IN AN age when increasing numbers of people find themselves spending more and more time attending to phones and screens there is a growing deficit in real human-to-human interaction. Certainly the algorithms which power our relationships with the digital world are extremely effective at reinforcing what amounts to an ‘addiction’ to on-line activities.
All this is well known but we do not really understand what the longer-term consequences might be for human behaviour. It is already clear that these consequences will take place in our new, post-pandemic world where many are frightened to touch or be close to another human (a fear which was so deliberately and effectively promoted by almost all western governments during the Covid pandemic). We already know that the dynamics of modern social media create a powerful echo chamber where extreme views (and misinformation or propaganda) of all kinds are reinforced and magnified. We know that the algorithms of Facebook and Twitter (and others) encourage users to share even the most trivial feelings and experiences with the rest of the digital world. We know that the all-powerful IT providers (such as Facebook, Apple and Google) use every contact with social media to harvest personal data which can be sold to advertisers. We know that governments monitor the content of social media in their ‘fight against terrorism’ (and for many other purposes we don’t know about). We know that government and their potent supporters in the corporate world use social media to create, promote and maintain any particular narrative which suits their purpose.
So we now have an emerging world where there is a positive deluge of online content with many powerful vested interests trying to control different narratives (flows of information whether true or false). At the same time we have a growing body of research which shows that healthy friendships and social interaction are some of the most important factors in human wellbeing. We are all familiar with the common (tragic) scenes in pubs and restaurants where each person sitting at a table is more interested in communing with his/her phone/screen than actually talking to those around them. The traditional pub games (cards, darts, billiards, skittles, dominos) have disappeared to be replaced by multiple screens pumping out soaps, sports or adverts. Conversation, if there is any, is competing with poor quality ‘muzak’ and people are constantly checking their phones for texts or messages.
There is no doubt that in times past the village (or corner) pub was a place where real human communication took place, information was shared and relationships strengthened. Humans are very good at this and in some strange way ‘common sense’ seems to moderate a common understanding of what is going on, what is good and what is bad. Face-to-face contact and the strange process of ‘gossip’ is able to produce a more ‘grounded’ picture of the world than the hysteria often created by social media. People in face-to-face dynamic quickly decide whose views they can trust and whose they should question. We use all sorts of visual clues and the rapid processing of mannerisms to make these judgements which are just not possible (or easy) in the on-line world.
Of course, it takes more of an effort to get out and about to meet real people. It’s all too easy to spend life as a ‘couch potato’ accompanied by your screen. There is one thing we can do to change and improve this situation by creating a network of ‘Pubs for Real People’. These social spaces will have:
No wifi – No phone signal – No screens – No muzak
These are spaces where you can enjoy freedom from having your data harvested or monitored, escape from advertising and be able to converse with friends and strangers without competition from poor quality pop music. So just as the Campaign for Real Ale successfully challenged the attempts by major brewing companies to limit supplies to top-pressure pasteurised beers, I believe it is time to start a new campaign –Pubs for Real People.As the battle against the ‘Great Reset’ hots up, these spaces will become more and more important if resistance is to be effective. The globalists’ agenda depends above all on using our digital persona for the purposes of totalitarian control via CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency), global digital I/Ds, Social Credit scores and Censorship of on-line information. It’s time to opt out!