Facebook gave Russia everything it needed to help Trump become president, but we gave Facebook its power

By the admission of Facebook’s own VP of advertising, Rob Goldman, Russia’s goal of sowing division in America has been served “incredibly well” through its use of Facebook:


Is Facebook’s success in enlisting two billion members a testament to Mark Zuckerberg’s genius in creating the social media platform, or does this tell us more about the frail condition of the human mind?

To a significant degree, our attention is hardwired to be grabbed. We need the capacity to respond to unexpected triggers in our immediate environment in ways that ensure our physical survival.

But in a world where dire threats are not so commonplace, we have acquired the attention of domesticated herd animals whose waking state is occupied by foraging. It is our willingness to passively be fed that attaches us to our feed.

We have succumbed to a form of slavery in which our slave masters need apply no shackles because we have largely lost a sense of agency.

The fact that Facebook could give Russia the attention of so many million Americas was a consequence of the willingness (largely unconscious) of each of these individuals to freely give away their attention.

Until each of us reclaims the power to direct our own attention, we will continue casting out an open invitation to be led astray.

Why people love animals

 

When Yashar Ali tweeted this elephant video recently, the comments it solicited bemoaned the lack of love that humans show one another. Pets, on the other hand, are generally experienced as fountains of unconditional love.

Is this why people love animals: because, to some degree, they make offset a love deficit?

No doubt that’s part of the picture, but just as important is the role animals have in allowing people to express their own love.

In a world filled with mistrust, fear, division, and hostility, love turns into a dangerous emotion because it requires lowering ones defenses.

Sadly and too often, we save our affection for our beloved pets because we have nowhere else to share feelings that become painful if they remain locked away.