Saturday, November 14, 2020

Collectivism Is The Manipulation Of The Many By The Few

outofthecave  |  Never before in history have we seen such fertile ground and incentives toward groupthink and mass histrionics as we have today with total saturation of social media. Once our mobile phones were converted into near Star Trek level tricorders, and WiFi became ubiquitous we found ourselves swimming in “The Spew”, without even realizing that we had become like fish in a digital aquarium.

While I would be loathe to dispute the benefits the advent of the Internet bestowed on humanity, those of us who have watched it evolve over the past few decades or even had a minor hand in shaping and building it can’t help but wonder if somewhere along the way, things took a bad turn.

The great enablers of digitized groupthink are the social media platforms.

All that time you spend on Facebook, arguing politics with people you’ll never meet or care about. It can take over your life and you end up having those same arguments with the  people who truly matter in your own life: your friends and family.

All of that time, all those threads, tweetstorms, pile-ons, trending hashtags, updating your avatar in conformance with the issue de jour, at some point you have to ask yourself why you are expending the bulk of your mental energy chiming in with your opinion on things that are for the most part completely out of your control and that you’ll never be able to impact in any meaningful way.

Whose ends are you serving by participating in that? Certainly not your own. You don’t actually gain anything from going along with this, and if you actually consider the opportunity cost you begin to see the possibilities of what you could accomplish in your own life, for yourself and your family, if you spent your time doing something else.

What is the difference?

Or, how can you tell the difference between participating in some online social movement that you are told benefits the greater good vs. acting in your own rational self interest?

When you click or “like” or share or block or comment  you are generating data for the platform and the platform is not the greater good. It is not the collective will of the people, it is aggregated data that can and will be manipulated by the few to move the many  in the direction that serves the aims of other people, not you.

You see this exposed when the platform overtly signals what it desires to be amplified versus what it seeks to attenuate. In a truly digital collective” the will of the aggregate would simply be expressed in the unfiltered propagation of certain narratives over others.

But that doesn’t happen and in it not happening the veneer of legitimacy is removed from collectivism in totality, revealing it for what it really is.

Collectivism is not community, it is not the greater good, and it is not cooperation. There is only The Collective in the rhetorical or symbolic sense, but in reality Collectivism is the manipulation of the many by the few. That’s it. It’s basically marketing at the level of the psyche except the payload isn’t brand awareness as much as they are incentives for compliance and disincentives for wrongthink.