Their Medium’s Message: Received and Rejected

Recently, I performed a rote act I once did reasonably well. The result was startling: my handwriting looked like the chicken scratching of a disinterested doctor. Initially, I attributed my scribbling to my advancing years. Later that day, however, my wife asked me for a phone number of a family member. I had to consult my phone for the digits. It was then I realized the font of my atrophy. It was not advancing age. It was advancing technology.

In a previous article I asked if social media might be causing “The Murder of Wisdom?” It seems it is doing its damnedest to murder human learning and, hence, wisdom. This conclusion was formed, in part, by Marshall McLuhan’s famous phrase, “the medium is the message.” To elucidate this point, I cited Mark Federman, chief strategist of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, who remarked how: 

Whenever we create a new innovation—be it an invention or a new idea—many of its properties are fairly obvious to us . . . But it is also often the case that, after a long period of time and experience with the new innovation, we look backward and realize that there were some effects of which we were entirely unaware at the outset. We sometimes call these effects ‘unintended consequences,’ although ‘unanticipated consequences’ might be a more accurate description.

Our virtual world’s medium had a message for me and I over time succumbed. The evidence is my degraded penmanship and diminished ability to recall phone numbers. In these deleterious alterations of my mental acumen and physical competencies, I know I am not alone. I also know I am not alone in being less than pleased by these “unanticipated consequences” of our increasingly virtual world.

But there are those devoted to the burgeoning virtual world’s message and its prophesied “improvements” upon humanity. One of the shills of the impending advent of the virtual world’s conquest of reality is the World Economic Forum’s pet futurist and principal mesmerist of the masses, Yuval Noah Harari.

Regarding the adverse effects upon people of the medium’s debilitating message, to date Harari sounds less like Jules Verne than Alfred E. Newman: “What, me worry?” During a podcast with Tom Bilyeu, a blasé Harari gave us proles his prophetic riff on “the learn to code” meme: we are going to have to relearn how to see and walk, among other normal human functions, in virtual reality. As reported by Robert Kraychik in Breitbart, Harari asserted:

Maybe the most important quality to survive and flourish in [the] 21st century is to have mental flexibility—not just to keep learning and changing again and again—[but] also to keep letting go . . . Part of what makes it difficult to learn new things [is] that we hold on. 

. . .But what does it mean that I have to relearn how to see and walk? As virtual reality improves . . . increasingly, it’s likely that [there] will be many more activities shifting from the physical biological world that we know into a new reality—a virtual reality—which has different physical and biological laws.

So, while Barack Obama just wanted you to stop clinging to your “guns or religion,” the WEF and Harari want you to “let go” of reality itself. Who will be making these “different physical and biological”—let alone governing laws—of this new, virtual reality? In a 2016 article by the Guardian’s science editor, Ian Sample, Harari provides an answer:

And make it a part of the political agenda, not only the scientific agenda. This is something that shouldn’t be left to scientists and private corporations. They know a lot about the technical stuff, the engineering, but they don’t necessarily have the vision and the legitimacy to decide the future course of humankind.

Ironically, despite (or is it because?) of the fact Harari is a historian, such words serve as a balm for the historically ignorant. The proper, limited role of government is as the servant of sovereign citizens—a government’s legitimate existence is suffered by popular consent to protect the individual’s God-given rights, including a person’s right to determine and pursue their happiness as they see fit. Democidal regimes, such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, that believed they had the power—let alone the legitimacy—to “decide the future course of humankind” have proven capable only of killing millions of human beings during their delusional, criminal reigns. 

For those who have learned the lessons of history, we are assured that, this time, it is all for the best. The best being the elitists of the WEF. As Sample notes of Harari’s 2017 book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, “Its cover states simply: ‘What made us sapiens will make us gods.’”

But “us” is not “all.”

Harari calls it ‘the rise of the useless class’ and ranks it as one of the most dire threats of the 21st century. In a nutshell, as artificial intelligence gets smarter, more humans are pushed out of the job market. No one knows what to study at college, because no one knows what skills learned at 20 will be relevant at 40. Before you know it, billions of people are useless, not through chance but by definition.

[Harari said]‘I choose this very upsetting term, useless, to highlight the fact that we are talking about useless from the viewpoint of the economic and political system, not from a moral viewpoint . . . [Ergo] what might be far more difficult is to provide people with meaning, a reason to get up in the morning.’ For those who don’t cheer at the prospect of a post-work world, satisfaction will be a commodity to pay for: our moods and happiness controlled by drugs; our excitement and emotional attachments found not in the world outside, but in immersive VR [virtual reality].

Here, Sample finds the thread that leads Harari to his present contention that we “may” have to relearn to see and walk and whatnot. The useless among us are going to need to be pacified while the useful get to be “gods.” 

In sum, on behalf of his WEF patrons and admirers, Harari has inverted Marx: “Workers of the world log in! You have nothing to lose but your freedom!” What could please the elites more than a liberty ceding “useless class” content to lobotomize itself with “virtual reality”?

Yet, even for the elites, Harari provides a sliver of illusion to calm a rampant secularist’s ultimate fear. To his credit, the podcast host, Bilyeu, identified why even this virtual veil pales before the reality of mortality:

Will it be interesting for an entirely virtual species to inhabit [virtual reality]? Maybe that could be cool, but that doesn’t help us. So even people thinking about uploading their consciousness . . . it would be a copy of me, but it wouldn’t be me.

So all of this sadness of death that I would be hoping to avoid by doing that doesn’t help. Maybe it kind of gives the same sense of having a kid, but it wouldn’t by any means save me from having to deal with death.

For the WEF and Harari, it will be a future of us versus them. But it will no longer simply be about those who have money and those who do not. It will be about those who will be allowed to exist within reality and those who will be relegated to exist within virtual reality.

Yet, the very phrase “virtual reality” is a lie. There is reality and there is unreality, in whatever sundry forms humanity can conjure, be it through drugs, technology, or any other mind-numbing means. The “virtual reality” medium’s message aims to drown out this truth. And to facilitate it, the medium’s advocates echo its message, and kindly tell us we will need to abandon our humanity and embrace unreality.

We must accept a living death.

Never. The medium’s message is received and rejected. Needless to say, I will be sprucing up my penmanship and numeracy, amidst other greater acts of dissent and defiance to the termination of reality. 

As a believer, I have a sacred duty to “Prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” Which is also why, as a believer, within the celebrated temptations of virtual existence proffered by the global elitists, I intimate a latent, sulfurous message: The Heralds of Unreality are preparing the way for whom? 

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About Thaddeus G. McCotter

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003 to 2012 and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars, and a Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show" among sundry media appearances.

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