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The world wide web of lies

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Written by   180
1 month ago

 We spend money on things that make us feel better and in today's world where there is money, there is power and vice versa also. So the race is to influence the emotions and feelings, money and power will automatically follow. Technology is one of the major tools of doing it. From the oven to the ball point pen to the power steering to the ice cream, people have made and lost fortunes to make life easier and feel better.

It started with the industrial revolution, when people were working hard, hungry, cold and tired from the daily toil. It did a great thing and life of the masses improved, hardship and poverty was controlled. With the society and the technology improving with each generation, the productivity increased and more people were pulled out of hardship. Progress in medical science saved millions of lives both young and old.

First the focus was to make life easier and in the 20th century the focus shifted to making people feel good. There is now greater advancement and innovation. Now we are in the grip of commercial revolution with the primary focus on the feel good factor. In the industrial age the focus was to develop means to increase production of basic necessities, and now the focus is on increasing technology of conveniences.  That’s why we see more of washing machines, toasters, electric shavers, televisions, fast food etc.

Then the internet came with the vision of worldwide networking and connecting people and information.  It was a major leap in technology and with a high level of optimism that it will create a global educated community with all the information available at the click of a button.

Image: younews.in

But still the world runs on feelings rather than information. The average man will search for information that confirms to their convictions. They will be comfortable with information that will make them feel good, even if that information is pleasant but untrue rather than truth but unpleasant.

If I am having a racist thought then I will find hundreds of sites which will justify that I am thinking right. If I am divorced then I will find so many sites that will prove that women are at fault. We will search those things that will make us feel good. The internet gives all the information we need, we just filter out the information we want. The network that gives me information to feel good also gives information that increases my fears and insecurities. So it is in a way disconnecting people also. Now it is easy to manipulate information to suit the purpose of a particular political ideology, religious ideology, social structure or a particular type of business enterprise and so on.

But does this oversupply of information reduce the value of that information, as it is said in economics. If you are searching for information of a particular brand of washing machine, you get some articles on how bad it is and also some articles on how good it is. So it is basically making you more confused and distrust both side of the information. Ultimately you will go to the departmental store and buy the one which makes you feel good.

On a bigger and serious scale, political systems, religious divisions and social structures use this distrust spread through the internet. It is happening all over the world both in advanced and not so advanced countries. The internet has polarized the world, now people do not believe most of the information doubting it as propaganda of one side or the other. And then they will stop giving value to it or trust it. Then they will go back to their basic impulse and depend on what is conforming to their conviction, even if it is wrong but pleasant to them.

Image: washingtonpost.com

Any leap in technology will bring a disruption to the older system, till a better system takes its place. But in politics and social life and the world order this disruption is not leading us to something better but often high jacking us to lower strata of our nature.

The purpose of civilization was to control the baser instincts of people and develop a cohesive and understanding society. It was meant to iron out the imagined and superficial differences among us. We were barely getting there when again we are getting pulled by the forces of divisionism and tribalism in all aspects of life, and it is now presented in front of our eyeball every day. Now its terrifying impact is all the more prominent.

Seeing the world order now, everyone is either pessimistic or terrified or indifferent. The utopian thought that information will increase wisdom has failed. Your choice of a washing machine based on the internet is the least of the important things, but your choices on aspects that influence your beliefs, ideology and conviction are being seriously compromised through the internet. Our physical life pleasures have increased at the individual level but our cohesiveness as human race is all the more complex and divided.

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Comments

The worst is we still don't feel good. Too much luxury, more knowledge = more dissatisfaction.

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1 month ago

Exactly.

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1 month ago

Thank you Telesfor sir

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1 month ago

The utopian thought that information will increase wisdom has failed.

Unfortunately you are right. The Internet has become a sewer. Full of lies. A famous Polish sci-fi author Stanisław Lem is said to have said "I never knew there were so many idiots in the world until I looked at the internet".

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1 month ago

Yes sir, and particularly for the young generation with there half baked understanding are the one most likely fall prey to the misinformation and manipulation of the net.

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1 month ago