We Like our Internet to Tell us What we Want to Hear
Thinking aloud not required
I was going to try and make you feel better but then I noticed you preferred to feel miserable, surrounding yourself with the misfortunes of others.
There’s nothing quite like commiseration laced with pity and smugness at one’s station in life to make you feel better, is there?
This is the kind of comfort the internet provides, as the greed of social media marketers hijacks storytelling. The zero-cost empowerment tool at everyone’s fingertips has become a weapon of mass extortion.
Only the loudest self-expression matters as all other voices get drowned out.
This is how frustration, outrage, and disgust became the most monetizable emotions of all. Anyone seeking to gain momentum and make money online knows this; Trump’s twitter feed is an evergreen reelection campaign.
There’s no quicker way to identify your allies and no greater unifying force than a common enemy against which you have one another’s back.
We could celebrate life and all it has to offer in its minutiae but we prefer to lament what has gone wrong or come up short of expectation.
We are forever beholden to our future selves instead, invisible slave masters who blind us to what is with mirages of more. Instead of honoring life with our presence, we project ourselves into a dimension that doesn’t exist yet.
If you’re into it for curiosity, this makes you a visionary.
If you’re into it for profit, this makes you the same as everybody else, entitled, dissatisfied, and greedy.
Demand attention, do not command it. Offer others the comfort of echo so they think it was their idea in the first place, provide the familiarity of sameness, soothe your audience.
Lullabies that confirm our bias numb our critical thinking and erode our sense of identity; conformity becomes the norm.
Whenever a dollar sign appears, our minds fall prey to profiteering, defaulting to hacks and formulas to make bank.
Service the malcontents by reinforcing prejudice or the disgust junkies by dropping some TMI and you’ll do well. You’ll do far better than if you use the internet as a public square to think out loud in print and debate ideas that might eventually advance society.
That’s where we’re at: we have the tools to change the world but we’re using them to line our pockets instead, often at the expense of human dignity. One quick look at what passes for culture in America will confirm that humiliation gets the views.
We use we built to propagate tolerance to propagate shame instead, just as religion did for millennia before the internet came along.
We have learned absolutely nothing from our history.
And so we talk about ourselves, among ourselves as we keep pointing the fingers to those who dare be different from us.
Thinkers, seekers, people who do not hide behind limitations, labels, or lowest common denominators.
You’ll find rebels everywhere, in a poem, in an essay, or in a song that is a proudly extended middle finger in the direction of the greed eating up society. Rebels who have, rebels who have not, rebels who suffer, rebels who empathize, rebels who create day after day to lift up humanity.
The profiteer abides; the rebel transcends.
The profiteer acquiesces; the rebel thinks.
The internet effervesces.
Mass appeal is built on greed, the emotion that inflates enormous egos until they explode, drowning the internet into an orgy of want.
Clamors of fame and fortune deafen echo chambers; we’re agog at such willful waste. But worse than witnessing the tragic misappropriation of human intellect is having a hand in it.
Enabling the echo chambers of greed one story at a time makes us all dumb as dogma as we pay up to safeguard the monotony of our lives. What are paywalls but modern day tithes promising access to a community of like-minded people?
No wonder everyone writes and posts and blogs and tweets the same thing.
When the mere act of thinking is considered disruptive, sharing one’s conclusions amounts to sedition.
But what if the words we write were an insurrection against the stupidity of greed rather than its script?
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor living out of a suitcase in transit between North America and Europe. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.