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A-social Media: Fracking Mankind (Champagne Sharks Podcast)

Uploaded 4/28/2020, approx. 1 hour 44 minute read

Hi. My name is Ah pro skipping benefits from Nassig walker and sensation.

Oh yeah, so hello Sam, good to meet you.

I've actually watched quite a few of your videos, my name is Andre, I write for a magazine in Canada.

No, it's actually, it's been edifying, it's been very, especially in the area of managing social media engagement and that sort of thing, so it's been helpful.

Okay, great, great. I've been a fan of yours for a while, because I purchased The Living and Self-Love years ago. You used to have that big package of GDS.

You sound like a bunch of liability lawyers about to sue me for multiple offenses.

Video, I bought your book, okay, let's, you know, let's have a class action lawsuit and settle this.

But I know who you are, but if you could explain who you are for people who are listening, what your different interests and expertise are.

I wish I knew who I am, so that's, isn't this the key question for everyone? Who am I?

But if you're talking about my biography, it's distinct from my essence. So I'm a professor of psychology in several universities. I'm also a physicist, I have multiple PhDs and so on, I'm a physicist, I have a PhD in philosophy. I'm a medical doctor, but a non-practicing one. I lecture on psychiatry and neurosciencesand in my other head, I'm a professor of finance in several universities.

So this is my portfolio of things. I've written 60-odd books, last count, and published well over 2,000 articles. So I've been busy, I think.

I've always been interested in your writings on narcissism and personality disorders and your videos, but you recently started talking about another topic that I've been really interested in, which is the effects of social media.

And I can give my own personal experience, is I've had trouble with being addicted to social media, where I've gotten myself off of Twitter for the most part recently, just because I was constantly feeling tense all the time, and I started finding videos from you about the topic. It was really interesting, because you were saying a lot of the things that I was feeling, and one of the things that really stuck to me was the disintegration of truth, where you know who no one is, you don't know who the person is on the other side, you're inundated with information constantly, and you lose track of what's real and what's not, and things are always going viral. And one thing that was interesting about your videos was how much of it you say is by design.

I kind of wanted to talk about that, about where you think things have started and where you think they're going, as far as with social media.

Well, first of all, it's a fact, it is by design. The former chief engineer of Google, former chief engineer of Facebook, and so on and so forth, they're both testified in the Senate, outside, they granted interviews, it's all available online, you don't need to rely on me or anything, I say. And they've admitted that they have designed the interface with conditioning and addiction in mind. They don't call it conditioning, and they don't call it addiction, obviously. They're using IT terms, such as stickiness, or, you know, interaction, or whatever.

But they're talking about conditioning and addiction.

Now, there's a distinction, a difference, between conditioning and addiction.

Conditioning is when you would like, you would like to, you are aware of what you're doing, but you wouldn't, you would not like to break it off.

Position is when you are aware of what you're doing, but it's egodystonic, you would like to break it off, but you're unable to.

And both features exist on social media.

Social media plays mainly with what we call relative positioning.

Relative positioning is constant and instant comparison to your peers, or to others which you deem to be peers, in some way, shape, or form, or aspect, or respect.

So it could be socioeconomic peers, it could be educational peers, it could be anything.

The moment you decide that someone or something is your reference group, from that moment on, you begin an unconscious and later conscious process of comparison.

And the softwares that underlie social media, the platforms, they encourage this comparison in myriad ways, the most famous of which is the like.

The like, the number of the shares, the number of times something is referred to, etc.

The problem is that, one, this creates, as I've just said, conditioning in certain people. Certain people who actually enjoy this because they're getting narcissistic supply, it caters to their narcissism.

Attention regulates their internal environment, so they crave attention.

So these people would be conditioned, they would not be able to stop, even if they wanted to, and they don't want to.


And then there's a second group of people who get addicted.

They would have liked to stop.

Some of them try to go dry, you know, to go sober for a month or two off social media, but they simply can't. They keep coming back for more.

So these two groups are generated by the platform.

And then the problem is that the comparison is not only with others, which one might say has a redeeming feature.

It creates social interactions.

You could say, so what's wrong with comparing myself to others?

It means that I'm interacting with others. It means that I'm in touch with others. It means that I listen to other people's opinions.

So it's not all bad.

Well, true.

There is a redeeming feature there, although actually studies have shown that this leads to silos, to confirmation bias.

In other words, like-minded people tend to go congregate and augment and enhance each other's prejudices.

But still, it's still a social function.

But where the problem starts is you begin to compete with yourself, not with others.

Yesterday, you made a post. You received a hundred likes. Today, you make a post. You receive 50 likes.

What your inner critic tells you, you've done something wrong. You screwed up. Yesterday, you got a hundred likes. Today, you got 50 likes. You're a failure. You're a defeat. Something's wrong with you.

So these platforms encourage what Freud originally, a hundred years ago, called the superego.

And today, we call the inner critic.

The negative introjects, the negative voices inside your head, some of these voices belong to bad parents, narcissistic, selfish, unpredictable, capricious parents. Other such voices belong to teachers, peers, and so on, but they're negative.

So these negative introjects, they're usually dormant.

And social media platforms provoke these voices, stimulate them, and it becomes a cacophony inside your head. This is precisely the reason why numerous studies have linked beyond any doubt the usage of social media to a dramatic explosion, a pandemic, a veritable pandemic, in anxiety disorders and depression, especially among two age groups, up to age 25 and above age 65. These are two vulnerable groups.

People under age 25 and above 65 who use social media platforms show a marked increase in anxiety disorders and depression.

And we are not talking like a 10% increase. We are talking about five times more, five times the original prevalence of anxiety disorders and three times more depression, three times more, like 300% increase and a 500% increase. And we are talking a rise of 40% in suicide among teenagers after the year 2008, when social media platforms became ubiquitous.

And again, the suicides are pretty directly linked to online bullying via social media platforms, to relative positioning, to self-defeating, self-negating thinking, automatic negative thoughts as they're called. And all of these are provoked by social media platforms.

Now, social media platforms, therefore, are the equivalent, the digital equivalent of alcohol or drugs. I mean, they're bad for you.

I agree with the alcohol example, because I was telling Andre the other day that some people, their response to feeling addicted to alcohol is they can do moderation, whereas some people decide they have to become teetotalers. I have to abstain.

And I was telling Andre, I feel like if I do one tweet, I'm in for a penny, in for a pound. I'm just there.

So I'm better off.

I'm the exact same way.

And I will say that when you speak of, you know, higher prevalence of anxiety and depression, you're sitting here describing me, basically.

I mean, you know, in addition to the other disabilities that I have, two of the mental health disorders that I've been dealing with for a very long time, but I felt have been exacerbated by social media engagement, have been anxiety and depression.

As a matter of fact, a couple of weeks ago, I had to tell Trevor, I said, listen, I'm just going to log off. I deleted my account altogether.

And then there's like articles that I publish, there's people who interview me on podcasts and so forth. And they ask like, hey, where am I supposed to tag you?

So I let my profile come back, but I don't really have any plans on engaging for the very same reason that I feel like if I tweet one thing, if I say one thing, it's like somebody picking the bottle back up. And then I'll just I'll lose track of time, it'll be like two o'clock in the morning. And I'll be like, what happened? How did I lose all that time?

All modes of communication are essentially regulated or self regulated. You can't conceive of television without regulatory bodies, you can't conceive of print media to come in communications, starting with radio, mass communication has always been regulated one way or another regulated, not for content, God forbid, I'm not advocating censorship.

Regulated for ethics, regulated for exposure, regulated for example, age limitation, etc.

It's extremely easy to convert social media from what it is today, which is essentially an intoxicating substance, it's extremely easy to convert it from an intoxicating substance to a medicine.

For example, why not limit the usage? Why not limit you?

You can't use the platform more than two hours a day, it's very easy to do programming or coding wise, very, why not limit certain features to certain age groups?

Like you have to be 18 or 21 to do certain things. Why not take away altogether likes and or not take them away, but not show the number just show this post has been like why the number is in order to create conditioning Pavlov's dogs, you know, so there are features malicious features.

I'm an author, I use words very judiciously, and I hope very responsibly, I repeat, they are malevolent, malicious features in these platforms, which could easily be taken away. The platforms could be tweaked, not even rewritten, not even recorded. tweaked, the platforms could be tweaked in a minor way to render them user friendly in the truest sense.

Facilitators of true social interaction, for example, take the feature of friend, why not insist on on ID verification before you become a friend with someone.

Numerous other platforms do this, not social media, why not insist on this in social media?

I feel like one reason why they don't want that is because there's some bad actors that they actually want to exist, because it helps with their program.

And one of them is they know a lot of people like to make sock puppets, dummy accounts, bumper accounts, and that chaos for whatever reason, I think helps the toxic addictive experience of it.

As long as that'll make money, they'll allow you to do it.

Yeah, I think I mean, I'm not sure why you're saying we don't know the reason. We all know the reason.


Now here's the problem with monetizing eyeballs, everyone in his dog has been monetizing eyeballs since Marconi invented the radio.

I mean, television, network television, and later cable TV, but more so network television.

Of course, newspapers have been monetizing eyeballs like forever, but social media monetize eyeballs in a different way via, as I mentioned, addiction and conditioning.

What does it mean?

It means that social media competes for your eyeballs with other alternatives.

It's not only that social media competes with television for your eyeball, for your attention. It's not only that they want you to remain glued to the screen stickiness. It's not only this.

They are competing with your spouse. They are competing with your children. They're competing with your friends and neighbors. They're competing with any other form of intimacy you may have.

Your wife, if you're married, your wife is Facebook's largest enemy by far. Facebook's largest competitor is not MySpace or anything similar. Facebook's largest competitor is the wives, the spouses, the husband, the friends, the neighbors, the communities. These are Facebook's largest competitors because Facebook and similar juggernaut are ruthless. They crush this competition.

You see, it's extremely simple.

There's a finite amount of minutes a day. Either you give these minutes to your children or you give these minutes to Zuckerberg.

It's as simple as this. Either you give your minutes to your children or you give these minutes to Facebook.

No third way about it.

So Facebook needs to eliminate the attention that you give to your children.

They need to separate you from their children. They need to.

They must do it to survive or to thrive or both.

It's so extremely simple, this shocking truth, that social media is an anti-social force, a social force to be more precise. It's a force that craves to atomize individuals so that they have no window to the world except via the social media platform.

We've been talking about this for, I couldn't even tell you how many months. And I keep saying to you that I feel like sometimes I'm going a little bit paranoid or a little bit crazy.

But because we're now in a state of quarantine, everything is locked down. We're staying home. We're socially distancing, isolating ourselves, etc.

It's almost like it's just accelerating the negative aspects of social media that already existed.

For example, you mentioned that social media atomizes us and that's absolutely true, but it's also now mediating our interpersonal communication through platforms that are designed to sell us things.

So what does that mean, for example, for things like people who are trying to find relationships, who are just trying to find meaningful relationships.

Maybe it could be a romantic relationship, maybe branching out, having more friendships.

There used to be a time where you would go out into your community and find people to meet with, to network with. Maybe you'd volunteer for the same causes. You might be on, let's say, the Rotary Club or something like that.

But now it seems that all of our interpersonal relationships and communications are being mediated through these platforms.

Oh, I would go a lot further than this.

It's not only interpersonal communication that's mediated, it's reality, the world.

46% of all news consumption today is via Facebook, not via television, not via newspapers, not via word of mouth either. 46% of all news consumed is via Facebook. That's by far the greatest news aggregator in human history.

So they tell you what to know and what not to know. There's implicit censorship, it's called the algorithm.

Similarly, Google News is a force to reckon with. These things are not random, they are governed by algorithms.

And a good algorithm example is YouTube.

People already think of it as a social media network but it has a lot of social media effects and they have this autoplay algorithm that can really get you into a filter bubble that is nowhere where you started. You end up in a whole different place arguing with people and watching all types of things.

Again it's worse than this.

I mean, you strike me as a perennial optimist. It's much worse than this.

I have never been described as such yet. Sorry.

Add it to the class action.

The algorithm is not Google's or Facebook's. It's you. It's your reflection.

In the autoplay, for example, you mentioned autoplay, YouTube, YouTube actually monitors your preferences, your previous choices and constructs an implicit profile of you. And this profile dictates the next videos that you're watching.

So the algorithm is you.

The algorithm is protean. It shape shifts. It morphs in order to fit you like a tight clothing, like a second skin, you know, which each one of us generates a whole new medium on YouTube, on Facebook and everything.

And we are actually, we end up talking to ourselves. It's totally solipsistic. We end up isolated.

That's what I mean by atomization. We end up in an echo chamber, but this echo chamber is not only other like minded people. Actually, it's not even mostly other like minded people. It's you. You talking to yourself.

Now with your permission, I would like to elucidate, um, a concept from narcissism because it has to do with us.

Of course.

In narcissism, I introduced the concept of hall of mirrors. I suggest that there is no such thing as a narcissism. There's nobody there. There's no entity. There's no self.

Narcissism is about the fracturing, arrested development. It's about the impeding of the process of the formation of a cohesive self.

Narcissism does not have a self. That's the irony. It doesn't have an ego because it doesn't have an ego. It's an ego less person, actually, nirvana, if you wish, because the narcissist doesn't have an ego.

He needs other people to fulfill his psychological functions for him. That's why the narcissist is so dependent on narcissistic supply.

Narcissistic supply provides him with a reality testing, tells him what's real, what's not, and regulates his internal environment, his self-esteem, his self-confidence, sense of self worth. He needs other people to do it for him because he is incapable to do it for himself simply because he does not exist as a cohesive, coherent unitary unit.


Now hall of mirrors.

When people ask me all the time, how come, how come a woman, let's say, falls in love with the narcissist?

So the thing is the narcissist provides her with a hall of mirrors. When she enters the narcissistic space, when she enters his soul, if you wish, whatever, she sees herself in this mirror.

The process of idealization, idealizing the partner is presenting the partner with a mirror, a carnival mirror, which distorts the partner into an idealized figure. It's irresistible.

That's why partners of narcissists can't break up with narcissists. That is the core of trauma bonding. The partner sees herself in the hall of mirror that is the narcissist.

And the self that the partner sees, I'm assuming is the false self, either an idealized or a despised false self, that the narcissist is too big.

And she falls in love with herself, not with the narcissist. She falls in love with the way that the narcissist sees her.

And now this is exactly social media. Social media make you fall in love with yourself because you keep hearing confirmation. You keep being confirmed. It's irresistible to be constantly confirmed.

The algorithm subtly tells you, wow, you're a genius. You're right. You're not wrong. You're perfect.

The algorithm enhances your narcissism.

Think about the autoplay.

You choose a video.

The next video you see is almost identical to the first video you've seen or tends to support it somehow, to buttress the message somehow, gradually without even noticing.

You are being told that you are godlike, that your omniscient, that your choices are always perfect because multiple people on YouTube keep telling you this.

Keep agreeing with you.

Confirmation bias.

Bias.

You are never contradicted, never challenged with the autoplay.

It's the same with Facebook.

Who's going to like your post? People who agree with you.

The more they like the post, the more convinced you are, the more convinced you become of your infallibility. You are converted from a mere mortal into the pope, infallible.

I used to do a lot of, well, I still do, a lot of psychology reading, especially in narcissism.

One of the things that was unique to your book, if anyone else has discussed it, I'm not aware of it, but it was very helpful to me and kind of changed how I thought of stuff was a lot of different people like Karen Hornet, for example, you know, talks about the true self and the false self, and she broke the false self into two types, like the idealized false self, and then there's the despised false self, you know, versus the true self, and different people have different formulations of true self and false self.

But when I read your book, what was interesting is, and again, if it's from somewhere else, I don't know, but you're the only person I saw who said it, you talked about an atrophy true self, where some people actually don't have a true self, that they're actually hiding or suppressing because they've never developed it, it will be almost like a plant that you're growing in the dark in the back of your closet, you know, it's getting no sun, it's getting very little food.

So a lot of people don't even have a true self to recover even that they haven't been able to develop it, it's been kind of crowded out by their false selves.

And to me, I feel like what you described with social media, the way it kind of feeds into your false self, it kind of grows, expands it, I feel like a lot of people, especially people who grew up with this from a very young age, are in a position where they might be getting conditioned to grow up with a neglected true self, I want to know what you thought about that.

Yeah, well, the self starts to emerge so early in life that there is not a single person on earth without a true self.

The first the first scholar to suggest the concepts of true self and false self was Winnicott, David Winnicott.

Horney took a spin on Winnicott's concepts, psychoanalytic spin, Winnicott's concepts and today, even though I'm a great admirer of Horney, her work on neurosis is superb, magnificent, unequal, but when it comes to narcissism, today, we consider her to be seriously mistaken to have been seriously mistaken.

She conflated, simply, many disorders that today are rather distinct and separate.

So everyone has a true self.

The question is, whether this true self is functional, whether it's psychodynamically functional and that harks back to Freud, Freud said that there are structures in the personality which can be rendered inactive and their energy is pent up and is sublimated or emerges in other ways, like in dreams or so.

So in the case of narcissists, and by the way, not everyone is a true self only, narcissists and borderlines.

So it's also not true to say that everyone is a true self.

One thing.

Yeah.

Sorry, I'll let you finish.


So about probably something like five to 10% of the population would have a functional false self and all the others would have a true self.

However, it's possible even with a true, with a fully functional true self to develop cognitive biases.

And that's precisely where social media come in.

Grandiosity is a cognitive bias.

Grandiosity is a cognitive bias because it falsifies our perception of true reality.

It impairs the reality testing.

If we are grandiose, we would tend to misinterpret facts. We would tend to refrain events or communication. We would tend to ignore many things. We would tend to emphasize others unjustly, etc.

In other words, grandiosity distorts our perception of reality.

Now social media, what social media do, they enhance grandiosity. They enhance the cognitive bias and that's not the only cognitive bias they enhance.

So I would say that it's a fair description, fair description of social media to say that what's the main function of social media is the enhancement of a set of cognitive biases and cognitive deficits. That would capture 90% of the essence of the functioning of social media.

Social media simply work on your biases, cognitive biases and cognitive deficits until they become the dominant filtering mechanism, your interface with the world.

So this leads to another question that I had where to what extent do you think it's creating narcissists versus simply attracting and worsening people who are already narcissistic or borderline?

No, you can't create narcissists. Narcissism is an early childhood phenomenon.

The word has been misused and abused and devalued and debased and become meaningless. Narcissism is a clinical entity. It's a condition and iteither you develop it in early childhood or you don't. You can have narcissistic traits or narcissistic behaviors, even, even narcissistic defenses or narcissistic reactions.

Ironically, the victims of narcissistic abuse have narcissistic defenses. They react with enhanced narcissism, but that doesn't render them narcissist or anyone else for that matter.

You can have narcissistic biases such as grandiosity doesn't make your narcissist.

So social media do not create narcissists because you can't create narcissists.

What they do is I said they enhance narcissistic defenses. They enhance cognitive biases and deficits, which are very typical of narcissists.

For example, splitting, splitting is a primitive defense mechanism. It's also known as dichotomous thinking. It's when you think about everything in terms of black and white, good and bad with me or against me, you know, black and white thinking.

So social media encourage this because they create echo chambers and silos within which you are exposed only to like-minded people. And of course these are cult- like settings. Social media today are comprised of thousands or tens of thousands of cults. And within a cult, there's always paranoia. It breeds paranoia against the external world, against external enemies, real and imagined.

So social media have become paranoidplatforms that encourage paranoid ideation and no wonder that conspiracy theories thrive on social media. Fake news thrive on social media because these are hallmarks and characteristics of cults.

So a lot is going on, which is pathological and mentally sick and so on.

But of course, social media, nothing actually, not only social media cannot create mental health disorders.

Only exacerbate them.

That actually kind of leads me into another question that I want to ask now.


I assume that you're familiar withthe shadow archetype that Jungian concept.

And when you talk aboutsocial media, using the algorithm to essentially create like a digital copy of you, it's almost likein a digital sense, like in a digital sense in terms of ones and zeros.

It's almost like engaging on Twitter, YouTube, searching on Google and so forth, all of that exhaust data that they're using to essentially create like a behavior map of you.

It's almost like it creates the shadow.

And while it may not produce narcissists, I wonder to what extent it is sort of pushing people towards their own shadow.

I eat like people might sit around and say things on social media that they would normally not say to people face to face.

Like I find it very hard to believe, for example, that if I were walking through a shopping mall or I was sitting at a food court and talking with a friend, that some stranger would just put into our conversation and say something really rude to me because they didn't like the subject better. They didn't like me talking about a race or didn't like me talking about politics, but on social media, that's incredibly easy.

But I wanted to want to extend that it's pushing people towards those, uh, previously hidden aspects of themselves.

Then that's what we're calling radicalization, that the ways that people act out and the way that people behave, that social media sort of pushes you towards enacting, possibly even in real life, those behaviors that maybe 15 or 20 years ago would have been completely unheard of.

Well, I suggest not to use Jungian or other terms, because then we would have to descend into the question of what exactly is the shadow is the residence of complexes.

It's not that simple.

Shadow is not just unacceptable behaviors and the dark side, shadowing in Jung's theory in Jung's methodology, the shadow is a very compounded place where complexes reside and resolved and so on and so forth.

So let's not use this term.

Sure.

Sure.

And I would suggest a much simpler term, this inhibition when you drink your behavior changes.

So, your behavior changes not in the sense that you become a different person.

That is a myth.

You don't become a different person. You allow yourself to behave in ways which other, which normally you would not have allowed yourself to behave in.

So you become promiscuous if, to what extent though, that, does this then interfere with people's ability to have productive conversations online?

So for example, if I post an article that I write, occasionally I will answer questions about it. If people are not clear about something that I wrote, if, they know where you picked up a particular piece of knowledge and I'm very happy to discuss it with them.

But what I find is that the moreI drink my behavior changes, the more like, intense forms of engagement where people almost have a, like they begin to develop a bit of a parasocial relationship with the author that they'll ask questions, but then not accept the answer, just continue to push them.

And the answer is never going to be good enough.

Doesn't matter what answer you give them.

If they disagree with you, say politically, then it gives them license to just say whatever they want.

When peoplehave small differences between them politically, that'ssomething that somebody said on social media is always going to end up beinggiven the least charitable reading possible.

And I'm thinking about, for example, you know, the US primary election.

Now granted, there are some vast differences between people who say that they're on the left, but I've noticed that even in like the spaces where there are very, very small differences between people, it just becomes this huge conflagration.

Like people who, for example, support Bernie Sanders and somebody else who supports Bernie Sanders, but it's possible or partial to Elizabeth Warren, that sort of thing, the smallest differences between them become these huge conflagrations that occupy, you know, a day or two or three days in social media, which then gets picked up by the news cycle and then launder, repeat, because once it gets repeated in the news, then people have to talk about it all over again.

And when I've taken myself away from social media, I'm like, what are people even talking about?

But once you're into it, it's like these small differences become these huge contributions.


Can I add one quick thing to that?

Something else I noticed along the lines of what you say is I feel like there's incentive, at least in people's minds to do deliberately bad faith readings of what you're saying as well, just that they can enhance the conflict and the friction.

So I noticed that too, like, there's this too much tendency to do bad faith readings, I think, to be accidental.

And I think it's because people actually want to enhance the difference so that they can fight.

For some reason, people are attracted to negativity.

And I just want to add that to what Andre was saying, Dr.

We live in a world where most legitimate channels for expressing aggression or sublimating it to social in socially acceptable ways. Most of the channels have been blocked. We are over-regulated. The number of laws today is well over 150 times the number of laws a hundred years ago. Everything is subject to regulations, laws, edicts, law enforcement.

Look at the explosion in law enforcement. The number of prisoners in the United States exceeds 3 million people. So we used to have in the past, until there recently, actually, until let's say 50 or 60 years ago, until Vietnam, the Vietnam era, we used to have legitimate channels for expressing aggression. Aggression was ritualized. There were ceremonies which channeled aggression. Aggression could be sublimated, etc. We blocked all these channels. That's number one.

Number two, we are no longer seen.

When you're a baby, if you're not seen, you die.

So to be seen is not just a question of vanity or narcissism. It's a survival instinct. You need to be seen.

The first thing you do as a baby is attract your mother's attention by smiling and so on. These are caregiver cues.

Yeah.

And so in today's world, there's 8 billion more or less, minus the COVID-19 victims. And so it's difficult to be seen. It's difficult to be, to stand out.

So this leads to radicalization. You need to escalate in order to be noticed. And you need to be noticed in order to feel that you exist and your well-being depends on it.

So that's point number two.

Point number three.

You contrast anyone.

And I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I detest conspiracy theories. I've dedicated a big part of my other life fighting off conspiracy theories. I think they are feeble-minded, weak, and pretty stupid, but you really contrast anyone.

You contrast the authorities. You contrast the mass media. You contrast academe. They've all been corrupted by various types of interest.

Some of them are narcissistic interests, aggrandizement. Some of them, some of them are corrupted by money, but they're all corrupted with this, is the only point where I fully agree with conspiracy theories.

You can trust no one.

Now put the three together. Paranoia, the need to be seen via escalating and the need to legitimize your aggression.

In other words, the need to disinhibit, the need to be able from time to time to aggress.

And the online world is a perfect outlet for this, for the confluence of these three needs.

Because when you are verbally abusive, let's, let's call a spade a spade. When you are verbally abusive, you are number one seen, definitely it's a fact you're talking about these people, aren't you? So you're seen.

Number two, you can indulge your paranoia because you can disguise it as critical thinking.

And number three, you can aggress safely.

What social media platforms have provided is a safe environment for almost unbridled aggression.

Only very, very recently, YouTube has been taking steps to remove libel and outright death threats. Only recently, recently, I mean like three months ago. So aggression has been woven into the fabric of social media.

Why?

Here's the secret.

Because it helps to monetize eyeballs. Everything attracts people more than violence and the prospect of death.

Just think about a car accident. Think how many people rubberneck a car accident.

Aggression sells, aggression monetizes, aggression attracts eyeballs. Aggression is encouraged.

So, so, so, so to be, to be clear, are you saying that the aggression is a feature, not a bug?

No, not a bug at all. Of course it's a feature.

Let's, for example, take Twitter. When Twitter was conceived, they had two options.

You could send in texts via email. They had the software for this.

Or you can send in texts via SMS. Now, SMS, short messaging system, the texts, telephone texts, at the time were limited to 140 characters plus 20 control characters, total of 160.

Twitter chose the 140 characters.

Why?

Well, one of the reasons we are finding out lately is because they've been advised by psychologists that when one uses, when one is limited in the number of characters, certain emotions are expressed more than others.

For example, it's extremely difficult to express true love, profound affection, compassion, and empathy using 140 characters.

But believe me, all I need to piss you off and aggress severely against you is seven, is seven characters.

This limitation is not an accident because they did have a technological alternative. You can't say it was the default. It's not true.

Actually, there were other types of platforms. For example, IRC. For example, six degrees. No one remembers six degrees. Six degrees was a social, was a precursor of Myspace.

So these platforms allowed you to input via email, unlimited amount of text.

It's not true that there was no technology. It was a choice because psychologists advise them that it will create arousal.

Of course, no one said it will create aggression, but what kind of arousal can you get with 140 characters?

Plus, if you use 140 characters, you are bound to be misunderstood.

How many people can compress a complex idea?

You know what?

A simple idea into 140 characters.

Very few journalists, maybe.

I've been trained to compress because in my early years, I used to be a journalist.

So they told me, you know, 300 words, I'm used to compress.

But that's the text training.

Most people can't do this.

So they provoke mockery. They provoke aggression, ridicule, derision, infighting. It provokes aggression. It ensures ineffect, inefficacious communication. It's a choice. It's a technology choice.

Don't kid yourself.

And I feel like every day on Twitter, there's a scapegoat of the day where people are just all mocking one person for that day.

So one tweet says that, you know, every day on Twitter, the goal is to not, every day on Twitter, there's one person that is it and your goal is to not be it.

Yeah.

I mean, scapegoating, bullying, mobbing, flesh mobbing, I mean, you name it, it's all these are all phenomena.

None of these phenomena has started with social media, but none of them would be where they are today without social media. None of them.

So on the positive side, you have political movements, activists who are making use of these platforms.

But mind you, it's not nice to say it's politically incorrect to say, but revolutionaries are very aggressive and violent people.

Ask the nobility in the French Revolution.

Well, yeah, that's actually one thing that I've found.

I see where you're going with this, but there's a couple of points with departure.

I mean, on the one hand, yes, the act of revolution often does follow a path of violence, but I also find that it's very difficult to get people on the same page about anything where it comes to social media, because if you're trying to be brief to fit within the character limit or at least to make yourself understood through the means of the platform, it is very easy to be misunderstood.

So it's very hard to organize things at the same time.

It seems like the modes of activism that require the most in-depth kind of communication.

I'm thinking, for example, of mutual aid organizations.

So there are these organizations that are popping up to help people, let's say, if they're like disabled and they need someone to go pick up groceries or they don't have any money.

So you need to have lengthy conversations. And I'm finding that for most mutual aid organizations, there's a phone number or they encourage you to email, but there's no coordination that's happening over, say, Twitter.

It's just like the most emotionally exhausting modes of communication are what ends up on Twitter.

But then the kinds where you need to actually empathize with people, that goes offline.

I would compare, when it comes to politics or geopolitics, I would compare Twitter to a fuse.

Fuse.

It's not the grenade. It's the fuse.

It has a useful function in this sense. And it does help logistically, you know, if you want to create a flash mob, Twitter is great.

And so on and so forth.

But what it does do, and that's very important to realize, I've been a political analyst for decades. I have many heads.

That's one of them.

I can tell you.

Politics and geopolitics have been caricatured, have been rendered, in Marcuse's words, one dimensional.

So the politics, the Arab Spring, for example, take the Arab Spring.

Arab Spring was conducted at its inception, at least, via Twitter.

Arab Spring is not a political movement. That's why it has failed.

The Arab Spring is the most abysmal and dismal failure in the history of revolutionary movements.

Why?

Because it has been reduced to 140 characters.

The constraints of the platforms caricatured the process, did not allow the process to take roots, to become profound, to become deep, and to respond on multiple levels to multiple exigencies and needs and so on and so forth.

And constituencies, there's no subtlety in social media.

And most human processes, even marriage, forget about political movements, require subtlety.

Social media encourage caricatures. They encourage kiss, keep it simple, stupid. They encourage dumbing down. They encourage the crassest and basest instincts. They encourage disinhibition. They are not good, I'm sorry to say.

When you were saying about radicals being violent, something that I was thinking about, right, when you said that is, if you think about the people politically who kind of do the worst on social media, as in just inept and always getting, looking inept, in social media departments, we call it getting dunked on, the moderates, the centrists, those type of people, they don't know how to weaponize social media, as well as, say, the alt-right, as well as, say, the far left, as well as, say, I remember, I remember, how can you weaponize moderation?

Yeah, exactly.

Exactly.

Social media are not amenable to moderation over the middle ground or compromise, sorry.

Yeah, people forget ISIS was very, very social media savvy when it was in the news a lot.

And I think what you were talking about reminds me of the saying, what got you here won't get you there, as in, it's very good at channeling that initial very raw aggression and passion that I think you need to have revolutionary politics, but even revolutionary politics can't get by on just aggression alone.

At some point, you have to coordinate values, create positive values, create more nuanced ways of understanding and operating. You can't just yell at people all day, but a lot of people never get past that.

And I kind of noticed that with things like Bernie Sanders and stuff, he had a very good online presence, but there were a lot of people who just didn't want to move past yelling at moderate Democrats, as far as their political action.

Well, Obama was embedded leveraging social media as well. I mean, I think it worked both ways for Trump, for Obama, for Trump, Trump and Obama share something in common. They are both messianic, narcissistic figures.

Social media are easily leveraged by messianic, narcissistic figures because they combine legitimized aggression, very subtle in the case of Obama, very refined, very sophisticated, but still aggression with a message that is easily can be easily distilled in a single sentence.

Yes, we can make America great again. These are caricatures.

We are all being reduced to caricatures by this, and the situation now with social distancing, we think it's a new development.

Statistics don't support this.

11% of all American households are comprised of a single individual, and these people hardly go out.

Starting in the year 2016, majority of adult women in the United States didn't have a single meaningful encounter with the opposite sex.

That actually... I do want to pivot to the way that people are now becoming isolated unto themselves, but one last thing I didn't want to mention was that in 2016, there was a paper by... that was released from Elsevier, and it talked about Facebook in particular. It was the chilling effect of Facebook, where test participants, in the qualitative portion of the paper, they're asking participants, how does Facebook impact your life, and how do you change your behaviors?

Young people were saying, for example, that if they go out to parties, if they had alcohol in their hand, they would try to hide it, so that if somebody was taking a candid picture that they wouldn't be seen with alcohol in their hand, or that they wouldn't be seen with marijuana joints in their hand.

Young women were saying that they don't take the cameras with them to the beach because they don't want to be... they don't want to take pictures, but they also don't want to have their picture taken, and like skimpy bikinis and so forth.

It's now like, not only is it having a pronounced effect on the way that we talk about politics, but even the way that we just engage each other in real life.

If you work for an organization that you're public facing, or your boss may not agree with you politically, you might even not want to go to a rally, like a political rally. You might not want to have your picture taken around certain people, so in a sense, it has a chilling effect, yeah.

Big brother.

It used to be called big brother in my time.

Yeah, it's like a super panopticon, yeah.

It's not just moderating like criminal behavior, it's now moderating our political behavior, like how much you want to get involved with politics.

They kind of made us become our own big brother, like to ourselves, they don't have a centralized person or organization doing it.

Yes, we, this is part of, this is part of two processes.

The first one, the blurring of boundaries between the virtual and the real, or virtual actually becomes the only reality.

So a comedian who played the president of Ukraine became the president of Ukraine. A reality TV star became the president of the United States, and he was preceded by an actor, a B movie actor.

So there is a blurring, there's a bleeding of the edges between virtual and social media is the quintessence and the epitome and the culmination of this process, where actually we live longer on social media than in any other setting.

Studies in the United States have shown that certain age groups spend between four and five hours a day on social media. These are four to five waking hours. That's half the day, or one third of the day if you're in so many.

So there's a blurring of, that's the first, the first thing.

And the second thing is the interjection.

We are internalizing social media, they are slowly becoming an inner voice.

We call this in psychology and interject, they are slowly becoming an inner voice.

And it's an inner voice that has essentially two functions, supervision and feedback.

On the one hand, this inner voice monitors you, and you are constantly aware of its existence and presence and so on. It's like a big eye in the sky or whatever you want to call it.

And the second function is, of course, feedback.

But feedback, that is essentially narcissistic feedback.

In other words, am I doing the right thing to be seen, appreciated, admired, attended to, etc. Not am I doing the right thing, period, but am I doing the right thing in a goal-oriented manner.

Now, which group of people have this kind of thinking?

Yes, you guessed it right.

Psychopaths.

Psychopaths are goal-oriented. They want sex. They want money. They want power. They will stop at nothing.

All their internal processes are goal-filtered and goal-focused.

So today, people don't ask, am I doing the right thing?

But am I doing the right thing to obtain this or that goal?

In other words, people are becoming more and more narcissistic and psychopathic.


I mean, as you're talking about that, I'm thinking of, incels, for example, right?

And people, when I think of incels, I think of generally young men that don't get out very much. They don't talk to the opposite sex and so on.

But now when, not that you mentioned that there's a significant portion of young women that don'thave meaningful contact with men, I'm also seeing the same thing happen on social media with young women.

Like a seething anger that there's, there's, uh, I don't know if it's a romantic relationship that some of them are looking for or if it's just intimacy or contact, but there's almost like an underlying anger that they're not getting what they want.

And then it feeds itself, like it feeds into like this constant state of warfare where people are talking about just saying really horrendous things aboutmen. But it always seems to come back to like, there's something that they want from other people that they're just not getting.

So they're just trauma venting on social media.

I'm not sure if you don't deserve that.

So this kind of paradoxical about it is how these people are talking to people in a way, communicating with people in a way more than ever, because they're on social media, all day long, constantly plugged in yet somehow everyone's more alienated.

So weird paradox of you're more connected and somehow more alone at the same time.

And then it's causing this anger to me that you're talking about.


Two important distinctions.

One, two monologues never make a dialogue.

Number two, information is not knowledge.

Social media provide you with a platform for monologues.

Now these monologues mimic dialogues because you have your monologue, then I have my monologue and it looks like we are talking. We are not talking. We are not communicating. We are definitely not connecting your Europe at the best in the best case, you are my sounding board.

And even, I don't need you even for that because I can immortalize my words. I can record them. I can upload them. I don't need you for this. I don't need you even as an audience anymore.

This is the issue of self-sufficiency. Digital technologies rendered us self-sufficient with the truth is the sad truth, the tragic truth is we don't need each other anymore, at least not for social function.

That's the first thing.

And the second thing is, as I said, thatthe virtual and the real are intermixing. It's very difficult to tell them apart and the virtual is beginning to have more significant impacts on our lives.

I am much more affected or impacted by social media than by anyone really in my life.

My income, my livelihood, my reputation, professional and otherwise, or disrepute in my case and so on and so forth. They are all critically dependent on social media.

Social media became mission critical.

There's no reality without social media. It's beginning to bleed into realities, beginning to have real life repercussions, outcomes and consequences.

Now, if you want to be self-efficacious, if you want to secure the best outcomes in your life from your environment, you have to go via the mediation of social media.

We all, at the beginning of the inception of the internet, you were maybe too young, I don't know, we were all bragging that the internet is going to disintermediate. The internet was going to eliminate intermediaries, such as publishers, editors, gatekeepers. It ended up doing exactly the opposite.

Today there are giant portals and gates that keep us apart from each other and apart from all the rest.

So today, if I want to access reality even, I need to do this through gatekeepers.

And while in the pre-internet world, there were thousands of gatekeepers. Today in the internet world, we have three gatekeepers, three gatekeepers.

It's a cartel, it's, you know, antitrust action is required here.


Something interesting about what you're talking about, right?

There used to be all these little forums, message boards, sometimes there'd be private, you need to register and people just passing by couldn't, you know, get into them. So there were all these little places where people would congregate and they would also be moderated, you know, where somebody would be checking, a lot of times they'd be recruit moderators from the community to make sure that people weren't being trolls or being abusive, but it was self-police. There wasn't some nameless central organism in the Twitter headquarters or Facebook headquarters deciding what was good and what wasn't. And I feel like there was more communication in all those little pockets, whereas the idea of creating one giant worldwide chat room, which is what Twitter, Facebook, and these things become where the whole world is in one giant space, you would think, okay, everybody in one space would lead to better communication or connection.

And it's the opposite. It's almost like that cartel that you're talking about of making just one giant room and the people in the room don't really have the final say about what's being said and people being forced together is actually making more filter bubbles to me than the million little forums that we used to have.

And I was wondering what you thought about that.

Well, it's much more centralized.

No question about it.

End of story. It's much more centralized.

Two or three corporate entities control speech, control speech acts, control all communication channels that control not only the communication channel, the distribution channel, they interfere actively with the content.

Case in point, I made a series of highly academic videos on COVID-19 pandemic.

None of my videos included any reference, however, remotely to any of the idiotic conspiracy theories that circulate on the internet. Allmy videos were academic based on copious references and so on.

YouTube removed these videos.

Oh, is that why they were gone? Because I was looking at them to ask you questions about them today and there's only about three left.

Oh yeah. Because I was planning to talk to you about those videos and I couldn't find them to research for questions today.

Prior to each and every video, I have read literature. I've interviewed epidemiologists and virologists. I relied on authorities who made their own video like Ioannidis and Kvitkovsky.

We are talking about people from Stanford, not people from David Icke in London real. And despite these multiple, multiple rigorous academic filtering criteria, I mean, my videos were academic works, end of story. They were removed because they go against the party line.

Listen, I lecture in Russia. Let me tell you something. In Russia, there's something called Roskommenzo. It's a censorship agency for internet content. Roskommenzo would have never dared to remove my videos. I'm telling you this with full responsibility, the Russian government so derided and decried by the state department would have never dared to do what YouTube had done. And YouTube is a monopoly and should be regulated as a monopoly. And monopolies are like utility companies. They cannot interfere with the electrical current or the water. They must provide it freely. I mean, not really, but provided equally to every singleeligible consumer.

So YouTube should never be allowed to censor any speech.

YouTube can add disclaimers like Facebook is doing now, you know, but should never be given the power to delete.

It's shocking.

It didn't happen in China. In China, the doctors who discovered COVID-19 were communicating freely on chat apps equivalent of YouTube. No one took down their messages or posts.

In China, the communist party of China behaves more liberally than YouTube.

You talk about curated versus network effect, because I think we're kind of headed in that direction with what you're talking about now about the different types of spaces.

We can explain what those two different things are.

There is an enormous gap and abyss between moderation and curation and censorship.

Censorship has been exercised truly only by a handful of regimes.

Even the most dictatorial regimes usually do their best to refrain from heavy handed outright censorship because they realize it's a pressure valve.

You know, people express their frustrations and aggression verbally if they don't do it on the street.

So, you know, with the exception of Nazi Germany, and by the way, Nazi Germany actually implemented censorship, effective censorship, only in 1938 when it was headed to war.

Until 1938, you could have read articles against the fear, against Adolf Hitler.

Actually, one of the major journalists inGermany had to leave Germany in 1939 because until 1939, he was free to write against Adolf Hitler.

I'm talking Hitler.

So there's a difference between censorship.


Now, what YouTube had done to my videos is censorship, not moderation, not curation.

Now moderation is when certain types of speech are prescribed because they can cause real life damage or damage or damage in reality to someone, for example, calling to murder someone is a problem and so on and so forth.

So certain types, of course, you can't shout fire in the theater. I mean, certain types of speech should be prescribed, obviously.

Where do we draw the line?

It's an open question where that's the reason we have Helsinki committees, ethics committees, why, why, I mean, YouTube should appoint a panel with 100 ethicists and philosophers and they will determine speech restrictions from time to time.

And these people should be utterly independent of YouTube.

It's inconceivable that algorithms, robots, or worse, teenagers from India would decide which videos should remain online and which should be deleted.

Inconceivable, of course, if you call for terrorism, if you call for murder, if you call for violence and mayhem and so on and so forth, it's one thing.

So moderation is about this, prescribed speech, but you must be very, very careful with this.

The slope is very slippery.

Curation is again an entirely different issue.

Curation is when you, when you select several items of information, coalesce them or combine them so that they yield, so the information yields knowledge. That's curation.

So you can take raw material and it's essentially taking raw material processing it so that it yields meta, meta information. It yields knowledge.

Now Facebook, I think, is doing the right thing.

When Facebook disagrees with one of your videos, they put a disclaimer and the disclaimer says, this may be wrong information. Please educate yourself.

Go to the WHO website, go here, go there. That's okay. That's legitimate. You know, Facebook is commenting on my video. I have no problem with that, but to take it down brutally, single handedly, by the way, without an appeal procedure, nothing.

Yeah.

A lot of people are having problems with YouTube about that, about how they feel it's kind of draconian, their censorship and moderation, and you can't really appeal to do anything.

And for people who have their whole livelihood on YouTube because they're monetized, a lot of them have been expressing, ironically enough, on YouTube about how they feel they need to go somewhere else because you're getting all your income from a place that can arbitrarily not just take on your videos, but just decide, you know what, we're going to take on your whole channel.

You go from, you know, when you lose a job, you can just go get another job, but it's not easy to just go get another monetized video channel like YouTube.

Listen, let me tell you the rest of my story.

They took down my, most of my videos and I made a video in which I said that COVID-19 is becoming a church.

It's dogmatic and you're not allowed to go against the party line or the church line.

There's a doctrine and if you violate the doctrine, etc.

So I was criticizing YouTube, not once in the video, did I talk about the pandemic?

Not once.

Not even for a second.

Did I talk about the pandemic, social distancing, nothing.

I was criticizing YouTube.

Is this legitimate speech?

I think it's legitimate speech.

It was taken down.

It was taken down and I had been warned that if I do this again, they will delete my channel.

This was a video criticizing YouTube's policies.

It's totally legitimate speech.

I mean, no one can say here that I was advocating against social distancing, endangering the population, whatever.

I was criticizing YouTube's censorship.

One thing that kind of worries me as we're talking about centralization and sort of algorithmic curation is it's not just, it's not just an error to YouTube.

It is, I mean, it's there to an extent on Facebook, although I would say Facebook is quite a bit more lax.

I have a friend, for example, that organizes trips for activists to go to Cuba who want to participate in the May Day Brigade.

So for people who are labor activists, people who are socialist activists and so forth, they would go to this event.

He was talking about it.

His Twitter account got nixed after he was tweeting about, hey, there's probably going to be a postponement because of the COVID crisis.

His account got terminated.

But it happens on YouTube as well as with your example.

But also now are, for example, if you want to have a relationship, you're now relegated for the most part to dating apps like Tinder and Bumble.

And the way that you communicate with people is now like you have to learn the language of these online platforms in order to have any success whatsoever.

And if you fail to pass those checks, like if you fail to pass those language checks, no one's going to talk to you.

So it's almost like we've created these places where you can be either terminated or completely overlooked and ignored.

And that's just a function of the system that we've submitted ourselves to.

That worries me a little bit.

It's a church.

You're describing the church.

It's a religion.

It's exactly what happens in religion.

There's a dogma.

If you don't have to hear it.

And there's jargon too.

Yeah.

Yes, exactly.

Church is a lingo, a slang, unique to it, a vocabulary that is idiosyncratic and occult, and arcane, arcane, you know, only the inner circle, no.

And for a very long time, for thousands of years, the priests had maintained a hold on this language.

It was Latin.

The vernacular was never used.

So the population won't understand what they're saying.

And so control of the language is critical.

And control of language structural elements, as Chomsky would tell you, is even more critical.

And YouTube and even more so Tinder, these are language structure platforms.

In other words, it's not true that you go to Tinder and you place your Photoshop photo and you face or whatever, and you upload your details, and that's it.

They dictate the flow of, they dictate how you present yourself.

You're not free to choose how to present yourself. They're rubrics. They are spaces, and these are confined and constricted spaces.

And they allow you to input only specific alphanumeric data.

So this is a language.

They force you to use a language which might be totally alien to you, to present yourself to the opposite sexy for whatever, to an eligible partner.

So they have begun to control the language.

Now, nowhere is this more obvious than in this pandemic, because in this pandemic, they are openly, blatantly, undisguisedly and unashamedly interfering with free speech. They're interfering with the language itself. They are not hiding it anymore. They are not hiding it anymore.

And that is the legacy of this pandemic, not the people who had died, which is lamentable.

But the real legacy of this pandemic is the fact that the social media platforms were forced out of hiding. They were forced to expose their true faces. The masks fell. These are able-monetizing commercial entities with ulterior motives, hidden agendas, and surreptitious and pernicious control of the very language that you're allowed to use. These are not free speech platforms by any extension of this loaded phrase.


Now, what are some of the...

Sorry, Tia, just wanted to ask one more question, because it's kind of down this path.

Back in 2010, you mentioned Google's chief economist a little while back, and I stuck a pin in that.

Google's chief economist, Hal Varian, delivered a speech to the American Economic Association, and he outlined what was going to be possible with this globally interconnected world where everything depends on computer-mediated transactions.

And out of the four bullet points that he listed, things like new forms of contract and being able to capture data, but he also mentioned that there are going to be ways that companies, visual companies, can now perform psychological experiments. They can perform controlled experiments with their users.

So it kind of sounds to me like we're in the middle of this grand experiment.

What is the outcome that you see if nothing changes?

I don't think it's...

I don't think anyone...

There's a committee that says, okay, let's conduct the experiment number 16 out of the manual.

But I do think big data is a form of continuous experimentation with huge datasets.

These datasets are supposedly anonymized. That's rubbish. Anyone who knows information technology knows that it's utter rubbish. There's no such thing as anonymization, end of story.

But okay, let's assume they're anonymized, and they're analyzed in ways.

And by training, I'm a mathematical physicist, so I know the math. And I can tell you that the math used in big data is the same math we use in social and psychological experimentation, in studies. It's a math that creates profiles. Profiles people.

And the same math that's used in the FBI when they profile people. These are the same techniques.

So they take these big datasets and they profile people.

And of course, in one way to look at it, it's like conducting a massive, hitherto unprecedented series of experiments on people.

But the difference, I think, between...

That's very sinister to describe it like this, because people voluntarily participate. It's not that they are coerced into participation. They voluntarily participate.

By now, everyone and his mother knows that his data is processed, used, packaged, and sold, brokered, and sold. Everyone knows there's no privacy, that you're surrendering your personal data in return for some free services.

So everyone knows that.

By now, no one can claim innocence or...

Something that I think is happening is that we're talking about churches and cults and how a big common thing in things that are messianic or cult-like is having a unique or impenetrable jargon or a jargon that kind of signals you belong.

I think Andre was kind of getting it.

Yeah, okay.

And Andre was saying how even when people date now, you kind of have to signal that you are plugged into the internet.

And I was next to a couple at a bar once, and they seem to have just met through Tinder. And this is the first date.

And then the guy said something that I think was meant to be cheeky. And I remember the girl said, oh my God, you're such a troll. And she used this internet term, troll, to describe this guy. And I find it interesting that it seemed to her, she was younger than me, it seemed to her that reality was just live internet, the way they were talking.

I just heard the nature of reality and reality.

Being blurred.

And another way I kind of see it too, and this is one of your favorite examples that I've seen pop up a lot, is the girl who eats bananas on YouTube, where people just watch this girl eat bananas.

But there's a lot of sites like that where you just watch a girl eat. There's a girl who just eats like lobster, there's that one. There's Twitch where you watch other people play video games.

But then, on top of that, there's this new site that I saw, right?

There's these different sites, and they're even starting to mutate and combine with each other, right?

For example, there's OnlyFans, which is this kind of crowdsource pornography kind of site, where you follow a girl who's like an influencer, and you become her subscriber, you pay some money, and you get access to her pornography.

And it's a huge moneymaker. It's the biggest social media site out there right now.

It's actually not an intended pornography, but you get to follow her into the bathroom and the toilet.

But in some of them, I actually do just openly advertise themselves as pornography.

Yeah.

Yeah.

So, on OnlyFans, OnlyFans is specifically for sex work, right?

Now, this was interesting.

Some people were saying, why is OnlyFans making so much money, and people are becoming millionaires off of OnlyFans, when there's all this free porn?

I was reading and watching articles and documentaries about OnlyFans, and what they said was, the girl said, a big part of our day is messaging lonely people. It's not just looking at our naked pictures.

And they interviewed some of the power users of OnlyFans, and they said, yeah, I was just alone by myself watching porn and masturbating, and I feel worse after.

But the fact that I could message this girl back and forth that I masturbate to made it feel more like a relationship.

So, what she was saying is, I'm not really selling porn. What light is when we're saying, we're actually selling the relationship, and the porn is kind of like a decoy. It's like something on top of that, but if they just wanted nakedness, if they just wanted pornographic acts, they could get better and more graphic stuff on all the tube sites.

And that's something that I'm seeing happening a lot with social media is, I call them like a friendstitute, like a combination of friend and prostitutes, where people are just selling or prostituting like their friendship.

I want someone to have a meal with, to the point that I'm willing to watch someone on YouTube eating, and pretend that this person on the other side of the table from me, I'm willing to be in a group DM all day, and pretend that this is some kind of coffee house salon where people are talking, and now they have sites that combine different types of friendstivities.

For example, there's a site that I just saw where you can get an e-girl, like an Onlyfans type of virtual girlfriend, sexy girl, and enlist her as a video game playing partner.

So you go on this site, and the two of you virtually connect, and then the two of you together will play a video game while you're talking to each other.

So now this site creates this virtual environment where you're playing next to your fake girlfriend on the couch, a video game.

So this is basically like they're using the pornographic aesthetic as like an on-ramp to parasocial relationships.

Yeah.

That's important from Japan. They invented these kind of approaches.

In Japan, about 35% of all people under the age of 35 don't have any social contact with anyone, opposite sex, same sex, never mind. They are totally isolated at home.

So you have girlfriends for rent, and you can spend an actual physical day with them, or you can do it only virtually.

So she's your girlfriend for a day or for an hour.

So you pay per hour to have a girlfriend.

Japan is the name of the game.

You want to look, you want to see the future?

Look to Japan.

Yes.

It's very much the canary in the coal mine.

Sorry?

No, I was saying, yeah, yeah.

I think there are four, there's a confluence of four trends here.

The first one is very profound.

Text is an aberration. The vast majority of human history has been spent with visuals.

In Altamira Cave, in Spain, you don't find text on the wall. You find paintings.

The visuals are the natural mode of communication among humans.

And there has been an aberration, there's been a deviance, there's been an accident of history for 4,000 or 5,000 years, which is nothing in terms of history, where we've been using text.

And then it's over.

Now it's over. Text is dead.

And we reverted to form. We regressed to pretextual, to the pretextual age.

We are back to images.

So today, most searches start on YouTube, not on Google. And that's why, of course, Google bought YouTube.

So this is a tectonic shift from text to visuals, back to visuals, I should say.


The second thing is the rise of voyeurism, not exhibitionism, because the people who exhibit themselves, they do it for money, or they do it for ulterior motives.

But the rise of voyeurism.

We are so atomized that we are not calibrated anymore. We are out of whack. We are, there's no inner compass. We are totally disoriented. We are depersonalized, we are derealized, we are dissociative. We are discontinuous.

So we need calibration from the outside, and this is accomplished via voyeurism.

We get to peep, get a look at other people's lives, and it helps us to calibrate somehow. It's a very critical function, which we used to achieve by participating in church activities in the parish, or by meeting up with friends in a pub, or by talking to our family members.

We don't have any of this. All social institutions have vanished, literally vanished, literally vanished, not collapsed. Vanished, gone, nema, dead, niente, no family, no community, no church, no nothing. We are all alone, and so we are trying to calibrate ourselves via voyeurism.

Then there's the rise of the ersatz over the ert.

Imitations are much more cherished and valued.

I mean, it's the rise of the imitation.

Imitations are more valued than originals.

And this started, of course, with photography, and, and Benjamin's famous work about the reproduction of art.

In photography, you can't tell which is the original and which is the copy. Original and copy became the same.

And what is the internet, if not a one huge photography laboratory?

It's all about photography.

So imitations are now more valued than originals.

And why is that?

Because imitations can be, imitations are reproducible. They can be copied and, and therefore they have a higher monetary value.

In other words, if you have a single Picasso, only one person can own this Picasso, or one museum can own this Picasso.

But if you make a lithography of Picasso, you can sell 5,000 copies. And if you make a photograph of the Picasso painting, you can sell a million copies or you can distribute it freely to a hundred million people.

In other words, imitations and copies have a much higher intrinsic monetary value.

And in a thoroughly commercialized world, imitation became much more important than originals.

Originals became an excuse to make imitations.

So I call it the rise of the exists.

So it's a small step from this to having an imitation girlfriend, an imitation friend, a copy of a neighbor, and so on and so forth.

And of course, that's precisely where we're going.

We are going to, to a world where there will be holographic pornography, inflatable sex symbols, androids, humanoids, and so on and so forth.

I mean, we very shortly, we are talking like, I think, 10, 15 years, 20, maybe, if people are very slow and the pandemic continues.

And there's a backlash against this.

But ironically, the backlash takes place only in impersonal spaces.

So where all over the place, there is a rise of the copy, a rise of the imitation, which was predicted by Benjamin, where all over the world, this is happening in some subspaces.

There is a rise of the authentic, a backlash against imitation, against copies, and a support of the authentic and the original, but in very curious subspaces, for example, in pornography.

In pornography, people pay a premium, literally, by the way, people pay money in pornography to observe real life people, not actors, but authentic experiences.

So there are websites, for example, of cuckolds, where people pay subscription to watch cuckolds or swingers in action. And they have this tag, verified amateur, you know, amateurism, authenticity, variability, the real McCoy, the real thing, they are right there.

There's a backlash in support of all these, but in spaces which are totally impersonal, like pornography spaces.

And like, for example, Twitter, Twitter is a highly impersonal space. No one posts really personal things on Twitter, Twitter is your persona, government called it persona, Twitter is your persona, you called it, you know, it's your public figure. So Twitter is an impersonal space.

But on Twitter, you have these verified tags, you know, these V, like you're the real person.

Yeah. I have one of those.

And these impersonal spaces, authenticity, and real life prevail, but only where you are not yourself.

But something, ironically, that happens, though, is that whenever any mechanism comes to create this, these little breaths of fresh air authenticity, the system kind of games it and then degrades it.

So for example, on Twitter, that verified tag, that blue check has been it's been getting more and more lax, because now there's people who are just like brands, or people who are just like internet figures without the real names, you know, it'll just be like an anime picture and a fake name, but the person is very popular.

So the kind of like a celebrity, and they're starting to give those people these verified tags, which to me kind of defeats the purpose, because I'm like, okay, now you're giving it to like characters, you know, these aren't even like a face and a real name, this is someone who's anonymous and has an anime picture, but they have 300,000 followers.

So I know it's like, like something about the system keeps moving things back toward inauthenticity, like, like it tries to co-opt it and, and bring it back to that.

Well, I think the explanation is very simple.

Authenticity implies idiosyncrasy implies uniqueness, you cannot homogenize. You cannot commodify, you cannot package, you cannot broker, and you cannot sell idiosyncratic unique people, you need to standardize, standardize the, when you buy rice, you don't buy rice one grain at a time, you know, you buy rice, you buy like, you know, so the aim of this, the aim of this, I mean, they're like, they're like bulldozers, they're like, what do you call these machines that straighten the asphalt, new asphalt on the roads?

That's the esteem, a steamroller, a steamroller, a steamroller, they steamroll over people, they commodify them, they render them one dimensional, and that's Herbert Macusey, it's phenomenal work.

And it was predicted by several outstanding thinkers, Christopher Lash in the culture of narcissism, 1974, Guy Debord, a French thinker in his magnificent book, The Society of Spectacle, very difficult to read, but worth every minute of effort.

Can you read that for the last six months now?

Yeah, I keep putting off reading it, I have to read it.

Yeah, you must read it.

It's Althusser, Althusser created the concept of interpolation, which essentially is about steamrolling.

So if I could say just one more, one more book in case people are listening and writing down books.

But there's one by Daniel Borstein called The Image, that I think is a very good one too.

Librarian of Congress, you should know.

So this is it.

And when you stand out, your head is chopped off, off with your head, you know?

Something about the book, The Image I just thought of, I think very much applies to the space is the image had this part of the book where it talks about hero versus celebrity.

And it differentiates between the two by saying a hero is somebody who became a legend or whatever through the act of distinguishing themselves by an actual action.

And a hero doesn't just have to be someone who like saves people or a policeman or a military person or a general, whatever.

But you could have heroes in the realm of even artistic expression or science.

Like, you know, for example, Einstein would be a hero because he accomplished something, he innovated something.

Ray Hovind could be considered more of a hero than a celebrity at first because he created works of lasting value.

But celebrities are more known for being known.

And one of the things that Borstein said is that media, he was talking about television at the time.

But what's interesting is everything he was talking about the book is amplified by social media.

So the book still works. You have to imagine the book on steroids or multiplied exponentially.

But he was saying that media converts even heroes to celebrities.

So for example, Charles Lindbergh did something that people considered heroic as far as flying the plane.

But once the media got hold of him, all it talked about was where he was today, what he ate, gossip about different things.

The Lindbergh baby was a big news story.

Media converts the hero to the celebrity.

It has no space for heroes, it just has space for known people, people who are known for being known and people that you have to compulsively try to tear down to your level or whatever.

Even in things like the tabloids, a big section is stars, they're just like us.

But that never existed with heroes.

Heroes had epics written about them.

It wasn't about trying to make the hero relatable.

The point of the hero was that they weren't relatable, but now in social media, we've taken the celebrity and even degraded it even more with the influencer.

And to me, I think the gap between the influencer and the celebrity is probably equal to or even more than the gap from the celebrity to the hero.

And you talk about this a lot, about the rise of the well-known person online, the end of the gatekeepers, and now people are being rewarded for just being known on the internet, even if they have no real expertise.

This is one point of divergence between my thinking and Boerstein's, and I'm more along the lines of the Boer and other post-Marxists, like Althusser and so on.

I think what has happened is we have transitioned from a romantic view of the hero, because this is a romantic view of the hero.

We have transitioned from a romantic view of the hero to a mundane or pedestrian view of the hero.

So I think that celebrities are known not for being known, but they are known for living life.

In other words, life became a heroic effort.


If I could say one quick thing.

You actually don't diverge from Boerstein there, because that's one of his elements of being a celebrity, is that they're mundane, like they were discovered in this place or they do.

So I just want to add that you actually are in line with Boerstein on that.

Yeah, Boerstein mentions living life, but I'm going further than that.

What I'm saying is, celebrities are known for the act of living.

In other words, they are actors.

They act.

There is activity going on, exactly like Hercules, who killed the Gorgon or whatever.

And the reason they become celebrities is because they live life heroically.

Their lives are bigger than life, but they are still recognizable lives.

The romantic heroes were the kind of people where you would have said, I could never be like that.

I could never write a symphony.

I could never kill a monster.

I could never lead armies to battle, like Napoleon.

I could never negative heroes, like Adolf Hitler.

I could never kill six million Jews.

I could never do this.

They were inhuman.

They were nonhuman.

They were godlike and indeed in ancient Greece and later in ancient Rome, republican Rome.

Heroes were half gods, demigods, because they were not human.

There's very little human in them.


What we have, the revolution is that we are deifying humanity.

We have deified the mundane.

We have rendered life itself heroic.

And honestly, in today's world, you need to be a hero to survive.

It is so complicated, so alienated, so dangerous, so everything that it does take heroism to survive.

The typical person in today's world undergoes more traumas, visits more places, travels further and is exposed to more informationall his ancestors combined.

That's not me. That's Alvin Toffler.

So you need to be a hero just to survive.

That's one thing.

Second thing, there's a process that I call malignant egalitarianism.

Malignant egalitarianism is the great equalizer.

The great equalizer is a smartphone.

You have a smartphone. You are as wise and knowledgeable as Wikipedia. You are as much an expert as any other expert because you can search Google. You can Google, you know?

Everyone is equal now. There are no authorities, no experts, no hierarchies, no superior knowledge. Even life experience is pretty meaningless because it's pulled and you can access it.

The fact that everyone was given a portal or access to a portal, like in Star Trek, you know, has rendered everyone in their minds at least equal to each other.

So we have malignant egalitarianism.

And so, take, for example, the serial killer.

I think the serial killer is the epitome and combination of all these trends.

The serial killer could be you. You could be a serial killer.

So it's an equal opportunity profession and the serial killer, serial killer's life is his story.

So in this sense, he's a celebrity.

And of course, we all, all remember the movie Born Killers.

Yes.

Yes.

And so the media plugs into this, glamorizes the serial killer, but not as a hero, not as a new Hercules, Hercules or something glamorizes him as one of us who's made it.

Serial killers end up with their own entries in Wikipedia.


What else can you aspire to in life?

It's the height of human achievement and human accomplishment.

So you sacrifice a few people doing this, happens, you know?

Something you said about malignant egalitarianism, there's times where I'll be talking about a subject that grew up with like, I feel like I'm an expert on that, you know, it could be a hobby that I've had for two decades or something. And I'd be arguing with somebody and this person clearly is just going running to Wikipedia and dropping stuff on Wikipedia or Googling stuff. You know, like this happens with Andre too, like someone will, someone will clearly be finding, we're Googling and finding studies on the spot and trying to drop them in. And then I'll have to tell them that study doesn't say what you think it says. It actually says the opposite. And I'll tell them the part of the study, because it's a study I read before and I'm like, no, the study is actually saying the opposite. You clearly just found this study or you clearly just went to Wikipedia. And like, why can you just admit that you don't know what you're talking about? Why are you insistent? And I think it's because it's like you said, this is idea that it's not really anti-intellectual so much as a degrading of the intellectual space.

People actually do want to be intellectual.

No, people confuse appearance with substance and they confuse it not only there.

But in this particular case, appearance is the access. People confuse access with content. They think if they have access, they have the content and this is appearance and substance.

But I want to tell you a story, an amusing story.

25, well, I find it amusing. 25 years ago, I came up with a new mental health diagnosis, inverted narcissist. It's my invention.

So I came up with the diagnosis. I characterized it. I typified it. I wrote all the criteria.

The criteria I use today for this diagnosis are mine. I wrote every single word. I wrote whole books about this particular diagnosis.

It is now recognized as a new name. Nevermind. It's called narcissist codependent, but it's the same diagnosis.

So I'm the father and the mother of this diagnosis.

To this very day, I'm getting emails, Sam Vaknin.

You may know classic narcissism, but you have no idea what is an inverted narcissist.

Are you there?

Yeah.

Yeah.

You have no idea what an inverted narcissist is.

You don't need to go far.

Go to Amazon and look up my book on inverted narcissism.

There is a review there by a psychologist from Scandinavia somewhere. And he says, Sam Vaknin's problem is that he has no acquaintance with this diagnosis. He needs to learn about it.

And I get hundreds of comments on my YouTube videos on the diagnosis saying that I don't know what it means. And they are referring me to Richard Grannon and Melania Tonya Evans for me to learn what is inverted narcissism so that next time I make a video, I don't commit these foolish mistakes.

And you predate all those people because I have been following you for a while.

That is very funny.

I find that amusing.

It's not just that predating.

It's also like he created the concept, so people are trying to correct him on a concept he created.

And represents another problem with social media and so on.

There is no time. It's timeless.

I was just going to get to that.

I was trying to get there.

Yeah.

Oh, yeah.

It's like Lennon said, there are weeks where decades happen.

But it seems like with social media, it does two things at once.

It's like it compresses time and then expands it, compresses in the sense that it's really hard to follow everything that's happening all the time.

There's just no way to absorb all the information that's being spat at you when you scroll through your Twitter feed or your Facebook feed.

But at the same time, it's like the way that everything is set up is to almost expand everything backwards like a friend of mine, when he makes posts about black boys and the kind of child abuse they faced in the household and that sort of thing, people will go and find a tweet that he made like six or seven years ago or something and try to say that you don't even care about that.

You're a misogynist.

And it's like this is something that he said, but it's like you can reach back to something that somebody said offhandedly six or seven years ago, take it completely out of context and say, this is who you are.

Many things are not dated even.

For example, you go online, if you look up inverted narcissist, which you can do after the show, you will find my article and a hundred other articles or a thousand other articles.

Now some of them are dated, but vast majority, including my article, the original article that defined the diagnosis, the number one article, patient zero, my article is not dated.

So they go there, they see articles by me, by 10 others and they like the others nine.

So they attack me because they dislike me.

So it's like to do with the content and it's malignant egalitarianism.

Because I found 10 articles online, none of them dated, it makes me an expert, you know?

Yep.

It's simultaneity. You'll call this synchronicity, but it's a bad type of synchronicity because timelines are very crucial, intellectual timelines, intellectual pedigree, and it's very crucial.

Well, I was, for example, I was watching a video with a couple of friends of mine. It was a Michael Parente lecture from way back in like the 1980s.

And one of my friends didn't like a thing that he said. He was answering a question about states and patriotism. And he was asked a question by a woman in the audience. And the friend of mine didn't like the way that he answered the question because he wasn't very gender progressive.

But I'm like, yeah, but you also have to keep in mind that this is the end of the second wave hitting into the third wave of feminism. There were different kinds of conversations happening back then. There were different things that he was like, there were different countervailing forces in society. He's responding to.

He's not just answering a question on gender and imperialism, but it's like you can just pluck those moments out of time and then apply whatever our current understandings are to them because nothing has any present presentism.

But yeah, but the thing about the internet with time in general is it's very paradoxical is internet is very ephemeral, like everything just kind of evaporates and nothing is built to last.

But at the same time, paradoxically, nothing goes away either.

So it's like the things that you want to go away are always in danger of being rediscovered, resurfacing. Like once you send it to the internet, people say you can never take it back, it's going to be out there forever.

But on the flip side, things that you actually want to keep, things that you actually want to find again, somebody you can never find them.

Yeah, it's hard to hold on to anything.

Yeah, so it's hard to get rid of anything, but it's also hard to hold on to it at the same time.

Especially on social media, that's the case.

But you see, this is not new.

For example, the entirety of ancient Greek thinking has vanished and was rediscovered only during the Middle Ages, a thousand years later, thousands, obviously. So the Library of Alexandria burned down, I mean, 10,000 manuscripts without any copies got lost.

Human knowledge has always been ephemeral.

On the contrary, maybe today with digital copies, for example, Internet Archive, the Wayback Machine, maybe with digital copies, we actually have a much higher level of preservation than ever, ever in human history, ever.

To this very day, we are missing 90% of the works of Euripides. This would have never happened on the internet, would have never happened on the internet, of that I'm sure.

Well, yeah, this is kind of weird. Like it would never happen on the internet, but strangely at the same time, it would be kind of cheapened, retained less, if that makes sense.

Like we have everything now, but somehow it's all kind of diluted at the same time. Things are old news, like nothing's allowed to be timeless on the internet. Like it's kept, it's preserved, but it's immediately old news, it's forgotten while it's kept, if that makes sense.

It's an issue known as discoverability, how you tell apart quality from, you know, levels of quality, quantity overwhelms quality, trash. There is the gems and so on and so forth.

So this, for the first time in human history, there's a problem of discoverability because there are no gatekeepers, there are no quality inspectors, there are no quality standards. Anyone can publish on Amazon Kindle and everyone does 3.7 million books last year, one year.

And you know something that's very interesting, and you brought this up, you stop on one of your videos, is with this kind of lack of gatekeepers and everyone can be heard, it incentivizes topics that are easy to become experts in, because if, and this rise of influencers, where now even our public intellectuals are basically plucked off of Twitter because they have a whole bunch of followers, like this big authors now who got their start by message boards or Twitter, if you were somebody who wants to become like a celebrity intellectual, such a thing exists, you can't just start physics today, by the time you're ready for prime time, you know, who knows what's going to happen, if you want the instant gratification that the internet gets you, and it's what likes are, it's a instant gratification addiction and everything, it's easier to just become an expert in comic books, read a bunch of Wikipedia stuff, pop culture, etc.

So I noticed that the type of intellectuals that we're getting through the rise of influencers, it's elevated, yeah, white and shadow, easy to master knowledge, things that you can be ready to talk about after six months of cramming on or six hours of cramming on again, again, I don't think it's a new phenomenon, actually, in the 1950s, very few people could become physicists.

So the majority of them became experts on football, or astrologers, or they read the tea leaves, the aspiration to be an expert on something, even if it's only on your wife, expert on something, a niche, where you can claim a superior position intellectually, that aspiration is universal and has been with us forever, what the internet has done, it has made it more visible, but I don't think it has changed the dynamics.

I do think it's rewarded more, because even if you did become over net expert in something, how could you get your name known?

But because someone had to approve you, or not, I'm done, I was saying someone had to approve you, someone had to publish you, like now you can publish yourself.

No, I think the rewards have been different.

In the past, if you were an expert on football, you went to the local pub, and there were 20 ardent fans of yours. And you know, each one of them by name, and you were your daughter married, the son of one of them, you're intermarried, and it was close knit community, and the type of reward was very different.

Today, you're an expert on football, you have 300,000 subscribers on YouTube, you don't know a single one of them.

So in the past, it was quality, the reward was quality, the quality of the interaction, emotions involved, community, support, etc.

And today, the only reward is quantitative.

How many followers you have? How many fans? How many subscribers?


So there's been a shift from quality to quantity, but not a shift in basic human motivation to be called an expert on something.

And because I said that a tiny percentage can become physicists, all the others go into astrology or meopathy, football, and 5g and alien reptiles.

I have one last question, and then I'll let Andrei ask any last questions he has.

But this is an open ended one.

And I thought this was probably the most disturbing thing I heard you say.

And I want to know how much of it was hyperbolic and how much of it was true, but you brought the idea that people becoming so conditioned by the internet and used and more used to unreality than reality that we end up evolving to fundamentally incompatible psychologies in society of people who can't really relate to each other like internet conditioned people and non internet conditioned people.

And if I'm paraphrasing what you're saying wrong in any way, please feel free to correct me.

But if you could talk about that for a bit.

I compared social media to self-limiting viruses. You must admit it was prescient of me.

So I compared it to a pandemic, in effect, explicitly, I compared it to a pandemic in one of my interviews with Richard Graham. And I said that most pandemics involve viruses which are self-limiting.

I even gave example of the coronavirus in one of the interviews. And I said that I suspect therefore that social media will plateau and then growth, the growth factor will diminish and they will stop.

At that point, there will be a group of people who are addicted to social media and conditioned by them.

By definition, yes.

If there's no growth, then there's a finite number of people and these people are addicted and conditioned and all the other people will not be exposed to social media because social media will not be growing and the growth will stop.

So many, many, for example, the newborn, 130 million newborn every year. So new generations and so on.

The hype of social media will not have reached them because social media have plateaued.

And so these people will be, maybe they will have other things, maybe they will have holographic sex or some other addictions or types of conditioning, but not social media.

So I said that social media, there will be social media conditioned and addicted people and non-social media people and these people will have very little in common because social media is a self-sustaining, self-containing, self-sufficient, solipsistic, enclosed, closed system.

In other words, social media is reality.

I mean, they are reality. This is a new type of reality.

And so these people who are conditioned and addicted will inhabit another reality than people who are not conditioned and addicted.

And these two reality will not intermesh. They will not interact.

And so the species will break down into people who function in one type of reality and people who function in another type of reality.

And no, I don't think it's hype by any, I think you can see this happening today.

I have a quick follow up on that based on what you just said. Who do you think will be the out group?

Because I think most people listening will assume that the people pathologized by social media are going to be these people who are on the outs of society and unable to integrate.

But I fear that actually the people pathologized by social media are actually going to be the ones in control or inherit the earth, so to speak, and it'll actually be the opposite.

The people not pathologized will be kind of not being able to understand the world around them and feeling like they're on the outside moving in.

I'm looking in.

So I'm curious what, which group we think will actually be.

Again, you have the answer today.

Access to digital technologies is much lower among minorities, including blacks, among in developing countries, vast worlds of Africa have no access to the internet at all.

So I think you're right. The elite will be the people who use social media on a regular basis and whose reality resides exclusively in social media.

These will be the new elites and all the disenfranchised and all the poor, the slaves, the new slaves, because I postulate that we are transitioning from capitalism to neo-feudalism.

And so the new slaves in this neo-feudalistic society or civilization, global civilization, these new slaves will have limited access to digital technologies. And if they do have access, won't know what to do with this access.

And because social media will have plateaued and will have become a lot less inclusive, by the way, because they will demand, for example, verification of ID or because they will be regulated or because there will be, you know, I think there are signs that social media are closing down.

They are no longer the libertarian, the libertarian free for all wild west platforms they used to be.

So I think there will be a big chunk of population with no access to digital technologies, especially with emphasis on social media, there will be the slaves and there will be the masters and the masters will have access, of course, to social media and will leverage it for internal communication, coordination, and if you want conspiracies.

So, Andre, you have any last questions?

Actually the halfway answer the question I was going to ask, which is, is there any value to removing yourself from the space?

But it seems like you're saying that if you remove yourself from the space, then you also remove yourself from the privilege that comes along with being that gentry class.

Not now.

Right now, everyone in this dog is on social media. Not right now, but once social media become more of a club, so I think they're transitioning to a club model.

Until now, they were like the wild west, like, you know, but they will gradually close down, they were gradually limit access, they are already removing members, quite a few.

So I think ultimately this will become elite clubs, elite, relatively speaking, an elite club of a billion people is not exactly elite and not exactly a club, but that's the closest equivalent I can think of.

They will become an elite club and it's a tool, it's an instrument.

Of course, when you give up an instrument, never mind its nature, you are underprivileged, you're disenfranchised, you're underprivileged, you're disempowered.

Yeah, and it's true there are positives to it because I book a lot of guests through social media that otherwise are hard for me to find their emails, yourself being an example, I DM'd you on Twitter because I had trouble finding your email through just Google.

So yeah, I mean, that's one of the things that makes it hard to give up is that you are giving up legitimate positive uses of it, you know, it's just hard to isolate the positive uses without getting sucked into the toxicity and that's my problem.

That's how it was designed, that's how any drug pusher would tell you, that's how you do it.

You give free cocaine for a while, then you hook the guy.

Same with gamblers, professional gamblers, they let you win a few hands, then they're all over you.

Same with Twitter, Twitter gives you DM, direct messaging, that's a feature, features the Twitter and makes nothing.

I mean, it doesn't benefit Twitter's bottom line, but it's the lure, it's what keeps you coming.

Yeah, it's definitely the stickiest part for me is the ease of messaging there and messaging people that you don't already know, so yeah, for sure.

Thanks so much, Sam, it was great, appreciate it, yeah, enjoy the rest of your day, hopefully we'll talk again, but thanks for spending your time with us and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Thank you both of you, stay healthy.

Okay.

You too.

We'll do it.

All right...............................

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Internet: The Narcissist's Hunting Haunt and Playground (Gazeta Polska)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the relationship between social media and narcissism, arguing that social media platforms were designed to be addictive and encourage aggression. He explains that the need to be seen is a natural human need, but it can become malignant and pathological when people become addicted to external feedback that lacks information. Vaknin also shares his own approach to using social media in a non-narcissistic way, which involves disseminating only information and eliminating any comments that have a personal angle. Finally, he argues that social media was never meant to be used for personal communication, and that it can be deleterious and dangerous to personal interaction.


Four Steps: Change Yourself to Change the World (with Assc Direct)

The guest advises people to reestablish meaningful connections with real people to combat the depersonalization and derealization caused by social media. He suggests starting small with five interactions a day and gradually building up. He also advises trusting judiciously and creating a distributed network of trust. Lastly, he recommends discarding beliefs and behaviors that are not truly one's own and focusing on the essence of oneself.


My War in Ukraine

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses his involvement in the war in Ukraine, including his resignation from a visiting professorship in Russia and his volunteering to help Ukraine with mental health treatment. He also criticizes Russia's actions in the war and calls out conspiracy theorists who parrot Kremlin propaganda. Vaknin acknowledges the risks he faces for speaking out against Russia but believes it is important to do so. He concludes by calling on everyone to stand firm against evil and genocide.


RED FLAGS Financial Abuse by Narcissists and Psychopaths

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses various types of financial frauds and scams, including charity scams, banking scams, debt relief scams, Nigerian scams, grandparent scams, and more. He emphasizes the importance of being cautious with online communication and not giving out personal information. Vaknin also warns about the dangers of cryptocurrency scams and the potential for artificial intelligence to be used in future scams. He advises victims of scams that the chances of recovering their money are low and suggests reporting the fraud to law enforcement agencies.


Social Media Turn Sinister: We, Orphaned Adolescents, Should Rebel

Professor Sam Vaknin criticizes YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for their censorship and manipulation of content, claiming they are fostering confirmation bias and undermining free speech. He argues that these platforms are monopolies that should be regulated and broken up. Vaknin also accuses social media platforms of infantilizing users and promoting narcissism, while suppressing dissenting voices. He warns that the suppression of free speech could lead to violence and calls for peaceful resistance against social media platforms.


Take Your Life Back, Own It

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses relationships and the importance of distinguishing between real and pseudo-relationships. He emphasizes the need for maintaining individuality and taking responsibility for one's choices and decisions. He also provides seven rules for self-preservation and shares his perspective on happiness and life. The professor concludes with advice on embracing change and living a life worth remembering.


Warning Young Folks: Silence When We Are All Gone

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses his concerns about the younger generation, noting their lack of emotions, meaningful relationships, and intellectual pursuits. He believes that the focus on action over emotion and cognition is leading to a culture of nihilism and disconnection. Vaknin argues that positive emotions should drive actions, as negative emotions lead to destructive outcomes. He concludes that the current state of the younger generation is a mental suicide, and that a shift in focus towards emotions, cognition, and meaningful connections is necessary for a better future.


Narcissistic Buffet Answering Your Questions ( Well, Sort Of)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses various topics in this section, including his message of "nothingness," the fear of success, shadow banning, the Hallow Effect, and the controversy surrounding IQ tests. He also talks about the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study, which revealed that traumatic life experiences during childhood and adolescence are much more common than previously thought and linked childhood trauma with health and social problems in adulthood. The study also found that addiction and obesity are solutions, not problems, and that child abuse is the greatest medical issue in the world. The professor emphasizes the importance of protecting children from adverse influences and the critical role of mothers in personal development and growth in the first two years of life.


Anti-vaxxers: Mentally Ill Victimhood Conspiracists (References in Description)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the ethical obligation to get vaccinated and criticizes anti-vaccine sentiments. He delves into the psychology of anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theories, and victimhood movements, attributing these beliefs to mental illness and grandiosity. He emphasizes the dangers of conspiracy theories and the need for reliable sources of information. Vaknin also highlights the prevalence of mental illness and the impact of conspiracy beliefs on society.


Ukraine: From Invasion to PTSD (Newsweek, Part 1)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the psychological impact of the war in Ukraine, highlighting the fact that trauma is a systemic event that affects everything from an individual's ability to think and trust others to their ability to sleep. He notes that PTSD and complex trauma are both likely to be prevalent in Ukraine, with at least 3 million people expected to have PTSD and 25% of the population displaying post-traumatic effects. Vaknin suggests that a community approach to healing trauma is necessary, leveraging the resilience of those who were not affected by trauma to support those who were. He also proposes the creation of a Peace Corps of mental health experts from around the world to help Ukraine recover.

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