Black Mirror: An Anti-Technological Manifesto

I have recently come across Black Mirror – a scandalous TV series depicting human addiction to modern technologies, gadgets and digital devices. Here are just a few sketches and reflections on the relationship between mankind and the technological world portrayed by the film creators.

In the first episode the Princess of England is taken hostage by the unknown. According to the ultimatum proposed, the British Prime-Minister must .. have sex with a pig LIVE on all TV channels. After a painful dilemma and under tremendous public pressure the PM does what is requested. As it turns out, the Princess was set free half an hour before the ultimatum expired. However, no one even noticed her walking in downtown London as everyone’s gaze was glued to the TV screen.

The next episode presents a futuristic picture of an ultra-technological digital society where you either have to pedal in a gym for earning points (salary) or can break through to the Talents Show where you are used in all senses. The main hero gives away all his points to buy a gift ticket to the Show for a girl he hardly knows. Eventually they both end up working in the entertainment and porn industries despite their sincere aspirations for the beautiful. Thus post-industrial technological mode co-exists with the New Middle Ages in human relationships.

And so on, and so forth.

In my opinion, the main idea set by the film directors is that technological progress is neither good nor bad. The point is for which purposes it’s used by the mankind.

In this regard, it would be also great to see White Mirror as continuation of the series. After all, for every black there is a white, like for every yin there is a yang.

Verdict: definitely to be watched, discussed and comprehended.

Animals Are True Cosmopolitans. Why Can’t We Be?

Animals display immense love towards one another.

Not only for hose of the same species, but to all.

While the national policies of multiculturalism seem to be malfunctioning, we can still learn from our “younger brothers” the principles of mutual self-respect and support irregardless of our origins, views or backgrounds.

The gallery below is a great illustration of the idea together we stand, divided we fall.

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Once Again On Tolerance

Political correctness, tolerance, and multiculturalism are great ideas.

In theory.

In practice they do not always work. Europe, the citadel of liberalism and freedom, is a bright example. Things are not as smooth as they were planned. “United in diversity” can fail, as the recent tragic evens en Paris reveal.

Does this mean the concept and politics of multiculturalism should be abandoned altogether?

Not at all.

However, certain modifications are indispensable..

Tolerance does not mean crimes should not be punished. It does not imply that “liberal society” should seek “institutional excuses” for the mishap caused by expat scoundrels and hooligans. And by no means does it entail protecting the rights of minorities at the expense of locals. The Brussels Christmas tree controversy is a a great case to highlight the point.

True tolerance and multiculturalism has nothing to do with allowing anyone do anything. This is anarchy. Real and effective multiculturalism is unification in diversity under the principle of accountability against the law.

Kindness must come along with fists.

Prevention vs cure

Thoughts are things. This idea has been around for quite a while now. Yet there is still little evidence that human society has embraced this notion. What we think, we become. Ultimately we create our own realities. Yet we continue to fight poverty instead of building abundance, tackle climatic change instead of taking care of the planet, resolve conflicts instead if promoting peace.

I call this a a patient syndrome. A patient doesn’t really care about anything until he gets a problem. When this happens, he goes to a doctor and gets his medicine. Hopefully, the treatment is successful. Yet even if it is, there a few issues with this approach. First, a patient doesn’t really think why the problem happened. The priority is to get a quick and proper treatment. Second, a patient simply gives away responsibility to take care of his own health. Finally, on a long-term such attitude cuts off any possibility for development.

By ‘patient’ I don’t mean literally a person with a health problem. Problems can be of any kind, and patients can be people, nations, society in general, etc. The opposite of patient in this regard is a student. A true student is not someone who studies in school all the time, but someone who constantly develops himself, seeks answers to unsolved questions, creates new challenges for himself, uses positive thinking to avoid any sorts of bad things.

And this is where prevention vs cure come in. It may be easier to get pills against obedience, for example. Yet in the long-term this strategy is sure to fail. Only a conscious holistic approach including proper food, exercise and thinking can help solve weight problems. Prevention may seem harder to follow, yet it is much more effective. As another example, consider giving birth to a baby by a woman. How much time does it take? 9 months? Seriously? 🙂 And what about 20 years of healthy life that is necessary before that?

A popular business and corporate slogan has been “think solutions”. Dear CEOs and respected businessmen, you forget one thing. Clever people find the way out of any problem. Wise people simply don’t get into them.

So let us rather focus on creative positive things as a means of prevention instead of having to find a cure to the negative consequences of our passiveness and indifference.

Need for speed, or Faster! Faster!

There is famous episode in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass known as the Red Queen’s race. This incident is a perfect illustration of the ever-accelerating world we’re living in:

“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”

“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

Interestingly enough, what Lewis Carroll captured from an artistic approach as a writer, found its reflection in the academic world too. Thus, Hartmut Rosa, a professor of sociology and political science, distinguishes three categories of change in the tempo of modern social life. These are technological acceleration, evident in transportation, communication, and production; the acceleration of social change, reflected in cultural knowledge, social institutions, and personal relationships; and acceleration in the pace of life, which happens despite the expectation that technological change should increase an individual’s free time.

Indeed, the acceleration of time appears to be a characteristic feature of the post-modern world, with the “fast food” and “speed dating” becoming more and more common. Yes there is a paradox out there. While mechanical acceleration intended to create more time for an individual, a constant time shortage is growing. So the question is: how do we handle the inevitable change?

Well, the Red Queen does have the answer: “Run at least twice as fast”. One must constantly “move in order to move” or, as they say it: “Move it or lose it!”. This is neither good nor bad, but rather an embedded feature of our time that needs to be dealt with in order to grow and move forward. Another solution, of course, is to ignore the challenge and remain inert and passive. In the long run, however, this causes a high risk to be left behind.

So to be able not only to keep up the pace, but progress, some of the things we CAN do are:

– be open to learning new things

– “learn how to learn” quickly in the changing  environment

– use self-discipline as your personal tool to achieve success

On a final word, there is another paradox in human life that is worth mentioning. The more things we have to do, the more time we have. This applies only to those things that your REALLY want to do and consider as priorities. The Universe is wise and will always provide additional resources (time) when there is a burning need for that.