The internet and social media spanning the world with billions of participants is changing the nature of our culture and civilization. Due to its fast spread its dramatic impact is likely higher in a shorter period than the invention of writing and the printing press. Film and radio as propaganda media had a dramatic impact on WW I and WW II. Will social media be seen as the fire that destroyed Western Civilization due to its pervasive impact?
In my view one of the most destructive culprits in the universe of social media is Facebook. It does not do this unknowingly.
Facebook’s seeding of social destruction is by cynical design. The system’s true monetary value is your data and ATTENTION.
ATTENTION is generated by siloing the user base and feeding each silo information that is bound to excite. It either fervently supports the shared outlook or fuels hatred of the opposition. The Facebook algorithm selects the user postings and seeded information from other sources in front of you based on deep analysis. If you look at the placed information, it is aimed at generating division even if it appears to support your point of view.
The silo user base amplifies this attention.
HATRED of the opposition is the strongest emotion here. Although we think we are debating facts, they move to the background. I should also note that the rules we use to view the facts in relation to the world are distorted impacting our perception of “truthiness.” More about that in another post.
In other words, Facebook’s SHAREHOLDER VALUE IS HATRED. It has earned them billions!
It is very destructive in its pervasiveness.
The destruction is on several levels:
- The resulting divisiveness is poison to rational discourse.
- Facts are no longer important, beliefs are.
- It prevents rational resolution of issues based on compromise.
- Trust in institution or experts is undermined and destroyed.
- It leads to extreme leadership and demagoguery, which play into the tribal hatred. Centrism cannot compete in this atmosphere.
- Eventually the polity is destroyed, because it cannot any longer be governed and function.
This is Stephen Bannon’s agenda. We are mid game in this regard, but well along the way of destroying institutions and regulation forged over the last decades and centuries. In fact, our Separation of Powers is no longer working! This is a constitutional crisis or at least Constitutional Rot. The real problem is not only that many people are seriously suffering (economic inequality) or dying (lack of healthcare,) but we are not furthering pace and the worldwide action required to solve climate change. And the window for climate change action is closing. Even if we get out polity back into a state of health, it might be too late to avoid catastrophic consequences, which will especially impact poor nations and lead to further global instability.
Although we seem to act like a “Banana Republic,” we are the largest economy in the world. Our leadership, action or inaction count in a dominant way.
To paraphrase Cato the Elder, Facebook must be destroyed,
Note: I originally posted this in response to a concern about social media’s destructiveness on the polity on Facebook. After some thought I had to elevate my response and start moving my focus away from Facebook only using it as a means of distribution and getting attention.
ps I first was alluding to the “Eve of Destruction” by Barry McGuire, but then also found the Sons of Aeon, a melodic Death Metal Band wailing from Finland. My son really turned me on the genre, which actually has some very thoughtful if dark lyrics and exquisite instrument playing. I have become a fan of Katatonia (lately more progressive rock).
Here then the lyrics for Seeds of Destruction:
Sight into the future… Does not exist
We need no prophets to realise it
Next breath you’re about to take
Could be your last
Drown yourself in hatred, forget the past
This world of confusion
Where moral is just a word
Meaningless and forgotten…
Thing we should not talk about
Souls for sale
Dreams of yesterday… Drifting away
A glimpse of humanity… Does not exist
See the smile on their faces… You’ll realise it
Filth holds the reins of power
Rivers are turning red
Irrigate the fields of hate
Sow the seeds of destruction
There will be blood… Where dead roses bloom
And a quick taste of Katatonia from their track Last Song Before The Fade from their album The Fall of Hearts:
Who’s in control
So cold in this light.
Froze me in a frame
My time had run out before the future came
Depart from insight
Breach was made.
For good reason this generation does not sound very hopeful. Time for some peaceful “Hearts of Space!”