An Unreal Existence

An Unreal Existence, by Richard Fernandez.

The new variability is overwhelming the old political elite. As the World Wars and the Black Death demonstrated upheaval can produce wild mood swings in a populace. …

The underlying disruption is creating a similar volatility today. Currently we are obsessed with 71 genders but a nuclear or biological disaster can can flip decades of political correctness and deference to technology into their opposite. Considering all the freedoms and privacy the West has already given up to preserve the status quo the mantra “we can’t let it change us” is mockingly ironic. It is change, not changelessness which is characteristic of the present.

Perhaps the world is living through history’s first information epidemic and like the medievals who fell to unseen pathogens we can scarcely understand the catastrophe befalling us. Many are at a loss to explain entropy and anomie on a scale never seen before. But we cannot respond effectively to chaos without realizing the threat is not merely physical but an information corruption challenge.

At least Hillary’s call for more censorship on social media shows the old establishment is belatedly waking up to the informational nature of the threat without fully understanding it. “This is a new kind of Cold War — and it is just getting started,” Clinton said in a speech at Stanford University, using the language of 1945 to describe 2017. Clinton seems to regard the machinery of manipulation per se as acceptable as long as it does not fall into the wrong hands and is probably counting on it to restore order. She fails to see that manipulation itself — the Narrative — is the root problem and that the Narrative is likely to master her rather than the other way round.

Human sanity was long anchored in reality. Religions might have been flawed but they usually tried to explain things in the light of contemporary knowledge. Common people spent the greater part of their day in contact with society and family in a smartphone-free world that seems to be lost forever. They were innoculated against much craziness. That world had a self-centering property that is now missing. …

Today we have live in an environment where whole populations are immersed in an ocean of deliberate lies. People can believe anything — and often do. The Narrative is malware corroding our sense of humanity and reality.