“Don’t wanna be an American Idiot. One nation controlled by the media. Information age of hysteria. It’s calling out to idiot America” – Green Day. In 2005 … BEFORE the internet turned into the cesspool of human consciousness. Hate to burst your bubble Billie Joe … but it’s Too Late !
The ways we define and regulate our ideas of truth have never met lower standards. Public discourse has become dangerous nonsense. Ask yourself – what causes herds of people to go against common sense and logic? Well as Aldus Huxley said, “we are all Great Abbreviators”, meaning, none of us have the wit to know the whole truth. The bigger problem nowadays is nobody even attempts too. “Humans can’t help reducing all complex situations to stories, all of which require protagonists, problems, and movement toward resolution. It’s how our minds are built, and why it’s hard to look more deeply and broadly at any issue,” said the all wise Doc Sealrs. To compound and complicate the issue we ALL live in our own Filter Bubble whether we know it or not, which results in tailor made messaging to anything we hear, read or watch and any search we conduct creating alternate versions of the flow of information. YET in a more or less incomprehensible world, there are know-it-all’s, everywhere.
And so vast complexity is aggregated into stories that feel right and are easy to remember. Fables that keep us from being ostracized, judged or condemned. Media is so powerful in this area of thought formation because the form in which ideas are expressed affects what those ideas look like. Once upon a time, serious and rationale public conversation was synonymous with the written word and academic research aimed to establish the truth of a phenomenon based on evidence, analysis , and peer review. Then along came the distraction doomsday device you are probably holding in your hand as you are reading this; which is quite the antithesis of that notion. IT as well as every other form of light speed communication reduces reality ….to a metaphor.
If we shape our tools and our tools shape us, if our languages are our media and our media are our metaphors, and our metaphors create the content of our culture, then what will become of our culture IF we value drama over exposition in our Media? Yeah – let that marinate for a while…
Like Googles algorithm, we value popularity over clarity. Assisting our lack of capacity to understand things that are complicated was part of the utopian nonsense of the internet.
But we’re all just dumber now.
Many of the concepts articulated in this piece were inspired by “Amusing Ourselves To Death” by Neil Postman, copywritten in 1985. No doubt he is rolling over in his grave.