Fighting the Polarizing Culture Wars
by Randy Gage
Posted By: Randy Gage / May 30, 2021
In recent posts, I’ve been sharing some of the work I do with members of my Breakthrough U Coaching Program. Specifically, I’m talking with them about the critical situations the world is facing right now, encouraging them to harness their talents to address them. The hope of these posts is that you too, will work toward being an everyday hero working to make the world a better place for us all.
Culture wars have been around as long as we’ve had cultures and it’s doubtful that humanity will ever build complete immunity against them. But in 2021, we’ve reached a very unhealthy boiling point in the cycle. As is true in so many areas, the technology that has blessed us has also delivered some unwanted side effects. In this case, hate and intolerance are being exponentially multiplied by the developing technologies in traditional media and the social media platforms. Both entities share a common element in their business model:
They need contrived controversy, outrage, and fear of others in order to maximize profitability.
The available tech these platforms possess has created the perfect recipe for formulating culture wars. It’s astounding how easily people’s thinking ability can be neutered, essentially transforming them into mindless bots, manipulated by computer algorithms to sell more ad views. (As demonstrated in that last post about the Matrix.)
Like Pavlov’s dogs, billions of people are reacting mindlessly to the gratification of likes, shares, and followers. Much worse, they are being unknowingly manipulated to fear and hate others. As I mentioned in this post, there are millions of people with so much disposable time they can put up five posts a day signaling how righteous they are — and how evil the people who disagree with them are. The social media algorithms get exactly what they need to keep everyone locked on their sites, frothing at the mouth, peacocking their virtues, and attacking the people on the other side. And the media outlets get the hate and outrage they need to keep people clicking through to their content. AI and computer algorithms will only serve to increase this trend.
The media is calling lots of attention to the evils of social media platforms, but the media itself is a huge part of the problem. (In essence, they’re creating clickbait stories about clickbait.) What we used to call news organizations have now morphed into media conglomerates. And since their focus has switched from reporting the news to generating ad views, it’s created ripple effects on us all.
The neural links in the human brain are being retrained, creating an inability for many people to process anything longer than 60-second TikTok videos or 280-character tweets. The digital native generations have devolved into having an attention span rivaling that of a gnat.
In the time it’s taken you to read this post, odds are heavy you received at least one text, message, or alert to foment you in a way that isn’t in your highest good. It’s the pandemic most people aren’t aware of. (Or even aware that they’ve been infected with.) If we all don’t get proactive and take back control, we’re going to keep sliding down to greater fear, infighting, and alienation. Some of the questions we need to explore:
- How do we restore journalism to a profession and find a business model for it that doesn’t depend on culture warfare?
- How can we restore critical thinking abilities?
- What can be done to illuminate how these algorithms work and reduce their sway upon people?
- What can we do to reach people’s humanity and hearts again?
Previous post: There Is No Spoon
Originally published at https://www.randygage.com on May 30, 2021.