Yes, we in fact live in a Brave New “Pushbutton” World, with 1984-like elements. Here is why.
Let’s look at the services we use — the main problem being the instantaneousness of them — there is no longer any delayed gratification, no satisfaction from having to wait to get things. Only thing that remains is artificial stimulation — everything has a psychological equivalent of sugar in it and you are able to get it right this moment. We wanted to attain happiness so much that we forgot that it is inside us and have mistaken it for the little ego driven emotional peaks that the sugary bits of dopaminergic satisfaction provide us.
Facebook is a prime example of all of this. It being written with the goal of psychological manipulation right off the bat makes it the most prominent of all of the sociological threats we face today. Former Facebook Vice President even spoke out about his guilt from having built Facebook this way — they’ve never meant to create this monster, as he himself says:
I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works. That is truly where we are. The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works: no civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem. This is not about Russian ads. This is a global problem.
A social network designed to be hyper-efficient at connecting people, only to have exactly the opposite effect — yes, one may feel that his shared images, stories and other life events are keeping the feeling of loneliness at bay, when in fact they are just fueling the problem. A like? A comment? Here is your dopamine spike — feel good for a minute, then back to baseline. Now now, a friend of yours posted an awesome looking selfie with friends, enjoying warm climate somewhere abroad? Of course you give it a like. And then you start feeling a little bit bad that you are not there with them. People mistake top of the iceberg for the whole iceberg. (or should I say zuckerberg? (sugar peak in German) /s). Social media, Instagram included, are filled with people only posting the best version of themselves — amazing pictures of them in even more amazing places, but that is not who they are — it is only the Persona, an ego image. A mask. And people mistake it for the whole authentic being. On top of it all, substituting verbal and physical communication in person with texts and smileys kind of feels like a torture for your soul. Have you noticed that the more you feel alone, the more likely you will fish for likes or even spend more time chatting online? There is that instant gratification in action. And let’s not forget the Facebook wiretapping your phone’s microphone to personalize ads just for you or the Cambridge Analytica data-selling scandal.
You are not your ego, you are not your thoughts, and as a wise man once said
“You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”
And why a pushbutton world, you ask? Let’s look on how we order food today. You go online, visit any food related website which features online ordering and in a few clicks you throw in whatever you want — being it ingredients or cooked meals from a restaurant. Then you type in a few numbers from your credit card into the browser window, send a few electrical impulses with your mouse, clicking buttons. After that you receive a short messsage text on your GSM cell, saying “Your order will be delivered shortly” and in about 20 minutes, a courier shows up at your door with the food ready to eat.
Now stop for a minute and REALLY think about this. How would this event look like from a perspective of a medieval simpleton? You sat down in front of a magic box, typed in a few numbers and in another few minutes a courier with the food materialized at your doorstep. That is some upgrade from having to hunt animals, huh! You don’t even have to try nowadays.
But wait, what if you want a soulmate, a life partner or just an one night stand? Easy, go on Tinder, create an account with your Facebook account in one click — it loads all there is to know about you from there, pictures and favorite Spotify songs included — and start swiping away. Sure enough you will have at least a match in a day, chat for a bit, make her laugh and then arrange a date. All of the effort is gone too! You quite literally pushed a button and a potential soulmate materialized at the meetup place! You don’t have to try — you don’t need the skill set that your predecessors had to integrate into their being first, for them to be even able to talk to the opposite sex and successfully take them out on a date — we erased all of that. Tinder is a genius invention — but so dangerous. For your mental health mainly — yes, you now have access to any girl you want, and all of the awkward interaction before you even establish that you physically like each other is gone, but the coin has the other side as well. With the convenience also comes the price of knowing EXACTLY how much you are worth on the sexual market. If you are only moderately attractive, you will feel the mental dread of having swiped right all of the people in your queue, only having to wait for days before the Tinder algorithm manifests a match.
Now for something slightly different.
You are being followed. Everywhere you go, Google, Facebook and Apple are following your every step. Don’t believe me?
Google — Android (88% of the phones on the market in 2018), Google services
Facebook —owns WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram
Apple — Apple products
Your location is being recorded at all times by default. Google’s Android has ways how to bypass your settings and track your location anyways, even when you turned it off (Google sued over Location History scandal, case could receive class-action status). If you thought you had any power or say in this, you were wrong. You ARE being tracked, whether you want it or not.
If you do not realize the consequences of this, think hard. The GPS in your phone tracks your every move, multiple times a minute. It is a 3D vector, so it can track in which level of your house you reside. It can track the entire layout of your home — and deduce (with Neural Network AI that Google uses as their main search algorithm today) how many times a day you go the toilet, your sleep schedule, where you shop for your food, which people you meet (Tinder and Facebook have both location tracking too, they know about everyone you meet), where you spend most of your day, how active you are, what you talk about (Google Assistant gets automatically turned back on when you turn it off. Just try saying “Ok Google, set alarm clock to 4 AM” in your work office)
Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram. Trifecta of communication nowadays. Both having security scandals of data leaking. Nothing you say or send to your friends over these platforms is safe. Everything is being recorded and sold to third party companies, so they can data mine the crap out of you and target ads on you.
It all comes down to the basic law of the Universe. We all wanted to have instant happiness, but the more we try the more it slips from our grasp.
The more connected to others we want to be, the less we will be.
The more happiness we want to achieve through external means, the less we will get.
We want to achieve comfortable lives through technological advancement, not realizing that technology will only drive us further apart from the basic experience of happiness, which is being connected to YOURSELF and to NATURE!!!
When you are looking, you will never find..
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life. — A.C.
There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path. — G.B.