RB: Trust is shifting from institutions to individuals. I felt that this was a timely and important book to write because we’re already seeing the profound consequences of this trust shift, from the influence on the presidential election to Brexit to algorithms and bots.
F: Is trust being lost or is it simply shifting?
RB: I don’t like this narrative that trust is in crisis. In fact, it’s dangerous because it only serves to amplify the cycle of distrust. Trust is like energy — it doesn’t get destroyed, it changes form. You need trust in society for people to collaborate, to transact – to even leave the house. A society cannot survive, and it definitely cannot thrive without trust. For a long time in history, trust has flowed upwards towards the CEOs, towards experts, academics, economists, and regulators. Now that’s being inverted — trust is now flowing sideways, between individuals, ‘friends,’ peers and strangers. There’s plenty of trust out there, it’s just flowing to different people and places.
It’s also false to say we need more trust. Of course, we can have too much trust in the wrong people, in the wrong things. We can give our trust away too easily.
F: Institutions are, of course, made up of people, which makes it kind of funny that we’re less willing to trust those institutions. Where does that break down?
RB: I think it’s an issue of scale, a feeling that organizations and institutions beyond a certain scale lose their human-ness.
😱 ‘Rot in Hell’: One YouTube Star’s Fan Club Is Menacing Cleveland: On Saturday night, Alissa Violet, a social media influencer with nearly 3 million followers on YouTube and more than 7 million on Instagram, posted a video of herself crying outside a bar in Cleveland followed by a selfie showing a swollen eye and bloody lip.
🎥 Protest gegen Höcke: Endlich reden alle von Überwachung: Während die anlasslose Überwachung aller Bürger immer weiter voranschreitet, löst ausgerechnet die vom Zentrum für politische Schönheit behauptete Überwachung von Deutschlands bekanntestem Rechtsradikalen Proteststürme aus. Hier hängt etwas gewaltig schief. Ein Kommentar.
💩 (Der Text ist einigermaßen undifferenziert und uninformiert, arbeitet die Problematik „ironischen Hasses“ aber ganz gut raus.) Der Nazifrosch macht «Reeeeeee!»: Wie Ironie den Hass massentauglich macht: Internet-Memes sind zur Universalwährung für Provokation geworden – und zur Streuwaffe im Kulturkampf der Rechten. Irgendwann kritzelt einer der Achtzehnjährigen, die ich unterrichte, «Reeeeeee!» an die Wandtafel.
Als ich meine Schüler bei Zusicherung von freiem Geleit bat, ihre digitalen Hosensäcke auf den Tisch zu leeren, kamen – neben vielen brauchbaren Witzen – auch horrende Dinge zum Vorschein: höhnische Zoten über Anne Frank und den Holocaust, das antisemitische «Happy Merchant»-Meme, etliche Gleichsetzungen von Dunkelhäutigen mit Affen – es war ein wenig, als hätte ich einen Nazikeller in der österreichischen Provinz ausgehoben. Interessanterweise distanzierten sich alle sofort davon: Die Inhalte teile man eigentlich gar nicht, es gehe primär darum, Dinge zu posten, die «zu weit gehen». Denn das sei doch Humor: Regeln zu brechen, Grenzen zu überschreiten. Fehlte nur noch, dass einer Tucholsky zitierte. Sie waren offensichtlich fasziniert von der Provokation mit ultrabrutalen Inhalten, von Dingen, «die man nicht sagen darf» – und zwar nicht einfach im Sinne von unanständig, sondern schlichtweg menschenverachtend. Das macht sie nicht gleich zu Nazis – bringt sie auf dem Netz aber in deren Dunstkreis.
☝️ Für Trolle gibt es keinen Abschaltknopf: Trolle sind den Denkgewohnheiten der westlichen Welt viel näher, als sie denkt, sagt die amerikanische Wissenschaftlerin Whitney Phillips. Ein Gespräch über Provokation und Hate Speech im Web. F.A.Z.: Trolling, Belästigung im Netz und Hate Speech sind wichtige Themen in diesem Jahr.
Um zu verstehen, wie wir an diesem Punkt angelangt sind, müssen wir überlegen, wie all diese Dinge zusammenhängen und bestehende Probleme noch verstärken. Es ist nicht nur eine Sache von „Twitter moderiert nicht vernünftig“ oder „Facebook ist beschissen, wenn es darum geht, offensive Inhalte zu entfernen.“ All das ist wahr, aber man kann nicht über die Fehler von Twitter und Facebook reden und gleichzeitig die Probleme in Redaktionen oder unserer Kultur insgesamt ausklammern – auch hier wird immer noch versäumt, eine bessere Gesprächskultur sowie mehr Toleranz und Diversität herzustellen. Kurz gesagt: Alles, was Menschen jemals getan haben, hat uns an diesen Punkt gebracht und jetzt müssen wir herausfinden, was als nächstes zu tun ist.
☝️ Guter Text von Antje Schrupp: Feminismus: Lasst uns uneinig bleiben!: „Als Feministinnen haben wir nur Paradoxien anzubieten. Weil wir selbst in dieser Kultur, die Jahrtausende lang patriarchal war, ein Paradox sind – freie Frauen. Unsere Stärke liegt in unserer Uneinigkeit. Unsere Differenzen sind der Proviant, von dem wir zehren.“
🤔 too simplistic but not wrong: I’m Disabled, and I Despise Cultural Victimhood: As it currently stands, university campuses across the Western world are being eaten from the inside out – this is just an undeniable reality. Just when you thought that universities could not do anything more extraordinarily fascistic, they do.
my disability is not my single defining characteristic. It alone does not dictate my ideas, politics or worldview. None of us should be defined by dint of skin colour, sexual orientation, gender identity, biological sex or disability/ability. Campus ideologues must stop policing the world, and stop policing people for wrongthink. In the end, none of this will help anyone. All it does is fracture society into divisions based on victimhood and resentment for others who don’t prostrate themselves before the altar of coerced empathy in quick enough fashion.
In the end, all that will be achieved is a crippled society, made up of crippled individuals who can’t speak or act freely, fearful of causing offence and living under a tyranny of silence for fear of stepping outside the ever-constricting bounds of acceptable discourse, at risk of severe social censure. A crippled society cannot last long; either it will collapse under the weight of its own decay, or it will tear itself apart when those who still value freedom finally snap at the repression of their ability to act and speak freely in the world. If the identity politics ideologues and their allies in the faculty and administration of the universities want a war of all against all, they should keep doing what they’re doing; however, it would be better if this nightmare could be avoided, if we as a society err on the side of liberty and freedom for all.
☝️ The Gender Movement's Will to Rule: ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’ ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.
Because I’m an historian, I can’t help but point out that this debate is nothing new, despite showy campus sidewalk-chalk proclamations to the contrary. The Lakota Sioux, for example, supported a special sub-community of gender-variant Wíŋkte, as did the Navajo with their disparaged Nádleeh. The social standing of these “variants,” was, I suspect, far less honored than that of today’s LGBT(QIA) community. I challenge, therefore, the narrative that we live in an oppressive age, sullied by a ugly bias. I believe that things are, by and large, better than ever from a gender equality perspective and I, for one, want the trend to continue. It frustrates me that my opinion (as a straight male) is increasingly discounted, since this reflexive suppression seems so evidently at odds with the movement’s ostensible ambitions. I worry that the headlong rush to “normalize” gender relations by vigorously policing “incorrect” expressions will hurt all of us.
Insisting that we ascribe to gender-language along “proper” lines is fundamentally illiberal, and risks reawakening the very forces of cultural authoritarianism that created gender discrimination in the first place.
🤔 What if consciousness is not what drives the human mind?: We suggest that our personal awareness does not create, cause or choose our beliefs, feelings or perceptions. Instead, the contents of consciousness are generated “behind the scenes” by fast, efficient, non-conscious systems in our brains. All this happens without any interference from our personal awareness, which sits passively in the passenger seat while these processes occur. Put simply, we don’t consciously choose our thoughts or our feelings – we become aware of them.
Paper: Chasing the Rainbow: The Non-conscious Nature of Being: 1,2* and 2 Despite the compelling subjective experience of executive self-control, we argue that “consciousness” contains no top-down control processes and that “consciousness” involves no executive, causal, or controlling relationship with any of the familiar psychological processes.
We argue that the contents of consciousness are a subset of the experiences, emotions, thoughts and beliefs that are generated by non-conscious processes within our brains. This subset takes the form of a personal narrative, which is constantly being updated. The personal narrative exists in parallel with our personal awareness, but the latter has no influence over the former. The personal narrative is important because it provides information to be stored in your autobiographical memory (the story you tell yourself, about yourself), and gives human beings a way of communicating the things we have perceived and experienced to others.
This, in turn, allows us to generate survival strategies; for example, by learning to predict other people’s behaviour. Interpersonal skills like this underpin the development of social and cultural structures, which have promoted the survival of human kind for millennia. So, we argue that it is the ability to communicate the contents of one’s personal narrative –– and not personal awareness – that gives humans their unique evolutionary advantage.
👾 I'm increasingly thinking about sports as metaphor which sucks because I hate sports: What Lurks Behind Rabid Sports Fandom?: The soccer match hadn’t even started when the cops showed up. On the streets of Marseille, France, the officers—helmeted, shields in hands, batons on belts—charged through a crowd to break up a thicket of English and Russian fans who were hurling bottles, threats, and insults at each other.
🔪 The Root of All Cruelty?: A recent episode of the dystopian television series “Black Mirror” begins with a soldier hunting down and killing hideous humanoids called roaches. [But dehumanization is not the whole story.]
In many instances, violence is neither a cold-blooded solution to a problem nor a failure of inhibition; most of all, it doesn’t entail a blindness to moral considerations. On the contrary, morality is often a motivating force: “People are impelled to violence when they feel that to regulate certain social relationships, imposing suffering or death is necessary, natural, legitimate, desirable, condoned, admired, and ethically gratifying.” Obvious examples include suicide bombings, honor killings, and the torture of prisoners during war, but Fiske and Rai extend the list to gang fights and violence toward intimate partners. For Fiske and Rai, actions like these often reflect the desire to do the right thing, to exact just vengeance, or to teach someone a lesson. There’s a profound continuity between such acts and the punishments that—in the name of requital, deterrence, or discipline—the criminal-justice system lawfully imposes. Moral violence, whether reflected in legal sanctions, the killing of enemy soldiers in war, or punishing someone for an ethical transgression, is motivated by the recognition that its victim is a moral agent, someone fully human.
🤔 Is it worth the trouble?: In 1942 Albert Camus wrote a book called “The Myth of Sisyphus”. It is about the one truly important philosophical problem: Given the circumstances of our existence, shouldn’t we just kill ourselves? This is his answer: […] killing yourself to uphold reason is not really reasonable.
Instead, he suggests we should do three things:
1. Permanent revolution: We should constantly revolt against the circumstances of our existence and thus keep the absurd alive. We should never accept defeat, not even death, even though we know it can’t be avoided in the long run. Permanent rebellion is the only way to be present in the world.
2. Reject eternal freedom: Instead of enslaving ourselves to eternal models we should hold on to reason, but be aware of its limitations and apply it flexibly to the situation at hand — or put simply: we should find freedom here and now, not in eternity.
3. Passion: Most importantly we should always have a passion for life, love everything in it and try not to live as good as possible but as much as possible.
An absurd human knows about his mortality and yet doesn’t accept it, knows about the limitation of his reasoning, yet still holds it dear, feels the pleasure and pain of his experiences and yet tries to take in as many as possible.
🌊 Corals May Have a Taste for Dangerous Plastic: The ocean is full of plastic. Eight million tons are dumped in the seas every year. Plastic bags have been found in the guts of dead sea turtles, which mistake them for jellyfish. More than 200 species have been documented eating plastic, which looks colorful and edible but can kill them.
🤖 Can A.I. Be Taught to Explain Itself?: In September, Michal Kosinski published a study that he feared might end his career. The Economist broke the news first, giving it a self-consciously anodyne title: “Advances in A.I. Are Used to Spot Signs of Sexuality.” But the headlines quickly grew more alarmed.
🔧 Q&A: The Ethics of Using Brain Implants to Upgrade Yourself: Neurotechnology is one of the hottest areas of engineering, and the technological achievements sound miraculous: Paralyzed people have controlled robotic limbs and computer cursors with their brains, while blind people are receiving eye implants that send signals to their brains’ visual centers.
🎸 De Constantia, or Malcolm in the Middle: THE WORLD’S LEADING non-lead guitarist died last Saturday. With the passing of Malcolm Young, a co-founder and lifelong member of the Australian rock band AC/DC, the rock ’n’ roll pantheon loses yet another of its giants.
😶 What Kind Of Memes Would The AIs Meme If The AIs Could Meme Memes?: Now, it stands to reason that in the cyberpunk age, New Albion has its share of hackers as well as general computer riff raff. I would imagine that some of the best hackers, the elite, would have noticed and concluded that on the web was… some arbitrator of rules.
🎸 Politically Incorrect Punk: In September 1984, the widely read punk zine Maximum Rocknroll published its review of Victim in Pain, the debut album by a New York City band called Agnostic Front.
📎 The Surprising History (and Future) of Paperweights: On a Friday night this spring, I reported to the inaugural show at Fisher Parrish Gallery, in Bushwick. Some awfully cool looking folks were packed into the small white space. The table was laid with 117 new examples of paperweights.
🤥 Alternative Fakten für Deutschland: Bei ihren ersten Auftritten im Bundestag nehmen es Abgeordnete der AfD mit den Tatsachen nicht immer ganz so ernst. Auffällig war das bei den Themen syrische Flüchtlinge, Stellenabbau bei Siemens und Ganztagsschulen.
👎 Harald Weyel: Zurück ins Kaiserreich: "Was Sie hier sehen", sagt der AfD-Mann und legt sich zwinkernd die Hand auf die Brust, "ist eine optische Täuschung." Mit diesem Satz hat Harald Weyel gern Wahlkampfreden begonnen und auch gleich die ersten irritierten Lacher bei seinem Publikum erzielt.
💩 The Making of an American Nazi: How did Andrew Anglin go from being an antiracist vegan to the alt-right’s most vicious troll and propagandist—and how might he be stopped? On December 16, 2016, Tanya Gersh answered her phone and heard gunshots. Startled, she hung up.