I’ve taken some time to really take in the current situation. But what is the current situation, other than what I can absorb of it in my small office room, various faces of media, conversations with family members, and the sunny weather outside. Because I was somewhat fasting the last week, I also didn’t frequent the groceries – I haven’t seen or worn masks much, because I either stayed inside or we just when biking with the man.
Practically speaking – my life has not changed much – other than the walking and biking – which has made me physically more active than I was when things were still “normal”. I have also decided a long time ago that I will avoid reading the news – because they are mainly garbage and I happen to believe this:
The real good information is scattered and hidden. Rarely makes it to the mainstream.
— Silvi Simberg (@ishirubi) April 16, 2021
The first time I ever thought about it when I read what Maestro Taleb wrote: avoid news, read old stuff – old books are more relevant today the freshest news.
But there may be an exception – especially when you start feeling out that the news you get blasted from TV, radio, paper and protests – there’s a catch. It is not raw information – it is edited, somehow. And mostly due to incompetence – no one is calculating it much (unless there REALLY are information-agents who create options for their own country by destroying the sense of credibility of our own media and government).
It’s a different kind of information – but here I’m not so sure that I can reliably read out of it whether there will be an uprising or a sudden change of government, or even war – or not. I mean, above all – it’s still noise, annoying noise. In any case, no matter how you look at that information, it always carries along this one certain effect: outrage.
I wouldn’t say I’m outraged, I’m partially even inspired. I guess I wouldn’t be if it weren’t for the few old books I have been inhaling – some great ideas, buffing up the perspective. Making me realize that I can be wrong now, I have been wrong in the past, and I will be wrong in the future. As will be everyone else around me – which reminds me that all this squabbling going on around (not in my immediate closeness, but through media) is going to be a bullshit thing that passes.
Some recklessness may, however, come with dire consequences – and I guess that’s what I’m really trying to look out for. Maybe I’ll see something that will help me prepare – get in and out of positions – but mostly, to see how much longer I can relax. Something is telling me that my way of life is under threat… Just a feeling.
Where do I think that feeling comes from? The general outrage – I see it in comments sections, news, and sadly even in some of our own conversations at home or with friends and relatives. What I think about now, though – what this outrage is about… Or maybe I worry less about what it is about – but how it expresses.
This current form of society has brought people up by constantly undermining anecdotal evidence (it has a very bad rap – yes, it is basically useless in statistical terms – but an individual should not worry about that – but we are often pestered to do just that!) and any form of self-reference.
What seems to be happening in the media comes from the same nature. There probably isn’t a board of evil master-minds who decide what they write about today to further fragilize the society and prepare the people for a hostile takeover, so their mysterious favourite führer can take over leading the country. But they all seem to be following the same metrics. Looking for clicks, repeat-visitations (enabling comments achieves that – people return to sites to see if they got any responses to their clever comments).
The information that I have access to is much the same everyone else here in Estonia has access to – the media, the internet, their 4 walls. Their work, if applies. And their personal contacts (and depending on your contacts – that’s the only possible place the real good information can really flow). For some it will be strangers on the internet (and I have the best strangers on the internet, I couldn’t be happier about it), or family members and friends, otherwise.
Now, people have friends in different kinds of circles – and some of them will be activist or political circles. Politicians are currently surrounded by politicians (and many of them by their big-business owning friends). We also have police-circles, medicine circles, first-responders circles (I mean firefighters and those kinds), military circles, gun enthusiasts, feminists and social science students, university faculties, media circles, theatre and other inner-circle arts… It’s all clustering – and that’s also why it might seem the polarization has risen.
I am happy to hear that there’s a chance that mainstream media is no longer being consumed by too many people. Because what is happening on that front, along with what they display about politics – is just plain incompetent and ugly as fuck.
It’s like kids slinging shit at each other. But it’s not kids. And in the midst of all this turmoil many people seem to fall into this little tribal instinct. And I can understand that instinct very well – I have been overtaken by it a few times too (e.g. I’ve made fun over Steven Pinker without knowing anything about him or his work, personally, just because it seemed to be a fun pass-time in my circle of internet strangers). This spirit comes on quick – and once it passes, I feel even a little disgusted with myself.
It’s as if I wasn’t being myself. I went with some kind of a current. For the record: now that I think I understand how and why it happens, I try to stop myself from getting into it UNLESS the cause some group appears to be fighting for is something I already innately believe in, as well – not just plain ol’ bullying for the sake of it. There are better ways to have fun, and I’m trying to be a better person, ok.
It looks like this similar tribal spirit has taken over many groups, however: you can instantly tell that’s what’s going on is when someone is quickly attacking another person’s argument by calling them a “flatearther” or a “antivaxxer” – even when the arguments have nothing to do with the shape of the Earth or with the pandemic or viruses in general. Fucking bleach drinkers. You get other shit slung from the other side, too, of course, “libtards” and what not.
(have you noticed – “nazi” has been going out of fashion, lately?)
What all this means – the conversation is no longer a conversation – and just as it is no good use in consuming the media from any front right now, there is absolutely no good information going on in the shit-slinging social-media conversations when it comes to topics like the pandemic, lockdowns, laws around it, viruses and vaccines, politics and the hottest burning social issues.
I guess the only reason I was curious to get a sense of the ongoing pulse was to see if I should prepare myself to survive some kind of terrible uprising or a change of government or not. I must say, it is a little exciting.
In other news – we have had 3 good weathered days in a row, think I will go enjoy some nice outdoors and talk about fighting stances in an imaginary RPG with the husband, that we’ll never make, or something.
Love you, good circle of internet friends and strangers.