Who's fault is it?

Everyone is pessimistic and fearful at the moment. Doesn’t matter what country you’re from or what side of the political spectrum you’re on. To everybody, everywhere, it feels as though shit is hitting the fan.

Who's fault is it?
Capital Thinking | Who's fault is it?

Capital Thinking  •  Issue #1109  •  View online

The world runs on one thing: people’s feelings. And no, I don’t mean the coddled, “Oh, we’re spoiling the youth,” safe-space-type feelings. I mean emotions.

Emotions rule the world.

-Mark Manson

The World Is Fucked and I’m Pretty Sure It’s the Internet’s Fault

Mark Manson:

This is because people primarily spend money on things that make them feel good. And where the money flows, power flows. So, technically, the more you’re able to influence the emotions and feelings of people in the world, the more money and power will accumulate to you.

Technology is simply one means of doing this.

Technologies are invented for the simple sake of pleasing people. The ball-point pen. A more comfortable seat heater. A better gasket for your house’s plumbing.

Fortunes are made and lost around these things because they make people feel better, make their lives easier. Entire economies are run on little more than a population’s whims and fancies.

The fact that the world runs on feelings hasn’t always been a bad thing. In the industrial age, it was undoubtedly a good thing.

The majority of the population was cold, hungry, and tired. And the invention of machines and cities and divisions of labor and legal orders and representative governments—it all went to great lengths to relieve the population of much of its poverty and hardship.

The more technology and society advanced, the more people were relieved of their physical hardship and suffering. Vaccines and medicines have saved billions of lives. Simple machines have relieved the majority of the planet of backbreaking workloads and starvation.

But people’s desire to feel good never ends. So, during the latter part of the 20th century, with most of its populations liberated from destitution, the developed world continued to advance and innovate to make people feel good.

And in this new commercial age, people began to look for greater comfort.

And because of this new desire for great comfort, we had a century of explosive growth in the technology of convenience—toaster ovens, washing machines, automobiles, fast food, air travel, televisions, electric shavers, and so on.

Life became so easy and fast and efficient and effortless that within a short span of a few hundred years, people were able to pick up a telephone and accomplish in two minutes what used to take months.

The commercial age, although more complex than before, was still a relatively simple time. Everyone’s lives were more or less the same. We watched the same TV channels, listened to the same music, ate the same food, relaxed on the same sofas, and read the same newspapers and magazines.

There was a certain continuity and cohesion to this era that brought a strange sense of security. I think it’s this social cohesion that many people today are so nostalgic for.

Then the internet happened.

The internet’s intentions were good. Inventors and technologists in Silicon Valley had high hopes for a networked and computerized planet. They worked for decades toward a vision of seamlessly networking the world’s people and information.

Throughout the 90s and 00s, companies sprang up to build the technology that would change and then later dominate our lives. There was a near-utopian level of optimism during this time.

Technologists envisioned a highly-educated global population that would tap into the infinite wisdom available at their fingertips. They saw greater empathy and understanding across nations, ethnicities, and lifestyles. They dreamed of a unified and connected global movement with a single shared interest for peace and prosperity.

But they forgot.

They were so caught up in their dreams and visions and hopes that they forgot.

They forgot that the world doesn’t run on information. People don’t make decisions based on truth or facts. They don’t spend their money based on data.

The world runs on feelings.

And when you give the average person an infinite reservoir of human wisdom, they will not Google for the higher truth that contradicts their own convictions. They will not Google for what is true yet unpleasant. Instead, most of us will Google for what is pleasant but untrue.

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The World Is Fucked and I’m Pretty Sure It’s the Internet’s Fault
Some people are still holding out that technology will save humanity from itself. But we keep forgetting that the world doesn’t run on information—it runs on emotion.