Tag - society

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False Positives
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A Comfortable Prison
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The New Normal
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Second-hand Dreams
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A new social network unlike any other!
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Baby, Bathwater, Hell, Handbasket

False Positives

I saw a photograph of a piece of inane graffiti art recently, a stencil work on a highway. It read SMILE. There’s a major difference between encouragement and coercion, no matter how slick the presentation. Being forced to express positivity, even for the sake of art, always sends a cold shiver down my spine.

People seem to need more visual cues every day, what to say, what to wear, where to go and why. It’s a rare sight to see someone follow a hunch, to think off the top of their head, without fact checking their every move, just in case the world thinks differently.

I was planning to write a post on the power of the lie, but it seems I’m in sync with several newspaper journalists at the moment, which is something of a worrying development. I wanted to share a theory I’d come up with, in fact I will anyway, who cares what the papers say.

I get it, research shows that the better the education, the better the liar. But to be honest, the art of lying is a fundamental tenet of a successful society. There hasn’t been a single culture in history worth noting, that hasn’t at the very least dabbled in a little exaggeration.

To be a success one must become a liar.

Great artists fool the eye. Musicians may play with the truth, but sooner or later, if they’re offered the deal of a lifetime, they’re sold on a lie. If authors weren’t writers they’d be some of the most successful con-artists in the world today, asides the politicians, who are the masters of deception, peddling lies great and small to their gullible electorate. Money too, it’s nothing but a sham, printed with a broken promise to pay the bearer on demand. Society itself is merely an aggregate of falsehoods and untruths, ensuring a smooth succession of power, whilst the masses keep living a shared delusion of civilisation.

If there were no falsehoods, if people were incapable of lies, the world would soon tear itself apart, no longer protected from its ghastly self. It’s a shame, but we’re only human, and for the most part we do the best we can to work with what we’ve got. It’s seems that for far too many in the world, the truth doesn’t merely hurt, it makes the difference between life and death, survival and collapse.

So many have jumped on the bandwagon, there’s precious little left beyond the pale. Individuality is dying, as is knowledge, empathy, and anything remotely resembling higher consciousness, is slowly drowning in a sea of glamorised conformity. We, the last remaining individuals of the world, must pretend to play the game. We are forced to speak and behave as those around us, yet we alone have been granted witness to the true deceit of society and its inbuilt redundancies. As for those who say otherwise, those who proclaim to be fighting for the truth in the name of freedom, they are at best martyrs of conjecture, and at worst, the greatest liars of all time.

A Comfortable Prison

Have you ever heard of shrinkflation? It’s a neat little trick that food manufacturers, especially confectionery brands, use to manage our expectations in this permanent state of austerity. Instead of paying higher prices, we get less bang for our buck. Just to put this in context, there’s not been widespread food rationing since WW2. It’s an economy of truth, a cheap trick to keep the masses in check. The worst thing about it is that we, the consumers, prop up our corporate paymasters, who in turn sway the political agenda, ensuring that everyone plays along with the ruse. So much capitulation for a measly sugar rush, it’s rather sad really.

The thing to remember, is that with an ever growing population there should be more money in circulation, not less. Ever since the crash of 2008, governments around the world have been printing money to offset their enormous debts. Yet, for all their frantic activity, most of us find we’re earning less, and barely able to make ends meet. It’s not as if consumers can go on strike. We’d only starve ourselves to death, achieving little more than a spike in insurance premiums, and a short-lived boom in the funeral sector.

There’s only so many things a trillionaire can buy, until all that’s left for sale are people. We, the population of the Earth, have been bought and sold a thousand times over, and yet so few of us realise our material worth decreases by the day. So what’s the point of maintaining the status quo? We only have ourselves to blame, we voted for this, or we didn’t, but nevertheless we still play the game. We accept the notions of law and order, embrace the economic truth, and speak the language of our tormentors with our every utterance. We are caught in a trap of our own making, and it’s been this way for so long now, we’ve become accustomed to the impotence of democracy.

We’ve traded in our freedoms, our inalienable human rights, for a temporary stay in a third rate Elysium. No one here is free, not unless you have the money, not unless you can afford to ignore the rules and pay the fines. Even then you won’t need to, if you have true wealth and power, you’ll most likely help write the rules, new laws for every land.

Inevitably there’ll come a crisis point, a day of global unrest, a worldwide riot. A time when the walls come tumbling down, and the lunatics take over the asylum. Then every person of influence, the leaders of our pitiful race, will scuttle off to their luxury burrows, hoping to avoid drowning in the human soup of hunger and pain. When the pyramid of power is toppled, and the hierarchy is no more, there’ll be no sanctuary, no escape, only comfortable prisons for the rich, and mass graves for the poor.

The New Normal

As I sweltered on the beach, (yes, I finally decided to venture out in the sun for a change), I couldn’t help but help but notice how carefree everyone seemed. The media hype, the chaos and confusion caused by a litany of deaths, through infrastructural neglect and terrorism, had done little to spoil their fun.

You could see it as British stoicism, I suppose, much like that awful relic of state propaganda so many have mistaken for nostalgia, keep calm and carry on. But I believe it’s more than that, it’s a fundamental shift in perception, a mass behavioural adjustment, a change in attitude that cannot be undone. The value of life in the human market has just taken another tumble, and there are grave doubts it will ever recover.

Under the law, the British have little choice in how they protect themselves. Several citizens have even been jailed for defending their homes during an armed robbery. The UK government hates have-a-go heroes, they’ll tell you to stay where you are in the midst of an inferno, to run and hide from one’s assailants, to tittle-tattle to the state rather than exercise one’s own right to freedom of speech.

So we sit in the sun and burn, and if anybody puts the radio on, they’ll skip the news and put on some tunes to keep the atmosphere light and bubbly. People will criticise, or even apologise for the way we live, of what we think and do, how greedy the rich, and lazy the poor. Never once suspecting that the little we have left at stake, our crumbling institutions and the jaded hearts of the tired and dispossessed will soon be the stuff of dreams. Our lives are under evaluation, mobilising strategies for broader rationalisation and ongoing recriminations. A whole new political agenda is on the cards and the odds are stacked way against us.

We’ve been offered the choice of a comfortable slavery, in return for the notion of freedom, censorship to protect free speech, the weaponization of the state for our safety, and the death of individuality in trade for a veneer of civil society. It’s all for show you know, no matter how the media spin the story, the human race has been reduced to fighting over territory in a global prison yard.

I don’t envy the young. If the world fell apart tomorrow, at least I’d had some fun, and had my say when people still bothered to listen to opinion. Over the years I’ve managed to gather together a few home comforts, a roof over my head, a nominal opportunity to express my thoughts and feelings without the fear of recrimination. But for those who’ve not been here long you have a choice to make, to carve out a world you can tolerate, before someone else does it for you.

My grandfather served in WW2, but as far as my later father and I are concerned, we were able to discover our own unique ideologies, unhindered by state propaganda and forced military conscription. Few of my generation have had to take up arms, and I doubt any of us ever will. The vast majority of people in this country drive cars and vans to get from A to B, we don’t see the world as conflict, and every tool at hand as a weapon. But the time is coming, following the precedence of suffering and terror, when a whole swathe of the young will find themselves signed up to a war they never believed in.

Suicide is the biggest killer, not terrorism. Depression isn’t just an economic term, it means that things aren’t as good as they used to be, and that we must all make do with less, and share more, or leave. Modern life isn’t about charity, or caring for one another, it’s fear and cowardice, waiting for others to fight the fight, whilst the majority sit it out and wait to make compromises. Billions, hoping against all hope that very soon everything will return to normality. When it doesn’t, we’ll waste our time in endless well-meaning discussions, until eventually we’ll make a compromise too far, and simply decide to accept our fate, and learn to embrace this hellish modernity of ours, the new normal.

Second-hand Dreams

If you pin all your hopes on somebody else, it won’t be long before you come a cropper. We’re not born with a belief system, we’re taught what to think, and in turn what to feel. There’s little wiggle room for self-expression, when all those around you are convinced they know the truth. In fact, the more devout the ideology or political persuasion, the more likely you’ll die trying to prove them wrong.

The difference is that in recent history, the idea of democracy has taken the lead, and those who’ve embraced it are under the misconception that they’re free to think what they like. However, as time moved on, those offended by differing opinions have steered the masses towards a homogeneous middle-ground. A tempering of individualism for the good of all, with a media bias slanted towards those who will not compromise, and carry out atrocious acts of violence for the sake of their beliefs.

There will come a time when the people will need to choose between cultural sensitivity and death. The world is full of cowards who would rather let their loved ones die than risk offending others. A democracy of lies teetering on the precipice of chaos, precariously balanced upon the crumbling foundations of a broken civilisation.

To believe in oneself, despite the objections of all others, is the key to true freedom, although the price is high. We cannot all come together as one, we have never done it in the past, and the future will be no different. This is a time like many others, when one empire falls and another rises. Only history will provide the answers, and prove yet again, that the state, in whatever form it currently takes, has always been the enemy.

I am not part of the establishment, and neither are you. We can either assist those who wish to see our downfall, or their enemies, who will in turn do much the same thing. It’s all just a matter of presentation, politics is a religion, and vice-versa. Science is a belief system, and belief is a liar. Whilst society is simply an idea someone desperate for power cooked up, so the rest of us can feel we’re part of something special. But we’re not, we’re just numbers, statistics, the living and the dead. Now and again we’re voters and we’re told our opinions matter, as long as we agree.

It doesn’t matter what you think or do, or how much money you have in the bank, or which religion, if any, has got it right. All of that is bullshit in the face of death. It is often predicted that polite society, without food, water, or power, takes about a week to descend into cannibalistic anarchy. Our paymasters greatest power is our lack of self-belief, our innate distrust for each other, which is exactly why society was built this way. The only true enemy you have is officialdom, the designated powers of a hierarchy beyond your control. They tell you what’s happened and why, and how you should react. They make and break the promises of changes for the better, and blame you when they fail. It’s only when the shit hits the fan, that any of us will truly realise how much we treasure life.

Here’s the easy way out, a soft option for a compromised existence, a recipe for survival in modern life. Take all your hopes and dreams and bury them in a lead-lined box, and erect a stone marker to remind you where you left them. Now spend the rest of your days pretending it’s not your future’s grave.

A new social network unlike any other!

Have you heard about the latest social network to arrive on the scene? To be honest it’s been around for years, but even though its attained massive popularity in the past, it has offered little opportunity for corporate profiteering. You won’t need an app to use it, in fact it works far better if you put your phone down and walk away. That being said, it’s a fully mobile system, available at any time and anywhere in the world.

To join, begin by opening the door and going outside, browse the environment until you find another user, then raise one hand and wave. If they respond, try starting a new conversation, and see how you fare. The beauty of this system is it’s completely uncensored. You can meet anybody you like, and say what you really feel, and you won’t have to worry about government and corporate intervention, at least not for now.

There are a few basic guidelines you should follow, but there aren’t exactly any strict rules as such. Try to be friendly and treat others with respect, and if you don’t agree with their opinions, just deal with it. Accept that everybody is not the same, and their beliefs won’t necessarily tally with yours. On the other hand, if they do, there are plenty of shared activities on offer, in a fully immersive 3D environment.

You can exchange messages by talking, with the option of whispering for secrecy, or broadcasting to a wider circle by shouting. If you want to stay in touch, you can invite them to your residential hub, and they can do the same with you. Together you can find others who might want to join your social group. You can arrange to meet in real places, with real food and drink, and live conversations, engaging in physical activities unavailable at the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

The social network in question is called real life, and it’s available right now. Try real life today, and once you have you’ll realise the true meaning of social interaction. With a potential of over six billion friends waiting to speak with you now, real life is backed by a powerful content delivery system called reality, offering superb resolution, full colour and surround sound.

If you’d like to share music, or even create tunes together, begin by whistling or humming, and make beats by slapping your knees. If you’re into movies, your eyes are your camera, start filming and record what you see with your memory. To share the experience use your mouth to speak, and recall what you’ve seen, or even better invite a friend over to share the view.

Real life is available now and right throughout your existence. Why not try a different kind of social experience today, and realise exactly what you’ve been missing all these years?

Real life for real people, where the future is tomorrow and life is not a game.

Baby, Bathwater, Hell, Handbasket

The Nostalgia of Lies

I can’t remember a time when people weren’t in a panic about something or other. I grew up in the Seventies, when the government had a hard-on for public safety announcements, covering everything from drink driving to surviving a nuclear holocaust. There was a fuel crisis, a debt bubble, Cold War tussles between the USA and the USSR, terrorist factions, serial killers, mass murderers, health scares, strikes and power cuts. The names may have changed but the problems remain the same.

What’s different now is we’re used to the convenience, we like things on tap, we do what we do without even thinking about it. As you might have guessed by now, I’m not a big fan of technology, yet here I am, typing away on my laptop, connected to the world by the magic of broadband. If I should suddenly slip through a wormhole in time, and was able to take a few gadgets with me, I’m sure the government of the day, or one of their shady agencies, would surely confiscate them immediately. Perhaps they’d execute me, or torture me and leave me to rot in a prison cell. Branded as a spy, a traitor to the nation, caught smuggling advanced technologies from an enemy state.

But if they asked me how all of this shit works, I wouldn’t have a clue what to say. Sure I understand the basic principles, but to reproduce any of our technological wonders from scratch is no mean feat. Most products take years and a small fortune to develop, and that’s with a global economy selling you all the raw materials and parts you’d need.

We live in a corporatocracy, and we’re the consumers not the producers, because we pay others to do the hard graft. They suffer for our pleasure, subsisting on wages that can hardly cover the basics, let alone sneakers with flashing lights, or solar powered sex toys. But if I had to manufacture a simple device, I’m sure there’s enough information, raw materials, and tools at hand to knock something up. But not in the past, back in an age when every new technology was a miracle, and some the source of nightmares for generations to come.

Now is the Future

I’m not saying we have it easy now, in some ways we do and in some ways we don’t. We’re not knee deep in dung or dying from the plague, and most of us have managed to avoid being conscripted to yet another jumped up war. Those with half-decent jobs might have access, however limited, to medical care, free schooling, and a smattering of legal rights. On the other hand, we’re being deliberately poisoned, our value as human beings is under the sway of market forces, food and energy prices are on the up and up, and everything we buy has a built-in redundancy. Our right to privacy has all but been forgotten, but at least we’re not expected to duel with pistols at dawn, should we happen to offend the wrong person. For in this current age, this brief sojourn in history, we don’t need to know our place, or respect tradition, or sing the national anthem, or get on our knees and pray.

As a schoolchild I had to sing hymns every morning, and once a year I, alongside six hundred other boys, were expected to commemorate dead soldiers from numerous wars. We’d march down to the local church in town, and the school would let us go home early. None of the teachers would explain what the hell was going on, or how the government can decide who to send to their certain deaths. I let it go because everybody else did, it was just part and parcel of the process of social normalisation.

As time went on I soon realised something fundamental about living in a society, I hadn’t actually granted my consent to be part of this democracy. I’ve never voted for others to hold power over me, I haven’t agreed to the value of money, or opted into paying taxes, or signed a form that states that I must behave in much the same way as everybody else. That’s the threat of the law, that’s what it’s for, to stop us all from questioning exactly why things must be this way, and to allow those deemed superior to the masses, to take the reins and make our decisions for us.

I have trouble living in our time, I’ve never felt I belonged here, but I know that nothing has ever been any better or worse. It’s all swings and roundabouts, we live longer with less freedoms, we have more cures but far more diseases. This place is what it is, the more time you spend here, the worse you’ll feel, and for all the suffering and joy, indifference seems to be the price we must pay for modern life.

Copyright © 2017  Frankmaddish.com.