issues: blue or red pill?

recent NYTimes article  talks about ‘issues’.

Seems we’re turning benign things into issues and turning those into problems that divide us.  Here’s an excerpt:

“…this is what makes ‘‘issues’’ the perfect word for the current moment. It is a word that acknowledges problems without actually addressing them, that minimizes them in hopes that they’ll just drift away. It’s a hedge and a dodge, at once overly punctilious and contemptuously dismissive; it’s contingent, euphemistic, underhanded and easily weaponized. Our culture has all kinds of prohibitions against plain speech, but we’ve long treated agenda-driven spin as just business.

Likes and dislikes on social media are indicative of this.  We rarely state why we’ve done this, we just put thumbs up or thumbs down, as if each one of us was a Roman emperor feeding the christians to the lions without so much as giving a reason…. just because.

More fundamentally, I think it centers around our instant gratification for everything 24/7, faster/ cheaper/better/’don’t bother me: I’m comfortable’.

It’s the result of our hi-tech addictions programmed by the big frightful five  controlling our everyday lives.  More subversive than the tobacco companies and subliminal than embedded ads, these companies dictate what we hear, see and will soon taste and feel. Have they taken control of our senses from our free will?   I think so – because new they’re working hard on how to control our very thought processes: witness the rise of fake news and our willingness to accept it.

Instead of the Matrix (movie) red & blue pills defining our reality, we’ve set up our own red & blue divides based on political beliefs.

You may not be liberal enough for Beserkeley, or you may have to rely on an opposing color scheme to help you out in time of need.  Which is it?


Here’s the concluding part of the NYTimes article:

“It’s no surprise, then, that everything is at issue now. We’ve arrived at a polarized, blue-pill/red-pill place where reality has splintered into countless alternatives, each one tailored to someone’s particular tastes and beliefs. Even basic, verifiable facts are now potential points of contention — possible issues. Everything is debatable, which means everything — from other people’s beliefs to objective reality — can be dismissed as someone’s tendentious pleading for a specialized cause.”

beyond off-grid

when people introduce me and say ‘fred lives off the grid’, While I appreciate the intro,  I always want to say: ‘I’m WAY beyond off-grid’… and if a conversation engages around it, I like to throw in the moniker: ‘I live off the dreadmill’… let me explain.

Our society loves path dependence. The history of humans is written on it. Path dependence implies we continue down the current path even though we know better paths – because it’s convenient and we ‘need to pay the mortgage/rent’.  And of course, many industries profit enormously from the current path.  it. Take oil, fast food, big box stores, etc. 

I like the sound bite‘ we didn’t stop using whale oil for lighting because we ran out of whales’  And so too, we are blazing new paths not because we’re running out of resources (which certain groups want you to believe) as much as there are better options on the horizons (uber, AI, self-driving cars, robotics, etc) 

Most people consider off-grid to be about energy independence.  Beyond off-grid is doing the full monty on cutting the cord that ties us to centralized services – usually operated by far-away corporate conglomerates.  As costs increase, reliability decreases and other issues arise; some people are thinking ‘there’s gotta be a better way’.  Enter Elon Musk,  Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and others trying to tie us to a new ‘grid’ : one based on techno foundations that eerily remind me of just a different flavor of the same ole dreadmill – but with even more addictive, co-dependent properties.