convenience. But turn it around to realize the ease with which you can now find the closest Thai food in your current location necessarily means that, thanks to your phone, you’re exact location is also now exactly known. Who needs a chip implant when everyone willingly carries their personalized number of the beast? Society has been duped into embracing the very object that, unbeknownst to most of its users, has already enslaved them.
The oft-repeated phrase Follow the money does not work to explain Silicon Valley and its world-wide-web of colluding business interests. When you’re talking about entities and people worth hundreds of billions of dollars, it’s all about power. The power to shape the narrative with a Press you own (Bezo’s WaPo, Carlos Slim’s NYT, the mega-multinational corporations that own the news networks etc), deliver it all on a shiny Apple you can’t eat that everyone and their mother has made so indispensable these latter days. Rid the Apple of the apps of We the People and cancel out diversity of voices with one mantra-like refrain OBEY! … whilst the propagandists in Hollywood cast their social engineering incantations for the zombie hordes who have been programmed to forget their brains. It”s not too hard to put 2 and 2 together when the so-called news is all the same and accountability and justice are deferred for these living legends of mass obfuscation and self delusion.
People are waking up to it now. Pride comes before a fall.