Ideam: media whiplash
Note that the use of “media” in this essay is one similar in scope to McLuhan’s use – NOT just the screens and “technology” we use but rather the arising milieu.
- A few months ago I was at an upscale coastal city restaurant. I bit into my order, fried chicken wings: they were sweet. First came shock. Then embarrassment, and then: wonder. I remembered the dessert (singularity) aisle of Western civilization grocers. They’re the result of a massive conjoined neural network, developing an objective function (taste) with a universal desire tracking system (money). The immediate world we experience has become more decadent in recent years. You can feel it in the undertones. In online discourse, in our own mental maneuvers, in the common denominators that occur when multiple people coordinate. The restaurant and the dessert aisle, divided by an increasingly false sense of agency, highlight the meteoric growth of a specific idea – taste – into a surrounding media (forms of sweet food), that has become woven among others (desire, value, time).
Abstracting from just sweets When thinking about the existing patterns of ideas – and not just sweets – surrounding us, there is always the question: How did this come to be? What determines which ideas will hang around reality? How can we use this understanding to our advantage?
- What was once agentic in this question of ideas – the food critic, the writer, the news room – are now the baby ducks; the milieu of ideas are now the agentic, feeding mother. This is contrary to how nowadays the “media” is commonly referred to as doing this or that. That intent is mostly incorrect.
- The sentence uses the word “media” correctly by label, in what the agentic milieu is named. But that’s not the newsrooms
- The newsrooms are the immediately observable (largely because they have talking heads we stare at) appendages of the real media. But not the main central heft. The true media is the milieu that has arisen. We can pinpoint the heft of agency by noticing that, if the milieu does not feed the news repeater with positive feedback, it stops.
So, how does this milieu prefer to move with this agency? To introduce the future of ideas? We observe its movement patterns in this essay.
- We will uncover that far-out observation by starting with our immediate observations of these media (mediums) around us. Our mental machines have experienced numbing to a wider array of ideas than ever before mainly due to instantaneous electric technology. Everything is downstream nowadays (including business driven to the restaurant that sells the sugary fried chicken).
- The only things that awaken our numbed emotions are the extreme. Take for instance https://mobile.twitter.com/PaulVanderKlay/status/1430258148917403649. What is new and intense? What has driven action, narrative, and purpose? The gunshot, not the number. But one then remembers many years ago that the number was much more intense. The written number swept through the Old World (and later the Americas), revolutionizing societies and forcing all other ideas to fall in line, at least with a shadow of absorption of writing, lest they be outcompeted. That occurred among contexts where there were first mostly only violence conducted via physical media, like gunshots. That whiplash caught the angle that led to the future.
As such, our reality mainly evolves via whiplash expressed via these media forms interacting. Not just on a 2 dimensional direction (as car crash whiplashes are). Multidimensional space – there is some slope in a way that reality (visualized as a rolling ball) has just gone a hill up, and now we are coming back down, and we will continue exploring this infinitely complex topology of ideas in reality that seems to continue to generate ahead of us. (In this visualization that there is no such thing as friction) ￼ A visualized topology of ideas, in mundane three-dimensional space. Not a coincidence neural networks and their hyperparameters are analogous to ideas interacting with each other via their measured media
We can name this process of whiplash as an ideam. Name such as the whiplash is a sudden contortion and torsion applied to existing “media”, if you will
Going back to the sugar question, the ideam that brought it about is certainly linked to a very recognizable media we exist in – air! At some point, a life form decided to use oxygen – otherwise very toxic – to unlock incredible amounts of energy, and that idea has stuck around in reality until today. Another related ideam was The Great Oxidation Event, which eventually enabled multicellular life rose. Now we are seeing a new type of collective intelligence – the milieu of collective human ideas is increasingly growing in strength. Whether it is called the market or the machine, it is getting play time in the existing milieu of ideas. (No commentator mentioned it, but the site in question appears to be an AI-generated news site – with intentions more than just a work of art, given it being nondescript even on tis ‘About Us’ page)
On Afghanistan: AGR is wrong in that we are no longer a serious people. Rather, we got too serious about what we are about. These past few weeks were indeed an ideam (for the West). Certain media suddenly became very influential, “hot” as McLuhan would name it, in relation to the existing media, and contorted certain medias it interacted with (physical space, power, narratives -> Kabul, leadership of Afghanistan, American deterrence). Senses were caught flat footed, overloaded, and various media evolved. The meaning of “serious” comes similarly as “happiness” does — always relative to the speakers’ alignments, defined by this specificity, and then assumed as a universal assumption (this phenomenon has led to many major human conflicts).
- If you could truly label one kind of idea as “serious,” then comedy could not exist.
The frameworks that most viscerally capture this phenomenon via their negative space are the Virgin vs Chad and Drake Broke/Woke meme format. Their arbitrary assignment of ridicule and respect (also arbitrary measures) lay out the arbitrary fashion of ideas surrounding us – expressed through media in our technologies and our minds (a conclusive list of Things). The best memes are a bit surreal – a symptom of capturing the bigger picture. This coreness to the bigger picture is why GPT-3 was very good at creating such memes – we teed it up for understanding how ideas relate.
- Studying history is useful because the interaction between certain medias and the resulting ideams will bear similarities to one another.
- Unfortunately, experiencing ideams can possibly lead to one’s media senses become both very numb or very sensitive; it depends on the times and its media.
Longer content like (nonrepetitive) books – particularly fiction – provide greater insight into the interactions of ideas, due to the proof of work of the media leading to the book. This includes incentives for its publishing, the compelling truth of the book’s contained ideas, and all the scaffolding of ideas required to build up the overall idea that is the book. AI models will only outwrite books when we have AGI that can better live out the book’s described ideas. Not included are repetitive / loosely argued nonfiction (Sapiens) or trite fiction.
- The future requires ideams. Creating ideams will always be an act of rather stark violence upon existing media, but it is the least violent impactful thing that ends up occurring.
As infinite forms of media come into play, there will be infinite media of whiplash. Forms of media focusing on whiplash itself already exist (it is part of stand up comedy).
- There will not be a more impactful time than today to guide or even craft an ideam. Just be wary of other ideams.