Facebook & the Road to Fascism

 

 

 

 

 

I fear that those of you who may take the time to read this essay will be tempted to dismiss my thoughts as those of a paranoid conspiracist? And yes, this is going to be a very convoluted or complicated subject because it involves the very technology that affects every one of our lives. Now most people will become defensive or attempt to retreat into a bubble of denial because the scope of what is being done to us is global & has such a pernicious effect on humanity as a whole.

remember the argument against homeschooling i.e. they need to develop social skills???

 

My personal experience has been that of a somewhat reluctant participant especially regarding “Smart phones.” And I wish that I had followed my initial aversion towards Facebook. My gut told me that Facebook was for teenage girls the first several years it came into existence but a cousin of mine told me that we had lots of relatives in Eastern Oregon that I wasn’t even aware of. So, I asked him how I could contact them thinking it’d be nice for my son to get to know more of his relatives. It never panned-out but I became hooked-on Facebook & slowly began to spend more & more of my time on it.

 

I was under the delusion that I could be of help & share some of the knowledge that I had been hoarding up for decades. I would write short essays practically on many of the serious social & political issues facing us. And once in a while I’d get a comment like; “I learned so much from you,” etc. But especially after the introduction to emojis, even a single sentence in response to my posts just about disappeared entirely & an emoji was all that people could manage to “communicate.”

 

And over the last couple of years that I was a Facebook user, I’d deactivate my account for months at a time to see if any of my “friends,” would notice. I had accumulated over 3,000 “friends” when I finally quit Facebook for good & with each passing day, I am so glad that I finally saw the light i.e. Facebook is the enemy of humanity & has done more to divide us than just about anything I can think of.

 

Do you recall Zuckerberg’s stated mission when Facebook began? And he still claims it to be their goal, yeah, to bring people together in a sense of community. Well, you’d have to either extremely naïve or willfully ignorant to not acknowledge that Zuckerberg has become one of the wealthiest men in America because of his selling our personal information to any buyer with enough money.

 

I am going to rely on & cite from two major sources for this article. The first is a You Tube video that I stumbled upon; “Social Media: Toxic by Design (Sam Vaknin)”

 

 

Now, I had my suspicions or doubts about Facebook the longer I participated on it, but this “interview” with Sam Vaknin blew my mind because of his in-depth revelations about the psychology of how this platform actually operates or conducts its nefarious work. So, hold on to your hats my friends, we’re headed for one helluva rollercoaster ride.

 

 

Before we get started, I want to acknowledge that I basically transcribed the entire “conversation” between Vaknin & his interlocutor —who basically took notes on what Vaknin was elaborating on. Therefore, I’m just going to put in quotation marks (some of the time)  whatever Vaknin said & not cite him every single time in the hope of making this article read a bit more naturally than some scholarly work? Note: I did search for a transcript of this talk but had no luck. By-the-way, I am using the term “fascism” in the sense that Mussolini did (though some disagree that he described it this way);

 

““Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power”

For the record, I am no fan of Alex Jones or his absurd conspiracy theories though Donald of the Duck Dynasty Klan is. And Donny of the Small Fingers & Tiny Brain is also an avid reader of The National Enquirer, you know that publication of such high repute. And the more we get into this Edgar Allen Poe tale of horror, the more you will realize how our collective dumbing-down has contributed to our downfall.

from the time I was a teenager, we knew the Enquirer was only good for one thing i.e. the bottom of your birdcage

Let’s begin with the inner machinations of our benevolent “Big Brother” Marky Zuckerberg & the platform he stole from his college “friends,” i.e. Facebook.

 

I was instantly a fan of Vaknin’s when he mentioned Facebook & its appeal to teenage girls because as I mentioned earlier, that was my initial appraisal of the “platform.” Vaknin begins with; “You’re constantly competing against yourself to get more likes than on your last post.” Two thoughts came to me regarding this; 1) we clearly are an overly competitive society i.e. our lives are measured in how well we do in competition against our fellow students, workers, neighbors, etc. 2) and this is closely linked to our crass materialism as well as our cult of celebrity i.e. so many of us desire national, if not worldwide celebrity. It’s as if we’re a nation of insecurity even though we have the most powerful military & economy on Earth? Prima facie evidence; Trump’s constant need for recognition & approval. And most tragically, the gunman or mass shooters who crave attention & go on killing sprees to get it.

 

This self-competition creates “performance anxiety.” And as a male in this society & especially as an old fart, I can attest to this anxiety when every great now & then, I am honored to share a bed with a lovely lady.

 

“Social media has tripled young people’s anxiety.” Obviously, in a world as unpredictable & unstable as ours, where not only the young but the middle-aged & even many seniors are so full of anxiety as to whether they’ll be able to pay their rent & afford their medications, the last thing young people need is more anxiety.

Yep! The G.O.P. idea of “A kinder & gentler nation,” & “Compassionate Conservatism.”

 

“Social media is like an epidemic, a virus.” You’re goddamn straight! I look around me and it never ceases to sadden me how virulent an epidemic it has become. It’s like we’re living in a world of the Walking Dead but the zombies are all hypnotized by their “Smart phones.”

 

“The world is being divided into two camps; those who use social media & those who don’t.” And Hallelujah brothers & sisters to those of us who have awoken from Zuckerberg et al, the Pied Pipers of Hamlin & their siren songs. As I get older, I realize just how precious this gift of life we’ve been given is. And to be honest with you my imaginary friend, since my soulmate has passed away, Jeri, I care less & less about how much time I have left but I do care about the quality of that time i.e. I’m not going to squander my time on such trivial matters as how many “likes” I have received.

Here’s one you Sci-fi fans are sure to love; “This is a reengineering of human psychology.” Yeah, many of you who are younger & grew up in your video game worlds & who may believe that artificial intelligence is a natural progression for the human species, may not be troubled by this? Well I sure as Hell am troubled but no, I’m not so fearful that I worry that we’re about to be taken over as in the classic; “I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov, the master of science fiction.

 

We must always remember a basic axiom of computer technology, one that I learned way back in 1983/1984 when I took a course called; “Computer Literacy.” It’s called, G.I.G.O. (Garbage In, Garbage Out) In other words, the information we get out of our computers i.e. the Internet, is only as valid as the people putting that info on the internet. What I’m saying is that anybody, even Alex Jones & Donnie the Trumpster Dumpster can say whatever they want on the internet but that doesn’t make it truth or valid.

 

Let me break it down for you, I had to take a ridiculous half-unit course called; Introduction to College Life, after three years of pursuing my B.A. in English Literature. They showed us where the library was & other useful things. But, in this little pamphlet they gave us, what really caught my attention was this; (roughly paraphrasing from memory) “To determine the truth of a statement/claim, there are two requirements; 1) check out the credentials of the person making the claim, 2) see what other experts in the field of this subject, have to say about the person making the claim to truth.”

 

Sorry but I can’t help but invoke our illustrious leader here as a prime example of definitely someone you shouldn’t listen to. Just because he raises his little hands & proclaims; “Believe me,” doesn’t mean that you should give him the time of day. Of course, his Walking Dead-heads would never doubt his credentials to speak as if he were god himself proclaiming from the pulpit like Captain Ahab in “Moby Dick,” one of the handful of American classics in literature.

The first graduating class of Trump University

 

Continuing on, “Social media was created by men i.e. schizoids, recluses, socially inept, nerds, asexuals. And they created social media in their own image” i.e. as if they were the standard by which all others would be judged. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to argue that we should model ourselves after Hollywood celebrities & we know how fucked-up most of them are. But if you’ll allow me to reveal a bit of my elitist educational perspective, perhaps we should attempt to emulate the Renaissance man/woman? (in case you don’t catch my drift, I’m being facetious i.e. my secondary education was in Paramount, a poor, industrially zoned city across the riverbed from Compton)

 

Renaissance man, also called Universal Man, Italian Uomo Universale, an ideal that developed in Renaissance Italy from the notion expressed by one of its most-accomplished representatives, Leon Battista Alberti (1404–72), that “a man can do all things if he will.” The ideal embodied the basic tenets of Renaissance humanism, which considered man the centre of the universe, limitless in his capacities for development, and led to the notion that men should try to embrace all knowledge and develop their own capacities as fully as possible.

Thus, the gifted men of the Renaissance sought to develop skills in all areas of knowledge, in physical development, in social accomplishments, and in the arts. The ideal was most brilliantly exemplified in Alberti—who was an accomplished architect, painter, classicist, poet, scientist, and mathematician and who also boasted of his skill as a horseman and in physical feats—and in Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), whose gifts were manifest in the fields of art, science, music, invention, and writing.”

 

Obviously, that Big Mac occupying the oval office couldn’t even spell Renaissance let alone hold a candle to the ideal. But, he is clever when it comes to manipulating not only the social media but the corporate media. He has had the “mainstream media” (corporate media) eating out of his hand all his manipulative “adult” life & most critically, since he announced his run for the presidency. The Duckmeister —who ducked serving in the military, ducked legal cases for fraud for decades, ducked revealing his taxes which we can be pretty damn sure he hasn’t paid & would reveal him for the faux billionaire he claims to be — has clearly bamboozled the section of the American public who believe in jet set televangelists.

Trump revealed!

 

Unfortunately for the rest of us, due to the apathy and ignorance of our general population, & the corruption of our electoral system, this miscreant who can barely form a coherent sentence, is now at the helm of the once proud nation known as the United States of America. And whether we allow this travesty of justice & everything we consider sacred & dear, is up to each & every one of us!

 

Furthermore, the technology employed by the social media engineers of Silicon Valley was designed for highly specific psychological profiling. For example, all those seemingly innocent Facebook posts inviting us to take a quick survey to see what decade we most identified with, etc., are anything but innocent. And I too took many of those surveys. We are slowly waking up to the fact that Facebook, Google, Amazon, Cambridge Analytica, etc. have been selling all our data to companies who use our info to target us on an individual level in their 24/7 advertisements. And this isn’t just about selling us crap, it’s also about conditioning us socially, emotionally, politically, etc.

Beware means Be Aware!

 

We have gone far beyond Orwell’s nightmare world of “1984,” or Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” Yet, the majority of Americans either refuse to believe these facts or don’t even care.

 

I’m sure that most of you have heard the expression; “Divide & Rule,” or “Divide & Conquer,” well, this is an ancient military tactic or strategy that probably goes back as far as Ancient Rome if not farther? But in this dystopian world we are living in today, this tactic is being used by the corporate masters who actually rule the world. And this is why Trump constantly whips his “base” up by stoking their fears with his descriptions of Mexicans, Muslims, and all who aren’t white males, as the enemy, “infestations.”

Trump busy draining the swamp by playing golf. Remember his criticism of Obama’s days off? And we pay for Trump’s golf trips to his golf courses???

 

F.D.R. summed it up nicely when he declared; “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Trump is a master distractor in that he keeps those who support him distracted from our real enemies i.e. the 1% who own everything. So, Trump’s army of the psychologically walking dead can vent their anger on all who aren’t in their exact position economically or socially. It’s far harder to see beyond your anger & to realize that these people & these groups you’re blaming for your troubles, are de facto fellow victims of the 1%. In short, by dividing us, Trump & his fellow elite have conquered us. The U.S. is slipping into a fascist tyranny of the filthy rich & this makes a mockery of all the wars we supposedly fought in defense of freedom & democracy.

It’s very simple i.e. Divide & Conquer!

 

As long as we sit complacently by in front of our T.V. screens & our computer screens, we will play the role of helpless victims. And Sam Vaknin points out the proven psychological harm being done to us as we spend more time exposed to screen time i.e. greater levels of anxiety, depression, suicide, decreases in happiness & life satisfaction. Moreover, teen suicide has doubled & suicide is the leading cause of death for young people up to the age of 24.

 

Above all, the conditioning we are experiencing the more we use the “social media,” is so pernicious that they—the “social engineers” of these technological platforms—are literally hacking into our brains & our behavior. I know this probably sounds like some paranoid, science fiction world that Trump would espouse but it’s very real. If it is absurd & just too fantastic to believe, then why are billions being spent by these megalithic corporations like Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc.? Are they just throwing their money away in delusions of grandeur?

 

You see, my imaginary reader, the corporate conglomerates dream world is one in which there are no protestors demanding a fair wage, safe working conditions, etc., only docile, obedient workers who are grateful for whatever scraps the corporate lords toss them & who buy their products & services with whatever small allowance they are given.

I’ve been referring to FOX “News” for nearly 20 years as the Fear & Hate channel

 

Edward Snowden only mentioned it briefly in the documentary Laura Poitras created about his courageous efforts to reveal to us what was happening in the NSA with the help of Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc. He said; “It’s about Control.” Control & Conditioning are one & the same to my way of thinking. And Sam Vaknin points out repeatedly that there is an important distinction between conditioning & addiction.

 

Tristan Harris, who worked for Google as a “Design Ethicist,” was one of those “social engineers” who helped to design the bells & whistles so-to-speak that help addict people to these social media platforms. Fortunately for those of us who care about these matters, Mr. Harris’s conscience got the better of him & he resigned from Google & began to spread the word in the hope of helping people wake-up from these harmful technologies. And when he spoke about how the feedback of “likes,” emojis, etc. trigger the lowest part of our brain-stem, our reptilian brains, I sat up & took notice. You see, Vaknin, Harris, & others have pointed out that human nature is ruled more by fear, anger, violence, & chaos (my paraphrasing) and this is why, the social engineers, or more precisely, the Mark Zuckerbergs & other top CEOs of these tech corporations deliberately chose the engineering models that they did i.e. by appealing to the lowest common denominator in humans, you ensure the widest possible audience to exploit or addict.

 

Furthermore, Vaknin informs us that addictions can be overcome but conditioning is much tougher to combat. One of the tools they use in their social engineering of us is the employment of envy in the construction of these platforms & it’s a pathological envy. They quantify envy with “likes,” “retweets,” etc. Then they leverage our envy to motivate us or cause us to adopt some course of action which they want to steer us towards.

Think about it!

 

In brief, they weaponize envy & even more so, they have weaponized aggression. Reflect on all the posts on Facebook attacking Hillary Clinton which were part of the massive PR campaign by Cambridge Analytica that was hired by Steve Bannon leading up to the presidential election of 2016. And they knew from all the personal data they had mined via Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc. just who to bombard with all their negative propaganda. Trump never would’ve become president were it not for this sophisticated & vicious psychological weaponry.

 

Continuing on, Vaknin also informs us that people confuse jealousy & envy. Jealousy motivates you to constructive action i.e. diet, exercise, etc., but pathological envy causes you to see the other as a source of frustration i.e. I can’t be like you so I will seek to destroy you. Are you beginning to realize just how anti-social these “social media” platforms actually are? Talk about Doublespeak? “All social media encourage aggression via their algorithms & via the way they foster interactions.”
(Emperor Nero’s top hit as Rome burned)

 

[I want to remind you again, my imaginary reader, that the overwhelming majority of this is almost verbatim by Vaknin but I’m being lazy & not using quotation marks nearly enough. I get so few readers that I don’t really give a damn anymore about following the “rules.”]

 

Facebook et al, encourage peer aggression, bullying, black humor, & brutal honesty. And these platforms encourage repeat compulsive use. And perhaps most significantly, aggression, envy, & hatred are the key emotions that encourage repeated use.

 

Conversely, “All psychological studies have shown or proved that Love does not encourage repeated actions or foster addiction.” These platforms were designed with Pathology in mind so it’s no wonder they’ve become platforms for hate speech, bullying, & fake news (Trump & White Supremacists, White Nationalists, etc.)

 

Pursuing this further, Twitter has capitalized (my phrase) on the fact that aggressive speech acts are much shorter than positive speech. It isn’t merely coincidental that Twitter was originally limited to 144 characters. The brevity was chosen to encourage negative speech which addicts people & motivates them to keep using the platform (is it any wonder that Trump has taken to Twitter like a Duck Dynasty Klansman?) [my question]

Trump Tweeting on his Throne of Tyranny

 

Vaknin goes on to point out that non-aggressive speech acts are a bit longer than aggressive ones i.e. love letters are effusive. I can attest to this, I once wrote a love letter to a girl in London that was something like 80 pages long (I was trying to persuade her to come to America).

 

“Social media” is the most asocial platform ever and has created an unprecedented wave of withdrawal & atomization. And those who have aggressive tendencies gravitate towards social media & enhance the toxicity. In short, it’s a self-perpetuating feedback loop, a negative filter which attracts, amplifies, & connects likeminded aggressive & dangerous people.

the social media’s role in domestic terrorism

 

This application is known as the “Network effect.” Let me remind you that as Vaknin stated earlier, this is only one of several different models that Zuckerberg could’ve used to launch Facebook but he purposely chose the Network effect because it was the most addictive (my paraphrasing). In other words, he knew it’d grow the fastest, become the most addictive & hence make him far richer than if he’d chosen a less harmful model. And the fuckin’ bastard has the audacity to still claim that he just wants to bring people together!

 

This “conversation” which I stumbled across on You Tube absolutely blew my mind because not only was it so illuminating but it was also the first time someone had ever broken down the mechanics so-to-speak of this world-wide phenomenon that I consider a social plague every bit as deadly as the bubonic plague that killed a third of the European population from 1340 to 1400.

 

Professor Vaknin continues to open our minds by informing us that we have numerous ways of organizing social interaction & poses the question; “Why did social media choose Networks rather than hierarchy or curated conversations with editors or moderators, for example?”

 

Before social media came on-line, we had other ways of interacting on-line in the cyber-world which had nothing to do with Networks i.e. forums. We were brainwashed by social media to believe that the only way to interact with others was through the Network model, it’s NOT TRUE!

Just bringing people together like G.E.”s “Bringing Good Things to Light” i.e. Nuclear weapons

 

It was purposely chosen because it’s the only model that has the Network Effect which leads back to Epidemiology (Epidemics). An epidemic is an infection sociological, psychological, or emotional. There are 20 to 30 existing models for on-line social interaction. They chose the only model that is self-replicating, self-duplicating & invades your DNA (your psychological DNA) and alters your brain via neuroplasticity and conditions you which later addicts you.

 

This has created a shared psychosis, mass hysteria, cults, including teenage death cults and it has created new types of role-models. It can be used for positive results i.e. Wikipedia which started as a Network model but became a cesspool of aggression, misinformation, slander & libel. But when Wikipedia went back to being curated, it went from three million editors to 60,000 because people were no longer interested i.e. they want the chaos & the aggression.

 

The professor continues; “Facebook, Twitter, etc. have maliciously & malevolently designed their algorithms for the destructive nature of people. But this (fortunately) is a self-limiting virus like the plague, etc. because the virus needs to leave some alive or it wipes itself out as well.

 

This has pathologized two billion people (Facebook’s members). I am reminded of the quote; “A Capitalist will sell you the rope to hang himself with.” These social media zombies (my phrase) swap their delusional world in the social media for reality & this is the definition of psychosis. (see Trump & “Reality T.V. i.e. “The Apprentice”)

 

By-the-way, I hope you’ll forgive me for a bit of bragging here but I never became a fan of “reality T.V.” I watched maybe one episode of perhaps the first “Reality T.V.” series; “Survivor” I believe it was called. And I said to my wife, this is crap! What is it telling us? Lying, backstabbing, cheating, etc. is the way to succeed. No thanks! And I never watched a single episode of “The Apprentice.”

Vaknin continues; “There’s never been a case in human history of a group so large, going psychotic (sick) except maybe Nazi Germany? And we can’t predict what will happen. However, there are some glimmers of hope; About 20% of people have left social media & some have even gotten rid of their “Smart” phones. And there are retreats where you can’t have your digital devices. There’s also a new diagnosis in the Physicians’ Desk Reference manual i.e. “Internet Addiction.”

Trump idolizes fascist leaders & his rallies feed his ego (his 4th of July military rally)

 

“The epidemic of the social media is reminiscent of zombie movies (note my reference to them as the Walking Dead).” There are groups of people who live within their worlds of multi-player games & teens who prefer to interact with other teens exclusively through social media. The amount of face-to-face social interaction among teens has dropped by 70% in the last 10 years. (and if this doesn’t worry you, you are part of the problem, not the solution—my words)

 

The bad news continues; Teenage dating has dropped by 63% & the number of sexual encounters between teens has dropped by 50%. Now this is probably good news for those of you who believe overpopulation to be the greatest threat to our survival & those “good Christian fundamentalists” among us?

Trump’s “Christian” values i.e. “Grab them by the pussy.”
Onward “Christian soldiers” Hear no evil. speak no evil, see no evil.
The “Christian” devaluation of women as purely sexual objects you can do what you want with.

 

Consequently, we have the social trend or reality that has boggled my mind since the first time I witnessed it i.e. groups of young people who seemingly are together, will walk into a pub for example but they don’t speak to one another except through their smart phones. Or, they are totally disengaged and are “communicating” with other friends who aren’t physically there.

The “Selfie” president, Selfish, Sadistic, & . Sick!

 

Or consider another disturbing trend i.e. “Selfies.” I’m going to skip this section of the “conversation” and simply say that the word “selfies” says it all. This “social media” is supposedly about “socializing” and connecting with others yet “Selfies,” reveal the truth i.e. it’s more about egocentrism & hence, just helps to further isolate us from one another.

 

Sorry if I burst your bubbles, all you “social beings.” Not really! Wake-up and smell the damn coffee you walking dead simpletons! Zuckerberg & his crony Masters of the Universe are “socializing” you into human lemmings who they can march right off the cliff into oblivion, or at least, docile servitude for the rest of your lives.

 

“Social media encourage Regression i.e. as we develop, we invest in others emotionally, etc. but social media causes us to regress into ourselves with primitive, baby-like defense mechanisms.” (see Donald Trump)

all hail Little Lord Fauntleroy, leader of the Free World

 

Incidentally, here’s more proof of just how monumentally unfit Donald the Draft Dodger is to inhabit the oval office; Another little minor “side-effect” of the stupendous “social media,” is known as “splitting.” And how appropriate because Trump is definitely a split-personality if not a Sybil with 16 or more personalities?

 

In this little toddler, would be emperor’s pea-brain, you’re either with him or against him & he throws his royal tantrums daily whenever someone dares to point out that the emperor wears no clothes i.e. he’s pure, unbridled greed, hatred, & jealousy.

 

In respect of “full disclosure,” I must remind you that the other coward, the Alfred E. Newman occupant of the White House, George W. Bush, also divided America into the equally simplistic & stupid dichotomy of; “You’re either with us or you’re against us.” But hey, no big deal, right? He just lied us into a totally unnecessary war with Iraq that only killed 5,000 or so American soldiers & approximately 100,000 Iraqis not counting of course all those who were maimed & those who fled their country.Several thousand American soldiers died in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died & Bush jokes about it? This is how to corporate fascist elite really feel i.e. their deep sense of Patriotism

The “Golden Calf” worshipped by the good, ol’ boys

 

Of course, this all just proves how serious Trump was about “draining the swamp,” in Washington D.C. Yep! All you deep-fried Twinkie eating simpletons who believed Trump’s racist dog-whistles & have been salivating ever since, may eventually catch on as your food stamps, the modicum of health care you get, your subsidized housing, etc. is yanked away that it was your Grand Wizard, Donald of the Duck Dynasty Klan, who fucked you yet again, not the poor Hispanics fleeing the drug lords or the Muslims fleeing religious persecution. But then again, as Einstein said;

 

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

Welcome to the world of Facebook & Trump

I despair though because Trump is clearly a vile low-life and yet no matter how despicable his behavior i.e. grabbing women by their pussy, or how crass the words that come out of his mouth, a third of the American public worship him? It’s clear that we have a national emergency when such a huge segment of our population glorifies such a detestable human being.

 

It’s prima facie evidence of how television & the movies & our pathetic public education system has failed us. And this essay is like spitting in the wind especially in post-literate America but at least my conscience is clear because I’ll never give up the fight to waken my fellow Americans from their mental & emotional lethargy.

 

Returning to the subject of the negative psychological aspects of the social media, another factor is called “splitting.” This boils down to simplistic “either or” thinking or rather reacting i.e. you’re either my friend or my enemy. And this is Trump in spades. His daily tirades & tantrums at every perceived insult clearly reveals that we have a pouting, third grader in the oval office. Also remember George W. Bush’s stupidity with his declaration; “You’re either with us or you’re against us,” in reference to the “War on Terrorism.” And social media caters to the most primitive defense mechanisms, behaviors, and traits in people. As Dr. Vaknin points out; “Therefore, there is no difference between social media & the tobacco industry who purposely put nicotine in tobacco to addict people.

tobacco industry’s top CEOs lying to Congress (see also Oil Industry, Banking industry, etc.)

 

And the nightmare gets even scarier i.e. social media adds to a lack of impulse control. Remind you of anyone? If you thought of Trump, give yourself a pat on the back. Again, all one has to do is turn on their television any time of day & any day of the week to witness our adolescent president in action.

 

Mr. Vaknin informs us that addictions can be treated and overcome but conditioning is much harder to overcome. And no, I’m not trying to paint some grand conspiracy, that’s Trump’s forte along with his paper of choice, The National Enquirer & his mentor, Alex Jones. But the effects of all this social media conditioning are destroying us as a nation & greatly amplifying the dangers to humanity.

 

Perhaps the core threat to our continuation as a species is the fact that humans are social beings & the social media has tapped into this powerful fact. Some of us are slowly waking up to the sinister manipulations of us by Facebook, Twitter, etc. and have stopped using the social media altogether but tragically, the majority of people couldn’t & don’t even want to contemplate life without their social media.

 

Do you think I’m exaggerating the power of social media? I invite you to observe closely for a single day people with their smart phones out in public, at home, in school, etc. I contend that they’re every bit as addicted & conditioned by their smart phones/social media as a hardcore heroin addict, meth user, etc.

 

As social beings, the most frightening thing for us isn’t lack of food, shelter, weather, etc., it’s being ostracized, excommunicated, or to not belong. Vaknin points out that people would rather die than to not belong. And when I reflect back on my life, I can see that I too have been looking for a sense of belonging or acceptance my whole life. My writing reflects that as well. I write in the hopes of being heard, in my desire to be understood. And hopefully this doesn’t sound too pathetic but the older I get, the more isolated I feel. As I stated earlier, I joined Facebook under the delusion/illusion that I would connect with others but the overwhelming majority of the 3,000 friends I collected on Facebook, couldn’t bother to even write a single word in response to the thousands of posts I submitted or the hundreds of essays that I wrote & posted. And here in the so-called “real world,” we’re not allowed to talk about politics in pubs or taverns so please tell me, where in the Hell are we allowed to honestly communicate with each other or how are we supposed to exchange ideas, console one another, & work to stop all this madness?

 

Vaknin cites a few examples of how critical our need to belong is from history i.e. Socrates & the Catholic Church’s power of excommunication which they wield like a club over the heads of their flock (my description). If you know a bit about history, you may recall that throughout history, the Church & the State have often vied for power over the people & sometimes they have joined forces to keep people submissive to their power. In my naivete & ignorance, I asked Noam Chomsky awhile back for an example of when the Church & State had united in their suppression of the public & he replied; When the Roman Empire officially adopted Christianity as the state’s religion.

 

Think about that for a few minutes. The Inquisition, the Holy Crusades, the Salem Witch Trials, the Christian missionary’s conversion of natives, etc. etc. etc. And in today’s Trump world, we witness the “Christian” fundamentalists who support Trump no matter what he says or does even though he’s like a poster boy for every cardinal sin there is because they too want the reins of power. These hypocritical “Christians” salivate at the thought of making America a Christian nation with them in charge/control over every aspect of our lives from what we can watch on T.V., how we dress, whom we can love, what we can say, etc. As someone quipped; “The American Taliban.” No, I’m not exaggerating, I wrote my first book on the subject & it’s truly scary. They are tickled pink with Mike Pence being in the role of our vice-president because they know how quickly he could become president were Trump forced out of office for any one of the hundreds of crimes he’s committed.

Trump knows all about witch hunts, he learned from his mentor, Roy Cohn, McCarthy’s right-hand man

 

Well, are you thoroughly depressed yet? Sadly, there’s more to come my friend. Returning to the subject of our fear of being excluded from any of the social groups to which we belong, social media does just this i.e. if you don’t play by their arbitrary rules, you are cut-off for a while. For example, I once included a picture of a beautiful young, hippie chick in a sample of a fantasy novel I have been working on for several years.

 

I believe it was a very tastefully done picture. It was a young woman standing on a rock by the ocean with her arms outstretched as if she were welcoming the new day. She was tan & had long dark, flowing hair and it showed her naked butt. And this was a violation of Facebook’s policies so I was cut-off for 30 days, I believe? Yet, pictures of people murdered by bombs, terrorists, etc. and countless other horrific scenes are no problem? Correction; I had to go back & look up the picture I’m talking about, it wasn’t her butt that was revealed, it was a side view of one of her breasts. I know, how shocking? But Trump’s misogynist insults about women & his behavior at beauty pageants, his buddy, Jeffrey Epstein, etc. is all fine as far as the “Christian” fundamentalists are concerned & Facebook’s guardians?

 

For me, one of the most pernicious aspects of the social media is their deliberate “dumbing-down” of their members. Intellectual matters are only rarely posted but “Selfies,” cute kittens, what people ate for dinner, etc. make up the majority of the posts. Keeping everything light & simple makes it easier for people to click that “like” button & speeds up the feedback loop that brings in more suckers & more customers for the corporations buying our data from Facebook & makes Zuckerberg richer.

 

Analogous to this deliberate dumbing-down it its customers i.e. Facebook members, is the fact that throughout history, the Church tried to keep its flock ignorant as well. For centuries, only the priests & royalty were taught to read so it was easier to control the public. Slaves in America were forbidden by law to learn how to read. And I argue that while it’s not a clear-cut case of conspiracy but the corporations who are the de facto rulers of America, also don’t want their average workers to be “too well educated,” because they often stir up the other workers to unite & form unions, etc.

 

As Vaknin points out, Facebook members soon internalize the message i.e. if I keep it simple & don’t use big words, I’ll be more popular and get more “likes.” This forces you to hide your true identity as I learned after wasting thousands of hours trying to reach people on an intellectual level. Moreover, if you’re empathetic, you have to hide that as well. If you’re a critical thinker, you must avoid revealing it.

 

I truly began to realize what a fool I’d been after Obama left office because if I dared to point out some of Obama’s hypocrisies i.e. never prosecuting the Wall St. wolves who destroyed our economy, his illegal & immoral drone warfare, etc. people who I had somewhat of a connection with, would send me nasty messages asking me to not include them in my posts, etc.

 

Yep! If you point out hypocrisy, contradictions between words & behavior, etc., you soon find yourself persona non grata. Obama is now put up on a pedestal as if he were a saint or something. And especially now with that miscreant Trump in the White House, people have buried every dirty deed of Obama’s. Don’t get me wrong, I hated all the racist attacks towards Obama—-Trump played a large part there as well—but I’ll never forgive him for his grand betrayal especially when he had such an overwhelming mandate as he took office.

 

Social media essentially rewards denial, denial of our better natures & it encourages our dark sides, our aggression, our regressive aspects, & our infantile personalities. Again, consider the occupant in the oval office, the bloated & bellicose baby throwing his daily fits. Is it any wonder that he can’t go a day without tweeting his verbal bile? Twitter is the perfect tool for such a lizard-brain racist & hate monger. In brief, Facebook & the other so-called social media is the breeding ground for narcissists & psychopaths. It forces you to fight with yourself i.e. the more you suppress the real you & join in the superficial & shallow, the more popular you are. I want to insert another fact from history here; if you look at military dictatorships around the world, whenever they take over a country, one of the first things they do is shut down the universities. Why? Because as the students become educated, they begin to share their knowledge with their countrymen & they begin to resist the dictators. And the powerful do the same with the media. Don’t tell me you haven’t seen Trump follow this same game plan here in America?

 

And this internal war or strife that many of us are experiencing is causing dissonance in our minds & our spirits. This is reflected in the growing levels of anxiety we are feeling. As Vaknin tells us, the minute you post a “selfie,” your anxiety level goes up because you are vulnerable i.e. what if people don’t like my picture, etc. When teens were asked if it made them feel good being on social media, 47% of them said No, it makes them feel bad. Of course, this begs the question, then why in the Hell do they stay with it? Obviously, they’ve become conditioned.

 

I feel that a brief description of “cognitive dissonance” would be useful at this point;

 

Psychologist Leon Festinger first proposed a theory of cognitive dissonance centered on how people try to reach internal consistency.2

He suggested that people have an inner need to ensure that their beliefs and behaviors are consistent. Inconsistent or conflicting beliefs lead to disharmony, which people strive to avoid.

 

In other words, the deeper we go in our study of the “social media,” the more evident it becomes that it is anything but socially engaging or helpful to us. In fact, it is making the world a more unsocial or asocial place. Just what we need as we’re facing our extinction via global warming or the ever-looming threats of a nuclear exchange & we have that smiling, Big Mac viper in the White House alienating our allies & kissing ass to the world’s despots & dictators.

Trump’s heroes (murderous dictators) & Trump’s gangbanger pose

 

The professor continues; Most of the behavior on social media is robotic i.e. it doesn’t give meaning, it merely gives pain or pleasure (my interpretation). You push a button & get a result and the more you push the buttons, the more results you get (Conditioning). Social media is simple, it’s anti-complex. There is no world for social media, it is the world! There is no reality outside it, they live in it.

 

These are simulated people, they live in the Matrix. Social media is their reality, bits & bytes are their atoms. Their families are their peers. They perceive reality to be unreal & they perceive unreality (social media) to be real. Can you spell Trump?

 

Social media is designed to deter intimacy & intimacy reduces the need for addiction. Wow! I can testify to this my friend. When I first met my wife, from day two i.e. our first date, we spent every night from then on, together. And as our relationship & our love grew, I spent less & less time getting high and getting drunk with my friends. Because Jeri didn’t put any chains on me, I wanted to be around her more & more. It felt so natural, healthy, & normal being with her. I could talk to her and felt I was always heard.

 

Dr. Vaknin says that Intimacy is the biggest addiction and I say, Hallelujah brother! Facebook competes with intimacy. (it’s a faux intimacy) You’re either intimate or you’re on Facebook. Intimacy simply consumes too much of your time & you don’t have time for other addictions.

 

Above all, “Facebook & Twitter rely on loneliness & atomization, schizoid, separated, hermits, recluses, nerds, socially inept & unable to bond people. Remember the guys who created these social platforms i.e. the nerds who became the prototypes of modern hip or cool. (my phrasing) Intimacy is the biggest threat to social media so they atomize individuals.

Need I say anything?

 

This theory refers to “the tendency for society to be made up of a collection of self-interested and largely self-sufficient individuals, operating as separate atoms”.[2] Therefore, all social values, institutions, developments and procedures evolve entirely out of the interests and actions of the individuals who inhabit any particular society. The individual is the ‘atom’ of society and therefore the only true object of concern and analysis.[3]

 

The facts are that you’re a shameless liar defending a habitual liar & sexual predator.

[A fact is a statement that is consistent with reality or can be proven with evidence. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability — that is, whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to experience. Standard reference works are often used to check facts. Scientific facts are verified by repeatable careful observation or measurement.]

In other words, the self is supreme. We only have to listen to ourselves, forget everyone else. Reminds me of the “Greed is Good” speech in Oliver Stone’s first movie called “Wall St.” And those of you around my age may remember Reagan’s celebration of Greed when he declared the 1980s the “Me Decade.” And once again my imaginary reader, this is precisely what we don’t need in this fragile state we’re all in. We need true social dialog & cooperation. I don’t mean to sound like an alarmist but if we don’t get our shit together and soon, those phony Christians may just get their wish i.e. Armageddon.

 

Furthermore, social media is built-in obsolescence on steroids (my phrase). Social media expires much faster than any product. The minute you post a tweet & the minute it’s been liked, 24 hours later it’s dead. And you need to renew the product & post another tweet. {see our Twittering Tweedledum in the oval office} These are the only manufacturers in the world who have made you their employee. The users are its employees. When you use social media, you generate the “Content.” And they sell your “content” to advertisers. Social media is supposed to be a “communication platform” but you do the communicating & they reap all the profits (my point).

 

And what really blew my mind & angered me beyond words was when I discovered that Facebook own the rights to our communications i.e. our “Content.” So, all the writing I posted on my Facebook page trying to explain complex issues, facts, historical knowledge, etc. etc. etc. was the property of Facebook and they can/could use it anyway they wanted. Yet we hear these corporations scream about their “intellectual property rights.” Yeah, their rights are all that matter, not ours!

 

Facebook continuously encourages people to share their thoughts, feelings, memories, etc. under the pretense that they’re fostering closer intimacy between its members when all the while, they’re selling our content to advertisers who use it in their attempts to sucker us into buying their products. We truly are a nation of Suckers & P.T. Barnum would be oh so glad to see what’s become of us. P.T. Barnum was the founder of the Ringling Brothers Circus & promoted hoaxes—probably Trump’s inspiration for his conspiracy theories—and P.T. Barnum is famous for declaring “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Clearly, Trump’s “base” is the three-ring circus clowns he’s suckered into cheering for their own demise i.e. taking away their food stamps, their jobs, etc.

Trump definitely is Public Enemy #1

 

Though Trump himself is more suited to the role of a Carnival huckster boasting & attracting suckers with his outrageous claims & devious techniques for robbing them blind. And it’s painfully obvious that Trump supporters are deaf, dumb, & blind because they so willingly go along with whatever he says or does no matter how perverse or illogical. They are literally the lambs happily marching to their slaughter. And as Dr. Vaknin also points out, these social media platforms are built for instant gratification like drugs. So, intimacy isn’t a direct threat but the real threat is that you’ll find someone through Facebook & will no longer use Facebook.

 

Specifically, Facebook & its competitors need your eyeballs i.e. your attention and your girlfriend, other social media platforms, T.V., etc. are all a threat to their domination of your attention. Case in point, Facebook won’t allow Google to crawl their database because that would take your attention away from Facebook for a portion of your attention. And Trump clearly needs all our attention all the time due to his massive insecurity & inferiority complex.

 

This faux intimacy that Facebook & others peddle to the unwary carries with it on the flipside, the constant risk of a large dose of pain i.e. you post a “Selfie,” and 3 out of 10 people may tell you how ugly you are. So, how in the Hell can you expect intimacy from these imaginary “friends?” Hence, users learn to interact on very superficial levels—to reduce their exposure to painful responses—and members become very pain averse. Social media has exponentially amplified the amount of negative social interaction and again, I can personally attest to this as well. Unfortunately, I spent way too much time responding to personal attacks on my character. We are such a misinformed & ignorant society as a whole that much of what I shared with people on Facebook was so obscure to most of the Facebook universe, that many people thought i’d just made the stuff I said up. And Trump is exhibit #1 as to why we need to banish “Selfies.”

 

Not to brag but to rightfully speak up in my defense, I have conservatively spent over 50,000 hours in approximately a 30-year period of avid reading, research, watching of documentaries, etc. in the areas of political science, history, philosophy, classical literature, etc. but because most of this knowledge isn’t common knowledge, many critics dismiss me as a troll, fabricator, etc. Therefore, the old adage of “What you don’t know can’t hurt you” is clearly a pernicious lie. Exposing yourself on Facebook by expressing your opinions, etc. can easily result in your being attacked by over 20,000 people at any given moment. And clearly, it’d take a very healthy ego or self-image to withstand this powerful an assault.

 

In conclusion, my central thesis is that Facebook plays a significant role in leading us down the path to fascism because it is all about corporate power to manipulate not only our choices in the marketplace but also in the voting booth. The G.O.P. has obviously shown that their love of power far outweighs their patriotism & remain silent as Trump trashes our society because they don’t want to lose their jobs. They use voter suppression, gerrymandering, rigging of election machines, & even turn a blind eye to the Russians hacking into our election system. Republicans should hang their heads in shame & move to countries where there is no pretense of freedom & democracy.

 

When I began writing this essay, I planned on incorporating the new documentary, “The Great Hack,” released on Netflix a few weeks back. But I realized that it would become too lengthy & most people wouldn’t even be able to sit still long enough to read the first part so I’m going to delve into the political part of Facebook’s crimes against humanity in a second essay which I’m going to title; “The Road to Fascism Part Two.”

Before I get into the meat & potatoes so-to-speak of my conclusion, I want to provide you with a few links by some people who played an integral part in the social media assault on democracy. Some of you may think me a fringe critic with my own agenda for whatever nefarious reasons so if you’re not afraid or too lazy to do a bit of homework unlike Donald Duck, check these critics out:

 

 

 

 

 

If you managed to find or make the time to watch the above video clips, I’m sure that you’ll agree that I haven’t exaggerated the very real threats to our survival as a democracy & as a species in the big picture. Okay, now for the connecting of the dots in terms of fascism:

Again, I can’t assume that everyone who might read this essay will be familiar with who Mussolini was due to our pitiful public education system so here you go.

Twin sons of different mothers (Trump & Mussolini)

For those of you who don’t know much about history, in the end, the citizens of Italy revolted against Mussolini & hung him for all to see in the public square. Remember; Pride cometh before a fall & Trump’s constant bragging is going to mean quite a fall for this low-life.

 

was Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy from the fascists’ takeover of state power in 1922 until 1943, and Duce from 1919 to his execution in 1945 during the Italian civil war. As dictator of Italy and founder of fascism, Mussolini inspired several totalitarian rulers such as Adolf Hitler.[2][3][

 

Mussolini’s foremost priority was the subjugation of the minds of the Italian people through the use of propaganda. The regime promoted a lavish cult of personality centered on the figure of Mussolini.

Some argue that Mussolini didn’t actually say the following quote but for the sake of this essay, I feel that it summarizes my point nicely;

““Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.”

 

And if you deny the truth of this statement in today’s America, you most likely are a member of Donald of the Duck Dynasty Klan. I have been studying the rise of the corporate state for over 30 years but of course if you prefer to believe in Alex Jones, Donald Trump, & the National Enquirer, you probably haven’t read a single book in your life and therefore, my facts will totally escape you. Here’s Alex Jones, Trump’s friend & reliable source of facts;

Moreover, the Supreme Court’s ruling “Citizens United” handed down in 2010 effectively sold American democracy out to the corporate or fascist powers that be. Because corporations are no longer restricted in terms of how much money they can “donate” (bribe) to politicians. This has been described as the unleashing of “Dark Money” because corporations can hide their “donations” and not risk being boycotted by an informed public or having their hidden agendas to fuck their customers & the American public in general. One might argue that this was the opening of the door to the fascists taking over of our government. By-the-way, reflect on how tenaciously Trump refuses to release his tax information. He never tires of bragging i.e. lying about his prowess as a businessman so why does he refuse to reveal just how much money he is worth if he’s so proud of being a “billionaire?” Could it be that it’s all a grand lie he uses to dupe his White Supremacists & fellow fascists into believing he knows what he’s doing?

 

I used to have a blog called “Corporate Cockroaches,” but it was stolen out from underneath me so I’ve started again & my new blog is “The Cockroach Conspiracy.” And I have long argued that like cockroaches, when you turn the light on, they scurry for dark crevices & places to hide. And this is clearly indicative of corporate America. They strive to hide their profits, how they made their money, etc. because they know that we, the public, would tear them down if their crimes were revealed. They buy politicians with “donations,” because the politicians write the laws that can hurt or help them. This is the de facto state of democracy & we’re only deluding ourselves if we think otherwise.

 

Consider if you will if this is what our soldiers, sailors, airmen, & Marines have been fighting for, getting maimed for, & dying for around the world for the past century? Could it be that we have over 900 military bases around the world—and God knows how many secret or “black sites” —to support the corporate or fascist agenda of ruling the globe?

 

Fascism is the antithesis or the opposite of Democracy but the powers that be know that if they were honest & called it what it is, we’d revolt. So, the charade of our being defenders & promoters of democracy is vital for them to maintain. And the relatively recent phenomenon of the “Social media,” has proven to be a very effective weapon for corporate America in its decades long propaganda campaign to keep us dumb & hence easier to manipulate.

 

And let me remind you once again that no, this isn’t just a variation of an Alex Jones grand conspiracy. This is an agenda of the major corporations to ensure their continued profits & control over the institutions that were established to promote the general welfare of the public against the corporate interests.

Corporate power is like the elephant in the room that no one dares to mention because it would spell economic as well as political suicide for any who dared to. They’ve been getting away with their crimes against humanity, their gutting of true democracy, etc. for so long that the majority of us accept it as a law of nature or just the way it is.

 

Trump “won” the presidency because of the asinine electoral college system which allows a candidate to win even though they lost the popular vote. And he “won” because of the sophisticated/skillful machinations of Cambridge Analytica which I’ll delve into in part two. And he won because of the lack of moral integrity on the part of the Democratic party i.e. their sabotage of Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

 

I realize that this is all extremely depressing but does that mean it’s okay for us to bury our heads in the sand & proclaim that there’s nothing we can do about it because it’s all just too vast & complicated? Is that what you’ll tell your children or your grandchildren when they find themselves living in a giant gulag or Fortress America? H.G. Wells, one of the first science fiction writers, summed it up nicely in a quote from over a hundred years ago;

 

“Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow. For the truth is the greatest weapon we have.”

 

If you dare to be honest with yourself, you’ll see that Trump is making Fascism our reality!

 

The ball is in your court my imaginary friend & my imaginary reader.

 

—Rob DeLoss, Gold Beach, OR August 17, 2019 (one day before the sixth anniversary of my dear wife, Jeri’s passing)

The Love of my Life, Jeri Ellen DeLoss & me.

 

P.S.  Sorry, I almost forgot to mention that the social media is a powerful tool being used to “win the hearts & minds” of the American public. Do you recall the U.S. Army’s campaign in the Vietnam War to “win the hearts & minds” of the Vietnamese people? This was the introduction of what they called “psy ops” (psychological operations) i.e. we, the citizens are the enemy of the corporate elite & they will stop at nothing in their agenda of absolute or total control over us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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