If Social Media Can Hijack Your Mind, Change Your Mind
Sean Parker, the first company president of Facebook, made some interesting remarks at Axios. He admitted that Facebook was knowingly and intentionally designed to exploit human vulnerabilities.
I don't think that we should be surprised by that. However, that someone who still has a stake in the company would admit to this publicly makes one wonder what he won't admit to.
Social media platforms tend to keep you engaged by pacifying your restless self-doubt by satisfying your need for existential certainty by way of social validation. By doing that, they are not only manipulating you into behaviors that are not to your advantage but regress you.
The more a mental mechanism is evoked, no matter how slight it may be at first, the more it develops a momentum. This, eventually, causes that very mechanism to run free and become your default mode of being.
Even if you didn't doubt the value of your existence, seeking external tokens of validation can implant that doubt. You might already be grounded and confident in yourself. That is, you don't require any reason for it.
The moment a justification is supplied by way of likes and the like, you slowly condition yourself to require it. That's how something that once came for free, your grounded existence, must be paid for every time.
If it is that easy to hijack your existential clarity and spiritual well-being, what's next? Lie down and swallow the poison?
This brings up one of my issues with the field of psychological research. It is generally structured to discover where we are vulnerable by studying our abnormalities. But by learning what external conditions and causes make them arise in those who suffer from them, we don't learn how to provoke the internal conditions of those for whom they don't arise.
These kinds of insights have a limited scope of applications. First, an image of the human condition defined by its frailties rather than strengths.
Second, the institutionalization of that image which will convince a significant amount of the population that they are weaker than they are (hypochondriacs).
Third, a philosophy of exclusion that advises people to avoid common causes rather than overcome them.
Fourth, the weaponization of these insights to create a population in the image of its lower common denominators rather than elevate it to its greater strengths.
And so overall, the outcome is one of greater awareness of threats to our psyche and a magnification of our hidden weaknesses. It's natural to lose our self-determination when the way we look at our existence is driven by external causes rather than internal ones.
It makes little sense to throw our hands up and vilify profit seeking companies. If you are being offered free food, you better beware for it might be poisoned with uncomfortable strings attached.They are not to blame.
In regards to us being manipulated, whatever can be done will be done. Imposing ethical guidelines upon companies is a losing battle, as it is, again, putting all the blame on our external conditions rather than our internal ones.
Many issues like this are usually addressed on the systemic and social level by forming moral arguments to inform laws to suppress such tactics. But the manipulation doesn't happen on the social level, it happens within each and every individual. And that is where it must be transcended.
What if we stepped out of the victimhood philosophy and cultivated our self-determination? In the end, the blame is not on companies like Facebook for leveraging our glitches, nor is it on psychologists operating from their assumptions.
The responsibility is ours for being as needy for attention and greedy for free entertainment. If everyone were to engage in deep self-reflection to pierce through the core illusions of their being, there would be no one to fall for those tactics.
The Vast approach, for instance, focuses your attention and efforts on the variabilities of your modes of functioning and how you can exercise free choice over them.
What are the mechanisms that make us so easy to exploit? How do we keep them in place? And how can we summon our higher modes of functioning to make them our default modes of being?
As various industries become better at exploiting our inner sucker, we must elevate the flexibility of our consciousness to keep up. With Vast, the goal is to become so sophisticated that our minds defy the assumptions of regressive psychology and defuse those tactics that degenerate us to live in a momentum of effortless clarity.
Isn't it quite alarming how, as electromechanical information technology improves the existential technology of our psyche and consciousness deteriorates? We are bound to be lost if we can't give ourselves in reality what a few pixels can give us as an illusion. And while these are merchants of mediocrity, it’s up to us to not get suckered in.
After all, it comes down to expressive awareness. That is the degree of skill we have in manifesting internal states of being as immediately and effortlessly as the external and virtual tokens that rob us of ourselves. And that can't be achieved by avoidance, blame-gaming or suppression. It can only be achieved by becoming the kind of person that doesn't fall for those tactics in the first place.
And a good way to start by developing expressive awareness over the unconscious urges and thoughts that drive these mechanisms by thinking Vast.