by Charles Ostman
Propaganda, the viral social pathology infestant
Even though the election of our next president is theoretically over, there is still the cultural residue of that era which continues to fester, an inflamed festering sore which refuses to calm down anytime soon.
This has been incubating in the perfect storm of social pathology on a mass scale, further exasperated by the COVID viral debacle, in which fanatical political orientation takes precedent over actual common-sense reality.
Just a brief segues into the COVID debacle here, which can be viewed as a metaphor for a spreading metascale social pathology with potentially catastrophic consequences.
There are many who have quietly determined that the damage caused by perpetual lockdown has caused more damage (and death) to citizens, than the COVID pandemic.
This is seen as a type of tradeoff. Both sides have their point, but in that logic format, it’s been deemed acceptable, that a known population (mostly elderly and with pre-existing conditions) will succumb to the COVID, but many more are succumbing to the terrible fate of perpetual lockdown . . . suicides, complete mental breakdown and depression, vast numbers of people having lost everything, their savings, their jobs and careers.
This is not a dilemma solved with a “one size fits all” binary decision boundary, but rather a gray zone of fluidic compromise, if genuine common sense can actually be applied
The “madness of crowds” syndrome fueled with targeted propaganda is a far more dangerous pathology than any physical virus. It can infect entire civilizations with destructive intent and behaviors, driven with blind emotionalism and fanatical beliefs, to the exclusion of all other forms of information.
(This graphic presents the concept of “relative” truth becoming evermore detached from genuine reality in a virtual hyperconnected information ecosystem. Truth extraction becomes evermore dependent on increased workload to process potentially valid information vectors. In this societal morphology, it becomes ever more easy to penetrate belief barriers in targeted population epicenters, where the workload of valid information processing increases far beyond the limitations of the targeted demographic. A commonly predictable outcome is a tendency to retreat into a predefined belief system where independent thought or analysis is perceived as irrelevant, or even harmful, thus rendering this demographic becoming more readily manipulated to a predetermined desired belief outcome.)
The end result is often societal collapse, economic panic, violence and even war driven by radically restrictive governance based solely on the recently amplified fanatical belief systems and so on.
My “belief closet” has already been (for many years) scraped clean, de-toxified, refined and maintained to class 10,000 clean room specs. I have been, however, mystified at the incredible tenacity of viral belief systems and the mechanisms thereof that have plagued so many . . . one of the more prolific pathologies of the human condition.
The social media ecosystem was once viewed as the emergent utopian epicenter of democratized information and publication. There were a few who dared to suggest otherwise (myself included), who were initially excoriated for suggesting such a heretical idea. As is now become excrutiatingly obvious, it didn’t take long before hordes of dimwitted trolls, ideological extremists, and an endless array of weaponized cultural entities swarmed into the social media host organism.
In a desperate attempt to create a cultural immune system, hoping to suppress some of this viral infestation, various forms of censorship has emerged. As a consequence, new social media ecosystems have been spawned, which are very quickly overtaken by the [fill in the blank] cultural extremists.
The consequences of this type of social pathology can sometimes last decades, even into future generations. Like a physical virus, it will continue to grow, eventually killing off the host organism, often leading not only to its own demise, but that of surrounding civilizations.
Evolutionary test, cultural bifurcation
Not to worry . . . as with any evolutionary test, regardless of scale, there can be a reorganization of what had been the norm into something different, or characteristics that were the norm get further amplified, leading to yet another test somewhere in the future.
What I see is a range of responses on both sides of that fence.
Some, maybe a small minority percentage of the population, is at least attempting to recognize the current realities affecting them and the planet they live on.
The other part of the population, however, is sinking ever further into irrational emotionalism, a realm in which genuine truth fades into the background, in favor of content that caters to their emotional constructs.
This sort of cultural bifurcation, as the artifacts of an encountered “test”, has occurred throughout all of human history . . . but now the scale of this test is becoming planetary, compressed into very short timelines for which there is no previous comparison.
For many, it’s simply easier to be completely submerged in the world of fake news, fake everything, as this requires no genuine intellectual effort at all, and bodes well with surrounding comrades who are also submerged into the same echo chamber.
Protests, opportunistic predators, parallel agendas
Opportunistic predators are always lurking about in the background, waiting for their moment to utilize the [fill in the blank] protests for their own purposes, or even just create an incident to catalyze protests that they can then take advantage of.
What never ceases to amaze me is how easy it is to craft public opinion with such simplistic maneuvers, and those who might suggest having a closer look before joining into the [fill in the blank] of the moment are immediately castigated as being part of the evil whatever that people are protesting against.
And yes, as you’re probably already guessing, some of those who castigate the loudest are themselves part of the entity that is trying to create incidents and protests that suit their predatory agendas.
There always has been (and will likely always will be) this type of dynamic woven into the protests of the moment . . . and many minions who are incapable of seeing the obvious for themselves.
Political correctness and the cancel culture, the new McCarthyism of the 21st century
I see it more like a rupture, in which fanatical identity politics, and purging of any utterance deemed “offensive”, or even evidence of thought going against the grain of “acceptable”, results in immediate retribution, no matter how absurd or inaccurate the interpretation of the moment happens to be.
The WORST part of this insanity is that legitimate causes for correction are becoming lost in this weirdly contorted cauldron of chaos.
What is emerging are self declared “social justice warriors”, becoming ever more desperate to become relevant, to be the new star of the revolutionary moment, by being more extreme, making a name for themselves, than others before them.
A more severe cultural rupture would be difficult to imagine.
The actions of a relatively few bad apples in the basket has now rendered anyone with a badge and a uniform is part of the same evil conspiracy. It’s a very tribal, and primitive mode of thought, driven mostly by blind emotion and what I often refer to as “hysteria momentum”.
Even in Berkeley, which has one of the most progressive police depts. in the country, there has been a screeching demand to cut their funding in half, or more.
My first thought is, when something bad happens to one of the political correctness screechers, who will they call for help? Oh gosh, gee, hadn’t thought of that . . . but that doesn’t matter, the evil police conspiracy must be crushed.
So, if one wants to look in the future just a bit, where might this be going?
Very likely, private police are going to become the new business opportunity.
Those neighborhoods that can afford it will hire their own police dept. for protection.
Meanwhile, those who can’t afford this, especially in the inner-city urban areas (which, ironically are those who can least afford any of this), will become ever more targets of opportunity . . . but hey, they were successful in implementing their political correctness agenda, and now life is perfect in their inner-city utopia . . . right?
The political correctness thought police has been, by far, has been your worst enemy, for those on the “liberal” side of the fence. While the fanatical fringe far left obsesses over what might have been many years ago, the current far right takes complete advantage of this self-induced chaos for its future agendas.
If anything, the Trump camp has been more than happy to encourage this perpetual chaos, in the hope that it would further encourage their Trumpian minions
But alas, as sure as the sun rises, I’ll likely be excoriated for daring to suggest utilizing common sense that reaches outside the myopic little “progressive” box.
Stupidity and ignorance knows no boundaries . . .
Opportunistic predators are always lurking about in the background, waiting for their moment to utilize the [fill in the blank] protests for their own purposes, or even just create an incident to catalyze protests that they can then take advantage of.
What never ceases to amaze me is how easy it is to craft public opinion with such simplistic maneuvers, and those who might suggest having a closer look before joining into the [fill in the blank] cause of the moment are immediately castigated as being part of the evil whatever that people are protesting against.
And yes, as you are probably already guessing, some of those who castigate the loudest are themselves part of the entity that is trying to create incidents and protests that suit their predatory agendas.
There always has been (and will likely always will be) this type of dynamic woven into the protests of the moment, catalyzing many minions who are incapable of seeing the obvious for themselves, but can only see their predetermined pseudo reality, regardless of any external information to the contrary.
Anyone who dares to question, even in the most delicately diplomatic parlance, any of the brittle tenets hardwired into the sanctioned prerogatives of the moment are immediately excoriated.
This is actually a much more complex scenario than what the soundbite “news” media of the moment tries to portray.
My soundbite of the moment is that the people who are genuinely engaged in these protests have got to do a much better job of screening out the destructive anarchists who have nothing to do with BLM or any other movement . . . they basically show up at whatever the latest [fill in the blank] event happens to be, appropriating the moment to cause as much damage and violence as possible to suit their anarchist fantasies.
Depends on the reasoning used for a specific outcome
In the eyes of many Trumpoids and the far-right radio talk show hosts who amplify these thoughts, sending the Feds in to restore order is exactly what should be done. Yes, of course this is going to stir up more chaos . . . which is exactly the strategic goal being sought. That further reinforces the perception that the “protestors” are completely out of control and need to be rounded up and incarcerated by whatever means necessary.
As for the general internal chaos caused by many different splinter groups (and their illustrious self-appointed “leaders” of the moment), competing for attention and their 15 fem to seconds of social media “subfame” this is a very common pathology that infects many such causes and events. Unlike the far right, which tends to be more organized and disciplined, there is no central figure on the left side of the fence who can deliver a coherent and consistent message.
The unfortunate conundrum common with these movements is the theme of having inclusion for everyone (no matter how illogical or disruptive), almost immediately begins to unravel the initial vision that spawned the movement.
This quickly devolves into a bubbling stew of irrational (and often conflicting) agendas, which discourages the outside world being more supportive, and fuels the resolve of the “rational right” to persevere with their efforts.
As for the (glaringly ironic, almost exclusively white) kids who are at the front lines of these events, there are distinct personalities which become apparent. The particularly violent ones really have nothing at all to do with the movement, their goal is to simply destroy and cause mayhem, that is their goal and joy. A lot of these people are basically losers, with no real life out there in the world, so this becomes their big chance to get plugged into something “important”, their loser life becomes momentarily elevated a status of relevance.
But also mixed into this potpourri are others who take it a bit further, their entire life has been about being angry at everything and everyone. Whatever the message of the movement happens to be, is mostly irrelevant compared to the opportunity to foment their “f**k the world” attitude against objects and people. They blame the world for all their troubles, never spending any effort examining themselves as a potential cause of their troubles. These are perhaps the most dangerous characters in this mix.
It is out of this particular enclave that many of the so-called ANTIFA type members emerge, which are really just angry anarchists with severe attitude problems, determined to inflict their delusionary anarchist fantasy world everywhere they can. It is particularly galling that they would appropriate the antifa brand, in that everything they do is the exact (if not extreme) opposite of what the antifa concept is supposed to represent.
At the other end of the spectrum are college kids who truly believe they are helping the cause, with their romanticized visions of major causes in the past, that they now get to participate in. And of course, mixed into all this are those who are in it for the excitement, it’s like being in a big (but edgy) party. They’ll have stories to tell for many years to come, describing their embellished exploits which become more significant sounding every time they’re retold.
And lastly, and you may disagree here, but I tend to believe this to be the case, there are professional saboteurs sent into these events, with the specific mission to taint the movement and related events with as much apparent chaos as possible, making sure all the media has plenty of photo ops to fill the daily “news” content with.
It’s an old school tactic, but very effective, especially now in the era of real-time, immediate dispensation of content, delivered to a mass audience everywhere simultaneously, who tend to have very short attention spans and are prone to irrational (and highly emotional) predictable responses. This type of enterprise has been crafted to an artform, to the extent that it has actually evolved into a science.
I could go further into this dark corner, but this conveys the general concept.
If the left side of the fence really wants to win the hearts and minds of the many, they need to start with a very clear, easy to understand goal, and potential solutions to reach that goal.
At least in the case of BLM, there is a sort of focal point that many can support and identify with, although the potential solutions are still a work in progress.
When Bernie Sanders was campaigning, much of what he said was very appealing, especially to the younger audiences, but very lacking in specific solutions and realistic strategies for implementation.
It may be painful for some, but for the left side of the fence to have a real chance at fomenting meaningful change, it’s going to have to start with backing away from the more extreme (and unrealistic) imperatives and focus on clearly stated policies that many can understand and agree with.
Hint: very few actually want socialism, though it sounds attractive at first. Virtually every attempt at fostering such has ended in disaster, the local residents either isolated from the outside world or perpetually trying to escape into it.
The crushing toll of socialism
Socialism always looks beautiful in print; its profound ideologies can be appreciated by many. There is a caveat though . . .
However beautiful it may appear to be in theory, it never works that way in the real world. Why? Some will dare to ask . . .
Because the human condition, flawed and troublesome as it can be, becomes manifest in any form of governance, regardless of how perfect it might appear in theory.
There will always be those who can “game the system”, catalyze agendas to suit their own private purposes, and the state inevitably has to clamp down on such with evermore draconian measures.
After many deaths and imprisonment of those who did not abide by the rigid protocols of the ruling socialist government, this eventually leads to revolution and armed rebellion . . . ushering a new form of governance, commonly known as capitalism.
The young socialists of today have no comprehension of any of this, did not live through the past rotating cycles of governance, none of which are or ever will be perfect.
All they can see is the rhetoric of the moment, as if this was some radical new utopian world of inclusion, empowerment, etc. . . . presented in text and inspirational speeches.
Soon enough, the honeymoon fades away, being replaced with the harsh realities of corruption and dysfunction that all socialist governments have experienced before they eventually evolve back to capitalism . . . rinse and repeat.
That is the real history, that woefully few have any current comprehension of, and thus, we are destined to repeat this tragic cycle once again.
Hysteria momentum . . .
What we are witnessing now is a form of hysteria momentum, which has become its own entity pulling people in to foment evermore extreme examples of cancel culture actions.
Now, nothing is above reproach.
If anything, this reminds me of the McCarthy anti-communist hysteria from decades ago, ironically restructured now as the purported vanguard of “political correctness”
Many of these actions are not even logically connected to the cause they supposedly represent
Belief system pathology, a mental disorder
Let them imagine what they want, they’re so wound up in their delusional fantasies, there is no point in attempting to reason with them. As is the case with so many wound up in their [fill in the blank] belief system, it’s not enough to just be there themselves, they are perpetually driven to convince everyone else around them not devoted to their [fill in the blank] cause, that they are the only real truth, anything else is immediately ridiculed, or worse.
Why would this be? Because it’s a way to justify their existence that has become so narrowly defined. To admit even the slightest deviation from the “approved” belief in the whatever, would be to invalidate their purpose and identity.
People often fall for this sort of thing when they have very low self-esteem, or a sense of not belonging to anything important. But then . . . along comes the sacred knowledge, or the hidden secrets only the “important” people can know about. Now they have purpose, they have a new identity, they are an important person connected to the [fill in the blank] cause of the whatever.
And everyone else either has to recognize them, and recognize their importance, or they are to be ridiculed for daring to think even a little bit outside of their fragile little box.
It’s a particular type of mental disorder, but one that can cause significant damage to others if it is propagated in the “perfect storm” incubator.
Chaos & distrust, tribalism, identity politics
If anything, people are being pushed ever further into “identity politics” . . . a type of tribal affiliation that supersedes any other forms of influence or information.
” People are isolating into new group think pods? “
Yes, they are, this is not an “accident”. For those who wish to harvest political power from their base, this is exactly the formula that works for them. These minions become the “useful idiots” of their domain.
And of course, there’s a bit more to this . . .
Various media engines are further fueling these phenomena, as it creates a devoted base (sound familiar?), who will believe whatever content the media engines of their choice spews out, as they long as they keep spewing out what they want to see and hear.
If that collection of media engines starts to drift away from their core base belief systems, the useful idiot minions will simply flock to whatever emergent media engines deliver what they want.
This dynamic is as old as human history, only now it has been accelerated and amplified on a scale beyond any previous precedent.
There is a devout determination to project their political correctness enforcement prerogatives out into the vast territories of synchronized “group think pods”, as if everyone will suddenly see the obvious and act accordingly.
Biophysical viral entities rely on their external proteomic signature to seek out and precisely target living cells with matching proteomic receptor sites, the perfect metaphor for virtual viral entities hyper targeting accepted definable demographics.
On a slightly more serious note . . .
Social media engines do provide an ecosystem not limited by geography or rigid cultural boundaries, quite the opposite. That’s the basic premise that has described this emergent virtual ecosystem, even from its earliest days.
But there is another side to his coin, the very same mechanisms which are the hallmarks of this environment, democratized info and publishing available to all, also fuels vast amounts of unvetted, radically misleading content, and other forms of perpetual distraction and background noise.
Through this gauntlet, conceptual content has to reach those who might connect with and be motivated by the worldview being suggested. Of course, nothing could be more obvious, it’s like marveling at the sudden realization that the sky is blue, alert the media!
Those who have been immersed in the suggested mindset are already there, nothing to “sell” to that audience; it’s the vast minions who are not there, potentially receptive to at least listen to such thoughts who are the target, but with a caveat (always those pesky caveats lurking about).
Various group think pods may resonate, at least partially with overlapping interests that bode well with the theoretical existence paradigm 2.0 being suggested, but there will be many who will resist for any variety of reasons and have become acutely aware of that impending 2.0 paradigm.
In essence, it’s going against the grain of a fundamental aspect of the human condition which you cited perfectly, the tendency to isolate into tribal entities, and defend the tribal affiliation, even to an illogical extreme.
Education, mercenary decline
We live in era now where history being taught to students is heavily redacted, or just invented out of thin air to suit a particular agenda, no matter how ridiculous the newly “revised” history has become.
The concept of critical thinking has been fading away into the mist of irrelevance, replaced by the narrow myopia of getting the best test scores, figuring out how to game the system to their advantage, and so on.
The process of education has largely shifted away from actual learning, and much more in the direction of getting a job immediately after graduation to pay off exorbitant student loans.
Pursuit of any type of occupation is often heavily mired into the mercenary education agenda, while the actual education itself is of ever less value. Rote memorization and nailing the test scores, that is, by necessity, the myopic goal for many.
Religion as toxic pathology, ET being verified . . .
Fanatical devotion to religious belief systems is a toxic social pathogen. The idea that discovering ET lifeforms from elsewhere would be so threatening to belief in the make-believe stories as published in their [fill in the blank] sacred book . . . that in itself suggests that there are some who will never adapt to this next increment of evolution.
Evolution tends to favor the most adaptive.
For those who can’t adapt, they will become ever less relevant in this emerging world. Their purported Armageddon may indeed come, but not as they expected. They are the irrelevant, socially toxic malady affecting the world, and possibly to be purged, and no, the Rapture is not about going to send them to heaven.
A bit of cosmic irony . . .
Science as religion, the impending cultural pathogen
“An Orwellian One world order (NWO) where SCIENCE is the new religion”
A growing cultural pathology is infesting various populations, as they wish to categorize science as being the equivalent to religion. Seriously???
One could credibly argue the validity of a particular scientific interpretation of available data, or a research agenda that may be flawed, but this is not a blind belief system based on mythical stories written into an ancient text, requiring blind belief under threat of eternal damnation, etc.
Of course, there will be some who blindly buy into a particular interpretation of data, claiming to be the superior scientific conclusion, because it favors a political agenda or orientation. This often occurs within a population with very little, if any minimal comprehension of basic science or its methods.
However, even if such politically tainted interpretations are flawed or open to further scrutiny, at least there is a pathway toward further credible analysis that can be effectively argued.
Religion offers nothing, except the obligatory, required blind belief. Any attempt at arguing a different position or challenging the currently enforced belief system is immediately condemned as blasphemy, with horrific eternal consequences and so on.
At the very least, going against the grain of the required religious belief system invokes fanatical condemnation, no amount of alternative reasoning has any effect other than to magnify this condemnation.
For those who cannot comprehend the difference between science and religion, there’s nothing more I can do for you, you are already lost to a pervasive form of mental disorder. Some may eventually evolve past that point, others are hopelessly blinded, have lost the capacity for reasoned thought. Any form of critical thinking is lost into the mist of emotional myopia.
Orwellian World Order
If anything, it’s the more extreme versions of various religious belief systems which are the most fertile grounds for spawning a rigidly enforced quasi-Orwellian type of authoritarian existence paradigm . . .
For those examples of Orwellian double speak enforcement mechanisms stemming from far left “communist” regimes, or far right dictatorship regimes, religion is seen as the enemy, as it is a competing paradigm for absolute authority, unless, of course, the ruling dictatorship actually uses the available religious paradigm as an extension of its agendas.
AI, co-evolution, transhumanist, quasi humanoid lifeforms
You, the humanoid lifeforms, are the product. Never forget that . . .
Meanwhile, the AI engines of the planet are becoming ever more refined in the artform of proactively driving humanoid consumption behavior patterns, so they can be harvested for the marketing of more stuff.
Like an overly successful emergent lifeform, the AIs will accelerate production, sale and consumption vectors to such an extreme that the planetary resource / life support capacity will reach a catastrophic critical mass threshold . . .
And then . . . Skynet
Feel lucky you were born when you were, appreciate the world with which you are familiar and into which you have injected your lovely art. The future is a different time, a time which I have spent decades analyzing . . . and will be challenging to adapt to. It’s not meant for everyone.
As I’ve often suggested, evolution tends to favor the most adaptive. There already is, and will be an ever more accelerating world of co-evolutionary symbiosis, of which the biological humans who can / will adapt in various contexts. The definition of “life” becomes more of a type of gray zone in this emergent world, in which such definitions of a previous era become ever less relevant. Will this extend to the entire humanoid population on the planet . . . absolutely not, it never will. Is this a “bad” thing? Depends on how this is perceived, and by whom.
Even now, as global population continues to increase mapped against a finite planetary resource capacity and unsustainable, fragile economic systems, human existence relevancy for many millions (if not billions) becomes ever more difficult to define.
The emergence of ubiquitous AI will not only accelerate these phenomena but will become a mandatory increment of the AI transhuman co-evolution symbiosis, at least for the emergent adaptive population. There will be many who will never adapt to any of this, but such is the nature of any metascale evolutionary correction, as has occurred for many millions of years with countless varieties of organisms and ecosystems, long before the relative blink of an eye that the human species has existed in its current form.