“Contemplation goes extinct when we are always on our toes.”
Our brains have stopped working right on schedule – Terry Wolfe – winterchristian.substack.com
The hopeless state of rationality in a world bent on schizophrenia
Are we living in a world of madness, chaos, and scandal, or a well-calculated strategy game? Are we witnessing the decline and collapse of an empire, or its cleverly scripted implosion and rebirth? Behind the smoke and mirrors of the Apocalypse, is there a cold, rational process generating the necessary inputs?
Every day we are subjected to a new scandal that would have shocked us ten years ago. I know, you can’t really remember anything older than three weeks ago because that’s what cognitive dissonance does to your brain, but it’s true. There was a time of relative sanity, when high-level scandals took months to fade out of public discourse, stand-up comedians had time to refine their acts around them, and even TV shows and commercials would riff on the small handful of topics circulating in the public mind, becoming pop culture references that stuck around for years. Corruption and lies were still prevalent, but the Beast moved slow and steady. Now we live in the Post-Bombshell Psyopticon, and we don’t digest anything properly anymore. Our conversations are stuck trying to catch up with the reality of today, looking nervously at tomorrow, unaware of the steady and scheduled phases of the agenda at work.
Why information can no longer become knowledge
One of the great frustrations of explaining anything to anyone today is the inability of people to incorporate new information into a coherent cognitive framework. Even if they memorize the data points, it doesn’t help them build a mental model of the world.
One of the reasons for this can be explained by the “System 1” and “System 2” theory of cognition explained by Daniel Kahneman in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow. Basically, when people are worried or put on the spot, they tend to operate on instinct, which is very simple, irrational, and approximate. It is only when we stop, concentrate, and process information deliberately—with conscious effort—that we notice problems, derive logical insights, and restructure our assumptions. Nobody does that anymore, because we are constantly bombarded with bullshit designed to spike our anxiety or release dopamine. Contrary to what we might assume as rational individuals, cognitive scientists have found that this difficulty (of being rational under pressure) applies to even ridiculous and arbitrary challenges, such as being forced to make a simple rational choice between healthy and unhealthy food while retaining a specific seven-digit number in your head; people are more likely to obey their dumb instinct for unhealthy food when their analytical, conscious mind is preoccupied with the meaningless effort of memorization.
One of my favorite authors/bloggers is Nicholas Carr, who has been warning about the negative effects of the Information Age on mass psychology for a long time. He wrote a book called The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains back in 2011, where he noticed that search engines had already destroyed our capacity to figure out problems for ourselves or retain the knowledge we gain from it. When we know that we have access to data, we stop remembering anything. The more tools we are given, the less resourceful we become.
Contemplation goes extinct when we are always on our toes. Once we put these factors together with weaponized social media we understand why a daily dose of Apocalypse is exactly what the psychological war machine is learning to perfect.
Seong-Jin Cho ~ Mozart ~ Piano Concerto No. 21 – Suntory Hall Tokyo