Just Too Good

This blog has been dormant for a while.  But the events of the last few days have just been too rich to ignore.  They advance the very essence of my book.  If you’ve been a past reader, you know that the premise is that the life we lead, unless we work against certain forces, will be written and composed by others and our own true authentic self will be lost.  I worry that people today seem even less worried by that as they compose their own false narratives.   “see my book

The willingness to believe in something, despite all evidence and fact against it, is a natural tendency of the human race.  As societies evolved, the one thing that was introduced and imbedded to guard against this tendency was the law.  When two or more people disagreed on a piece of reality they each witnessed, the courts and the law would adjudicate the information and try to establish certifiable facts that were sound enough to a jury or judge to ascertain what happened and decide truth, innocence or guilt, and justice.  That verdict became credible beyond a reasonable doubt and actions and punishments were executed upon certain parties, and those actions were generally accepted by the society at large and that society moved on to other matters.

Recently, on just about the same day, two events and the aftermath showed how far we have currently strayed from those cultural norms referred to above.  Robert Mueller rendered his two year judgment upon President Trump, and Jussie Smollett has been released from any charges related to his “hoax”, and he has been reinstated in good standing.

For centuries, madness was defined as a person or crowd that misread reality and lived in their own.  Now if that was done without malice or injury to others, one was considered an eccentric or perhaps an artist, and were left to coexist with the rest of us without bother.  But if that misreading of reality resulted in injury or harm to others, the offender was commonly locked up and separated from society.  That lead to some abuse, and in recent decades much that was punished has entered into a new era of acceptance and forgiveness.

But today, this willingness to believe in an alternative reality has become widespread, the facts be damned.  As my book describes, whole groups of society often make up an alternate reality, a play, a world view that they believe in its entirety.  There are proscribed roles and beliefs that are incumbent upon its players.  When this consisted of small numbers the damage was small upon the parties and upon the greater whole.  But today those “plays” enlist vast numbers.  In the Mueller investigation, the entire nation was split into two camps.  In the Smollett case it only involved a handful of perpetrators and fairly large retinue of believers and non-believers.  Each case bears upon the moment.

An important part:  Both events were adjudicated.  Both were investigated by the agreed upon laws of the land.  Justice is ascertained by the examination of facts.  It’s the only thing we have to escape the madness of everyone believing in their own reality.  The ascertaining of facts is the very essence of police work, lawyers, judges and juries.  There is nothing else.  Opinion, hearsay, even some eye witnessing is held suspect.  Today the irresolute reality of DNA has become the irrefutable piece of fact to ascertain a truth.

In both the Mueller verdict and the original Smollett case certain facts were established.  Society awaited the outcome of these facts upon the cases.  As was once the case in our society, once the decision, based on the gathered facts, was rendered, society would accept the verdict and move on.  Today that is no longer the case.

Let’s take the Smollett case first since it is the simplest, but at the same time the more amazing.  Jussie Smollett an actor, wrote and produced a “play” that starred him and a few friends.  It was designed to be a career builder.  When he filed a police report averring that his little playlet was in fact reality, he crossed the line from forgivable eccentric poet to social harm and broke certain social laws against such actions.  By filing a police report he claimed his little “fiction” was reality.  That’s against the law and (see above) a moment of madness.

What is so surprising is that after vilifying him for his crime, the same Illinois state legal system has decided to drop all charges.  I.E., they have decided to allow him to believe his own reality, in spite of the fact, that the police investigation made them believe Jussie Smollett was lying when he filed his report.  They have allowed his fiction to stand unchallenged.  They allowed the false report to stand as a piece of “street theater”.  They allowed him his own piece of madness.  They allowed Jussie to live unchallenged in his own personal reality.

Now on a larger scale, the Mueller report has resulted in no charges filed against President Trump either on collusion or obstruction.  Mueller and his vast team investigated all the facts for two years, and could come up with none that corroborated either charge.  But again, the vast majority of those who believed Trump was guilty of one or both charges, still, after all the facts were vetted, finding him innocent, still believe in his guilt.

For two years, a far reaching cabal wrote a fictional story, a play in which Trump was the villain.  Almost all the newspapers, and almost all the media outlets, echoed and repeated this theater piece.  They all each added and invented their own details of how what and when.  When it was all proven false by the very man and his committee they had so long trumpeted as the most virtuous sleuth they could find, they choose to not believe it.  They choose (see above) to continue to believe the madness.

The increasing need to believe in our own invented and inscribed reality, our own play with a plot, story and characters that we as an author have created seems to have grown greater and stronger in the last few years.  Ocasio-Cortez authors on the fly.  She is a walking talking street performer.  Like a hip-hop artist she vamps on the fly.  She makes up her own fictional reality as she extemporizes.  She could be amusing and admired if she wasn’t in congress.  People are believing her fictions.  She has legions of believers.  She is a wing of the Democratic Party.  Her extemporaneous playwriting is dangerous.

We are awash in fiction.  It’s no longer fiction versus fact.  It is fiction versus another fiction and another and another.  As my book and my blog have for so many moments and months maintained, all of Life has become theater.  Facts no longer provide guidelines or parameters.  The play itself is the thing.  What people do is the reality.  All of life is just one large algorithm.  It is a reality determined by the algorithmic analysis of the players and their behavior.  Once I know that, I can sell them things.  Whether there’s some reality connected to fact or not doesn’t matter.  All I care about is behavior.  The play is the thing.  Whatever they do is reality.  Whatever they believe is reality.  Who am I to judge?  Facts?  Everyone has their “own truth”.  Trump’s charge of “fake news” is just too old fashioned.  He and we now live in a sea of “truths”.  Which one is factually true doesn’t matter anymore.  There used to be a little wooden billboard you could buy for your office that said, “Don’t confuse me with the facts!”  Funny, but we underestimated its prognostication.

My book advocates finding one’s true authentic self.  But perhaps some are carrying that cause too far.  My advocacy was to find that self that was not the product of others, but of one’s own creation, and therefore personally authentic.  But today that boundary has been pushed out to include aspects of Self that are illusions created by the person, him or her self, not by others.  My sense of authenticity was reality based, not theater, not fiction. But today, authenticity means whatever the self wants it to mean.  Jussie Smollett stood before the country and cameras, invoking his own blessed Mother’s name to proclaim that everything he said happened was, trust me,…. true.  Illinois has allowed him to now exist in this denial of fact.  His adamancy was dumbfounding.

An equal to that example of the extended boundaries of defining one’s own authentic self, is gender identity.  Once, not too long ago,  gender was identified by looking between your legs and based on what you saw, you were either male or female.  Now our culture allows you to deny that once undeniable fact and claim you are any gender or gradient gender you wish to be, genitalia be damned.

Whether Smollett or Trump is guilty or not doesn’t matter.  We just let the theater continue.  We don’t care how deviant from fact that theater is.  Those who coalesce large enough around one “truth” will win.  Doesn’t matter whether it is based on facts or not.  Global Warming.  Socialism.  The Green New Deal.  Immigration.  These are all Big Arc ideas.  They are filled with statements that pose as facts which are not.  Doesn’t matter.  Don’t care.  You are now totally free.  Reality holds no bar.  Create your own world….your “own truth”

There’s the Avanatti world.  There’s the Singer college admissions world.  There’s the CNN world.  The MSNBC world.  There is the Fox world.  There is the WAPO and NYT world.  There is the DNC world.  The RNC world.  The Muslim world.  The Judeo-Christian world.  Pick one.  Doesn’t matter.  No one holds you to account.  It just gives us something to fight about, argue over, divide believer from apostate.  Something to get eyeballs, click-bait.  It’s all fungible.

Just let me overlay it with algorithms.  Just let me find patterns in the madness, so I can sell you things.  All else is evanescent.    Only your Amazon order matters.  Prime is the only factual reality left.   Everything else is fungible fiction.  Believers beware.  Two day delivery.

 

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“FAKE NEWS”

You heard it here first, folks.

A couple of years ago I published my book, AM I IN YOUR PLAY OR ARE YOU IN MINE. Then about a year ago, I started this blog to further explore these same themes. Both of them anticipated this current explosion of “fake news”.

I was planning to draw this blog to a close, but events keep forcing me to write one more blog. In my book”see my book“, I have the following quotes in the intro:

“You are surrounded by authors who would script your life (and mind) to their liking.”

“Who you are, is being scripted by others.”

“Everyone is seeking to make you a character in their play.”

“Without the awareness of this, you will be the character in many, many plays, but never in your own.”

The loss of your own identity and authenticity is the risk in today’s voracious world of writing narratives they (your authors) want you to believe and live in.

“Fake news” is the current euphemism made now famous by Pres. Trump that encapsulates all of the above.  The media would have you believe what they say or show (in order to control the narrative) is the very truth.  Inside the narrative there is no there there.  It is merely a fabrication to control your thoughts and behavior.  You are the marionette and they are the strings and voice.

Putting ideas into a narrative is a much more persuasive form of indoctrinating than merely positing ideas and issues.  A news story that seems based in reality with a protagonist that lives out a piece of theater enacting a parable that reflects a political view is far more persuasive and invasive.

Washington is now the battleground of warring narratives.  It always has been.  But now the vehicles for narration abound.  Not just speeches, posters, interviews…but newspapers, magazines, network tv, cable tv, Facebook, blogs, texting, ads, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, endless outlets and spaces for fiction and fabrication.  Who can tell the truth of any of it?

You can know it’s phony; you may know it’s false, but it still gets in your head.  The merchants of lies have become so good at it, so pervasive, it is hard, perhaps futile to resist.  Perhaps only the outrageous anger and attacks of POTUS himself can take on and illuminate the onslaught of false narratives…. fake news.  I, for one, am thankful that he is using the bully pulpit to badger and defeat the poobahs who promote false narratives, false scripts that seek to forward their agendas. As Steve Bannon said,  “If you think these people are going to give up easily, think again.”  It will take all the effort and voices of the Trump administration to wrest the ink from fake news. And it will take all your clear vision as well.

But we have to guard that they too don’t answer fake news with other fake news.  Politicians and actors have great affinity. That’s why Hollywood and Washington have always had such an easy alliance. Politicians are actors and seek the stage that is Washington. Hollywood and DC both love drama more than facts. POTUS was an actor on television. Reagan was an actor in Hollywood. They love writing the play, being in the play. They all seek the limelight. When the facts get in the way of a good script…let the facts be damned.

So.. it is we who have to keep our sanity and clarity.  It is we who have to seek the facts. We have to be diligent in our wariness of scripts seeking to persuade us that they are reality. We have to learn to see the difference.

Reading this blog and my book is a start.

 

 

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