Social networking as an orgasm button

In my last article I come off as a technophobe of a sort, or at least a techno-skeptic, and weird as that might sound, I think this perception might actually be accurate. I think of technology as a tool for solving problems and doing things that you want to do. If it creates more problems than it solves, does it really fulfill its purpose?

I’m a techno-skeptic (with a dozen working computers of all kinds in the household) because I see how people use technology. If someone was spending his life hanging out in a bar and wasting time in superficial, shallow conversations, we would recognize this as socially unacceptable, something worthy individuals don’t do. However, this is exactly what social media is: shallow people wasting time in superficial quasi-dialogue, and it’s all worthless and going nowhere. The only one actually profiting from it all is the bar owner.

Technology gives every kid an opportunity to become the smartest person who ever lived. You can buy a Raspberry Pi for a few dollars, plug it into a TV, keyboard and mouse, and install a free Linux OS on it that allows you to access the vast tomes of knowledge on the web, play multimedia and write code in multiple programming languages. And how many use it for that? How many of you did sudo apt-get install gcc?

For 200 EUR you can buy a smartphone that’s actually a 8-core pocket supercomputer with Geekbench 3 score of over 4000. You can load it with a library of books and music, you can use it to access Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha, you can use it as a multiple-language dictionary, interactive road map with satellite navigation, you can use it to SSH-connect into a remote server, to write and execute Python code, essentially you can do everything a personal computer can do, that doesn’t require a keyboard and a big screen. Its price makes it accessible to almost anyone, and even for 50 EUR you can get a device that gives you most of those capabilities. Based on that, you would expect the people who own such devices, and the even more powerful ones, to be the smartest and most capable of all people who ever lived. Instead, they are barely literate, with poor mental focus, disastrous social skills, horribly limited general knowledge, are ignorant of history, philosophy, politics, art and science, they have very poor understanding of technology in general, and people in the 19th century would see them as retarded scum that lacks both education and proper upbringing.

Does it mean that I think that children should not own smartphones and computers? Of course not. My kids use whatever technology they need. They both have laptop computers and mobile phones. They both play videogames. However, they play Minecraft and Universe Sandbox, not Call of duty, and to them computers and mobile phones are not a life-substitute, but a tool. The older one can write code in Logo, Python and some c, and the younger one can tell you everything about masses and composition of planets in the solar system. Guess why? They read, they talk to adults, they use their brains.

The worst thing that can happen to children is to spend too much time talking to other children, because with other children there’s no positive intellectual and emotional differential, there’s just ignorance, prejudice, and a very violent and abusive pecking order. One of the main reasons why elderly people were so respected in the traditional communities is that they used to talk to children, to teach them true and useful knowledge, and do it in a calm and peaceful way that would unplug the children from the frenzy the other children caused. Children are actually the worst thing that can happen to children, because the only thing children usually learn in the company of other children is how to establish an abusive comparative ranking based on usually completely arbitrary criteria, because kids are too stupid and immature to know what’s really important.

And that’s exactly what people use modern technology for: they use it to entertain themselves and to participate in some social network with arbitrary and worthless comparative ranking. They thirst for attention and approval, and dread ridicule and criticism, and in they fears they primarily dole out ridicule and criticism. Essentially, the entire social network is a cesspool of ignorance, prejudice, ridicule and criticism of others and never satiated desire for approval. In order to earn others’ approval, people adopt one of the few memes and quasi-philosophies, and there’s no place for real diversity of opinion, because if you want approval of others there’s only one thing you want: you want a choice, an opinion and a philosophy that will earn you most approval, and everything else is secondary. That’s why you want the best phone, the best computer, the best camera, the best philosophy: you want others to recognize you as worthy and to approve of you.

You know what I told my kids about peer pressure and desire for peer approval? “Just accept the fact that you’ll never be accepted by all people, or even the majority of people. The only way you can get approval of idiots is to be an even worse idiot than they are. The only way to get approval of average people is to be slightly below average. What you need to do is accept the fact that whatever you do and whatever you choose, someone will try to shit on you. Even if you’re Jesus they’ll crucify you. That’s how people are and that’s what they do, and the thing is, you can never know if they are sincere, if someone is shitting on you because he honestly dislikes what you do, or if he’s just jealous. You need to measure your success by how much you are succeeding at realizing your personal goals, not by what others say. If you want feedback from others, ask the adults, who actually have a developed brain and a reasonable set of criteria, not children who are stupid and immature.”

That’s how people are abusing the technology. They use it to try to get peer approval, and instead they get to participate in a giant hen-house as a part of the pecking order, where they don’t learn anything really useful, except how to efficiently insult others and make them feel worthless, because they know what worked on them.

If you only let go of people and their bullshit approval, you can find great stuff on the Internet, stuff that can make all that technology worth while. You can find an abundance of downloadable books and music, that you can store on your mobile device and read. You can find excellent articles about ancient Rome and topology on Wikipedia. You can find analytical tools that can interpret common language queries as mathematical equations. Or you can get caught in some meme in order to get group approval on some forum.

I always use the best technology I can afford, if I find it useful. You should, too. However, to use it in order to create a virtual pub in which you’ll waste time trying to “be popular” is an abuse of opportunity. So, it turns out that I’m not really skeptical of technology; I just think most people are idiots to whom technologically facilitated social networking is as harmful as an orgasm button to a rat: it feels good, but eventually the poor animal dies of hunger and thirst pressing the damn thing all day.

Idiots and their smartphones

If you asked a person on the street whether he thinks he’s smarter than a stone age person, he’d probably say yes. If you asked him whether he thinks he’s smarter than someone from the Roman empire, or the “dark ages”, the answer would probably be the same. After all, he knows that Earth revolves around the Sun, and owns a smartphone and a computer.

The interesting thing about smartphones is that I asked my son what do the kids in his class have – he’s 6th grade. It tuned out that most have the top-tier devices like iPhone, Samsung Galaxy 6 edge and Sony Xperia Z5. It’s a jaw-dropping piece of information considering how those kids are not really geniuses; they get average grades, are of average intelligence and are not especially well brought up, to put it more kindly than they deserve. You would ask, what are they using their super-devices for? Games, of course, Facebook and some chat app that’s currently “in”.

Do they use those things to read up on Wikipedia? Not really. Do they use them to navigate Google Earth and see different parts of the world? Not really. Are they reading the news to find out what’s going on in the world? Not really. Are they using them for reading books? Not really. In fact, my son told me they laughed at him when he told them he reads books, because “we’re not in the 13th century to read books”. So basically, those children are idiots with very expensive toys. They are as stupid as a brick, and if you think they would come on top in a comparison with a person from ancient Rome, you are probably wrong.

So, if you strip a today’s person of his technology, how much does he really know, what can he really do, and how much is he really worth?

If you try to reduce social media to the actual message that is shared, it’s all mostly “look at me, I’m a vain, shallow, stupid idiot that’s exactly the same as everybody else; nothing worth seeing here, but do click me because I seek attention”.

The kids in my son’s class act as if there’s a difference between having this or that smartphone, but is there, really? If you waste 10 hours a day hanging out on Facebook, as some of them apparently do, does a better phone help you waste time more effectively, or do you just feel cooler and more important as you do it?

If you strip Augustine or Thomas Aquinas of technology and dress him in rags, does it change what he is? But do it with one of those modern fancy girls who are so full of themselves they can’t stop shooting selfies with their phone and posting them online. Strip her of technology, wash her of her make-up and dress her in rags, and tell me, does it change what she is? What is she, really, if everything she is can be stripped away by removing the superficial?

About death and meaning

For materialistic and godless people, the entirety of ethics seems to revolve around avoiding death and discomfort. The magnitude of evil is defined by the body count. The magnitude of goodness is defined by the number of live bodies added or preserved.

Death is so feared, as the ultimate evil and the ultimate foe, that old and mortally ill people are not allowed to die, and their meaningless agony is prolonged to the extents previously unimaginable, just because the living are unable to cope with the inevitability of their passing.

Death is so feared, that NDE reports are summarily ignored and swept under the rug, because they disagree with the common, materialistic perceptions about death and, even more importantly, the meaning of life.

Even the Catholic Church, which is usually the island of sanity and reason in the vast ocean of madness, has since the Second Vatican council adopted the ridiculous position that life is the supreme virtue. If so, is then nothing more important in life than staying alive? Is there absolutely nothing worth dying for, except, of course, keeping a greater number of people alive? What about truth, holiness, faith? What about eternity? Are we not advised to abandon this life for the sake of eternal life, and are we not warned that whomever attempts to save his life, will lose it? Is birth control really the most important issue for us to deal with, or should we let the dead bury their dead, while we reach for the life eternal?

Is the “right to live” really more important than the duty to love God, and man in whom we see God?

If death is indeed the enemy, why then does Paul greet it as the end of the race, where winners are to be proclaimed and prize is to be won?

If life is indeed the supreme value, why then did Jesus submit himself to the will of God and willingly choose suffering and death, on the narrow path?

If we are indeed to fear death as the prince of all evils, have we not already lost the battle for the meaning of life?

And if life has no meaning, why does it have value, and why is it virtuous to preserve it?

Power corrupts. Really?

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

What incredible crock of shit.

Let’s define power, first. Power is the opposite of impotence. Power is to have options, to be able to choose what to do, instead of having your life pre-determined by demands of mere survival. Power is the ability to know, to be aware of the nature and the scope of the world, instead of living a life of ignorance and being limited by some village. Power is the ability to do what you want, the ability to express your wishes and your nature.

If someone seems to have become corrupt because of power, that’s most likely an illusion. He was corrupt to begin with, and power merely allowed him to make choices that showed his pre-existing corruption. If anything, poverty corrupts. It is my experience that the poor people have the worst character and nature; they are usually impolite, vicious, envious, spiteful and evil. They are quick to hate and slow to kindness. If you walk through a rich neighborhood, you can feel safe, but if you walk through a poor neighborhood, you are right to feel afraid for your safety, because poor people are more likely to be evil, they are the ones who will rob you, rape you or murder you. If power corrupts, how do you explain that? If anything, power improves people, because if you are powerful, you will feel worthy and important, and you will automatically see others as worthy and important. You will be more likely to be kind and considerate to others. Poor people usually think they are worthless, and they treat everybody as worthless.

There is a reason why rich people tend to keep to themselves: it’s because everybody else tries to take advantage of them, rob them, deceive them, treat them with dishonesty in order to incur some favour, or, more subtly, join powers against them in order to change society in such a way as to defraud the wealthy of their wealth. In a universal-suffrage democracy it is done by electing demagogues who promise to increase taxation of the rich, and give the money to the poor. The wealthy people instinctively understand such conspiracies against them and they will of course attempt to protect themselves in any way they can, and the logical way is to associate only with people of similar social status, who are not likely to treat them badly. If you don’t think poor people are that bad, try winning a lottery and see how the people around you will treat you. You are suddenly prey, you are worse than an animal, you are someone to be manipulated and defrauded, and your only options will be either to be a victim or to protect yourself and change the company you keep, and if you choose the latter, those who wanted to rob you will say that you “changed”, that wealth “corrupted you”. No, it didn’t corrupt you, it opened your eyes to the true nature and character of people, who are mostly predators and scum, and once you gain some wealth they will stop seeing you as a person, they will see you as resources, the same way a butcher sees a cow. He actually loves the cow, because he makes his entire living out of it. He doesn’t see his attitude as hating the cow. The cow, however, might disagree.

This, of course, doesn’t apply only to human society. In spiritual worlds, power to do things is directly correlated with someone’s spiritual value; the higher a being, the greater the power. I have seen the Gods, and they are both immensely powerful and immensely holy, to the point where I would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the two. This power is the degree of participation in God’s nature, the degree of possession of the qualities of brahman, which is sat-cit-ananda. It’s not merely the power to do things, it’s literally the strength of God’s light that makes one’s soul, the degree of “hardness” and sophistication of that light, and, as a result, the power over lesser beings whose light is dimmer and whose spiritual value is less. It is the power to know the truth and the authority to pass true judgement, that is of God. Essentially, it’s the difference between Jesus and some generic human. Not only that the true power doesn’t corrupt, the true power is purity and wisdom and knowledge and love and strength of character. True power is indeed true holiness, and if you know a person of holy character, rest assured that this person is powerful among the spiritual beings.

I often see conspiracy theorists who slander and malign the “elites”, and I wonder, are those people so stupid as to be unaware of the meaning of the word, or are they so envious and evil that they want nothing but destroy all who are better than they? Elites, by definition, are those who are better. It’s people who are two or three standard deviations better than the general population, the “one percent”. That “one percent” is portrayed as the essence of all that is evil in mankind, but if you take a closer look, it’s the people who employ others, who pay the most taxes, the artists, intellectuals, inventors, the people who make all the difference and create all that is good in this world. Poor people will use Facebook, Twitter and iPhone to malign the “one percent”, the very one percent that invented Facebook, Twitter and iPhone, that invented the Internet, that invented electricity, that invented radio, that invented satellites, that invented medicine and science and technology, that created their job so that they can have resources in order to live. The “elites” don’t conspire to enslave you or destroy you, as the conspiracy idiots dream in their sick brains. The elites have better things to do – they make sure that you have electricity, water, communications, they make sure that you can buy smartphones and computers, software and services, and the ones who make the things that are of most use to most people are the most powerful among the “elites”, and they get more power to do more good things, so that fuckwits of the lowest order could slander them and malign them out of jealousy and spite, while they are benefactors to millions of people.

While the “elites” dream of inventing and manufacturing even greater things for the greatest benefit to the world, the “99%” are busy dreaming of ways in which to rob the “1%”. Honestly, it seems that wealth and power indeed corrupt, but they corrupt the poor and the powerless, who become corrupted with their envy, jealousy, malice and spite towards the powerful, and it all reminds me so clearly of the feelings that I saw demonic souls projecting towards God. If anything, the poor people in their envy and malice mirror Satan’s hatred of God and his angels, and their ideas about possible improvements to the world are also quite similar. The devils also think that world would be a better place if God and his angels didn’t exist, and they mock saints and try to portray them in the most negative possible light. I think it’s the same feeling, the same spiritual emptiness that is wretched and wants to grind all that is good and worthy to dust and to shit on it before it dies in its own misery.

If power corrupts, what, then, is God?

Does God exist?

When people ask “does God exist”, my initial reaction is to roll my eyes. Does what exist, exactly?

What they really ask is “does my concept of God, based on this or that religious scripture, describe reality accurately?” Even atheists base their ideas about God on some religious scripture, so it’s always about that.

My response to that is layered. First of all, if I had nothing but religious scriptures as evidence on which I were to base my assessment of God’s existence, I would be an atheist. Old scriptures are really a very weak and tenuous reason for such a huge leap of faith, and without some direct and personal reason for believing in God, I would find it all lacking. The thing is, St. Augustine had the same situation. He knew about the Bible, he spoke with the priests, and he found it all insufficient for making the leap of faith. It was a combination of events in his personal life, where he felt God’s guiding influence, and gradual comparative understanding of both Manichaeism and Christianity, and eventually it clicked. So, it’s not about the scripture alone; you need to have valid personal reasons to believe that what was described there has a basis in reality. Only when you feel God’s influence in your own life can you have valid reasons to believe that something like that inspired the scriptures; otherwise, it might as well be pure fiction, and to base your life on a work of fiction is not the brightest idea.

Also, there must be corroborating evidence and witnesses. There must be other people who had similar experiences, because if that is missing, you might be crazy. But if several pieces of the puzzle fit, the picture starts to emerge and then you can say that you have sufficient evidence to make a leap of faith and say that “something” exists up there, and religion is the only thing that even attempts to make sense out of it, so you might as well go from there.

Unfortunately, this is how people become religious fanatics. They start by having good evidence that there is a transcendental, spiritual, benevolent force that influences their lives, and they make a huge leap from there into “certain knowledge” about Adam, Eve, Noah and similar mythology, and since it’s now all faith, it is usually cemented into a place that is not subject to any further inquiry or revision, and that’s actually sad. Religion is supposed to be an aid to spiritual growth, but instead it often becomes a rut in which one gets stuck and loses his way. Religious people who became religious because they had some kind of a spiritual experience forget that it’s not religion that brought them to God, because they had God before they came to religion. God was here first. God is therefore not some distant and vague goal for them, He is a presence in their personal lives, and religion might actually stand in the way of knowing God better. Because, what is to say that authors of the scripture got it right, that they got it better than you could with a bit more experience? And when you take a look at various “spiritual people”, they all copy each other’s bullshit, because they don’t verify ideas, and when someone comes up with one, the others adopt it and it becomes a meme that is actually never verified, it’s never put to a trial and tested, because everybody is afraid to do so because what would other spiritual people say?

That’s why I’m probably the only one with original ideas, because I don’t give a fuck about being spiritual or about what spiritual people will say. I’m not in it for their opinion, I’m in it because I wanted to figure things out. I want to know what is actually true, how things actually work. I don’t want to settle with something “everybody knows”, because “everybody” is usually an idiot. I wanted to learn the truth about God from God, not from some scripture. And I learned very quickly that God will actually respond, once you think of asking Him personally instead of going at it in some roundabout way. The response you get isn’t something that’s easy to figure out, to put it mildly. It took me decades to figure out some things that were shown to me in a matter of seconds, and I’m quite a bit smarter than your average bear. But the thing is, it’s a difference between eating fresh pizza and eating 2000 years old pizza that was chewed up by many people before you: fresh pizza is what you want, and the other kind is shit. You do have an alternative to a personal relationship with whatever marvels there exist in the transcendental realm, but you don’t really want it. You can’t taste food if you allow other people to chew it for you. Religion and its “sacred lineage” is a kind of a “human centipede” where each next generation in the chain feeds on the previous generation’s shit, instead of going straight to the source. So when I say that there is God, I don’t mean it in the sense that religions are right. No, I mean it in the sense that you don’t need them. God exists, go straight to the source, fuck what everybody else says, go see for yourself. You can use other people’s ideas as help, but if the entire Universe is inside God’s mind, that means that God is not really in you, it’s more intimate than that. You are in God, in the same way in which this article in a web browser is in your computer. There’s nothing closer to you than God and if you think otherwise you’re a stupid idiot.

But of course, not all “software” in the computer is the good stuff. Some is junk that will eventually be purged because it’s worse than useless. Humans are a special type of software that can decide to be either the most transparent window into the very substance of the computer, or junk mail and bloatware. God will perform a garbage removal event, and it will not be a tragedy, it will be a triumph of all that is good and beautiful and worthy.