Imagine a near-future society where the elites are cultural programmers who use media to both polarize the people and keep them fighting within a specific range of issues.
Sure, a few people look up and think more broadly, but most are kept under the spell.
Driven by the biological need to belong to a group, the common people choose a team, learn to hate the other team, and think they’re promoting their own unique insights when they regurgitate what they heard from their team’s cultural programmers.
Facts cannot be disputed, because the disputers are, by definition, the enemy. You either accept what you’ve been told, or you are no longer on the team. It’s a litmus test for loyalty — forgetting that a litmus test can be passed by a cup of urine as easily as a human being.
Now, try imagine that this insight does not apply only to the enemy, or to less sophisticated people, but to yourself as well.
If you’re loyal, you can’t. That thought is incompatible with your cultural programming.
If you’re proud, you can’t. That thought is incompatible with your self-image.
And if you don’t control a media outlet, you’re not an elite.
Part of you knows that, so… you post on Facebook, or Twitter, or blog your thoughts, like a kid with a plastic tool set pretending to be Daddy. You’re not really an elite who runs a real media outlet, but you get an emotional high from pretending.
You certainly don’t question Daddy. His fallibility would be world-shattering.
Little bits of rage leak out. You overeat, overdrink, oversleep, overspend. You foster addictions until they no longer satisfy.
Then you withdraw. The pain of lonliness is less than the frustration of participation in a rigged game.
Facing oblivion, you come to a decision: Return to the world, try to save one person, try to change one mind… or let it all go.
Which would you choose?