Because technology has enslaved us! Yep! Everything from our “smart phones” to our “social media” platforms like Facebook to our entertainment world of television, movies, & the Internet. I’m going to limit the scope of this essay to just these forms of technology for the sake of brevity, especially in this day & age when the average attention span is eight seconds, a second less than a goldfish’s attention span. How’s that for a depressing statistic?
Some of you may wonder how we got to this sad state of affairs & probably even fewer of you may actually even care. Of course we didn’t become enslaved by these forms of technology overnight, no, it was a gradual decaying of our intellectual abilities and a good part of the blame rests with our public education system & the forces behind it i.e. politicians & their puppet masters, the corporate cockroaches.
Moreover, the corporate media which is now in control of something like 90% of the media in America, bears a large part of the responsibility for the dumbing down of the U.S. public. Naturally, they don’t want a well-educated citizenry because they’d lose a lot of the profits they derive from a mind-numb population of consumers.
Public relations & advertising are two huge industries and corporations don’t spend tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising & public relations campaigns because they have nothing better to do with their money. Well, this opens a whole other can of worms so let me get back to the specifics of this essay.
Facebook is clearly the largest “social media” platform in America and around the globe & if you think I’m exaggerating any of what I’m about to tell you, check out the PBS “Frontline” special that was aired last week, October 29 & 30 of 2018 https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/facebook-dilemma/ I have been a critic of Facebook for quite some time and yeah, I too was suckered into its shallow world for several years & was blind to its pernicious aspects for most of that time. In fact, I was celebrating my birthday last week at a local pub & tried to tell this guy about Facebook’s business model & he clung to the “fact” that it wasn’t costing him anything. I felt like I was arguing with a tree stump or something & the last thing I asked him was; If it’s free, why is Zuckerberg worth anywhere from $60 billion to $84 billion dollars? My “friend” couldn’t answer & changed the subject. But poor Zuckerberg’s wealth dropped by $18.8 billion recently because fortunately, not all Facebook users are part of the Walking Dead.
Why the drop in its stock value? In brief because of their allowing the company, Cambridge Analytica to basically steal the election for Trump with its army of trolls planting fake news posts on Facebook. Of course Zuckerberg has plead ignorance & innocence because to do otherwise would be the end of his empire. But I call Bull-shit! He became so obscenely wealthy precisely because of his total lack of concern about ethical business practices.
And this brings us right back to Facebook’s “business model” which simply means, the more time they can get people to spend on Facebook, the greater the ad revenues they collect. Remember advertising is what keeps the whole charade of business in America going i.e. the business of America & the world is FRAUD! Yes fraud, deliberate, outright lying, deception, you name it. Anything to enrich themselves and fuck the consumers, fuck the environment, fuck everything but protect the holy profits which allows them to live the Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous.
Lest you think I’ve completely forgotten my original & key point i.e. our enslavement, Edward Snowden is a fugitive for life because he cares deeply about our freedom whether we do or not. He warned us that these “social platforms” are selling & giving every bit of our personal data which we so gullibly posted on Facebook & the rest of them, with the government. In a nutshell, by collecting & storing all our personal data, the government & the private tyrannies we call corporations, can manipulate us both as consumers & as citizens to vote the way they want us to, and if we become a nuisance, they can assemble the evidence from our personal files to frame us as a terrorist or whatever they want. https://theconversation.com/your-life-is-facebooks-business-model-like-it-or-not-35841
Snowden warned us to be aware of Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, Google, You Tube, etc. by telling us that they were all voluntarily giving our information to the government and if this doesn’t make it clear that these high tech companies are aiding in our enslavement, you may as well go back to your bowl of Fruit Loops & FOX “News.” You have been warned!
Okay, onward & upward or perhaps I should say, downward? As for the ubiquitous “smart phones,” they are actually making people dumber, not smarter. Yeah I know, at this point you’re probably tempted to dismiss me as just another old Luddite & yes I’m old i.e. I just turned 66 last week but I’ve been severely critical of these phones since they came out. Why? Because any technology that has so completely taken over people’s lives that they walk down the street eyes glued to their phones & some people have actually walked into traffic because of them, is far too dangerous.
Furthermore, it’d be funny if it weren’t so sad that these phones which the advertising proclaims will bring us closer to our friends & help us make new friends with the apps they offer, etc. are more accurately anti-social. I’ve seen it time & time again, a group of young people walk into a bar or café or wherever together but they hardly speak to one another because they’re all on their “smart phones,” sharing pictures of their food, discussing the latest soap opera, checking how many likes they’ve gotten on Facebook and the assortment of other shallow, time-wasting platforms, apps., etc.
I used to write paragraphs on the serious posts that came across on my feed on Facebook and only very rarely did someone write a sentence or even a phrase in reply. And now it’s emoticons which have supplanted even a phrase let alone a sentence. This clearly is enhancing the dumbing-down of people already short-changed by a public education system that is about controlling us, not freeing us. To expect someone to take five minutes to read something you’ve poured serious intellectual energy into, let alone write a sentence or two in response, is a joke in these peoples’ worlds.
You tell me how in the hell we’re going to save our planet or ourselves when people can’t find the time to relate to one another as human beings except via these artificial electronic devices designed to keep us distracted & spending ever greater parts of our days on them? I forget the exact statistics but it’s truly depressing how many Americans haven’t read a single book in the past year.
Again, lest you think me a nut-case, there’s a young man name of Tristan Harris who worked for Google & was high up on the food chain in the corporation so-to-speak. And in a nutshell, he shows that these smart phones are like slot machines in casinos purposely designed to give people a quick fix and keep on playing. Moreover, it’s a lot more serious than that but again, I don’t want to bore you or take up too much of your attention span so here’s a good link if you give a damn?
I’m going to just touch briefly on television & movies because I’m sure that I have already gone on for far too long. Television has been perhaps one of the most pernicious technological tools over the course of my life but with the advent of the Internet, television has now taken a back seat to the “Net.” This is perhaps just a refresher course or remedial learning if you get my drift? But T.V., as Noam Chomsky has reminded us is just “filler” i.e. the stuff we tune it to watch and the truly important stuff is the advertising because obviously that’s where they get their money. And again I assert that the “filler” is almost entirely drivel & enfeebling rather than enlightening.
When the phenomenon dubbed “Reality T.V.” was born, I was dumbfounded. This was over 20 years ago roughly & the first one of these farces I watched was called “Survivor” I believe? It was a group of people supposedly stranded on a desert island & their goal was to form alliances & basically do whatever it took to win. I watched maybe two or three episodes & said to my dear, departed wife, Jeri, this is crap! Think about it, what are they telling us & what are they teaching young, impressionable minds? I’ll tell you what, they’re glorifying lying, cheating, stealing, back-stabbing, etc. in other words, doing whatever it takes to win and the hell with fair play, ethics, etc.
You might care to note that the “reality” t.v. show, “The Apprentice” is our current dunce in residence in the oval office’s claim to fame. And when I hear that shows like “The Walking Dead” are hugely popular, my heart sinks for America again. I could only handle maybe 15 minutes of one episode and had to change the channel. It’s like a regular t.v. series of a slasher movie. I could go on and on but I won’t.
Please don’t think I’m one of those phony “Christian” fundamentalists, far from it. They are equally responsible for the installation of Donald of the Duck Dynasty Klan as “our” president. But I do share in their revulsion when it comes to a lot of what passes for entertainment in America. But where I definitely disagree with them, is on the subject of “pornography.” You see, in their feeble, twisted minds & spirits, nudity and sex are Satan’s temptations & are far more harmful than all the blood & violence in the movies. Could it be that because there is so much violence in the Old Testament in particular, that they’re comfortable with it in t.v. & movies or at least they’re not nearly so outraged about it as they are about sex & nudity?
You see, I’m proud to consider myself an old hippie and I remember fondly the idealism of the tumultuous 60s and free love, equality, truth, no war, etc. In short, I believe the true pornography is violence, not love, nudity, & sex! And don’t misinterpret this as a blanket acceptance of the rampant, gross bondage & other sick shit in the world gone amok porno world. No, anything that degrades & demeans others in that industry sickens me but to label all nudity & free love between mutually consenting adults as Satanic or evil, is just another version of McCarthyism or the Salem witch trials.
In conclusion, the steady assault on our freedoms whether by the “Christian” fundamentalists, the corporate cockroaches, or whoever, is an attempt to dominate & control us & implicitly says that the “authorities” doing so, are superior to us & know what’s best for us i.e. we shouldn’t trust our own judgment but should remain children looking to their loving guidance as if we are all ignorant children dependent on their benevolent guidance. Need I remind you of how many televangelists were eventually revealed for their “immoral” acts with prostitutes, etc.?
Last, but certainly not least, Hollywood movies. Again, I won’t bore you with a thorough review of this sad aspect of our social conditioning but will simply point out the first example that comes to mind i.e. “Blackhawk Down.” (and no, I don’t apologize for my condescending tone in this essay because there is more than ample evidence to support such a tone) This movie which, by-the-way, I enjoyed, like the thousands of others that came before it, always seem to glorify America’s position in each & every conflict around the world & paint the “other” as evil incarnate. Well even if you do a brief, cursory review of our illustrious history, you will often find that our behavior was shall I say? Less than honorable?
In summary, these factors and so many others, have all contributed to our enslavement whether we have the courage & honesty to acknowledge it or not. And as they say in so many self-help groups, recognition of a problem is the first & the most important step in solving that problem!
—Rob DeLoss, Nov. 5, 2018
Perhaps it’s more of a male problem due to our overly competitive natures or conditioning but movies, video games, etc. must be non-stop action in order to keep our attention & this parasitic state of being is a sort of closed, doom-loop system. In other words, the more we participate in this constant flux of meaningless & violent action, the less we are able to disengage from it & contemplate the much bigger reality, the much more serious issues that are a threat to all of humanity i.e. the possibilities for nuclear war & the destruction of the world through climate change & the continuing death of our precious ecosystems.