I recently stayed at a place that had a local paper delivered every morning. I’d open the paper and see the news from the night before. It had a certain charm, and it made me stop.
The idea that the news was lagged a day was very, well, quaint. The notion that I was just receiving the information and taking it in in a delayed fashion seemed so at odds with our modern world. If this were 15 or 20 years ago, I would leisurely read the paper, browse the various topics, share the news with people throughout the day, hear their thoughts and form my own. The leisureliness of this process of distilling information and thought is so very appealing. Imagine! Time to actually think and let things unfold a bit!
Instead, today, we move in a world that wants instant reaction and opinion, often at the expense of some thoughtful inquiry. Rather than browsing disparate topics, letting something offbeat catch our attention, our information is narrowed by search topic and trends. We are addicted to devices that bring little satisfaction, but much distraction. Distracted, we can’t be in present moment. We become ghosts in our own time.
I was in the supermarket the other day and a young mother and her daughter were practically running through the to-go food section. They spoke in staccato bursts, rather loudly, as if in their own little bubble. They grabbed pre-formed packages of food and scurried to the register. I couldn’t help but think that this was life as usual in their world, not an aberration.
What ever happened to taking the time to watch the clouds go by? Seriously. No matter what your age, your mind and imagination need some free reign, to be idle, to wonder and to dream. Your iPhone can’t do this for you and chances are your social media networks actually in inhibit this type of psychological and even spiritual evolution.
Perhaps I was sensitive to this because I feel as if I’ve been tethered to my machines for the last day or two, dealing with the vagaries of Twitter rules and it’s bizarre enforcement. Apparently a sixty year old woman with cancer (me) is some sort of threat to this behemoth because they’ve ghosted me. That means, they aren’t allowing my tweets to show up in a hashtag search. I think. And who knows what else. For who knows what reason. I don’t really understand any of it. They don’t communicate with you; they just make you disappear. They “ghost” you.
I only discovered this because I wanted to look into running an ad for the free #CancerRoadTrip giveaways that we’re working on. Some of my younger, techie friends explained what was happening to me. And that I needed to grovel to Twitter and hope and pray to the Twitter gods-that-be that I would be un-ghosted.
I just don’t understand.
And of course, there is no customer service. Such a passe idea! You can appeal to a bot.
So I’ve appealed to the bots and I’ve not had a response. Nothing. Nada.
I shall appeal again after the Labor Day holiday. Surely bots work weekends! Or do they?
Without any direct contact with their own customers, even through their bots, how is it that Twitter makes these decisions that impact people’s businesses and lives? The on line thought police seem to have the mistaken notion that my get-healthy-meditate-travel-have-some-fun philosophy is threatening to the stability of their matrix.
The Matrix–great movie!– looks at mind control by creating false realities. Here is an excerpt. It’s a bit dark, but it does get the point across. (If you haven’t seen this classic film, it really is a must watch.)
“No one has ever done anything like this.”
I sense trepidation from my young techie friends that I would dare challenge the system. Be nice, the on line guides say. Grovel, I am repeatedly told. Really?
This is a blog about life and cancer!
This isn’t my first run in with Twitter and it probably won’t be my last. So I decided to peacefully vent a bit, here in my blog. (No digital guns–per the movie–just words. Oh my!)
Whatever happened to the ability to have some civil discourse? Whatever happened to tolerance? Who are these on line thought police that are declaring thugs in black sheets to be acceptable and 60 year old health oriented travel bloggers are not? Not to mention Google arbitrarily closing down all the accounts of a statistics professor running a charitable site promoting math education. Or Twitter suspending the account of a man that shall we say, (the bots may be listening), “ended” the life of a mosquito. Yes, a mosquito.
In the film clip below, consider substituting the logos of name-your-tech-firm for the phrase “the flag”, and try substituting Twitter for “Bob Rumsen” in this diatribe from The American President:
A note to the bots: Please note that this is a movie. (Movie: Digital rendering of scenes involving actors and storylines, used to inform, amuse and distract humans.) I am not in any way recommending anyone burn flags, logos or incite any violence!
And let us not forget Patrick McGoohan in the The Prisoner, a great, if short lived, 1960’s TV series. It’s about a spy who isn’t allowed to resign, but is instead is “ghosted”: kidnapped, and exiled into a Potemkin Village, with bizarre and arbitrary rules, that are undisclosed and enforced at will, with no reason, explanation or warning.
Looking back is fun, but looking ahead right now is a bit disturbing. The recycling of these themes is, according to William Strauss and Neil Howe, part of the cycle of history. They tackle this topic of generational recycling of ideas and trends in their book The Fourth Turning. It’s an interesting read for the history buffs in the audience.
What each of these films (and this book) have in common is a desire for freedom and a historic (and futuristic) perspective on human political evolution and repression. It is not about political party. It’s not about personalities. But it is about freedom. Having our peaceful, non-threatening speech arbitrarily edited by Google or Twitter is just wrong. Who are these nameless people, or are they (most likely) just ghost bots?
And how’s it working out for them?
Pretty well so far, at least for the high flying “FANGs”. The financial bots seem to be tech friendly. Collusion? (Bot joke!) Although the trend line might be changing. One never knows what lies ahead.
Let’s look at Twitter who apparently is not part of this elite tech group:
Hmmm. Not so good.
I realize that I’m out of date and obviously out of cinque with this bot driven world, but some ideas have stood the test of modern time and some have not. Those that have been utter, complete, total and costly failures include attempts to limit free speech and/or to dictate societal norms. (see Nazi Germany, the former Soviet Union, The Prague Spring, Easter Europe under the “Iron Curtain” etc., etc, etc.).
Man never changes. His hubris guarantees this.
End of rant.
Please don’t see this as political. It’s not. I’m part of the “none of the above” crowd these days, but it seems like I just can’t express it. At least not on Twitter where I tweet about the travel and health and adventure of a life well lived and all sorts of apparently threatening topics.
So take this Twitter:
And PLEASE UN-GHOST MY ACCOUNT!
What is #CancerRoadTrip and how did it come to be? Read this post to get the backstory!