Saturday, September 19, 2015

Conspiracy Theory

"There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I've got to beware"
-Buffalo Springfield 1966

For many reasons, I never want to sound bat-shit paranoid insane, but there seems to be something wrong in America today.  Instead of building towards a better tomorrow, it seems to be crumbling around us at an alarming rate.  Why?  We're in the 21st century, shouldn't we be more enlightened, or at the very least, more civilized?  Sadly, it seems as if we have a vastly growing continental divide of morality.  Our society seems to be moving towards a new civil war, and I'm trying to understand why this is happening.

First, let me say I am probably one of the least qualified people to discuss social or political issues.  I graduated from a simple technical college, and other than taking a semester in sociology and psychology in high school, I really am quite the clueless idiot.

But what I lack in education, I try to make up with common sense and acute observational skills (hopefully).

Let me share with you what I've noticed:

Each week, it seems news and mostly social media, is eager to focus on one specific story.  Everyone is almost obligated to share, like and/or comment on this one grand mal headline of the week.  Recent spotlights have been about a county clerk refusing to give marriage licenses to gay couples, a "politician" saying Mexicans are drug dealers and rapists, a Muslim kid being arrested for building a clock, and a 16 year old kid being tackled and arrested by police for jaywalking.  Anyone remember the big news story about Kony 2012 that everyone was obsessed with?  How quickly we forget...

If you're like me, (i.e. human), each of those stories make your blood boil.  I read about them and cringe, feeling my heart race from the stupidity involved, and get knots in my stomach.  I watch the videos and weep for our society and try to understand why it has to be this way.  Maybe some of you will do more.  Maybe some of you will make efforts to make a change to the world, but my instinct says, most of you will sit in anguish and maybe 'like' or share the post, or maybe even make a creative hashtag in support.  Because I'm sure you know by now, a creative hashtag can easily solve all the world's problems.

But then something strange happens:  sometimes, a news article will come out that puts a completely different spin on this tragic situation.  Or you find out suddenly how many people are supporting this horrible person.  Why???  What happened in our society to cause such a vast difference of opinions?  Are the cops really a bunch of racist thugs killing kids, or are people in these dangerous neighborhoods threatening, and even killing police every day so they have to protect themselves?  Did this kid innocently build a clock, or was he trying to make it look like a bomb to make a statement and cause trouble?  Is President Obama one of the greatest presidents this country has ever had according to some sources (like here), or is Obama truly an evil arrogant megalomaniac bent on world domination according to other sources?  Are you sure about your answers?  Have you really read information from both sides thoroughly before answering?  (FYI - these are rhetorical question.  I'm not writing this for a debate on any of these specific topics).  Sometimes, those opposing views make some very interesting points that make you think.  Of course sometimes, those viewpoints are extremely moronic too.  But really... you should question EVERYTHING!  Just because you agree with it, doesn't mean it's true.  You should still think for yourself and spend a moment doing some research. 

But... could it be that SOME of these stories are fake?

Remember kids, we live in the 21st century, and video is fairly easy for any random idiot to create.  It's not difficult to gather enough friends together and stage something seemingly unbelievable.  Or, with the right software, you can edit a video to tell a completely different story.  And even worse, many satirical sites are being shared as if it is a real story.  You have to look deep into the site to see it is satire, but the damage is already done by people sharing because they KNOW it's plausible enough without bothering to double check. 

So what should you believe?  Maybe the bigger question is, why is it being done?

Do you know that feeling you have in your stomach when you read those disgusting news articles?  Last year, it was leaked(?) that Facebook toyed with our emotions.  Specifically, they spent a week in 2012 manipulating your news feed to see if they could elicit more negative responses from YOU, (read about it here).  And for the record, there is nothing illegal in their actions.  So, is this an ongoing project?  I know I still cringe sometimes when I read a shared news story.  Currently, over one billion people are using Facebook every day.  That is quite the impressive social experiment if you think about it.  One billion people to test and see if you can make them happy, or sad, or angry, or...?  

But realistically, I doubt going back in time and stopping Mark Zuckerberg from creating Facebook will solve our problems.  Maybe we would all still be using MySpace *cringe*, but the affect on our society would still be the same.

Social media isn't the only source of public manipulation.  Lest ye forget we also have news organizations and politicians.  Both of which can be extremely biased.  There is no guarantee or law that says news programs or politicians have to tell the truth.  They just have to convince enough people of they're sincerity.  And why would they lie???  They have power, so I can't think of any reason why they would need to mislead us.  

Well, maybe all is lost for us, but obviously our children are the future, so if we teach them well, we can all live long and prosper.

But wait... in a perfectly controlled society, we don't want the next generation to outsmart anyone in power.  So, hopefully, parents are ignoring their children enough and letting the television or video games babysit them.  And while in school, maybe we can have standardized testing for students, so we aren't really educating them.  We just want them to pass a test to be smart enough to work in McDonalds.  In a properly brainwashed world, we should send children to schools that focus on everything except education... from suspending children for wearing the wrong clothes, or if they pretend to shoot imaginary guns, or sending children home early because they have 'violent' characters like Star-Lord or Wonder Woman on their backpack (yup, it happened here).  Or maybe we can just prescribe drugs instead of actually taking care of them properly, (like these). 

But what is the agenda?  Is there a goal to all this dumbing down of our society?  Is there a Star Chamber where the 1% meet and talk about us like pawns?  Maybe the days of Roman Caesars are being reborn.  Maybe they watch from afar, betting 3,000 Quatloos on their favorite group of gladiators to defeat the others, when society starts to inevitably crumble. 

I really have no answers, but personally, I will not play this game.  I focus on my own world.  I'm aware of the bad things and try to educate myself, but I try to share the positive and creative parts of my life.  I worry about my friends and family.  I'm not jumping onto anyone's bandwagon, because in most cases, they're already too crowded, and I have plenty of room in my own bandwagon.  I will never share or discuss those stories-of-the-week on social media, because I wasn't there.  I don't know those people, and I wasn't involved.  I have very strong opinions, but, there could be plenty of people that disagree with me and... what if I'm wrong *gasp*

Personally, I prefer to focus more on aliens than alienation.

Now, if I suddenly disappear tomorrow....