I don’t think the problem is simply technology, software or hardware. Rather, the affects of technology on wetware.
Specifically: Dopamine and the building of new and reorganising of existing neural networks. Be it from acts of tyranny (paying a fiver to have 20 unique account up votes to exact “p0wnies” on someone who dared question your social status even though you knew you were wrong), from a gamblers high, or accurately interpreting the prevailing views of your community and conforming well; The release of easy dopamine is addictive should be treated as an addiction accordingly. The first step is admitting the problem.
Matt Richtel (Pulitzer winning columnist and now novelist) has written extensively about technology’s affect on the brain and endocrine system and there is actual research in the medical and psychological fields being carried out. There’s actually entire industries that profit greatly from laying down new and/or reforming our neural networks to crave dopamine hits regardless of what it does to us psychologically and the changes it makes to our expectations of “normal”. I would talk about that here…I woullllld…but I’m afraid of getting S.W.A.T.ed.
Last weekend I was out with a friend I had known over 20 years. Her husband is doing well and her kids are upper school aged now so she decided to go to university (I’m super proud of her, btw :)). I’ve noted though, she is picking up some modern traits such as relying on consensus to form firm opinions rather than investigating on her own. I had brought up “The Boys” which I had recently binged and loved. She said she didn’t like it because it was sexist… very matter of factly. When asked further she said that the man seeking vengeance because his girlfriend/wife dies is a sexist trope. It was Friday night at the pub (being a shift worker that’s my only time to go out really) so I put good times above all else and changed the topic as soon as I could. How I know she didn’t watch it and instead was relying on consensus of a particular group (probably facebook) is that she didn’t mention Simon Peg at all (plays the dad) and I know she enjoys his work. Not even a “I can’t believe he associated himself with that project” or anything else indicating she knew he was in it (it’s not sexist and actually addresses the issue of superhero sexism quite effectively, btw). I don’t know if it’s that we’re so bombarded with information and demands on our attention, that we’re expected to have a polarized/definite opinion on almost anything now, or maybe we’re just too tired…but this joining the majority as a way of shortcutting investigation makes for an ungood world.
This is actually why I’m thankful for the conspiracy theorists and tin foil hat nutters (not sexists, racists, classists, etc. etc.) of the world While more often than not just cheesy clickbait, at least they present the idea that ‘same’ is not the only way. I don’t know for how long most will be around though There’s a memo from the Phoenix FBI field office equating conspiracy theorists with domestic terrorists.
People appropriating Pastor Niemoller is one of my personal pet peves but I do have to state that (despite a law suit against the FBI in 2013 by the Michigan ACLU) all Juggalos/Jugalettes are now deemed members of a hybrid gang for simply liking a band (that includes the effects of that designation on boarder crossing, sentencing, etc. etc.). Most are not fans of Insane Clown Posse though and probably …don’t care. Now, in 2019, they’d like to apply a designation to ‘conspiracy theorist’, but most are probably not one of those either and likewise probably …don’t care. Regardless of what you, you make part of most, identify as or don’t identify as you should notice this and look into it further because you don’t get to define what will be designated next …and you should care about that.