Thursday, July 16, 2015

Are You Really in Control of Your Life?...

or are you being controlled by outside forces?

There is no doubt that we are more "connected" than ever before.  Between our lap tops, iPads, and smart phones, there is hardly a time when we are not being bombarded with information, not to mention kitteh videos, and other esoteric non-essentials.

Most of us have witnessed the hapless person strolling down the street, grocery store aisle, or sitting with friends in a restaurant with their heads bowed over their phones.  Not only is it doing terrible things to their posture, it's also scrambling their brains.

If you think you're immune to the constant flow of information, much of it misinformation, you're the main target and probably the most easily controlled.

We crow about mainstream news sources as being biased, outright lying, or otherwise manipulating the news, and pat ourselves on the back because we have better sources.  More truthful sources. Trusted sources.

But, do you really?

Facebook has something like a billion people using it's platform.  I have a bit of a problem with that figure because it includes people who sign up and don't post anything, not to mention the number of fake accounts.  I will concede that a whole load of people are wandering around Facebook.

Facebook has a news feed.  For many people, this is their only news source.  I know that seems hard to believe. I barely even noticed it until it was pointed out to me. 

You realize, of course, that when you are staring at a little screen looking at the latest selfie your BFF posted, just as when you are watching TV, you are essentially in a hypnotic state open to whatever propagandists wish to pour into your willing and waiting brain?

You may think you're "in-touch", but, in fact, your reality is being reshaped for you.  You've handed over your power as an individual, and become part of the collective.

How many of you believe that there are not paid government trolls re-shaping the conversations on chat forums, or interjecting conflicting information and outright propaganda in comment sections of the larger news blogs?   Or that the Facebook news feed is "all the news that's fit to print", the famous tagline of the New York Times?

Our brains, contrary to what many people believe, are not wired to multi-task.  Yet texting which, in my opinion, is an abhorrent way to communicate, and in some sense emails, forces us to respond, immediately dragging us away from whatever we were trying to do.  That is why you have people sitting around a table in a restaurant all staring at their phones.

These devices are shaping a new reality for people.  Logic, and an individual's ability to think things through is kicked to the curb while they are spoon fed garbage and call it dinner.

I'm not anti-technology.  Great strides have been made in medicine and other fields through technology.  It's about setting limits.  It's the difference between someone putting a tiny tattoo on their ankle versus inking their entire bodies.

It's about living in the real world, rather than in a reality shaped by someone else. It's about being an individual and not a tiny speck in the collective.


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