Today, that blissful detachment threatens to overwhelm us again.
Nuclear Annihilation is in Our Midst
As we know, things are bad: the news is banned and so is peace, and revolution. As we know, this is not the world we were born into, and yet every day we forget today is unprecedented, let alone tomorrow.
What world were we born into? Well, in 1982 we lived in the shadow of WW2, Hiroshima (pre-Satoshi) and Hitler, and Vietnam and The Sexual Revolution, and The Drug War. The 80s had yet to happen, and music had not been fully commodified. The Holocaust had shocked my grandmother, and many others, somewhat out of their racism and lazy unthinking anti-Semitism, and shaken my grandfather whose father might have been adopted from a Jewish family, out of his Christian faith. 1984 was still two years away, and The End of History was imminent.
What did it mean at school when The Berlin Wall fell? We struggled to understand. "Show us your papers, Mr. Golding" my atheist biologist teacher joked to me, explaining that my Christian identity would not have convinced the Nazis. "Are we at war?" my mother asked me the day of 9/11 when I came home and told her to turn on the television. "I don't know" I replied -- I suppose I still don't.
The irony was, I slept through 9/11 and missed a school day full of class discussions, and my mother had been at home with the television and all news media off. Today, this is almost unthinkable, to have this blissful detachment for even a microsecond from current events -- as the Kremlin later reminded the world, with Rachel Maddow as its mouthpiece, "There is no peacetime in information war", and today, rather than detachment, we are only captured by rival meme-bubbles if we do not self-defensively inform ourselves faster than the enemy can disinform us or our peers.
I've often remarked that historians will call this the disinformation era, and that the beginning of WW3 will be marked as 2014: careful observers will note that the internet went absolutely haywire that year, rivaled only by the dawn of Endless September, due in no small part, I'm sure, to the now-proverbial Russian Troll Farms, long before Cambridge Analytica, which would only have worked overtime during the invasion of Crimea. While it happened, my Ukrainian friend could not fathom why Canadians were so blissfully unconcerned with these events -- well, were they following anything that wasn't a twitter, or a facebook feed? I certainly knew then that was the only way to get people's attention: in the feed.
Today that blissful detachment threatens to overwhelm us again. COVID squelched rebellion in Hong Kong, Taiwan is next on the chopping block, and both the Ukraine and Hamas wars can easily entangle nuclear powers. (America, Russia, Israel, Iran, and England and the rest of NATO.)
News is banned on facebook. Let me repeat that again: news is banned on facebook. Pinch yourself, no you're not in a dream, and no, you aren't doing anything about it. This is like if music was banned in the late 60s because of the anti-war movement. Money is banned in Canada. Let me repeat that again. Money is banned in Canada. Its fungibility is an illusion since if spent on politically meaningful change it is apprehended. Organizers of all kinds are made examples of, no matter the nobility of their aims.
You must fight back. You personally. Not me, or rather, not just me or me alone, but every one of you. We disagree on the details as tribes and we may be asleep in priviledge awhile longer yet before disaster strikes us individually but the truth is clear and the writing is on the wall: organizing is a moral imperative. Social organizing, political organizing, family organizing, creating new businesses and instiutitions, the distinctions are arbitrary but the motivation is not: world war's only alternative is world peace, and the mythic oppositional force to giant authoritarian top-down powers who will print money for endless war is grass-roots, bottom-up, organizing.
Racism exists on every street corner, and prejudice exist in every lazy mind's skipping over a step in an argument, or skipping over even a single syllable in someone they should be listening to. To be a bad listener is a privledge only the smugly priviledged can enjoy -- to the oppressed, the dominant military power's every word must be heeded, which is why the rest of the world follows american politics, not russian politics, and why it's russian news that is banned, not american news.
A daily commitment to fighting disinformation is a moral imperative for every conscious citizen in 2024, find ways to:
1. consume more correct information every day
2. consume more contradictory information every day
3. cultivate a taste for cognitive dissonance and 'reaching across the aisle'
4. correct more disinformation every day
5. detribalize, reorganize
6. maximize collective learning rate at all costs
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