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Decades ago Marshall McLuhan spoke as our new-electronic-media Cassandra.

image source

The ways of thinking implanted by electronic culture are very different from those fostered by print culture. The tribalizing power of the new electronic media, the way in which they return to us to … the old oral cultures, to tribal cohesion and pre-individualist patterns of thought, is little understood. Tribalism is the sense of the deep bond of family, the closed society as the norm of community.

It is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action. Their groundrules, pervasive structure, and overall patterns elude easy perception. We live invested in an electric information environment that is quite as imperceptible to us as water is to fish.

Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don't really have any rights left. Leasing our eyes and ears and nerves to commercial interests is like handing over the common speech to a private corporation, or like giving the earth's atmosphere to a company as a monopoly. [emphasis mine]

Wikipedia entry Marshall McLuhan

When we characterize the electronic media which constitute today’s electronic environment, a critical component is how it’s funded. That's as much a structural component as paper is a component of printed books. As Charlie Stross says,

We made a fundamentally flawed, terrible design decision back in 1995, that has damaged democratic political processes, crippled our ability to truly understand the world around us, and led to the angry upheavals of the present decade. That mistake was to fund the build-out of the public world wide web—as opposed to the earlier, government-funded corporate and academic internet—by monetizing eyeballs via advertising revenue.

The ad-supported web that we live with today wasn't inevitable.

Dude, you broke the future!

Among others, former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya talks about how social media and companies such as Amazon and Google have profoundly transformed us and our world, without our notice. [video above]

Excerts:

Social Media is “ripping apart” the social fabric of how society works.

The short term dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destoying how society works.

People confuse popularity with truth. We conflate hearts, likes and thumbs up with value, we conflate that with truth. Instead what it is is fake brittle popularity - that’s short term. And that leaves you even more (and admit it) vacant and empty than before you did it.

These things train your brain, whether you acknowledge it or not. Rewiring your psychology and physiology…

You don’t realize it but you are being programmed.

It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other.

  • No civil discourse
  • No cooperation
  • Misinformation
  • Mistruth
  • Bad actors can now manipulate large swaths of people to do anything they want

 [bullet list my format, emphasis mine]

Atheist Nexus supports civil discourse, cooperation, and actual truth. I urge you not only to support it, but to educate yourself on this topic, for self defense. 

above images are screen caps [text paraphrased]

It's uncanny how 2017 convulsed in an eruption of closed-society tribalism, just as McLuhan foresaw.

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Ruth, you can probably say what you want in many fewer words. Do try it.

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