The United States of America has seen its share of segregation. We have also seen our share of a righteous fight to end segregation and integrate all peoples regardless of race, creed, economic status, personal preference, and/or political stance. After all, we are all Americans, aren’t we? Or, are we?
Lately the news is all abuzz about the idea of social media “echo chambers” and moves from Facebook to Parler by conservative groups who feel that they are being censored by “Big Tech”. It’s a long cry from the days of the specter of internment camps and forced segregation with its horrific mantra “separate but equal”, but in reality is there a new kind of segregation afoot?
Ideological segregation appears to be becoming a thing. Seriously. Social Media has made it possible to literally self segregate. For now we aren’t moving, like literally, to be around each other in enclaves in some sort of Neo-technological Tribalism, but online we certainly are doing this and with Virtual Reality being right around the corner, location isn’t going to matter anyway.
There is some evidence to suggest that “Big Tech” is aware of the addictive nature of “Screen Time” and that they are not only actively exploiting that for profit, but that they are actively harvesting data about your addictive usage and using it to manipulate your “view time” for even greater and more targeted profiteering. Is this the same as forced segregation? Maybe not, but IMHO it is certainly damned close.
Why? It’s really simple. Let’s say that my profit goes up exponentially only if I involve an exponential spread of influence from one person to the next through careful and targeted groupings of individuals based on profiling that I have done based on the activity which has produced the data I have created your virtual profile from. This profile now includes buying habits, who you call, who you visit, your political stance, your personal preferences, your religious (or non) beliefs, who you hook up with, etc. The term the outside world uses for this phenomenon is “it went viral”. Little girls shriek in joy as they “go viral” and their influence goes up only to find that they were a flash in the pan and never get there again prompting them to hate themselves to the point that some self-harm and others take it further to critical self-harm. The numbers are staggering in self-harm increase and suicide increase among Social Media users between the ages of 10 and 15. Is this a form of forced segregation? Could we call Social Media a zoo? What happens to zoo animals when you put them in cages? Anyone who is really in touch with the animal’s reality will invariably tell you that they are unhappy and eventually go insane, especially monkeys and apes. We find the same behavior in orca and dolphins who are in enclosures the size of swimming pools after being free in oceans for a lifetime. Humans are animals in Social Media zoos. What happens when that zoo becomes an immersive virtual reality?
Does science have to “call” this for the segregationists and desegregationists, or do we see this for what it is, virtual internment, ideological internment? Do we have to get into the implications of the dynamics of fake news and deep fakes to finally understand how public opinion is being swayed without a single fact being used? Do we have to start questioning whether public opinion is as powerful as it should be? Essentially doesn’t this come down to whether public opinion should be allowed to elect presidents? After all, the public is supposed to be independently informed when it votes. But what is the definition of “being informed”? Does it involve multiple and even contradictory sources? Does it involve all parties involved or just “anonymous sources who cannot be named”? The answer to all these scary questions is more than just to ignore them or shrug the shoulders and it is more than just letting ourselves be blindly led forward to the next screaming and burning and looting match we “call” a civil protest.
What is at stake threaten to burn down everything that allows you to do what you do. That is a big statement because it is meant to be a big statement. It is meant to make you think. it is meant to make you stop and wonder about the most bold faced segregation of all, the Democratic and Republican segregation of this nation into what is now an open warfare between two ideological armies. Certainly is not in any way American or Americanism. Americans disagree WITHIN a framework of a shared commitment to banding together against all enemies foreign and domestic, including ourselves. We have to police ourselves and realize that we have been segregated by those who seek profit and are being shamed into being “domestic terrorists” or worse yet “economic traitors” and “unpatriotic” because we don’t support GDP at literally all cost, including our own health, well being and safety.
Then there is “cancel culture”. The idea that a group of people who are really a fandom of a fanned ideological flame (because we have all seen the tapes of them being interviewed and asked why they are doing what they are doing and most of them cannot even tell you why and most of them have answered an ad on Craigslist to be paid to be there), can be mobilized by an actual funded organization to seek out and destroy anyone who opposes your ideological camp should scare the living shit out of any sensible rational human being. We all scream about what Hitler and Nazi Germany did to the Jews! Really? And then you “cancel culture” someone because of their race, creed or preference and it’s now suddenly not the exact fucking thing?
That’s how insane we all are now. That is the REAL threat. That is the REAL segregation. We have been segregated from ourselves by a system that has gotten us to do it to ourselves, not for nefarious purposes (I am NOT a conspiracist I am a scientist) but plainly and simply to sustain nonhumane capitalism that is directly in support of our GDP and therefore our quality of life. It is also directly tied to our ability to maintain our stranglehold on the world which we by default were given after the world was left in literal shambles after World War II. Everyone else was rubble, we were not. Therefore we became the greatest Empire the world has ever seen. All by default. Nobody elected us that leader. We just got it because we had the infrastructure to be that, immediately.
We have to start looking back on what really made America great. It was not our domination of the world. That makes us a target, of literally everyone else that is not us. It was our ability to disagree in a civil manner and let the system weigh the rational purpose of the outcome of that disagreement. What we got was a law that everyone could live with (even if not perfect) and a system where we could work out the kinks (if we all got along and adhered to principle number one – Unity).
Unity. Now there’s a word. United we stand divided we fall. Never been a better time to think deep and hard about that one word. Unity does not mean get rid of the other guy so you whitewash unity. Unity means you work it out in a civil manner knowing that you need every single American life to defend our way of life from a world that wants to loot it into the dust. Unity is us standing up and getting our house in order and realizing that we don’t deserve what we have if we are not working together to solve the most pressing of humanity’s life threatening issues.
Make no bones about it. You are segregated. The time is now for us to realize that because we are segregated from each other and ourselves that there has never been anything, Presidents included, that were ever “legitimate” from an undivided American nation. It is time to realize that we haven’t done anything “American” since World War II. It’s time to realize that there are a staggering number of things that need us to stand up and be Americans again. But we aren’t. We are instead enslaving ourselves (or being enslaved to support GDP) to devices that allow us to curl up and be petted in our own completely isolated counterfactual virtual worlds. It’s past time to realize that we are on a razor’s edge. That it is going to cut us in half and when that happens, we are done and most likely so is the entirety of humanity.
It is not arrogance to say that the world would fall apart if we do. It is just a fact that some seem willing to allow to happen, as if it were some sort of dare. Our real enemies in the world would love to see it and be able to carry out their darkest dreams for a new global cold war that splits the planet up into four zones (US-Mex-Can, New Soviet Union, Chinese Pacific Empire and Europa) with places like Africa, South America and the Middle East becoming literal Hell zones.
The real question on the table is does anyone even care?
Here’s a great podcast to help you think about that question a little bit deeper:
About the author…
Benjamin Alexander De Mers is the Founder & CEO of Information Access and Management (IAM) Platform and the Editor in Chief of Information Access and Management (IAM) Network. He has his MLIS from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and is an Ontologist, Information Scientist, and Entrepreneur. He is an invited Quora and LinkedIn Author.
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