In some rarely-seen footage from 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. talks about the new phase of the Civil Rights movement for “genuine equality.” For 26 minutes, he’s just as eloquent and sincere as you imagined:
“It is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps…And many Negroes, by the thousands and millions, have been left bootless … as the result of a society that deliberately made his color a stigma…”
King was assassinated 11 months later. Today marks the 50th anniversary of his death.
Facebook can’t pin the blame on the machine-optimizing algorithms. It’s humans who are responsible for managing the equations and policing validity. A recent study also proved that it is humans, not bots, that spread fake news.
Data is the new oil
Even worse, says Tufecki, the precedent sets the stage for those in power to leverage data to their own advantage:
We’re building this infrastructure of surveillance authoritarianism merely to get people to click on ads. And this won’t be Orwell’s authoritarianism. This isn’t [easyazon_link identifier=”0452284236″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]”1984.”[/easyazon_link] Now, if authoritarianism is using overt fear to terrorize us, we’ll all be scared, but we’ll know it, we’ll hate it and we’ll resist it.
But if the people in power are using these algorithms to quietly watch us, to judge us and to nudge us, to predict and identify the troublemakers and the rebels, to deploy persuasion architectures at scale and to manipulate individuals one by one using their personal, individual weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and if they’re doing it at scale through our private screens so that we don’t even know what our fellow citizens and neighbors are seeing, that authoritarianism will envelop us like a spider’s web and we may not even know we’re in it.
Tufecki paints the picture of a haunting dystopia at our doorstep. And it’s the social networks, which started off so benign that may be opening the maw of hell.
Says Hutchison, “Great athletes don’t necessarily feel pain differently. They reframe pain differently.” Hutchison calls the suffering a type of benign masochism.
“Some day we’ll be able to identify that some people are wired to enjoy pain.”
Being uncomfortable is a ‘psychological coping mechanism’
The best performers also suffer more in training, says Hutchison. This reminded me of Michael Jordan who once said that he practiced so hard that the games were often easier. As the Marines like to say: ‘pain is weakness leaving the body.’
How much are you willing to suffer to be the greatest?
Stop working from home and get some rest. Even better, plan some unscheduled time.
On January 1st of this year, France passed the ‘right to disconnect‘ law which enforces a digital diet outside working hours. The rule prohibits employers from calling or emailing employees during personal time. France already imposes 35-hour works weeks.
It’s still too early to tell if French citizens are actually abiding by the rule meant to restore sanity in our always-on culture. But the intent is the right one: we need to create more space for relaxation. Keep in mind that our brains are working even when they’re powered off 💤. Disconnecting is a right, even if it feels a little foreign to put to rectangular glow aside
Art is where our mind’s eye merges with reality to create a theater inside our head, resulting in the form of a diary. This was especially true for Pablo Picasso.
Picasso was perhaps best known for his practice of public journaling via painting. “My work is my diary. I have painted my autobiography,” he said.
Picasso grasped his inner thoughts and projected them on canvass. His art gave us a peek inside his head, such as his relationship with partner Marie-Thérèse Walter in his formative years.
Art is therapy
Art is an instrument for coping, part mental therapy part expression. Bottling his thoughts without letting them go would’ve driven Picasso insane. Whether it is painting, writing, or playing sports, we exercise our bodies to verify that we’re still alive.
Francis Bacon painted ghostly, violent images. Some say he emptied his darkest thoughts on canvass, mostly as a manifestation of his relationship with his sadistic lover, Peter Lacey.
Bacon cultivated a sense of darkness that gave his paintings an “edgy atmosphere…gambling everything on the next brush stroke.” Says Bacon in the video:
“We do with our life what we can and then we die. If someone is aware of that, perhaps it comes out in their work.”
The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.
Bacon was an untrained artist, an outlier in the painting world. He worked closely with his PR agent David Sylvester to ensure that he continued to stand out, securing an exhibition at the Tate Museum and book of interview transcripts collated by Sylvester himself.
Francis Bacon was a mystery man who tugged at the most morose moments in his life, leaving the characters in his paintings look as if they are literally gasping for air.
We all start out with a dream, a goal of someone or something we want to emulate. We keep that dream close, putting up bedroom posters and memorizing phrases that propel us to keep pushing toward our goal.
But then something else happens along the way? The creative gods tell us to do something else instead.
“The grind is not glamorous.”
Casey Neistat wanted to be a filmmaker, another Spielberg that entertained the masses. But he didn’t have enough money nor resources. So he chased the dream for ten years and succeeded: he entered Cannes and won some awards etc. until one day he realized he was pursuing the wrong end. “Fuck it,” he said. “I just want to make internet videos.”
See, when we hunt down goals, we usually get redirected to something else that’s more personal. Technology broke down all the barriers to traditional creativity, production, and distribution. YouTube is Neistat’s movie theater.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself
Sure, imitate at first and get really good — everything is practice. But we shouldn’t forget to reflect and dive deeper into a passion that excites us the most. As Jim Carrey said, ‘your vocation chooses you.’
Don’t fight what’s natural even if no one else is doing it yet. Give in to the original inclinations and push onward.
Perhaps what we see isn’t what we get. Instead, life is just computer code and humans are information.
So does a simulated life mean that we can live forever? Says theoretical physicist James Gates: “If the simulation hypothesis is valid, then we open the door to eternal life and resurrection and things that formally have been discussed in the realm of religion. As long as I have a computer that’s not damaged, I can always re-run the program.”
We are conscious automata
If our lives are predetermined and robotic, surely there’s a way to confuse the puppeteer? MIT cosmologist Max Tegmark offers some sage advice:
“If you’re not sure at the end of the night whether you’re simulated or not, my advice to you is to go out there and live really interesting lives and do unexpected things, so the simulators don’t get bored and shut you down.”
To bear with uncertainty is to be certain that there remains chaos undulating in the computer code of the cosmos.
Fire Opal is a variety of opal that has a bright yellow, bright orange or bright red background color. The stones in the first photo on this page are fire opal. … Precious Opal is a name given to any opal that exhibits “play-of-color”, a flashing display of spectral colors when theopal is “played” under a light source.