miércoles, 22 de mayo de 2019

Fake freedom

Soy un hombre libre. Puedo decidir si como patatas o peras.
Soy un hombre libre. Puedo decdir si defiendo mis ideas o no.
¿Son iguales las dos libertades?
(Ibrahim S. Lerak, Cuaderno de notas)

The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.
(Herbert Agardd)

Dollar: A piece of paper that controls your freedom.

The last meeting of the circle of the square table treated a logical consequence of the fake news: fake liberty. Is society giving us fake liberty instead a democratic totally free liberty?

The decisions we take seem to be taken freely after a more or less long pondering and to correspond to what we really believe. Seems so, but is not so. One of the first in explaining that most human decisions are not rational was Sigmund Freud. He showed that people’s insecurities drive to excess and overcompensation. That we are like herds and can be manipulated is something nobody doubts nowadays. Marketing, press, politics are known to be powerful influencers that make us believe or accept many things without thinking. This means that if we can touch people’s insecurities and emotions we will make them feel what we want and with the intensity we decide on the items we select. The “we” can be any group that is able to send messages to a broad group of people. The messages arrive at the mass in a way to persuade and provoke visceral reactions without the filter of the reason. We often say “we have too many things” or “I liked it and just bought it” and somehow we feel bad due to it. In fact, we feel bad (but happily accept it) due to the contraposition of impulses that fight in us: to buy under the influence of the messages of the society or to be strong and act under the reason that is telling us clearly: Why would I need it? 

Behind all this, what it is really happening is that we have some unrealistic standards guiding us and projecting our image to us and to the others. We live a fake life. Fake as long it is not our truly wanted and thought life; fake because is externally guided by some influencing messages that we don’t see as such but are really effective. Is there anyone accepting that is using a product because it is advertised on TV? Surely not, we all say we are immune to ads. But they exist and work on us.

We are living (on average) in a wealthy time of our society, sometimes more, sometimes less, but wealthy (and corrupted) in general. This society is offering us a lot of possibilities in all. Most of the offerings correspond to things we don’t really need. The reason for these offers -no matter which one of them- is that the public demands it. All our entities, press, TV, politicians, private companies selling any kind of product are doing all for us. We demand and they happily deliver. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, it sounds great but is not great.

What can be wrong in demanding and having all we can imagine? There are several problems with it. The first is that it is not free, even if many of the offers are presented as free. Of course there are some limits, we can want to have a private island with all possible luxury and we don’t arrive at it, but in theory is possible as we know. Stars (cinema, music, …) can have it. So it seems we really do not have limits in general, only particularly. Well, one problem less, one thing less to consider if we buy it or not… and devote more time to select other (unnecessary) things we want. To have the possibility to receive/have what we want is OK if it is a real help like a kidney we need (artificial or not), a new hand or something useful without any doubt.

The problem arrives when the “give the people what they demand” corresponds to all sort of things we don’t need nor in fact demand, but that we consider having them due to the messages that arrive to us in different ways. And there are so many of them that we create an artificial nervous state that distracts us from other things. We are in a trap where we are not anymore free. We feel we have to select among the many options we have and forget that we can also decide not to enter in this game. Unfortunately in one way or another we are manipulated in wanting what we don’t need. Everybody knows it and tells from the other. But … everyone is the other from the other; means we are also manipulated. The worse is that we are brought to believe that “more” is more secure and makes us stronger, while reality shows that “more” means to be weaker, more fragile and more dependent.

The truth is that “to offer/give all what people demand” is a way of control. More we have, more concerned are we about what we have, keep, update, worry about it and think less and analyze less our social situation. We see this in China: one country two systems (Hong Kong) what translated means have comfort and don’t think of politics.

What all this is hiding, is that the masses are dangerous to society and need to be controlled by a strong power that nowadays can’t be military in most of the countries. It has to be an “iron fist in silk glove”. Marketing and freedom to choose the unnecessary appease people letting them believe they are happy. Kidnapped by the illusory freedom, but happy. Real freedom is for most people impossible and dangerous. For society can be a suicide to have feeling brains active as they would destroy hierarchy, authority, confront ideas and create antagonism that can be visceral and hence impossible to fight.

To create the feeling of being free, the feeling of having freedom is the solution. The problem is transferred from the can I drink coke instead of wine? To the which type of coke will you choose? (and forget about the wine). We don’t consider anymore which is our destination but the way we choose to arrive there. Only a few choose to stay with the basic and the vast majority prefers to choose among the million colors of the flowers without thinking that we are killing them with our change of climatic conditions.

Values like privacy, education, honesty, fair play… they simply vanished. Now what counts are the education options, not it’s content. We are free to select, to choose. Society, companies give us what we want. And everybody is happy. Happy with fake freedom that doesn’t let us think and be free, but happy because what most of us want is diversions, and we are flooded by them. Profit the moment! Life is only now! Now or never! You can do it, take the chance! In other words, smile, live the actual second, forget the past, don’t think there is a future and choose the many opportunities you have to be happy. You are free to do it!

And what happens when we act like this? Well, we become more fragile, have fewer values, depend more on the others, are obsessed by the amount of pleasure we have (no matter which or how we arrive at it, not to say what we call pleasure that every time is more twisted). But not only this, we give importance to things like who has erased me in FB? Or how many points do I have in the XY game? Or how many calls did I have today? Or, what is worse, how many likes and followers on Instagram? Add to it that doing all this we don’t need to meet people. We can do it sitting at home, in bed, taking a bath …

TV and games give us an excuse not to read. Culture is not needed. Google knows all and is always there. As our virtual friends. Relations are fast, all is quick, we have to move and select another choice. Life is short for all we have to do. In one word, compulsive acting only to do more, to have more of no matter what. Compulsive acting is not freedom, is the opposite. And we are happy. Our activity is only positive as our freedom… we have banned all negative from our lives. Death happens but far away and if it is touching us... then just shortly as we select with our freedom among the many options to be again happy. All is wonderful, negative news are isolated cases and if not … just ignore them. Less following the news. Better to ignore than have to decide what is not in our micro freedom. Less social activity. But happy.  

In other words, we are prisoners of our freedom to choose between stupid things. To choose how we can be happier having more. Technology evolves fast and adds one more option to our dissatisfaction: items become obsolete within months, meaning more options and more time to spend in futilities. Variety of items is just variety, not freedom. Freedom is phone yes or no, not which type, but we assume we need the phone and our freedom is to choose the characteristics. More items don’t imply more freedom. More we have less real freedom we have, and less we have more unpopular or strange we are, and we all will be integrated into our society. Consequence? We say yes and accept not to be free but weaker and more dependent and hoping for more to be happy.

Fake freedom makes us capricious and unhappy. Freedom to choose between one green nothing and one red nothing is all except freedom. To have more makes us unhappy and avoids that we use our brain. If we accept it, society is happy and we are stupid.

The debate was ready and we all made several interventions. At least it was clear we are free to ask and comment... at least here.