The past century has seen nothing as revolutionary as the internet, there can be no question any advancement humanity makes will have direct relation to it’s use. With state of the art technology in our laboratories, the public are also provided intelligent devices to incorporate into our lives for both work and pleasure, none more ubiquitous than the smart phone. These tools put the answer to nearly any question into people’s pockets, but it wasn’t long before an addiction to digital capital overtook the quest for knowledge.
The evolution of social media has been rapid and its expansion infinite, the commoditized version of reality has shifted focus away from experiencing a moment to capturing it for peer approval. Personalization spawning from intelligent machines has created a tint in people’s perception where anything not immediately concerning to them is superfluous; and as the signs of global civilization’s decline are increasingly lucid, the masses aren’t seeing the thin layer separating survival from catastrophe.
If we stopped to examine all the indicators of the fracturing establishment it would be a ceaseless endeavour, therefore lets observe some of the issues and ideologies at the forefront today.
Over the past decade adherence to right wing nationalistic rhetoric has been steadily snowballing, as the world globalizes online and refugees arrive from devastation, individuals are searching for a sense of identity in their homeland. Across Europe there has been an endeavour to keep the territory to white Christian values, this orate propagated by popular political parties in Holland, Sweden, Italy, France, Britain; latent affects of imperialism are returning to Europe and many citizens are unhappy with their new “burden”.
The surge of nationalism isn’t only international but domestic; just recently Catalonian leaders have been jailed for inciting an illegal referendum to leave Spain, Hong Kong citizens continuing to protest Chinese influence on the semi-autonomous region, India occupying the disputed Kashmir region and stripping it of its self-governing rights to the pleasure of Modi devotees.
The ruins left by the United States in Latin America have now collapsed to the point where the poorest victims are arriving on their doorstop, receiving the humanitarian gesture of being separated from their families. This hasn’t stopped them, however, from attempting to again dismantle an elected leader in the area with Maduro. America playing world police when interests are at stake; Noam Chomsky commented, “The United States supports democracy if, and only if, the outcomes accord with its strategic and economic objectives”.
In the Middle East, Israel occupies the West Bank with impunity and gets away with attacking protestors, medics and journalists in the Gaza Strip, protecting itself from rocks with bullets, tanks and tear gas. While the countries involved with the Arab Spring try to rebuild, America has abandoned its Kurdish allies at the whims of a reality star. Northern Syria is now under the control of Turkey with Russia staking a claim in the region, the West losing a substantial grasp on the area to the opportunistic Kremlin whilst the Kurds make acquaintance with Assad.
China is becoming the new financial super power and their interests have already shifted attention to the economic potential in the already ravaged Africa. As the ancient Silk Road evolves into the Belt and Road Initiative, they’re likely to dethrone the West, in particularly America, as the world’s leading economic centre.
How Life In Society Is Blinding Us
Issues for concern are omnipresent throughout the world, yet, it appears people aren’t actually paying attention or even interested in global events, the hallmark of our generation being the pleasures of personalization. The original instigator of manufacturing public consent is the media, the dawn of marketing coercing us to think, buy and act as the state intends.
Television has enduringly been the preferred protagonist in presenting a story to the public, however, over the course of the past century television has altered from operating at a loss and enhancing the community to earning substantially at the expensive of legitimacy. Journalism contemporarily is not so much about conveying information but the potential for viewership, because of this frivolous stories have developed into the norm and attention spans dwindled to require more stimulus.
A news story comes into the public field and causes much controversy, although currently, within the space of a day to a week it has already been dethroned by a new scandal and the world moves on; no better example than American school shootings. The frequency of these incidents have increased tenfold in the past decade, people have become so desensitized by the regularity of violence on TV it’s nothing more than a scornful shake of the head.
The superlative exhilarator of attention spans is the Internet, hooking users to an endless stream of content and stimulation. With everything personalized and on demand people have lost patience with waiting, even the task of going to the bathroom without a phone has become difficult for many.
The Internet has created educated idiots, those who cherry-pick information and regurgitate without full conception of the matters in question. This mentality imposes self-supremacy and detaches individuals from reality, the feeling exacerbated by living the human experience through a screen. A parasite has infested the collective conscious of society where people aren’t happy to do anything without letting others know. Instead of checking out the current state of the world hours are spent comparing lives with others, worsening one’s self image and promoting more time to superficial endeavours.
These people might feel disheartened when they don’t get a certain amount of likes, but imagine how dissatisfied you would be if you weren’t provided adequate water, food or shelter? Unfortunately this isn’t an image habitually constructed by the masses, it isn’t available in their personalized field of perception.
What’s The Outcome?
Observing the matters contemporarily troubling the world and why the public aren’t paying attention, the logical question is “What will be the outcome?”. What is predicted is the great American decline; actually, it has already started.
Since the height of the U.S’ power post-WW2, where it held 50% of the world’s wealth, American authority decreased by half in 1970’s as Europe recovered and Asia become dynamic. There is no doubt America still has wealth, taking a $98 trillion share of the $317 trillion in 2018, but this wealth is isolated by the 1% of the 1% and they intend to improve the country by increasing privatization. Trump has pulled the U.S out of two salient agreements, the Paris Peace Accord and the Iranian Nuclear deal. By removing themselves from the contracts they restrict their influence on these issues, opening up a space to be filled by others to prove their integrity to the world, e.g. China becoming a renewable energy powerhouse.
Europe has a very testing time over the next century as it tries to keep the EU together, a necessary organization need to quell nationalism’s spread. One cannot claim the EU to be unquestionably good, there is palpable favouritism within the ranks and issues aren’t always to the best interest of those involved, however, a fractured Europe leaves the region and world prone to the ideologies catalysing last century’s wars. If people are already upset with the millions of refugees from the Arab Spring, what happens when global warming displaces tens or hundreds of millions? The EU needs to be a symbol of stability and set precedence for humanitarianism throughout the world.
With the potential for dystopia at the push of a button, do we really think all this tension will be deflated? That we will hold onto these nuclear weapons for the next centuries without them being used for profit or retaliation? Let’s remember we’re highly evolved chimps, not oracles. History has perennially been a great indicator of the future, and if we examine our past it seems we’re due for a global event.
Maybe this is what exactly is needed for the human race, a new beginning where the lessons from the past generations aren’t ignored but examined and applied for a more organic life. We have come to examine progress and civilization as indisputably positive, but the complications we have today are directly connected to them. If we want humans to prosper with the planet it means combining native wisdom with modern science, and potentially a catastrophe is required to decondition society from personalization and align it back to flowing with nature.
Not everyone can change the world, but, with the technology at our current disposal, we can be attentive to what’s occurring around and critically enhance our perception of reality. People have been condition to disassociate with violence or tragedy befalling those not a part of their tribe, but even now the tailored approached to living has physically isolated people and requires demolishing for a sense of an enhanced community.
It is only thanks to Stanislav Petrov and his defiance of orders saving the world from being thrown into full scale nuclear war, yet, we can’t rely on a man of his calibre next time the situation surfaces. We are undoubtedly living in a time of great change and civilization will look very different in 50 years, potentially the forthcoming disaster is what we need to help us towards a sophisticated existence, where our lifestyle is worthy of living on this ever giving, benevolent planet.
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