This is from a work in progress.
… [I realized] [this made-up guy realized] everything and nothing eventually become the same thing. If you imagine a circle, everything at its fullest is at the top of the circle, and nothing at its emptiest is at the bottom of the circle. Entropy forces Everything to shed its contents and spread, while the forces of attraction pushes contents into Nothing. Everything shrinks and moves from the top of the circle to the bottom, and Nothing grows and moves from the bottom of the circle to the top. Now Nothing is Everything, and Everything is Nothing. The only way to stop this process is to freeze it somehow.
[I got] [this guy got] reminded of something humans figured out 5,000 years ago… the I Ching and the fundamental combinations of three lines to make heaven, lake, fire, thunder, wind, water, mountain and earth. Heaven is all yang (three solid lines — Everything), and earth is all yin (three broken lines — Nothing). One flows to the other and back again; they have to combine to be useful. It’s The Way of the universe. [People] had just figured out writing then. The stylus and the tablet, the pen and the parchment were the first information machines that automated what had been oral history.
This is why the new machines are our problem. When there is one book or even one page in a book or one person telling a story, the reader or listener doesn’t have to filter out the book or page or story from a nearly infinite amount of other books, pages and stories. The problem in our time is not what are you going to pay attention to, it’s what are you are not going to pay attention to. And the machines decide this for us. It started with favorites, subscriptions, hot links, caller ID, likes and so forth. Then came an overlay of all this that pushed information to you through those filters. An algorithm. Then a series of interlinked algorithms.
[This all takes place in the future btw]
Eventually, people quit paying attention to what they don’t know and only reinforced what they do know or think they know, and all that drove one thing — purchasing decisions. And it’s not just products and services. You don’t vote for a President anymore, you purchase one. [This is true now, though.]
You don’t go to college to pursue what you don’t know anymore. You purchase a career. You take an 18-year-old kid who wants to be a businessman, and he purchases that career. And then finds he despises it or finds that 50 people pursue the same promotion and 49 people end up getting used, discarded and abused. What does he do then? He isn’t even aware of what he doesn’t know. He can’t develop that awareness because everything fed to him by the machines tells him he needs to reinvest in his original purchase. The machines are geared to keep you from thinking, “Fuck this. Everything I thought is wrong, so I’m gonna do something completely different.”
Then we give these machines to people with no advanced education and who aren’t even purchasing a career but accepting the one handed to them, who grew up in a culture in which the machines and the people who understand and exploit them reinforce old principles that no longer apply. There is a massive cognitive dissonance in these people because some of the information and images that get through the filters do not line up with their immediate circumstances and prospects. So there is either something wrong with this other world, or there is something wrong with their own world. [Narcissistic president] understood this better than anyone. Television and Twitter were perfect for reinforcing the original purchasing decision, and anything that’s perceived as “buy something different” is perceived as an attack on me and mine. That’s why you have these heavily armed “patriots.” The liberals [buy] a new president, and the radical conservatives [buy] a new gun. The ones in between on the spectrum are killing themselves, sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident in the pursuit of oblivion.
© 2017 Joseph Galligan