The Tweets of ALEXANDER THE GREAT or Christian Jihadists on Instagram
It was a very ordinary day of May 332 B.C. Amnanu was awoken, like every morning, by the noise of the giant city doors of Nineveh opening for the merchants. He barely had time to drink the espresso his wife Istar made for him. Amnanu’s WIFI connection was down. He connected to his wife’s hotspot to read the latest news and check the recent tweets of people he follows. The recent tweets of Alexander the Great were shocking. The Macedonian commander was proudly tweeting about his military campaign achievements in the East-Mediterranean lands. It was normal for Alexander to have more than 350,000 retweets (if you count the number of Greek citizens, Macedonian soldiers and supporters in Egypt, Phoenicia and Assyria). Some of his soldiers did not hesitate to tweet photos of burned houses and massacred Phoenician citizens.
“Did you see that? “Phoenician Tyr has fallen” tweeted Alexander! Shall I retweet this? I never liked Phoenicians!”
“I don’t know.” Answered his wife indifferently while tweeting a selfie. She was dressed in her new ostrich-feather attire.
“This world has become crazy! I wish we lived in Homer days.” Istar clearly gave no shit about Amnanu’s words. She seemed busy adjusting her lips for the perfect selfie. She did not care about what her cynical husband was uttering.
“Amnanu! For Baal’s sake! Stop jumping to conclusions!” murmured his wife. “The world has always been the same” Added Istar.
Political and economic situations have pushed Amnanu and his family to migrate north to Anatolia. Amnanu was seeking a brighter future there. They first rented a small flat on Airbnb in Cappadocia before moving to Smyrna where they finally settled in 318 B.C. Amnanu would thank the Gods (mainly Aphrodite) every morning for his wealth was multiplying throughout the years (his wifi connection was also 3 times faster). Amnanu Textiles Corp. prospered for the next three centuries under the management of Amnanu’s sharp and clever descendants. Unfortunately, when the Romans occupied Anatolia in the 1st century B.C, Ablerus had to move the family’s textile empire south to Assyria where trade was flourishing at a faster pace. Believe it or not, Amnanu Textile Corp. stood and prospered for the 1100 years that followed.
However, a new type of enemy was at the doors of the East Mediterranean with the coming of the second Millenia: the crusaders. The crusades are often pictured as a series of bloodthirsty religious wars comparable to modern-day jihad terrorism. It has been said that when the crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099 they massacred every man, woman, and child in the city until the streets ran ankle deep with the blood. It is also reported that, in Assyria — Al Maara town — (where Amnanu Textiles Corp. prospered for 1100 years), some crusaders began to cannibalize the civilians, boiling and grilling the dead bodies before devouring them. Crusaders were armed with huge swords and Instagram accounts, posting heartlessly horrible war photos and sharing them on Facebook.
(By the way, Al Maara was the town of the famous blind poet and philosopher Abu Ala Al-Maari. It is interesting to note that Al Maari had only 230 followers on Instagram, whereas his neighbor, the hot and curvy 18-year old Yasmina had more than 3400 followers. This is absolutely logical and understandable. Al Maari is famous for his quote: If one asks me, what is my doctrine, It is clear: Am I not, like others, An imbecile?)
Suleiman (the descendant of Amnanu and Ablerus) had to migrate again with his family to Nineveh. Hopefully, he can re-build again his textile empire that was destroyed by the crusaders. He had to pay five pieces of gold to a Persian merchant who will transport Suleiman and his family to Nineveh. The voyage should take around one month. Sitting in the carriage, Suleiman would spend his time reading online newspapers and articles to get the latest news updates (except for 4 days when the carriage crossed the desert and 3G was down). News made headlines such as “Cannibal crusaders attacking”. Suleiman, the sharp businessman who has traded for more than 40 years with people from different cultures and religions would not jump to conclusions like some of his friends. He used to get furious when some of them argued that cannibalism is associated with Christianity. Anyway, Suleiman was sick of the era he lived in. He had nostalgia for ancient eras, probably the periods of the Roman civilization.
Today, nothing has really changed. Amnanu Junior (his father Kamal had clearly a strong nostalgia for ancient days, hence his son’s name) was happily sipping his espresso in a small café in Beirut and contemplating the Mediterranean. The war in Syria made the headlines. Amnanu Jr. who had a passion for poetry was about to throw up when he read that jihadists in Syria beheaded the statue of the famous poet Abu Ala Al Maari. The news on the second page was not less horrible. Troops, militias and jihadists were fighting around “Krak des chevaliers” (One of the most admirable and best preserved crusade castles in the world). The castle was built by the crusaders in the same area and around the same period of Al-Maara massacres 1000 years ago. Drone footage clearly showed the significant damage made to the castle. Same as with cannibalism and Christianity 1000 years ago, some news headlines associate Islam with terrorism. News also makes people feel less secure. Amnanu’s state of mind in 332 B.C is not different from that of Ablerus in 50 B.C, that of Suleiman in 1100 A.D or that of Amnanu Jr. in 2015.
Had social media really existed in 320 B.C wouldn’t have Amnanu Sr. felt more cynical and paranoid, more prone to jump to conclusions? In other words, had social media not existed today, wouldn’t have Amnanu Jr. felt less cynical, less prone to jump to conclusions? It is clear that newspapers and social media facilitate the process of jumping to conclusions…
Clearly, one should not jump directly to conclusions and if possible stop reading newspapers or share horrible videos. This is what Amnanu Jr. decided to do. He unfollowed Catherina Lavinia on Instagram and threw away the newspaper. Had he decided to keep on reading bullshit articles in the newspaper, he would have felt more miserable as it is hard for human beings to avoid jumping directly to conclusions. His trick worked and his days got brighter.
Human beings psychology (doubt, fear, judgement) and biology (Yasmina or Catherina Lavinia boobs bring more followers) have not changed. What has changed is the delivery method of the same type of news. You have the choice of unfollowing Ms. Lavinia, like our friend Amnanu Jr. did and use your own tricks to stop reading/believing all what the media circulates or at least re-adapt and re-adjust your judgement. By the way I sill haven’t unfollowed Catherina Lavinia but will make an effort to do it now…
On “Jumping to conclusions” (Daniel Kahneman — Thinking fast and Slow)
“What do the three exhibits in figure 6 have in common? The answer is that all are ambiguous. You almost certainly read the display on the left as A B C and the one on the right as 12 13 14, but the middle items in both displays are identical. You could just as well have read them as A 13 C or 12 B 14, but you did not. Why not? The same shape is read as a letter in a context of letters and as a number in a context of numbers. The entire context helps determine the interpretation of each element. The shape is ambiguous, but you jump to a conclusion about its identity and do not become aware of the ambiguity that was resolved.
As for Ann, you probably imagined a woman with money on her mind, walking toward a building with tellers and secure vaults. But this plausible interpretation is not the only possible one; the sentence is ambiguous. If an earlier sentence had been “They were floating gently down the river,” you would have imagined an altogether different scene. When you have just been thinking of a river, the word bank is not associated with money.”