The above image was made with stable diffusion using the prompt 'a man wearing a chain mask. Oil portrait.'
The vast majority of communities in the US have developed in such a way as to prevent actual community from forming within them. Public squares are long gone. Walkable neighborhoods are overrun with vagrants and criminals. In many areas, bars and churches are the only 'third places' for people to socialize and contribute to public discourse. Here in Minneapolis, we're lucky to have coffee shops like @caffetto that create space for civil conversations among strangers. But these are exceptions, not the rule.
The online landscape is comparably barren. All of the top social media platforms censor valid information while delivering corporate and governmental propaganda to captive audiences. These sites provide the illusion of public discourse without allowing real conversations about controversial issues to happen. Uncensored social media platforms that don't manipulate news feeds do exist. Hive is a great example of this. But almost no one has heard of Hive.
In this scheme, dissent is structurally prevented from arising and spreading. Opinions that cut against the grain are hidden from viewers by opaque algorithms. Every perspective being publicly discussed by more than a handful of people is a perspective that serves the control regime. Although these perspectives aren't necessarily wrong, they are limiting.
On some level, most people are aware that there's a problem with all of this, though they frame the problem in different ways. Many see it as an issue of partisan biases. Many see it as the product of power struggles between celebrities or corporate entities. Some see it as part of a vast and secret conspiracy of elites. Despite their limitations, there's some truth in these ideas.
Our freedom of speech is being structurally limited and our information environment is heavily manipulated. It's a critical moment. How we respond to these impersonal realities will influence society's direction, for better or worse. In this, one thing seems obvious. We have to talk to each other if we want things to improve.
This is true across the board, on issue after issue and crisis after crisis. There is no consensus on how best to solve society's problems. Finding and implementing solutions to these problems requires talking to each other to build that consensus. The only alternative to this is to accept the control regime's self-serving agenda.
While mainstream social media prevents us from sharing information freely, alt platforms and various forms of direct messaging can be used to host conversations among small groups. Some efforts use Telegram. Others use group texts or emails.
The benefit of such communication is that it permits free speech. The drawback is that many people exercise their right to speak freely by talking nonsense. Appropriate curation of conversations can make a big difference here.
Read my novels:
- Small Gods of Time Travel is available as a web book on IPFS and as a 41 piece Tezos NFT collection on Objkt.
- The Paradise Anomaly is available in print via Blurb and for Kindle on Amazon.
- Psychic Avalanche is available in print via Blurb and for Kindle on Amazon.
- One Man Embassy is available in print via Blurb and for Kindle on Amazon.
- Flying Saucer Shenanigans is available in print via Blurb and for Kindle on Amazon.
- Rainbow Lullaby is available in print via Blurb and for Kindle on Amazon.
- The Ostermann Method is available in print via Blurb and for Kindle on Amazon.
- Blue Dragon Mississippi is available in print via Blurb and for Kindle on Amazon.
See my NFTs:
- Small Gods of Time Travel is a 41 piece Tezos NFT collection on Objkt that goes with my book by the same name.
- History and the Machine is a 20 piece Tezos NFT collection on Objkt based on my series of oil paintings of interesting people from history.
- Artifacts of Mind Control is a 15 piece Tezos NFT collection on Objkt based on declassified CIA documents from the MKULTRA program.