Irma’s gone -we’re all fine- and wreaked a bit of havoc on some of our extended family farther north. Except for the loss of power and few trees down, they are all fine as well. Floridians south and west of us took much harder hits, so keep them in your prayers and donate money (or not) to whatever charities you will. I wouldn’t however, suggest large doses of media coverage about this storm’s aftermath. I felt the same way about Harvey and was less much anxious about Irma as a result.
All of this brings me to the point of this post: the great American mind hack. It’s real, it’s relentless, and our only defense is awareness and diligence to maintain a firewall against the hackers. This friends, is not easy. At least it isn’t for me. I have been going into overdrive with this one of late, and I still find myself needing to continuously update my firewall.
I don’t have much to add except for a few excellent links I’ve recently encountered on the subject. The first is an article in which Zuckerberg and company pretty much admit they are all about taking away your privacy AND your anonymity as these are vices which allow you to harbor and express your deepest thoughts uncontested and unmolested. Here’s an teaser from How Sillion Valley is erasing your individuality:
To take another grand theory, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has exclaimed his desire to liberate humanity from phoniness, to end the dishonesty of secrets. “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly,” he has said. “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.” Of course, that’s both an expression of idealism and an elaborate justification for Facebook’s business model.
In a sphere of anonymous (or at least semi-anonymous) bloggers, that should make you shudder regardless of your ideology. Eponymity for everyone! Which is one of the hundreds of reasons we don’t like Facebook.
In that same vein, this interview with Franklin Foer, the writer of the first piece, where we see a theme begin to emerge:
And you think we’re being manipulated into giving up our privacy? The book mentions that Silicon Valley libertarianism gets all the attention, but you say that the “collapse of the individual” is actually the guiding ethos. How did you come to that?
To be clear, “Silicon Valley” is a fairly glib and imprecise term, so when I use it, I am referring to its elites, and to its thought leaders, not to the average engineer.
I started just watching every YouTube video I could get of a town hall meeting featuring Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, and so on. I started listening to what they were saying and it wasn’t a lot of screeds against government or celebrations of the heroic individual. What I found was this love of all things social. The network is the most fetishized concept in the valley, and as I listened, I began to think the real danger was the collectivism. They were so obsessed with achieving some sort of new global consciousness, and I found them to be completely immune to all reasonable anxieties about the state of the individual.
If supposed libertarianism is getting too much attention, which attitude do you think we’re not looking at enough?
Monopoly. When you listen to most people in Silicon Valley talk about the network they talk about it as a winner-take-all system. The idea of the network is that you make a bet on the right company and they capture the network and all the other market players disappear. I think that’s a very common way of thinking.
If you listen to the way that people like Larry Page talk about competition, they abhor the idea of competition. They think of it as something that’s almost beneath them. So rather than competing against Apple, or Uber, they would much rather focus on their moonshot ideas and doing something truly transformational, and this replicates language that we’ve heard throughout history.
The last link is a video that Hearth shared with me a few days ago, on which the title of this post is based. The distinctions he makes betweem pleasure and happiness, and the result of the conflation of the two and the aggressive marketing of plasure seeking onto the American populace is enlightening. I also appreciated his distinction between marketing and propaganda.
Yeah, yeah, I know none of this is news to most people who read here, but it’s worth a listen because we’ve evolved to the point where technology can provide that dopamine *hit* for many people. I am slightly hesitant to buy into this too much, but only because the word addiction makes me uncomfortable due to its ability to offer cover for people in situations where they really can just dig deep and learn to stop it.
Some food for thought I thought worth passing on.