Taking extreme responsibility

This topic contains 39 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  JW 2 weeks, 1 day ago.

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  • #26072
     Megan 
    Participant

    This post came across my Facebook feed this morning and I found it very Lust appropriate…I wanted to share:

    Why We’re Kinda Sorta Maybe in the Matrix

    I’ve been resisting posting more on this for awhile, but new revelations today confirm what folks like me have been saying for awhile: the global ethno-nationalists who brought us Brexit, Trump, etc. have been actively working to game not just FB and Twitter, but Google, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and just about any other place where folks gather in any numbers online.

    Why is that so terrifying? The goal here is NOT to push targeted ads that champion a candidate or cause; the goal is total information warfare. Namely, these forces want to completely control your information environment – anytime you’re online, looking at anything, they want to be there in your face. If you google “Trump” they want all the top results to be their results on Trump, not some independent fact-based entity. If you google “Putin Syria,” again it will be what they want you to see about what Putin’s doing in Syria, nothing else. In your FB feed, they want you scrolling only through their links, seeing their ads, watching their videos and they manipulate FB’s all-powerful algorithm to ensure this is the case.

    Well, you say, what about TV news, local news, and print? Here’s the sad truth – print has never been less influential with fewer readers. As for TV, the reporters, writers, and producers are special targets – we now know they are subjected to ferocious online information campaigns targeted specifically to their own devices in order to try to control the information they pass on to you. As a quick example, I worked with a guy who knew all the IP addresses for every single person working in Congress’ smartphones, laptops, and PCs and could hit them with ads and links anytime he wanted. Cost him about $80,000 to figure all that out. What do you think you get when your spending is virtually unlimited?

    The Matrix is a fiction, but instructive. The characters talk about it being a prison that cannot be seen or touched. A jail of the mind. This is essentially what is dropping down over the democracies of the world. The internet has given every well-funded, power-mad thug a pathway to that most crucial of political forces – our brains. And we do not realize what they are doing as the systems we trust – Silicon Valley, our elected representatives, our intelligence community – refuse to acknowledge the scale of the problem and find a workable solution. Our gov’t is led by one of its beneficiaries; Silicon Valley has its stock values NOT the integrity of our democracy to worry about; and the intelligence community is not equipped to interact with us, the citizens, in a way that would counter the threat. Ultimately, we have been failed by a lack of imagination among ourselves and our defenders and have yet to come to terms with what’s truly at stake.

    As I’ve said before, we are not left with much in our hands besides what we do with our own minds. The Matrix may have many of us, but it does not yet have 100% of any of us. We have to get back to reading books, newspapers, and other print media. Analog is damn tough to manipulate and usually vetted by someone. The ads and “sponsored” articles are clear as day (usually). But we also have to study how to think critically, how to interpret data, how to view statistics, and how our own emotions can be manipulated for someone else’s dark purposes. The single most dangerous thing to you should be anything on the internet that makes you angry, confirms a previously held belief, or turns you against some other group of citizens. If we simply go along with the status quo, we open ourselves to a quiet yet mendacious manipulation that no one yet has figured out how to stop.

    This is exhausting stuff I know, and not just my posts! Hang in there. If there is any hope to be had, it’s that these guys are not trying too hard to hide what they’re doing and we genuinely want a better way for us to learn about and engage with the world. I think we’ll get there, but first we have to take extreme responsibility for our own media diets and tread carefully as we determine what to believe and what not to. Good luck.

  • #26086
     Luke Nilsson 
    Participant

    This is fricking brilliant. I work for the mobile app end of what is basically an advertising/branding/packaging company. 99% of what they talk about is making things “seem” more popular than they are, older than they are, newer than they are, and targeted advertising. The new goal is all about getting friends to do the convincing and advertising For you.

    This election really stripped me of some of my innocence and just about the last of my energy.

  • #26437
     Unseen Presence 
    Participant

    I tend to be a great deal more pessimistic about it all. The Internet was supposed to be the way for us to finally break free of corporate, large-scale control. It was supposed to be the dawn of truth and getting past corruption and attempts to shut down freedom.

    Instead, all it’s done is erase the possibility of “facts” and “truth”, in favor of “my belief” and “my opinion” and create a complete distrust of EVERYTHING. Not everything is fake news. Not everything is a fraud.

    The world is not flat. People did land on the moon. Contrails are not seeding the skies against climate change. Massive, world-wide alien conspiracies are actually nearly impossible to maintain. Politicians are often corrupt. There is a difference between white supremacy and black lives matter–they are not two sides of the same coin.

    But in 2017, all of that has been lost. Now all–ALL–that matters is the erasure of objective truth in favor of YOUR truth. And we wonder why we are now so divided. So angry. All. The. Time.

    If there is one real conspiracy, it’s that the Internet is the greatest lie of the 21st century. It’s not freedom. It’s bots on Reddit, kids pushing fake news on Facebook from countries that don’t care about real elections, politicians willing to lie openly to their constituents from any ideology purely to maintain the fight and ‘win’.

    So why not give in? Why not take what you can for yourself while they’re still ANYTHING to take?

    Why not give in to all of the desire you have?

    Just define it as your truth…and you’ve joined the rest of the world.

  • #26438
     Megan 
    Participant

    But it’s so early…

  • #26439
     Bryan Bishop 
    Participant

    @coryphella They’re an early riser, but is @unseenpresence wrong? I think not.

  • #26440
     Megan 
    Participant

    @bcbishop – so “give in to all of the desire [I] have?”
    Go back to sleep Bryan.

  • #26441
     Violet 
    Participant

    Not wrong, no. @unseenpresence definitely has a point. But there’s also good to be found in the intarwebz- connections with people you may otherwise never know, cat videos…

    While I agree that it’s been turned into a weapon of distraction & lies to keep us good little complacent capitalists, we can just as easily use it as a force for good, if there are enough of us willing.

    • #26442
       Megan 
      Participant

      @erisbonn – hate to break it to you but even cat videos might be evil:

      https://vimeo.com/69181785

    • #26443
       Violet 
      Participant

      @coryphella I totally expect cats to take over the world and I am completely okay with this. Cats or octopuses…I’m good either way!

  • #26444
     Kyle Bown 
    Participant

    The internet isn’t the cause of or solution to all of our problems. It’s not good or evil. It is a mirror that reflects humanity in all of the best and worst ways. Sometimes that is a person donating their birthday to people in another part of the world that they will never meet. Sometimes that’s your uncle sharing a fake news post about the election. The internet never has been and never will be our savior. It is us. In all of our beauty and hideous selfishness. It is fickle. It has the attention span of a small child with ADD. But it also has the ability to teach us things we never would have known otherwise. And the shed light on things we couldn’t imagine. It’s greatest strength is always its greatest weakness. Us.

  • #26451
     Megan 
    Participant

    So why not give in? Why not take what you can for yourself while they’re still ANYTHING to take?

    Why not give in to all of the desire you have?

    Just define it as your truth…and you’ve joined the rest of the world.

    I don’t even care about the commentary on the internet or life or modern anything right now though – this is all the part of this I’m seeing, because with everything I have going on, this is what speaks to me, and what I feel like I’ve been saying to myself, and I don’t need any more pushing in this direction.

    • #26501
       Violet 
      Participant

      @coryphella I feel this so hard.

    • #26502
       Megan 
      Participant

      @erisbonn – there’s something insidious about this, though.

    • #26504
       Violet 
      Participant

      There is…which is why I really don’t know how to feel about my feeling it.

    • #26505
       Violet 
      Participant

      @coryphella it’s like, does accepting our desires and going after them make us just more selfish people creating our own narrative with no regards to actual truth? where’s the line between healthy & obsessive desires? how far is too far in persuit of said desires??

      ugh…shit’s got me thinking now.

  • #26453
     Chelsea 
    Participant

    @unseenpresence I’m not sure the goal should be to join the rest of the world. I believe that sticking with the argument for objective truth is much more beneficial. Sure, we’ll make enemies as we remind people that something isn’t true just because they believe it, but I feel that the alternative is much more dangerous.

  • #26491
     Cody 
    Participant

    Well well well. Look at this shit here. Your post is rife with hypocrisy. Are you sure your opinions are not blinding you there @unseenpresence ? I feel that they may be. To speak with actual knowledge backed by facts and linked to evidence, contrail/ chemtrail  weather modification programs as well as supporting legislation pertaining to such that is older than I. I have been in many debates on this topic and am usually just met with insults and a complete lack in any ability to adequately prove me wrong. Even when presented with absolute and undeniable proof and verification folks would rather turn a blind eye and attack the messenger. Here is legislation taken from the govt of Canada website that is older than me that proves you wrong about ” Contrails are not seeding the skies against climate change. “. http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/W-5/index.html

    Here is a treaty between US and Canada pertaining to the same thing. Why oh why would there be a treaty for something that does not exist? Must be some kind of conspiracy … 🙄 . https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.treaty-accord.gc.ca/text-texte.aspx%3Fid%3D103819&ved=0ahUKEwi-54Oi04nXAhUW6mMKHe9ZAX0QFggeMAE&usg=AOvVaw0LudhYF2o4xJK8D05ieLqk
    Not to mention released files where the US govt / military has admitted spraying there population with substances since the 40’s. (Sorry not doing all the link work) Illinois as an example however.

    Oh yes, be rest assured that there is heavy metal particulates as well as virally mutated fungal strains and other biological agents being sprayed into the atmosphere on a daily basis.

    On the topic of flat earth… I’m not a flat earther, nor do I consider myself a baller.  I rather prescribe to the fact that the electromagnetic reaction and the actual mathematics shows us that it is a conducting, cavitating toroidal spheroid… but who am I to say. I have not been in space and have not seen it for myself so all I can do is research and speculate. When presented with info that proves my speculation wrong I am always open to change.

    No moon landing? So I take it you had first hand experience of this? Hah. Oh how oh how can you be sure? Because it was fed down your throat since an early age?

    In your second post you not only identified real issues (which I do agree with) but you also simultaneously showed that you yourself do the exact same thing that you preach against.
    Do not take this as an attack but rather an alternate perspective. I have my own hypocrisies. Nobody is perfect.

    @coryphella I was granted a backstage tour on the very technological link up that you speak of years ago. Everything has been linked together to do what you say and more. There are two sides of the coin however. This technology is utilized for good as well.
    Careful, you may be labeled a conspiracy but for those thoughts. I know I have! Hahaha.

    You say that we need to go back to reading papers and such? When over %95 of the world’s media,news and radio can be tracked back to 6 major corps it’s hard to believe anything written or spoken.
    Peer reviewed BS accepted as fact when it’s mostly funded by the same sources. No bias there at all.
    Here’s a vid I shared to my FB pertaining to climate change and global warming that speaks to thus point. But one example.
    The founder of the weather network speaks volumes on the topic. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155813227048760&id=578908759

    There is a major information war afoot. The CIA is involved in online disinformation programs as well.
    I feel you have to much faith in the govt, military as well as intelligence agencies.
    They have just as much a part in this battle as anyone.
    Really ,it’s like life ya know. Everyone here complains about the small oilfield towns and how they are full of drugs and crime and shitty people. This is true but none of the above has any hold on my life as I do not subject myself to it.
    The internet, media ect is the same. There is soooooo much junk out there but there is also sooo much truth there to be had. All depends what you choose to digest. 
    I agree with @bruinbown .

    Sorry for the long rant and limited linking. Limited time or I would link until the cows come home about all of the mentioned topics and then some.

    I have always been labeled crazy for the things I have researched or experienced.
    For example, I told the entire community of an experience I went through where I was receiving texts from friends but it not actually being my friends on the other end. There was much more, vomputer jacking etc.. but to stay on point, I was ridiculed for even suggesting the possibility. Yet look at you all now…. accepting this as a reality when you were ALL in utter denial of the possibility when I first mentioned it.
    I have hoed the conspiracy road long enough to see many things labeled as “conspiracy theory” only to become accepted self evident truths. 

    In short, what can we trust these days? That’s a tough question to answer. Hahaha.

    End conspiracy nut rant. Lol

    Thanks for the inspiration to post however. It’s been a while. 😁

    • #26693
       Unseen Presence 
      Participant

      No remorse, no retribution
      Just…
      Winning, winning, winning.

      That’s certainly one way of looking at it, @larry. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that in today’s world, that seems to be ALL that matters. Winning. It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong, if you’re speaking the truth or fiction.

      It doesn’t matter if this is a game, or real life. Whether this group or that does or does not exist.

      Hasn’t that been the point of this week? To shatter the illusions you all have been building up for months, many times without -solid- evidence to back it up, only your beliefs and/or feelings? It certainly looks that way from someone who looks at it all from the outside, as I have done.

      I’ve been watching what is happening from the shadows. And I’ve seen confusion, despair, anger, frustration, fear and the occasional bout of happiness & joy. I understand why these emotions have happened. I recognize the reason for them.

      But still, here you are. Lost once more, confused about everything, debating whether someone has gone rogue or whether to believe or disbelieve someone’s statement about something not existing.

      Is that the -point- of this week, however? Is the goal to find the -truth-? Or is it just that ‘they’ (whoever they are) are determined to win, win, win…and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get there. They’re willing to utilize the era of fake news to discredit everything that is real news by covering it with noise. They are willing to recognize that through online means, NOTHING is more real of fake than ANYTHING else–it’s all just another link. Another periscope. Another Instagram post. It’s all just data. Exactly as you said.

      Here you are. Losing.
      Here we are, perhaps.

      I fought against speaking up until now because I quickly realized that the -best- course of action was to stay silent, separate, hidden from their ability to track me or recognize me for as long as possible.

      But that doesn’t mean I’m winning, either, right now. I’ve bought a ticket to the event in December. I’m diving into the pool as well. The one thing I know going in is this:

      If they’re -only- interested in winning, then ‘truth’ in this endeavor will never be certain. It will only matter as far as they believe it will help them succeed. And as far as I’m concerned, we will have to be just as willing to respond in the same way if we’re interested in stopping them.

      Oh, and @sovereignskies: I have long ago seen all of the evidence you bring up. I don’t find it as compelling as you do, given that I’m quite aware from personal experience of how often governments create laws and treaties and other official documents based on their own ‘beliefs’ or ‘fears’, neither of which requires the reality of what is happening to match either of those.

      That being said, of course my words are somewhat hypocritical. Whatever would be the point of my specific argument if they were not?

    • #26695
       Lawrence Meyers 
      Participant

      @unseenpresence:

      in today’s world, that seems to be ALL that matters. Winning. It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong, if you’re speaking the truth or fiction.

      The one thing worth fighting for is objective truth. Throw that out, and what’s left are lies. If one calls relentlessly defending objective truth as “winning”, they should be prepared for the ultimate consequences of living in fantasy, which historically hasn’t turned out well. Objectivism and reason is required for societal governance. “Facts don’t care about your feelings”, as someone has said.

      Emotion and feelings are the realm of interpersonal relations, however. Mining for inner truth, and how one relates to the outside world in discovering that inner truth, is of greater value.

      Winning for the sake of winning, though, is psychologically and emotionally problematic, as I can attest.

      Hasn’t that been the point of this week? To shatter the illusions you all have been building up for months, many times without -solid- evidence to back it up, only your beliefs and/or feelings? It certainly looks that way from someone who looks at it all from the outside, as I have done.

      I agree. Hence the reason I’ve been #TeamRonin, only reluctantly interested in Briarberg because the one person I could trust seemed to believe in it. Ah, but what happened when I set aside Reason? I apparently was duped. It did not lead to ruin, at least not yet.

      Quite the synecdoche, though.

      Is the goal to find the -truth-? Or is it just that ‘they’ (whoever they are) are determined to win, win, win…and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get there.

      I know my own goal is to discover inner truths using The Experiences as a vehicle. Of course, they are using me as their vehicle to achieve their ends. This is a transaction, entered into by each party of their own free will. The risk-adjusted rewards have been exceptional, thus far, for me. However, constantly evaluating the risk, or “checking in with myself”, as one friend counseled, is prudent.

      Should the transaction become unbalanced, I can terminate it. I hope so, anyway.

      If they’re -only- interested in winning, then ‘truth’ in this endeavor will never be certain. It will only matter as far as they believe it will help them succeed. And as far as I’m concerned, we will have to be just as willing to respond in the same way if we’re interested in stopping them.

      Objective truth may never be certain in this matter. But dramatic catharsis does not require objective truth. It just requires a good story. Stopping them isn’t part of my agenda…so far. Giving them false data — acting — undermines my own agenda. It’s akin to cheating on a deal that is supposed to benefit both parties.

      Arguably, people are learning a good lesson that they should not rely on feelings to determine fact. For all these manipulations, it does not yet appear as though anyone has been harmed to the point of terminating the transaction. That says something.

      Before Roger Waters became a raging Anti-Semite, this song came out. Seems appropriate.

    • #26696
       Unseen Presence 
      Participant

      @larry:

      I used to believe the way you did. Honestly, I did. I sought ‘objective truth’ in all that I did, or at least strove to be on that path.

      Unfortunately (and I mean that word in its most sincere sense), I have come to realize that there -is- no such thing. There is nothing -objective- in the universe.

      Our existence is virtual–but it needs no “Matrix”, no Elon Musk-inspired pop-culture argument about “simulations” for that to be the case. It simply -is- virtual.

      For even our senses fail us at every turn.

      We cannot see, hear, feel, smell or taste anything in real-time. The delay may be below the threshold of relevance in most circumstances, but it -is- there.

      Everything we experience is translated virtually within a brain that is attempting to coordinate sounds, symbols, ideas and images into a cohesive whole.

      When the only way you can experience the universe is, itself, ‘fake’–there is nothing objective to find.

      That is where I have come to, at least. I do not begrudge your opinion or your journey. If you still wish to struggle or to search, far be it from me to dissuade anyone.

      Indeed, it may be worthwhile that you continue to stand where you stand. Because I am also not entirely certain that ‘stopping’ them will be or should be a goal. My statement was that I believe it will require just as much willingness to be fluid about ‘truth’ IF that is our interested, stated goal.

      It may well be that the best way for me to ‘win’ is to join them. To willingly, with open eyes become them, accept them and accede to their version of the ‘truth’ as it pertains to their goals or even myself. I do not know what choice will be best for me, because I have only now admitted that I am even taking part in this experience. I have not yet been faced with any decision–and I may never be, as part of this. I accept that, because I recognize that the ‘truth’ that invades this particular scenario may be nearly anything.

      But it is possible that if you continue to be as determined to find ‘objective’ truth as you are (which I assume will be the case) and I remain as willing to accept truth as a fluid concept that only matters as it matters…perhaps the best course will be found in those areas where we agree, coming from different angles as we do.

    • #26697
       Megan 
      Participant

      Because I am also not entirely certain that ‘stopping’ them will be or should be a goal….It may well be that the best way for me to ‘win’ is to join them. To willingly, with open eyes become them, accept them and accede to their version of the ‘truth’ as it pertains to their goals or even myself.

      I agree with the first, but does this actually equal “joining them?” I’m not sure of that. Me getting what I want is me getting what I want; as long as I’m willing to accept the consequences of that, regardless of how destructive they are, what do I care? I haven’t joined anyone. I’ve only been true to myself. It has been said a couple of times that “no one is coming to save you.” Never once in 41 years have I asked anyone to come and save me. And to be honest, the thing from which I need “saving” isn’t *this* but actual reality, the one where I get to spend another 12 hours in tech today only to come home to zero groceries having been bought, litter boxes that haven’t been cleaned in two weeks, dirty dishes in the sink, the front door likely left unlocked and wide open again (didn’t a serial killer just come to my house??) cat vomit on the floor that’s been there for days, and a husband who is airing his gripes about how I spend my free time via twitter and calling that having valid “feelings,” not manipulation. After Effects crashed while rendering the video I started at 2:30am last night so I have to start that over again, and I’ll be up all night grading papers because midterm grades are due tomorrow and I would really like to sleep. What they – OSDM or this alternate reality or Mason or *whoever* – is offering seems fucking sweet compared to that.

      The path of least resistance is the path of the loser, but I’ve been saying from the start that I’m here to lose. Winning certainly hasn’t gotten me anywhere good. I don’t know that I’ve had many illusions shatter this week although I know others have, and maybe that’s because I haven’t held too tightly to any ideology, belief system, truth, or fact. I’ve watched people “play to win” here (and last year too) and wondered what the hell they thought they got from it, since it’s literally *not* a game (no really, it fails to meet the definition of “game”). The one illusion that HAS shattered over the past few months is that I was untouchable here. And I wanted that to shatter. I wanted to lose.

      I hope I continue to because winter just started here and I really hate winter.

      There are absolutely objective truths in the world and reality is absolutely virtual (I teach lighting design and spend an entire day on how we perceive color, which translates to the rest of what you’re saying here). None of that matters if I ultimately know myself and what my own reality is, my own wants and needs, what’s inside my own brain. The MSE asks who will we become when we get what we truly desire but the truth is I’ll be who I actually am, because I will have stopped pretending to be who I’m not.

      ****

      (SIDE NOTE: Yeah, this is long, rambly, and about myself, but the fact is that due to my current situation and the subject matter of my _path this year I don’t have the option to write about Lust in my blog or for online publications. I don’t feel comfortable doing it. I don’t even know that I feel comfortable posting here but I know that I should. I love writing, and I love writing about what I’m experiencing here, and it’s been hard for me to not do that, given that this has been a journey the past few months. And I’ve been beating myself up about that because I want to give back the way that I have in the past and I don’t know how, so be patient when there are weird introspective posts.)

    • #26709
       Unseen Presence 
      Participant

      You are correct, @coryphella, that there are multiple ways of responding to ‘them’. I used ‘joining’ them because if you choose to accept -their- truth, then they appear to believe that those are the only two choices. In my above post, I chose to accept that duality of an answer because it created the simplest other/opposite choice.

      I disagree that this experience, whatever it truly is, does not successfully pass the definition of ‘game’. You say you teach lighting design. I teach both storytelling and game design and this thing we are involved in falls squarely within the modern definitions of game that creators are using to shape modern interactive narratives, live or within technology (or both, as this appears to be).

      As for your personal desires, I cannot effectively gauge or respond to them other than to say that a) as they are yours, they are relevant to you and b) I can sympathize with the idea that a game like this has some large appeal because it gives one the opportunity to be shaken out of their normal, everyday life. That has been the appeal of narrative, game and story throughout the history of humankind. I would not have chosen to buy a ticket or step out of the shadows where I was safe if I did not share some of that urge myself.

      I will continue to argue, however, that there is -no- objective truth. There cannot be, because we each experience the universe in our own way. There are things that -appear- to work in the same way for each of us, but even those things begin to break down once you truly examine the experiments of quantum physics. Indeed, it becomes more and more apparent that the universe appears to work -specifically because- the generic you observes it–but that in the process of doing so, the generic you also alters it. That equates into a universe that is different the very moment you pay attention to it…and cannot, then, be objective at all, as it requires someone’s observation for its moments of change.

      But that is where -I- stand today. Perhaps what I desire from this experience is the chance for ‘them’ to persuade me there -is- something objectively true or false. Perhaps I desire the chance to step once more into the ‘real’ world and out of the illusory, non-objective world that my journey has led me to in the past few years. Perhaps I desire someone to prove me, as well, a loser.

      Or perhaps I simply meant that -I- am planning on joining them, that I have been seeking a group actually able to affect people from behind the scenes for years now, so that I, too, could become influential in such a way. Perhaps I have personally believed that such a group MUST exist, based on what I have seen long before this experience appeared.

      Either of those is a possibility. Either of those could be my truth. The outcome of my actions would be the same in either case.

      For you, of course, I neither expect nor want for you to approach things in any way other than how you believe is best. Given that I believe in no objective truth at this moment, I cannot then expect you to do anything but other than respond to yours.

      I do hope you get what you wish from this. Funny enough, however, I would consider that ‘winning’ in my universe.

      *****

      (Side note: I do not mind posts like yours. You will note that I have been speaking about myself as well. I tend to believe that experiences like these are more effective if/when you speak/act as honestly as you are capable of accomplishing, and when you are not afraid of letting your own story out in the process. That has been my experience previous to this, at least. Perhaps part of what will happen to me, here, is a recognition that I may be TOO open on my end.)

    • #26712
       Robert Fuller 
      Participant

      If there were nobody living to observe the universe, would it exist?

      Also, I agree about speaking honestly and letting your story out. I feel like people (myself included) don’t do it enough on here. We’re all part of this Experience. We’re all “characters,” for lack of a better term, as much as Mason or Noah or Sabrina is. Just because our roles are largely passive and reactive, and our stories generally become anecdotal because we have little or no agency in them, doesn’t mean we should lack character development, so to speak. It’s the interplay of personalities that makes this whole thing work, and so there’s no such thing as putting too much of yourself out there.

    • #26719
       Unseen Presence 
      Participant

      @remrelganaps:

      IMO, the short answer is ‘No, it would not exist.’

      The much longer answer requires a long diversion into what constitutes ‘observation’, ‘living’ and ‘awareness’. Much too long for me on a Sunday afternoon when I am already tired from another night of far too many thoughts and not nearly enough actual sleep. But suffice it to say that I personally am of the opinion that on some level, ‘we’ (meaning all conscious, living creatures able to actually discern the universe through senses) created the universe all along, because we chose to look/hear/taste/touch it and in so doing created its existence in a retrocausality aspected way.

      @larry:

      I believe you are actually saying the same thing I am, although I’m approaching it from the opposite direction. You want to claim that on a societal level, ‘objective truth must rule’ or there is chaos.

      I don’t believe we’ve ever had anything else BUT that chaos. I do not believe there has ever been a truly societal level agreement on ‘objective truth’. If there had been, there would be no need for war. Or poverty. Or aggression. Or rebellion. Or activism. Every change in society comes, IMO, from the literal conflict between different segments of society who see different ‘objective truths’.

      I believe individuals who are gay should be allowed to marry. Someone else argues that -any- abortion, even at the risk of the mother, is still murder. Someone else still argues that racism is dead. Or is alive and well. Or is sneaking beneath the surface of consciousness. And then these groups end up in conflict, specifically -because- there is no truly ‘objective’ truth. There are only individuals who all BELIEVE they have that objective truth in front of them and on their side.

      I believe the 21st century and the advent of the internet have only exaggerated a situation that was always present. When a culture was isolated, objective truths could be -believed- to be really there, because there was less possibility of alternate ideas invading.

      In a world where the instant someone says or does anything, it can spread to every set of eyes in seconds, that conflict becomes far more pronounced. And as people resist, they become more determined than ever to keep ‘their’ truth as legitimate. And so the chaos of modern existence and the speed at which people are fooled, get angry, become strident, etc. increases.

      As I said originally, I am much more of a pessimist as far as most people are concerned. I, myself, consider my belief to be the prudent, rational one. And I don’t let the lack of objective truth stop me from trying to be the best person I, personally, can be–or to let it stop me from doing what I think is the ‘right’ thing. I simply recognize that ‘right’ is, like everything, in the eye of the beholder.

      @coryphella:

      Many people still believe that ‘game’ is defined as some variation of what Bernard Suits once crafted back in the late 70’s:

      * An attempt to achieve a specific state of affairs (a goal)
      * using only rules
      * with those very rules prohibiting the most straightforward of choices in favor of a specific avenue of choices that are less direct
      * and where the rules are accepted because they are what make the game possible

      In other words, a player attempting to win/achieve a goal, agreeing before-hand to using rules that make the goal harder to get to than it would have been otherwise.

      But in the last decade+, that definition has expanded–especially within the realm of video game design, where the examination of ‘rules’ and what they mean to the player has become a thornier issue. There are quite a few video games where the player will -never- understand the rules that are actually being used by the game, because those rules happen behind and beneath the experience the player has. Can they really have ‘accepted’ the rules in such a scenario? Can they ever be certain that the rules aren’t ‘changing’ from game to game?

      You may argue that they have still accepted the rules by the choice of playing the game. Or that while the underlying rules may not be understandable, the rules of -interaction- are (this button makes a character jump, that button makes them attack, they can’t run through walls, etc.) Or that even though they may not understand the rules, they aren’t actually changing because they’re hard-coded.

      But what about a game like Minecraft, where the player determines much of what the rules are in a given area and can change them at any time? What about games that allow users to mod new levels and/or variations and/or change the rules to suit their playstyle (or get rid of rules entirely)? What about games where there are no hard-set rules at all (such as card games where at any moment, rules can be thrown out or changed or altered)? What about games such as LARPS, where the person in charge of the game can (depending on the LARP) alter the rules at his or her whim and players don’t necessarily get to understand that until they run into something that doesn’t work the same way once more?

      Rules are -often- part of a game. And many people argue, certainly, that changing rules in the middle of a game makes for a cheat of some kind, or that it can make a game much harder to play or be invested in. And there is certainly a segment of gaming that has hard-wired, never-changing rules (such as sports where no one would accept a rule changing in the middle of Game 5 of the World Series).

      But as games get more complex and begin to try and encapsulate attitudes/behaviors/responses that are closer and closer to another person, there are new definitions of gaming that are no longer certain that ‘rules’ are part of the equation. Some definitions argue that a game is about attempting to solve a goal within a limited set of ‘resources’–of which rules CAN be part of but don’t HAVE to be part of. Others argue that the important part of a game is that it has goals and conflict and that everything else is up for debate.

      My point here was two-fold: A) As of this moment, I still consider this a game, as I see more than one player, attempting to solve goals using their limited resources (in this case, time and those we interact with along the way). I also see it as something where conflict has most definitely become part of the scenario and the ‘game’ will be done when the conflict is resolved.

      And B): It is also possible that there ARE rules for whatever this is–but that the players have simply never understood them. Or that the rules -include- not telling players the truth. Or that the statements such as #NeverSilent and “Your interactions change what happens” mean that this is a game where one of the rules IS there are no rules because your actions will alter them.

      In either case, I personally have seen nothing that (so far) removes this from still falling into the definitions of ‘game’ that I work with in teaching. Perhaps, again, something will alter that. I know that many people here argue that something is or is not OOG and therefore happening in the ‘real’ world. But as I do not yet have any experience of that myself, I cannot ascertain how that would affect my stance.

    • #26721
       Lawrence Meyers 
      Participant

      @unseenpresence

      I think we’re getting too lost in the weeds, although I see what you are saying.

      There’s so much smoke and mirrors and distraction that I can only return to the same places. First, @bcbishop and I have discussed this at length. All we can do is try and be present and respond with emotional honesty in any given situation. For as long as I have patience.

      Second, whomever is in control is telling a story and that story has a theme which, to me, is about achieving psychological wholeness. So I return back to the theme after every major encounter and view it through that prism. For as long as I have patience.

      Finally, I’m sure you’ve seen this clip which I’ve posted several times, but if not, it still sums up the entire Experiences for me…and what I believe is at the center of it all.

      I confess…I’m this close to going MiB on the whole thing. My patience with the lies is running thin.

      Do I want to be on the side of the manipulators or the manipulated? I don’t much care. But I want to find the truth at the center of this, and I’m this close to taking scalps to find the center of the maze.

    • #26722
       Unseen Presence 
      Participant

      @larry:

      FWIW, I don’t actually disagree that emotional honesty is a smart way to respond to things. It is my preference whenever faced with such options (although I cannot claim to be 100% perfect. I’ve failed–badly–in my past, and it has cost me dearly and in ways that I cannot ever repair or replace. Hence why I try hard to be honest now. Although I know at least one person who believes that it’s easy to be honest when one has already lost what matters most.) Where we differ is only that I believe -your- emotional honesty and -mine- have no correlation and cannot, truly, ever be related or understood. Because they are entirely internal to our own ‘voice’, colored by our own fears and loves and desires and the result of 100% of the time living with our own voices–Shadow and otherwise.

      I am also not 100% certain that the theme of this experience is what you think it is. Perhaps it’s because I started reading into this long after many of you were already deep within it and read through several weeks of updates in a matter of days before I began watching much more closely. But I think the theme of this may well be about the lies and deceptions at least as much–if not more–than the truth.

      I DO, however, agree that finding what that theme is–once and for all–and having solid ground where this little segment of society can claim an ‘objective place’ would be a great place to reach. There is a reason I came out from the darkness, after all. I saw what has happened recently and decided that I could no longer simply be passive. Even if I choose badly at some critical decision, my observation and action will spawn other reactions and potentially help tip these particular scales.

    • #26723
       Lawrence Meyers 
      Participant

      @unseenpresence

      In the end, emotional honesty is about risk. I guess I’m trying really really hard to stay in that space because, despite what may be lost, I can sleep at night.

      It’s easy to get locked into one idea and think that’s what the theme is. My mind just tries to find organizing principles. Chaos isn’t exciting to me, or interesting. It’s just boring. And so are a parade of lies.

      Perhaps as a new arrival, you will act as a catalyst to the system and engender a new chemical reaction.

    • #26724
       Unseen Presence 
      Participant

      @larry

      There we can agree. Emotional honesty has risks and remains the better choice despite them. One thing I am not afraid of is any question this experience will ask me–there is no question they can ask that I have not already asked myself (and many that I do not believe they could ever contemplate to ask, because again I’m in here 100% of the time and they–whatever they claim–cannot be.)

      I also don’t think “a parade of lies” is all that interesting. I think deception can be fascinating to watch, but I don’t consider them the same thing, truly.

      I don’t expect to be a catalyst. It may be that I become one or not–either is acceptable to me. But I know that the very act of committing to this experience openly will mean that the system will change. It has to–there is another observer.

    • #26715
       Megan 
      Participant

      @unseenpresence – I’m on a very short break but I’m interested in your definition of “game,” as my understanding is that normally it is defined as having (among other things) specific consistent “rules.” This is absolutely interactive storytelling and immersive performance, but we as the “players” have no reassurance whatsoever that there are rules being adhered to. I write on this and it’s not my primary area of expertise so I’m interested in hearing more.

      The rest I will get to on the next break.

    • #26711
       Lawrence Meyers 
      Participant

      @unseenpresence On an interpersonal level, objective truth becomes less important. I like you, you like me, we are friends. Behavior and feelings pretty much rule the day. It hopefully doesn’t matter if I think the moon is made of green cheese and you think Satan is your Lord and savior.

      On a societal level, objective truth is what must dictate policy. Defaulting to subjective truth results in fantastical notions that only serve to divide. There are billions of subjective truths aka “feelings” that, because they are objective lies, can be routinely changed and manipulated by the nanosecond. Today I identify as a chicken, and demand that there be chicken bathrooms. Tomorrow I’ll feel like a dolphin.

      This only results in one thing: division with those who recognize that objective truths do exist — I am not a chicken. I am not a dolphin. I am a human being — and recognize that dissolving objective truth degrades the entire culture and society into chaos. Which is where we are right now.

      The Powers That Be, for whom Power is all that matters, manipulate objective truth using the media and internet and drown out objective truth as well. If someone tells me I am not a chicken, I can now be offended and demonize them…because that website over there says I can be a chicken.

      However, I frankly have downshifted my fight for objective truth by about 90%. I got tired being one of a thousand Davids fighting Goliath and needed to focus on that which inspires and is personally productive. So I’m more or less leaving it to others.

  • #26506
     Lawrence Meyers 
    Participant

    @unseenpresence

    I had a very similar conversation with a good friend a couple of months ago on this very topic.

    And you are utterly, frustratingly, correct.

    There is plenty of objective truth, but the Internet now buried it — or perhaps sandwiched it — beneath the lies of “opinion”, allowing the most obtuse individual the ability to find nonsense to “support” his uneducated, cognitively biased “opinion”.

    And yet, where we part, is that this changes nothing. Pursuing self-interest has always been consonant with the definition of freedom.

    Our social fabric is built on the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Founders understood that self-interest must come first.

    It need not be exclusionary to all other pursuits, yet Judaism calls upon the individual to achieve wholeness before working to save the world. You can’t save the world until you save yourself.

    It is the equivalent of putting on your oxygen mask before you assist your child.

  • #26509
     Megan 
    Participant

    But isn’t what @unseenpresence is saying the same thing that Horace said to @shankfx22 back in July (I think)? “Stop and just give into the sweet embrace of our arms?”

    • #26628
       Jaynesis 
      Participant

      @coryphella absolutely! “Stop and just give into the sweet embrace of our arms?” is so welcoming in a massive pile of confusion. how much time do people have trying to sift through what is true and what is false? sometimes the easiest approach is not just a personal truth, but a natural truth. and what is more comfortable other than someone else providing the fulness of truth’s vision?

      this is why many people are pulling back to the classic publications, like the New York Times, Times Magazine, etc. the blog-o-sphere is broken with its attempts at being the flagbearer of peoples’ interests. but those big publications can’t cover everything… so where do we go from there?

    • #26632
       Lawrence Meyers 
      Participant

      @argos5
      Permit me to disagree?

      People are not “pulling back to classic publications” like the NYT. Just the opposite. They are running from them.

      US newspaper circulation has fallen from its peak of 65 million in 1970 to 35 million today.

      Despite subscription surges for largest U.S. newspapers, circulation and revenue fall for industry overall

      For the NYT, circulation has been destroyed.

      In 2006, its paid daily print circulation was 1.1 million and 1.6 million on Sunday.
      In 2017, it was 572,000 and 1.08 million, respectively.
      Daily print circulation was cut in half.

      The NYT had net income of $294 million in 2003. In 2016, it was $30 million.
      That’s down 90%.

      Yes, paid digital-only subscriptions are now allegedly at 1.6 million.

      But think about this for a second. Print plus digital = 2.17 million.
      That’s less than 0.7% of the US population.
      People don’t care about the NYT. They don’t care about what newspapers say. Because they don’t believe what newspapers say.

      “What is more comfortable other than someone else providing the fulness of truth’s vision?”

      That subordinates one’s own mind to the biases of others. Journalism — “truth” — no longer exists, except in rare instances. People know this.

      “This is why many people are pulling back to the classic publications, like the New York Times, Times Magazine, etc. the blog-o-sphere is broken with its attempts at being the flagbearer of peoples’ interests”

      To the contrary, what truthful reporting exists is actually in the blogosphere. You’d be surprised what you find if you really care to look.

    • #26647
       Jaynesis 
      Participant

      @larry You may absolutely disagree, good Sir!

      I do appreciate a thorough and articulate rebuttal. To this, I thank you for your time and thoughts.

      I did come across an article the original point I made, but since it is buried in the sea of the internet— I must acquiesce to your point until I can bring that article forward.

    • #26648
       Jaynesis 
      Participant

      Ah, no. Found the article. You are absolutely correct. I misunderstood a point of the article, you are absolutely correct. It sources the same data you have noted. 🙂

  • #26511
     Lawrence Meyers 
    Participant

    Hey @unseenpresence, I just found these lyrics from Don Henley’s GARDEN OF ALLAH — it’s the Devil speaking:

    Because there are no facts, there is no truth
    Just a data to be manipulated
    I can get any result you like
    What’s it worth to ya?
    Because there is no wrong, there is no right
    And I sleep very well at night
    No shame, no solution
    No remorse, no retribution
    Just people selling T-shirts
    Just opportunity to participate in the pathetic little circus
    And winning, winning, winning

  • #26694
     Sean 
    Moderator

    Because I’m getting questions, I want to clarify that no non-participant entities have posted on this topic up to this point.

    No need to worry

  • #27423
     JW 
    Participant

    American culture is splitting on a large scale. Although we are made of many cultures, we have fused into something recognizable and identifiable….at least according to our pop culture. But things are changing. The internet is bringing immediate truth to conversations, conversations that normally pushed past points of contention with no clear winner and then meandered their way back into friendly conversations. But today, the facts are at everyone’s fingertips, so those conversations stop at their most volatile moment and then explode as one viewpoint is declared the winner. Now our conversations end before moments of conflict can whine themselves down. In fact, many times on social media, we skip the beginning of the conversation and go directly to the conflict.

    The result of this is that one group of people will disregard facts that are so quickly produced, they will come to believe facts are only true after working hard to find them, as we used to have to do. This group will grow to see education as a negative thing, they will call it indoctrination. They will see an open mind as a defenseless mind.

    This culture will grow because this belief system is learned, not inborn. They will learn from their elders and adopt their beliefs. This culture will become so large that it will tear at the unity that we agree exists. There will be two types of Americans. Two very different types.

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