The urban mind

A few years ago I was at my wife’s grandmother’s house.  One of my young nieces was there.  There was a photo of papa (he was already gone at this point) on the end table by the couch.  This young niece, about three years old, picked up the framed photo and with two fingers on the glass tried to “zoom-in” with that weird un-pinching movement used to zoom in on smart phones.

This was shocking to me.  Of course to her it was completely natural.  That was how one gets a better look at something.  To me it was completely un-natural.

Imagine now what a young person’s mind will be like as she has done years of “virtual school” because of “lockdowns.”  Maybe mom doesn’t cook and food comes prepared, or it magically gets delivered by door dash.  She never sees money exchanged, it’s all done via credit card which is “on file.”

She plays Overwatch, the in-game physics of which, like the zoom feature on her iPhone, influences her notion of physics in the world.  Her natural curiosity about sex differences leads her to google.  You know where that ends up.   Later, she “online dates.”  Experiencing all the thrills of getting to know a new romantic interest, not in the presence of that boyfriend, but through her phone.

They break-up, whatever that means and she moves on.  Later it’s more virtual school leading to a virtual job.  It may be in an office, but it’s virtual.  She works in accounts payable at headquarters in Dallas.  Nothing is made at headquarters.  Her company doesn’t make anything on this continent.  It’s all made in a magical land called overseas..

SAP puts her work in front of her.  It’s an ERP, you see.  (SAP is not a software package.  It’s a consulting service marketed as a software.  Nothing is what it seems in bugworld.). She doesn’t know what to do next, she only knows HOW.  SAP TELLS her what to do.  This is the third ERP since she started at the company.

Her car has no key.  It has a key fob.  She presses a button to start the car.  She doesn’t depress the button to engage the starter, then release the button when the engine catches, she just presses it once and the engine control module does the rest for her.  It’s an automatic transmission.  It shifts so smoothly she doesn’t know it has gearing.

AND ON AND ON it goes.

In the mind of this person cause and effect is broken.  She sees causes and effects, but doesn’t see the true causes and effects.  When I was a kid we had a tractor that had push button start.  I had to hold that button down to get the starter to engage the flywheel and crank the engine until we got ignition.  The button in her car is no different to her than the single button on the Home Screen of her old smart phone.  They got rid of that button three versions ago.

This has been happening to us a long time. But the farther removed from reality, the less sane people are.  Using a key or a button to start a car is at greater remove from reality than crank starting with a handle.   The world of the Model T was saner than the world of the Chevrolet Bel—Air and way more sane that that of the Tesla.

What must the mind of the modern bug person in here and in this post be like?  This is not the mind equipped for dealing with reality.  Reality is where all objects are.  Where force is used.  Where people are.  This is not a person who can make good decisions about foreign policy, she doesn’t understand violence, she always respawned when she got killed playing Overwatch.  This is not a person who can make decisions about economics.  She didn’t have a clue how things were paid for until she was 12, and the truth is, though she works in accounts payable, she still doesn’t know what money is, what it represents, or how it’s made.

Her politics is one built of notions, notions about how things ought to work, how people ought to get along.   Her notions are mostly born out in her life of zoom meetings, SAP, ready to eat stuff from Trader Joe’s and the like.

This is 1/3 of the electorate.  It will soon be 1/2.

Education has not failed this person, the technological world has.  We cannot educate her out of this.  Her earliest encounters with most things were mediated and false, recall how she tried to zoom in on the picture of PawPaw.

This will get worse.  The picture of papa is clearly a picture.  What if as a toddler she had done FaceTime with him every week during the lockdown, but he passed away before they got to be together.  In her mind he would be a video image, another video game or piece of interactive content.  The line between him and his image would disappear.  To her, he will be that image.

This cannot be fixed.  It is a basic rewiring of the human mind.  It is not an advancement. It is a removal from reality.  It is unreality.  If you think that this IS reality now, you are infected.

Uncle Ted was right about technology.

Meanwhile, we are in it.  We are seeing a rift in politics between people with the kind of mind I describe above, the bugmind, and people who are actually making civilization work; the plumbers, the electricians, the farmers, the mechanics, the engineers, etc.

These two groups of people cannot be reconciled.  The minds od these two groups are as foreign to each other as space aliens would be.

This is the real root of the political divide we are dealing with in the West.

1 thought on “The urban mind”

  1. Uncle Ted?

    “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (1886), Chapter IV. Apophthegms and Interludes, §146).

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