Take a deep breath and prepare to learn something shocking…. ready?
I remember a world before the internet! Yes, I am officially old.
So now you’re thinking – Star Trek title, mention of the internet – this is a post about humanity being swallowed by technology, that the internet has ruined the world, that the Microsofts and Apples have destroyed human interaction. Well you already know that stuff, so continue breathing and read on…
For those that don’t get the Star Trek reference (shame on you):
The Borg are a fictional alien race that appear as recurring antagonists in the Star Trek franchise. The Borg are a collection of species that have been turned into cybernetic organisms functioning as drones in a hive mind called “the Collective” or “the Hive”. (source)
Now we have that preamble out of the way, we’re ready to rock!
Consider for a moment the world we live in, the things we believe and build out lives around. Consider the possibility that the reality we are faced with everyday is just a construct of the things we choose to accept or reject. And now consider, just for a moment, that you are wrong, I am wrong, we are both living in a reality that isn’t even remotely real. Trippy eh?
Before I go off on a David Ickesque journey of holographic realities and reptilian overlords, I shall bring the clarity that I’m speaking purely in theoretical terms rather than what actually is, or isn’t. I am exploring the prospect that our daily actions are decided by the belief system we live by. And now my friends, this is where things get both interesting and confusing.
To really understand what the hell I’m talking about we must first get one simple principle – that we are not what we DO, we are what we BELIEVE. From our beliefs come our actions and our actions are like our “representatives to the world”. No matter how brilliant we think ‘what we just did’ was, it is essentially meaningless, as the important and crucial part of this process is the ‘what we think’. Are we all still on the same page?
Important = what we think, not important = what we do. The reason for this ‘truth’ is that our actions are framed in specific time periods, some actions can take 1 second, others multiple years, but these actions will always be framed by the reference point of what we believe. And what we believe is the real reality that we operate in.
So, here we are with a better understanding of the reality we live in, ready to explore the topic (finally you say!), so, did we just go full on Borg?
We like to think that we are all free thinking people, making the choices and decisions we want, that we are clever enough to filter out good and bad things, determining the correct actions based on rational thought. Oh how foolish we are.
Remember a while ago I said I remembered a world before the internet? Well that is a very important point. Way back when, there was a process a person had to go through to both interact with another person, and also a process towards increasing your own knowledge, both involved a physical element. To engage the brain you had to actually go/do/act. Information wasn’t available at our fingertips, it was in books, in libraries, in other people. Before you could have a ‘belief’ you first had to explore the world around you, take in certain information and then mentally process that BEFORE deciding if you ‘believed’.
Today our society has made a complete 180 degree switch away from that process. Now, we are instantly told a ‘belief’, and presented (loosely) with the option of whether we accept or reject that belief. It doesn’t actually matter that the information required to make a rational choice is equally as available, we are too Borg-like to even entertain the option of researching before deciding. The ease of access is wielded with a premise that “easy” equals “quick”, that we as humans should be faced with the need to make snap decisions based on the facts that are presented, Why does this make us ‘Borg‘, quite simply because we are not questioning the source of either the presented ‘belief’ nor the supporting decision making information.
One such decision that we in the UK are being asked to make soon is the “do we remain in the EU, or leave” referendum. On the surface this is brilliant, it is a democratically decided Britain, a choice by the populous to change the direction of travel for an entire generation. However, as soon as we scratch the surface of the whole premise we are faced with a few questions. Who is driving this referendum? Why is this happening now? Why are we getting the chance to do this?
In the ‘old world’, these would have been the questions that would have spurred the conversation about “should we have a referendum”, people wouldn’t have accepted the chance to vote without knowing these basic things, today however we are not even pausing to ask, let alone find an answer. This raises very important points about the choices that people will make in the referendum, because we don’t really understand the reason for it existing in the first place.
If we then progress to which way a person will actually vote, how many people do you think really understand what it means either way? Come Yay or Nay day, the majority of people voting will be doing so based on either a headline grabbing gut reaction reason, or simply because they have a vague notion that one or the other is better. But the reality will actually be that people do not have the adequate information to make a properly informed choice. In my ‘old world’ there would have been an outcry, because people still knew how to complain when they were being taken for a ride, however now we have gone full on Borg we neither have access to or the free thought to rise up and demand information.
This isn’t actually a post about the referendum, but that is a great example. Throughout our lives we are faced with the same problem, we have become too Borg to believe, and the result is that we now have actions that are either ineffective or just so flimsy that we only give them half a chance before ‘moving on’. Let me also clarify one thing, I really love today’s technology and I would not want to go back to the ‘old world’, but as a species we need to recall the principles of ‘research, learn, believe’ rather than just accepting the vision we are presented with.
Does the world have to look the way is does? Hell no! Do we have to allow governments to be controlled and bullied by the financiers? Hell no! Rise up and demand something different. Use the new world technology to talk about the real things, ask the real questions – and don’t expect to get an instant understanding, or find the truth in a single google. Be an ‘old worlder’ in the ‘new world’ – that is the only way that the future will not have us all plugged in and zoned out.
Congratulations if you’ve made it this far! It would be great to hear your views on this topic. I may waffle, but I waffle well…