In the beginning, we thought we were going crazy. It just sort of snuck up on us, perplexing even we who thought were ‘in the know.’ We were fairly uncomfortable talking about it, because, well, it was weird. We would say or even think a thought only to watch the subject pop up on social media or in advertisements just moments later. It was gradual but returned with increased frequency.
Was it pareidolia or confirmation bias? A hyper sensory ability to observe context and peer into the future? Had we tapped into a new dimension or some sort of collective consciousness? Were our devices simply tracking and targeting us?
Would we even be able to tell the difference? Across virtually any topic — the communications battle between citizens across the globe and the controllers of major media and Silicone Valley had effectively transformed a good chunk of cyberspace into a virtual warzone. Though it may sound histrionic, propaganda has a well-documented history of inducing mass death and suffering. It decides elections. It manufactures consent for war. Peer-reviewed research indicates that Internet algorithms can influence public policy by inflicting significant enough bias to skew U.S. election outcomes. Pound for pound, information is the most coveted asset on Earth. With 90% of the media controlled by six corporations, the capacity for abject harm is now more robust and more concentrated than at any time in history, sprawling live into nearly every living room, pocket, purse and bedroom nightstand. With cell phones alone transferring over 8 exabytes of traffic data per quarter, these devices have a virtually unlimited tap into the hearts, minds and wallets of the people they hold sway over. This machine is fully equipped to record and process daily patterns of life and user preferences, precise geo-location and the ambient sound and video of billions of people worldwide. Consider Google’s exploits with China and North Korea, how China compromised the technology supply chain of 30 U.S. companies including Apple and Amazon, Space X’s failed Facebook satellite launch that exploded on the launch pad, or that just one Saudi prince held significant stakes in ISIS-rampant Twitter, News Corp and Apple prior to having his assets frozen during the tortuous purge that ensnared at least 20 princes who were then strung up by their heels in the Ritz-Carlton. The idea of information warfare as the harbinger of a dystopian era is a blockbuster in fiction but one that has already evolved real-world outcomes. The threat is undeniably real, and the concealment of these facts as otherwise serves to promote the interests of these dangerously unchecked digital entities. The ultimate form of defense lies in every man, woman and child’s God-given ability to evaluate the evidential integrity of the information they conduit, using original source-material, logic and common sense. Navigating such a turbulent information landscape to challenge each piece of disinformation can be an endless endeavor — rendering the people inundated and unable to fully inform the future they would otherwise be free to create. True to form, the role of mass communications is to shape and drive socio-political narratives into the eyes and ears of preoccupied households. The media we consume redefines what is normal, what is desirable, what we fear and how we love. It redefines good and evil. Identifying the nature of and overcoming the ongoing concealment of what is in order to connect and negotiate a productive shared reality is a mind-bending trip on a journey of personal enlightenment and transformation into a symbiotic relationship with our environment and fellow man. The opposite ends of its unraveled potential for utopia is its unchecked capacity for pain, chaos and destruction. It is global. It is local. It bisects and transcends party affiliation, vocation, century, status and wealth, sex, color and creed. The mechanism behind which it works defies a coherent description because it is ethereal. –some dude