Black Mirror makes me want to scroll that Facebook feed into oblivion

Is Black Mirror trying to scare or to scar?

So I have finally gone through the entire available third season of Black Mirror. It’s been a sad journey. No, strike that, the damn thing got me downright depressed.

I mean it. Sad. Not bad. High quality show, nothing to say here. It’s just that, damn, after the never ending list of happy endings we get the never ending abyss of depressing wrap-ups.

I get it. They mean to prevent, or to instil, a certain circumspect attitude towards the all too touted miracles of technology. But instead they make the audience feel as if the “mere” human is completely helpless.

In Black Mirror there is never any real choice for the characters of the show, and that cancels any kind of moral message they might attempt on the audience.

The soldier, lied to. The game tester, lied to. The pics kid, lied to. The twitter horde, lied to. The social addict, lied to. Probably San Junipero is the most fair episode towards the audience, but even in that one, the character is being lied to by itself, as all lovers end up being.

Indeed, the show makes a point of the lying by being very forward about it. Laconic documents signed, ignorant decisions, rushed life changes, you name it, it is all about pointing to an obvious deceit, yes, as if technology is a lubricant for our impossible wishes.

And boy, is that a good intent, a worthy aspiration, to tame the haste of letting bits and wires invade our pores. Yet, to whom is the show speaking?

Don’t we know? We, the ones who like and praise the show so much, we already know. We know all that. The entertainment that ensues from the confirmation of our expectation only gapes our defences for the long and terrible list of depressing endings. And this is where the show is weird and tiresome.

We’ve all got fed up with happy endings, I get it. But, folks, the antidote to happy endings are realistic conclusions, not depressive wrap-ups. Will we learn by being scarred? Does anyone? Won’t this whole initial idea of warning on the dangers of technology, be just lost on the audience being to busy finding some dopamine generator for their cortisol and serotonin flooded brains?

I mean, I want to scroll that Facebook feed into oblivion after a Black Mirror shot. Who is Black Mirror trying to scare? The mind out of us? Do script writers that take on the cape of social workers ever think it is actually possible to simply swap one manipulation with another?

In season three there is no single episode without a wrap-up. A wrap-up is not an epilogue, nor a conclusion, or a satisfactory falling into meaning of the plot. No, as the name says, it is simply wrapping up the show with the gloom and doom of helplessness and fatalism. It is the final acetylcholine forced sip to completely counter any trace of adrenaline that would make anyone even glimmer at the idea that there is actually a way out.

People zone out because life itself has become utterly boring. The population with internet access would do just about anything to build a separate escape world where their escapism can take them, and they have good reason to do it: the world makes very little sense these days. We sink into our fantasy alternate universes to shed some of the information overload, some of the constant sexual arousal, some of this insane montagne russe of expectations fed into our personalities by boundless media and connectivity.

How does a depressing, categorical and ivory tower shielded show ever gonna help us? I personally fear that most of the people at risk of being technologically disenfranchised, like the soldier with the implant, will neither watch, nor grasp the show.

I am also a bit mad.

It’s like, really they have all the answers, don’t they? Ah, these commoners, how gullible and foolish they are, tweeting bad hashtags, accepting stuff pinned into their cortex, wishing social acceptance so fiercely. But wait! That commoner is me!

My titanium clipping left behind by my long removed sick gallbladder is your sinister device of tomorrow infesting my existence. Do you think the technological doom of humanity will come through bee replacements and army visors? I believe it will insidiously appear one transistor at a time, one RFID antenna at a time, at all times luring our most humane intimacy: the doom of our incoming very personal and individual death.

And to that threat, the soul decomposing depression and the helplessness it brings, is a poor punch. We won’t even see the end of round one.

There is no such thing as a dream job except when you have a dream and you are at your job

When I hear people enjoying the achievement of “landing" their dream job I shiver. I shiver at the extent of the brainwash, as if a job can and will ever be more than a job. Listen, in reality, unless you have direct ownership, you are a rat in a rat race.

Oh, perhaps you think I am too general and hand waving about this whole time tested concept. Rest assured I am not. The economic model we are into requires jobs, and a “dream job” is a way to sell jobs to highly intelligent people.

Do you think we can achieve space travel technology from a basic society where people are free and…

Do you think we can achieve space travel technology from a basic society where people are free and boundless?

Because as much as I love this thought I’ve come to realize that we suck at collective empathy. And we’re naturally lazy. And species extinction is such a hard to grasp event.

How do you explain 8 billion people that we require the sacrifice of three to four generations to achieve the by the letter future we dream of today. 16 to 32 billion present and future people will be seeds.

Is there a code to break this programming? A backdoor? A forgotten open port? I am interested in full access not tweaking tcp packets 🙂

Ain’t say the Sun a double edged sword?

Ain’t say the Sun a double edged sword? Ain’t protein a double edged sword? Isn’t DNA a double edged sword?

Isn’t it better to learn how to use the sword instead of lobotomising it?

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

What does this mean? May it be that we know our shit so well that our self introspection can see marrow deep and assess “the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”?

😛

Why do we expect the truth?

thank you snopes.com

There wouldn’t be any fake diamonds, had we not assigned a huge value to diamonds that look a certain way.

We need to redefine the value of truth, to try and shift human behaviour patterns away from self assessment of truthiness and more towards the relativisation of truth itself.

There is no truth for free available online. There is no truth for free available offline. There is no truth for free available between random people. There is no truth for free available in your own home.

Truth is expensive, hidden, complex, not that useful and not that safe.

To quote Megan Taylor, whenever you read something just repeat:

My name is “No”
My sign is “No”
My number is “No”
You need to let it go

Megan is right. Those “No”s will help a lot but at much more than being an impossible to date love interest. You’ll be hard to be seduced by fakeness.

Why? Because we are hardwired to be positive.

And, in the end, it simply isn’t worth / Your while to try and clean your life away. / You can’t. For, everything you do or say / Is there, forever. It leaves evidence. / In fact it’s really only common sense; / There’s no such thing as nothing, not at all. / It may be really very, very small / But it’s still there. In fact I think I’d guess / That “no” does not exist. There’s only “yes”.

So sings the cleaner in the Yes movie.

Yes is the default we’re built for. That is why we’re gullible by default. If we weren’t, we’d question the milk we suckled on as babies.

I was reading an interview with a porn director some fifteen years ago. The guy was very chill and lax about life, and when asked what was the one thing that defined him he said: “I don’t read newspapers!”. The interviewer, expecting something raunchy on sex or nakedness or free love, mumbled, I presume, “… why?” to which the porn director replied something of sorts:

I don’t get it how people expect the truth by paying a dollar for it. Institutions, governments, armies, secret services, they all exist for one thing only: to find out the truth or to hide the truth. And they spend hundreds of millions of dollars for it. How then do people come to expect being given the truth for one dollar?

And add to that another thing which I vaguely remember from a movie:

I became a writer because early in life I discovered that if you write something down people will believe it. It is as if they think: “this guy wouldn’t have bothered to write this if it weren’t true!”.

We are preconditioned to expect being told the truth and somehow there might have been a period in our existence when some incipient human society resembled Ricky Gervais’s world in “The invention of lying”. After all lying is sophisticated.

However, animals lie. The most striking liars are bonobos and chimps. They effectively hide the truth.

So, I wondered, what was it that conditioned us to be yes primates?

Well, what I knew is that intelligence is aroused by novelty. There is a reason why most intellectuals lean to the left in politics: the more you look into the future and into the past the clearer it is that only as a collective we stand any chance at preservation.

I think we’re gullible because we expect species solidarity in face of the merciless nature. Fake news is an act of treason towards the entire humanity. I mean, I can doubt my neighbour about how much milk he milked from my sheep, but that is relatable. But by default I don’t doubt that one would drive the entire ship into the iceberg on purpose killing all of us and himself in the resulting disaster.

We favour sanity.

“Now, Kalamas, don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought: ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves that: ‘These qualities are skilful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness’ — then you should enter & remain in them.”,

Thank you internet website about real Buddha quotes. This is key.

Parents teach children to tell the truth, while at the same time children are not being told the truth. At all. Starting with Santa and ending with where did grandma go after she died. Why? Because in that relationship we’re guided by knowledge that the truth only has real value as a means of larger coordination of efforts among humans who don’t know each other, because:

— truth is another name for shared reality

We don’t know the world directly. Neither physics, nor math, neither chemistry, nor biology teaches us what the world is, rather how the world is. This means any exact science is important because it teaches us how to perceive the world, not how to live in the world.

The answers to “what”, in relationship to the world, are our musings and collective agreements. From religion, the first philosophy of man, to poetry, our song of introspection. Why? Because, so far, we live our entire life reaching out from inside this imaginary consensus existing between our feeble and barely pieced together peace treaty of unrelated bacterium with some crazy energy unleashed inside sheets of insulating myelin. Frankenstein exploring the universe.

Truth is not a default state of good. Truth is not valuable intrinsically. That is why we know that if God exists, it must be the ultimate truth and that it is also good and bad, calm and angry, benevolent and vindictive, without absolutely no contradiction.

From this mishmash we call body and mind, truth is a lot of times subjective, counter intuitive, morally wrong, causing a lot of harm and many possible deaths. By describing what the world is, truth is impartial and does not attend to neither individual, nor collective happiness.

All we can derive from truth is potential long term well being.

Which is exactly why it is being hidden and fake news fill the void left behind.

So as …

“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.” ― Jonathan Swift

… I believe the advice that people should learn to filter fake news on their own will never do much good. Making sure the little truth everyone has access to is indeed genuine, is not the job of collective wisdom or social outsourcing, but the job of society to guarantee and attend to insure.

For preserving the authenticity of truth a government should work to discourage intentional disinformation. For making more truth available private entities should consistently live up to their social responsibility promises. For knowing the truth individual people merely need to stop using truth as a means of imposing their view on the world, and instead use their truth to help everyone else view the whole world for what it is.

P.S.

To the M, to the D, right to Mr. MZ

Mark Zuckerberg should also address the real issue about truth in fake news. Apparently as he writes here:

… he is very concerned with misinformation.

Misinformation is a non problem. A straw man.

Disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth. Disinformation should not be confused with misinformation, information that is unintentionally false, Google says Quora advises.

A fake news disinforms not misinforms.

Well, trust is kind of different, but indeed there is a perspective here about what you should care…

Well, trust is kind of different, but indeed there is a perspective here about what you should care for when things get serious.

The best point I made so far is in this article I have written here. But the article was more about the differentiation between short tern wins versus long term success, as when things do get mighty serious then we have no real choice, we all suddenly know what to do.

Yet in the meanwhile we all forget the crucial activity of cultivating wisdom.

FWIW, here is my take on trust:

A