The technocracy is a managerialist top-down system of control with no accountability towards it’s subjects. From the perspective of the system’s owners, the subjects are at best livestock to be harvested and the worst is far too horrible to imagine. Such a cruel and deranged system seems quite alien to most people, despite often living it out in their own daily lives. Regardless of what disagreements divide people, far more are united under subservience to technological tyranny.
But surely you’re immune to this? You’ve recoiled in horror at many recent developments, turning that disgust into productive action to work towards a better future right? Sadly, we know all-too-well that there’s always more work to be done. It’s a never-ending, thankless toil that merely begets more challenges and more frustration. It’s become quite clear to you that merely seeing through the lies alone is not enough to manifest change.
The “Internet of Things”, and cloud services all work well to centralize information and control into a small set of hands. With innumerable opportunities for abuse, these systems create dangers that can be quite difficult to identify once one has become a captive. Restrictions can often be out of sight, and out of mind. Convenience is often a derogatory term for pragmatic choices people are nudged into making.
With a couple of taps nearly anything can be at your door in a relatively short period of time. Instant gratification of all manner of pleasures is only restrained by your budget or appetite. Cheap pleasure erodes away people’s ability to appreciate joy in the simple things. While some things are now more accessible, many people fall into the trap of losing control of their own agency. What was once a convenient take-out treat can be a vulnerable person’s go-to-meal.
Many online services can help people start projects quickly. Those projects can be locked-in to formats that can be difficult to reproduce other places. Regaining control of your media and source files can be a massive challenge when one works entirely within online cloud services instead of programs running on their own machine.
As bad as the software can be, often the hardware isn’t much better. Devices can constrain the user from installing or removing software, they can also take on surveillance directly. Despite much progress, the complexity of these devices often makes them too difficult or too expensive to pragmatically repair. When devices no longer receive security updates, it may not be safe to use them much longer anyways. Planned obsolescence is just part of the picture, a variety of awful incentives can create unusable devices from the very beginning. This is especially true of devices that are reliant on online services.
Power in society has always been some combination of resources, force and influence. These factors create powerful incentives that have a massive impact on people’s behavior. The more extreme the power, the more overt it would become, sometimes formalizing into official structures. In some instances, people would consciously decide to act in defiance or opposition to such rule for a variety of reasons. In the information age, power doesn’t need to be so crude, it can disguise itself with all kinds of illusions.
Information Asymmetry allows those with power to act in ways others may not even be able to predict. Censorship, surveillance, and propaganda are all powerful tools used to coerce people into a variety of losing bets. Over time, the distortions created by the powerful can fade into the background and become unthinkable to even notice.
Being able to control what others see is a phenomenal power, having influence over it is quite a valuable currency. The advertizing industry built very sophisticated tools to monitor and manipulate people in precise ways. Far from being limited to mere novelty, these techniques were used to sell ideas and emotions. Through advanced marketing tools people’s very minds became yet another natural resource to become polluted. Instead of the hazards being toxic chemicals, the ideal consumer was forged in an overwhelming foundry of fear.
Fear leads to anger…
It is well understood that triggering people’s fight or flight response will get decisive action. Bathing the public in their insecurities became a very effective way to drive people to buy or promote things without thinking. These rash actions would inevitably create negative consequences, buyer’s remorse would be greeted with familiar temptations. As people’s relations with each other soured, the onset loneliness would drive people further and further into anger and sadness.
…Anger leads to hate.
As tempers flared, something needed to take the fall. The true (and often self-inflicted) causes of people’s suffering was far too difficult to face, instead people tore into each other. It’s far easier to get cheap satisfaction over another than to address one’s own problems. Perceived slights escalate into violent outbursts. With no shortage of justified rage, people lose sight of the humanity in each other.
…and hate leads to suffering.
It didn’t take much for people to eye-for-an-eye themselves into a very blind world. Not only can people not see what’s right before them, but they can hardly hear those around them either. Instead, people instantly react to the quickest impression they can form to a particular post, comment, or piece of media. Nobody feels heard, and all feel forgotten. The wounds from past battles accumulate as the war on all rages on.
Those with any sense flee to what few alternatives existed, or retreated entirely. The digital nomads roaming cyberspace are scattered. They can see the fires from a distance, but they would often dissipate before getting close. Many were able to purchase peace at the price of solitude and isolation.
Every Yes answer to the following questions is something that gives the technocracy leverage over you. Nobody is completely invulnerable. When engaging with others, it’s important to encourage each other to make positive change, rather than nit-pick various shortcomings. Flaws should be an opportunity to learn how to overcome challenges, rather than a cause for scorn.
- Are the majority of your purchases made via credit card?
- Are you unable to get your essentials from locally owned enterprises.
- Would you willingly “sell out” for money or career advancement, regardless of the impacts on others?
- Are you living paycheck-to-paycheck?
- Do you feel pressure to “make-up” for lost time?
- Are your financial assets solely comprised of publicly-traded corporations and government bonds?
- Is your income derived from government funding?
- Are you constantly exposed to advertizing or sponsored promotions?
- Would you be unable to trade for essentials without currency?
- Are you inefficient with your time?
- Can you name 5 brands, but not 5 kinds of trees native to your area?
- Would you be unable to go a day without your smartphone, and still be productive?
- Does most of your computing take place using commercialized online services rather than offline programs?
- Does your operating system record data on you?
- Do you own a “Internet of Things” device like a smart TV or smart appliance?
- Are search engines your only means of finding specific information?
- If the Internet went down, could you still earn a living?
- Is a majority of your entertainment derived from online services?
- Would you be unable to do your regular errands without GPS or online-assisted navigation?
- Is your profession reliant on cloud services or other proprietary enterprize software?
- Would you be unable to teach a child math, art, or other skills without assistance of the Internet?
- Does your transportation require you to divulge personal information?
Alright! Alright! Now what?
Before you despair too much, understand that this isn’t a single person’s journey. To varying degrees, we are all captivated by forces either entirely outside of our control, or simply the consequences of decisions we’ve made in the past. With few exceptions, almost nobody has managed to entirely wild themselves from the world. Perhaps this isn’t inherently a bad thing. Ideally, in a fair and just society people would want to have a stake in it.
Society grows great when people plant trees whose shade they shall never enjoy.
No single person has the power to unilaterally transform it all, but every one of us has the capacity to redirect our focus, resources and spirit in a different direction. Have compassion for your own shortcomings as well as those of others. If we truly want to make a lasting improvement instead of merely pledging support to the same leaders in different uniforms, we’re going to need to change the game itself. To do this, we’ll need to understand what we’re trying to navigate away from, which can help prevent us from forgetting what we’re working towards.
Society domesticates people. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, as trust grows people are naturally able to lower some defenses. The trouble comes when tyrants or opportunists decide to abuse that trust, rapidly diminishing it and harming those who haven’t yet raised their own defenses. Then those who are the most trusting are hurt the most, and those who are the most guarded can often endure.
Becoming wild again doesn’t mean becoming aggressive or cruel, merely gradually rebuilding your individual and social boundaries that have been eroded over time. Empowering yourself to be stronger, more skilled, or efficient can go a long way to rebuilding that independence. Though it’s important to remember that we are social creatures, we need friends, allies, and family all the same.
By making yourself wild from systems of control, you can help build independence from it that builds room for others to do the same. This is an entirely different path than merely reforming society as it exists. Instead you are taking as much control of your life as you can, and working to build something entirely different. Taking deliberate action to become wild is to embrace a world where every choice is your own.
To do this, you’ll need to make a conscious decision to reject the world as it exists, and form a clear idea of how you want to live despite it. In some cases there may be a negotiation, in others there may be outright rejection. You will likely still face consequences for these actions, but ultimately you are taking them head on. A simple example is to reject a social credit score in advance. Knowing that one is being made gives you the opportunity to deliberately live in defiance of it.
The greatest weapon of all tyrants is fear. Fear is used to induce compliance and paralyze opposition. Regardless if your fear is of death, capture, or assimilation into some hivemind, your first act of resistance is to shed your fear of it. Living without fear is hard. It’s easy to underestimate the challenge during easy times, but when one is surrounded by panic it’s a different environment all-together.
Every bit counts. The more at peace you are with yourself and your surroundings, the easier it is to make progress and support others. It’s natural to get caught off-balance once in a while, but it’s critical that you maintain focused on regaining your focus. We all need each other. Helping your allies in a difficult time can often mean a lot more than advancing against your opponents.