I watched The Social Dilemma last night, and today I came across the following passage in a book I’ve been reading.
We need a serviceable definition of what we mean by “drug”. A drug is something that causes unexamined, obsessive, and habitual behavior. You don’t examine obsessive behavior; you just do it. You let nothing get in the way of your gratification. This is the kind of life that we are being sold at every level. To watch, to consume, and to watch and consume yet more. The psychedelic option is off in a tiny corner, never mentioned; yet it represents the only counterflow directed against a tendency to leave people in designer states of consciousness. Not their own designs, but the designs of Madison Avenue, of the Pentagon, of the Fortune 500 corporations. This isn’t just metaphor; it is really happening to us.
Looking down on Los Angeles from an airliner, I never fail to notice that it is like looking at a printed circuit: all those curved driveways and cul de sacs with the same little modules installed along each one. As long as the Reader’s Digest stays subscribed to and the TV stays on, these modules are all interchangeable parts within a very large machine. This is the nightmarish reality that Marshall McLuhan and Wyndham Lewis and others foresaw: the creation of the public as herd. The public has no history and no future, the public lives in a golden moment created by a credit system which binds them ineluctably to a web of illusions that is never critiqued. This is the ultimate consequence of having broken off the symbiotic relationship with the Gaian matrix of the planet. This is the consequence of lack of partnership; this is the legacy of imbalance between the sexes; this is the terminal phase of a long descent into meaninglessness and toxic existential confusion.
It pretty much sums up where I think we are right now, even though it was written in 1992 when the public Internet didn’t even exist, let alone social media! I think I’ve come to terms with living in a post-truth world, and descending into toxic existential confusion is just what we need to reach the bottom.
From there, the only way is up.