Talking with fascists? A deep dive into the difficulties of responsible sensemaking in the alternative media age.
Can Clubhouse it reverse the toxic "race to the bottom of the brain stem" of social media, and what does it mean for the battle between tech and legacy media?
A new religion has erupted. It has taken over newsrooms, radio waves, HR departments, social feeds and film scripts. It dictates your playlists on Netflix. It tells you what language is acceptable, and what will be punished. It is not religion as we know it, but a simulated religion; a uniquely decentralised and leaderless cult of the internet age.
Can our shared reality survive the onslaught of big tech? At a time when existential threats loom large — and the need for a reasoned, pragmatic consensus arguably never greater — the tech firms carrying the conversation are profiting from our division.
When two seas meet, vast waves rise. As we watch the Gamestop story play out, we’re witnessing a movement birthed on the internet crashing into an established institution. Neither will be the same once it’s over. It’s the latest example of a phenomenon that may come to define the age we live in: Breach.
Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a huge upsurge in conspiracy thinking everywhere, but especially in spiritual communities. What is going on? And what is the mainstream narrative failing to understand about both conspiracy and spirituality?
Culture is on fire. Grief, anguish and anger have erupted from the depths of our collective psyche with a force that cannot be ignored. And the more we try to make sense of it with the tools we’ve relied on up to now, the more lost we become in the smoke and ash.
What sustains us, beyond the sun and soil? How deep do our roots reach into the unseen places that tether us to the world? These questions arise when reality as we know it ends and we’re plunged into a new world. A land both foreign and familiar, pregnant with potential and aching with tragedy.
It’s an extraordinary record of spiritual transformation in music, hidden in plain sight. More than once, while in the middle of a deep meditation or transformational process, I would find myself singing songs I hadn’t heard in decades, dredged up from deep memories of adolescence. I’d often find that the words were exactly appropriate for the moment, a perfect guide from the subconscious. Invariably those songs would be from the band James.
The pandemic has ramped up the intensity of our experience, as it stress tests individuals and societies. What began as a question of disease and quarantine, has since become a truly generational shock to the system.
This is a story of conspiracy, money and free speech that cuts to the heart of our current crisis. All the questions of how we make sense of the world, how we find truth and who we trust are being magnified in the midst of a global health crisis. Meanwhile dubious actors are cashing in on the confusion.
We are lost in the woods. It is 2020, and the mist grows thick and full of desperate voices. As we wander blindly, we hear growls that might mean the end of us. The decade began with images of hell fire; the burning bush in Australia flickering to the charred husk of Soleimani’s car. We are running out of time, and so we run. The voices cry out paths to freedom, but we don’t know which ones to trust or which way to turn.
We know ourselves through stories, and we know each other through the stories we share. But for all the beauty of stories, we are drowning in them. This is, after all, the promise of postmodernism; the grand narratives that bound us together have been stripped away and instead the world is fragmented into an infinity of individual perspectives.
For this international Men’s Day, I was asked to take part in a discussion about my friend Jerry Hyde’s new film ‘Meetings With Remarkable Men’. Jerry is a rock star psychologist who’s dedicated his life to running men’s groups, where men come together, every two weeks, some for as long as twenty years, to talk about their lives with other men.
Jean-Francois Lyotard defined postmodernism as the death of the grand narrative. His view—a rather grandiose narrative in itself—was that: ‘The narrative function is losing its functors, it's great hero, it's great dangers, it's great voyages, it's great goal. It is being dispersed.’ But he was deadly wrong.
We are a species defined by our tools. Our cognition extends beyond our fingers, branching into the technology we hold and the institutions we build. But everything we wield changes us in turn. If we want to make sense of where we find ourselves in this moment in history, we can begin by exploring the unique relationship we have with what we build. It can show us where we come from, and where we might be headed.