Nothing is granted, except the obvious few are seeing

“I don’t know with which weapons we’ll fight the II World War. But the 4th will be with sticks and stones”

ALBERT EINSTEIN

What happens when we take things for granted? Obviously it’s an open question, but just for the sake of the discussion, let’s fit the question on the Brexit and possible disintegration of the European Union itself. The United Kingdom will leave the EU, unless a nuclear bomb (just a metaphoric one) with the massive majority of the Britain residents unaware of what the EU as a whole represents. British voters are theoretically taking for granted that Brexit is a quid pro quo, arithmetical question of saving more or less money exactly because they take for granted that the European Union is a matter of money. How wrong can someone be about something if they don’t even consider it?

To stay in Brexit background. Last month, the Council of Europe hosted an event about how to stimulate young Europeans to be more politically active (here as well it’s taken for granted that youth want to engage, but this is a discussion that must be left for another occasion). The tone of the event was pretty much lively and hopeful with people who work with or with something related to youngsters really keen on making things work.

One of the panels was about social media. To my surprise, even after the scandalous and promiscuous data management that Facebook did in the recent years, social media was a “goody”, something that “cheers you up” and “free”. This is not someone on a remote part of the world that had been presented to a smartphone for the first time to chat with distant expatriated loved ones – these were middle-class European teenagers and young adults.

This is not a special generation. There are no thing like the “good old times” and “the past is best” stuff. What is happening right now is that a society which has ever been dysfunctional becoming even more broken due to the cult of personality taken to the sky to the point of enlightened people being unable to see the obvious. We are losing the ability to distinguish reality from utopia thanks to the myriad of ego-safe layers that make ourselves more and more assured of stupid ideas like that Brexit is an economic issue or that Mark Zuckerberg cares about anything that is not his dystopian empire.

This is the part where media is right in the middle of everything. Media was never free nor fair nor any unique-snow-flakish good thing. Most of the media moguls are feudal lords and have always been like this. However, media was more or less accountable to its deeds. Newspapers working for dictators or selling opioids for people in pain, sooner or better, could be confronted with truth but the neo-hippie peace and love generation that only sees things through the infected Instagram lenses sponsors a mirror hall of lies that it doesn’t have the slightest clue of. Today’s media, which does no longer has readers or viewers, but clients, simply nods to any bestiality its audience wants to see. This is why European enlightened teenagers cannot understand why Facebook has been instrumental to screw democracies that were incredibly far from perfect for starters. We no longer need someone to lie to us because we are doing it already. For “free”, as the chap said in the Europe Council event.

Brexit, Trump and other populist infections are not economic issues (although a great deal of it in its guts). These events mark the failure of the elites – not only financial, but also intellectual, academic and every single other one you can imagine – in acknowledging that the fantastic wealth surplus generated in the last decades was not being minimally fairly shared with the bottom of the pyramid- actually, it was not shared at all. Oh, yes: and this bottom, whose lives are getting worse, poorer and with less perspective has to listen from the neo-hippie love sharing teenagers that they are to blame because they’re racists, ignorants, zealots and a hell of other shit.

One can claim that this is not a new event and mankind went into the meat grinder before and that’s very true. However, this time, we are not only going to the meat grinder. We are dismantling every effort done since the last great war to avoid a global conflict again.

And here, I make the question again: what if we are taking things for granted?I ask because we are. The state of economy is not what is in the middle of the European Union that charlatan populists like Boris Johnson and Matteo Salvini are attacking. The EU is the most effective safeguard against the manic tendency that society has to jump into a disaster thanks to stupidity.

Media in the past has rarely been the cause of a problem in society, but it is an amplifier. The digital propagation of this century ensured that the amplifiers given to Bannons and Cummingses are higher, stronger and far less beautiful than the well-designed upper-class ones that vent all the certainties of the world. This new distortion group – call it the digital zombies – are quite similar to the ones who propelled Hitler into power, that allowed Turkey to their caring genocide “sharing love” with Armenians and so forth. But this time, we have the warning made by Albert Einstein to make us wonder where the f**k are we going to stick up our Snapchat apps when the disgrace is irreversibly done.

Cassiano Gobbet

I am a journalist, interested in everything related to the equation technology + communication.