The Future

Drinking From A Firehose

We are past the tipping point of noise and volume.

Even if you keep your face buried in a screen at all times, you cannot keep up with the “noise”. Not even the most connected (or tuned-out, whichever term you prefer) teen can keep up with the deluge of information. The internet is no longer a place you can go to get information. It is no longer a passive thing. The internet now, or specifically services that run on it, “pushes” and feeds” and “notifies” us with constant information.

Also, it seems to me that we have reached the tipping point for volume of movies. It has become clear this year what was hinted at in recent years: there are so many movies that we simply cannot keep up. You and I remember when there were a handful of huge movies a year and a handful of huge stars.

Remember when a movie with Julia Roberts or Tom Hanks was the movie that everyone knew about, anticipated, went to see, talked about? Not any more.

This year, Hollywood saw a significant drop in revenue. And not because there were/are no good movies. There have been fantastic indie films, Hollywood big budget films, foreign films, online films. There are just too many.

The deluge of information and movies is like drinking from a firehose.

The noise and the volume show how desperate and how easily conditioned humans are. But what does it mean for us? I don’t know. But I’m sure it signals something.

What I do know is that it also present opportunities. One opportunity I see is for someone who can sell (or preach, whichever term you prefer) peace, contentment, real happiness (not brief thrills). An example might be Sam Harris’ new book, Waking Up, in which he talks about spirituality apart from religion and why we seek happiness (or at least, not-pain) and how to meditate.

In any event, we can no longer see the trees for the forest; drinking from a firehose is blinding.

My Predictions for the Future

On October 10, 2013, I spoke at Ignite Salem. The text of my speech I posted the day after I spoke. Here is the video of my presentation. Ignite requires that slides advance automatically—which is fun!—but which also means the speech and the slides might get out of sync.

What do you think of the topic?
(Feedback on the delivery is welcome too, of course.)

Do you check your phone constantly?

The future belongs to those who don’t look at their phone every time it buzzes.

Oh, the rest of us will be there in the future, too. But I am afraid that the conditioning will be so strong and long and thorough that it will be complete and permanent. Indeed, in the future the masses can be fully controlled with buzzes and bells and chimes. The masses will be thoughtless automatons that can be told where to go, what to do, and when to do it with just an sound or vibration.

This is probably a modern, alarmist way of saying, “The future always belongs to those who DO.”

This is also another way of saying that the future will see greater inequality than every before.


The kerfuffle over “The Wolf of Wallstreet”

Martin Scorsese’s latest film “The Wolf of Wall Street” is out.

  • Some people, like the daughter of one of “The Wolf’s” business partners, are saying that the movie is shameful and glorifies drugs, crime, and this particular crime.
  • Some people (some critics and thinking people) are saying that the movie is a satire, a dark comedy, or that it is “Cormac Mccarthyesque in that it forces serious evil on you until you laugh because there’s really no other way to handle this very real absurdity. [It] glorifies nothing about the Wall Street greed fest. The message is a dark one: ‘There are no friends on Wall Street’.” (Aaron Warnock)
  • The trailers (one and two) makes the movie look like quite a celebration of despicable acts.

Hopefully everyone who watches it will get the satire.

Here’s the problem, however, if they don’t:

I have recently researched how, and why, media glorifies alcohol and drugs. And how powerful of an influence media is. What I have found is shocking.

First: movies glorify cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and fame for money. They are paid to do so, or they can augment profits by doing so—by selling merchandise. This has been going on for almost 70 years in TV and movies. All that is necessary is to show a “star” using tobacco, alcohol, or drugs. Or to associate those things with money, adventure, or romance. And you have very powerful advertising. A lot of tobacco, alcohol, and drug money has been, and is, flowing into Hollywood to buy this advertising. How much money? Well, over 70% of movies show drug/alcohol/fame in a positive light. Over 70%.

Second: movies are a more powerful influence than parents. You read that right. Seeing cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol portrayed positively in movies is a greater predictor of the viewer using those things than even seeing their parents use.

There are a few reasons why a teen tries tobacco, alcohol, or drugs: 1) They are pressured into it. 2) They were born into it. It is a constant presence in their home—just a part of life. 3) They feel acute inner pain and self-medicate. But the most powerful reason? They have seen it in movies. Seriously. That is what the research shows. (See also the quote at the end.)

It gets more disturbing.

Since 2000, studios have made fame the most important value in children’s shows. They did this so they could sell not only the show, but millions of dollar of merchandise with the “star” on it. Lunch boxes, school binders, magazines, posters, albums, stickers, t-shirts, etc, etc. It took less than seven years for the effect to be total. The next time (2007) that values in children’s shows were studied, fame—which had been near the bottom (15th of 16 values) of important values among children—was the most important thing to children. I have written about this before.

Since finding that out, I am, frankly, disgusted by seeing drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, or fame “advertised” in movies. And I am disheartened by how easily and quickly people buy whatever is sold.

“You are imagining that there is something called human nature which will be outraged by what we do and will turn against us. But we create human nature. Men are infinitely malleable.” – George Orwell. 1984

It will be dangerous if viewers miss the satire and nuanced message of this movie… and, because of the extent of their indoctrination, it is likely that they will.