My first job in London – many years ago – was for a major international consultancy house.
Back then, I had a British colleague whose favorite pastime was to tear apart the advertising slogans our company came up with.
Reimagined future . . . digital change-makers. . . sustainable disruption . . . web-readiness. . .
None of that drivel stood a chance against his phlegmatic zingers.
We spent more hours demolishing our employer’s hogwash than doing any work for our clients. Those clients paid several hundred dollars in hourly fees for our time, but nobody cared. My colleague and I didn’t care because those fees went straight to our employer’s coffers. The client staff didn’t care because our fees came out from their employer’s coffers.
That’s what zero skin in the game does. And that’s what corporations are. A circus of cloaks and veneers; a parade of fabricated illusions, confidence tricks, and unabashed fakery.
“I’m only keeping it real,” he would retort with a learned smile when our team leader tried to rein him in.
He went on to become a pilot, one of the few remaining jobs where reality matters. I left too but not before it was too late. Decades of classrooms, campuses, and open-plan, post-modernistic offices had already taken their toll on me. I had become part of the illusion.
Which is why I can see it so clearly.
The corporate illusion consumes everything: corporate media, corporate food, corporate medicine – everything that used to be real is now owned by a corporate cult.
This cult makes you believe in things that are not real.
It makes you think that you can enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor without exerting any labor yourself (corporate jobs are not real labor). It makes you think that you can consume effortless calories without knowing where your food came from. It makes you think that you can sustain your middle-class urban lifestyle just by doing Zoom calls all day. That someone else will feed you, drive you around, keep you warm, and fix your health.
It makes you think that someone else will handle reality for you.
All you have to do is sit in front of a display all day.
Think about this.
Every single consumer “breakthrough” over the last few decades had a singular goal in mind: to keep humans transfixed into a display. I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way.
Displays have been creeping up on humans for some time now. It started out slowly, slyly, and imperceptibly.
Cinema projection screens were dozens of meters away from our eyes. A few decades later, television displays advanced to within a few meters. Computers narrowed that distance to less than a meter. Phones and smartwatches shrunk that to a mere few centimeters.
Now, consider the optics of virtual reality headsets. How they wrap around the head like a Ridley Scott Alien creature. And then extrapolate forward by a few years to things like Neuralink, which will pretty much jack human brains into another world, à la Matrix.
But make no mistake:
The goal of consumer technology is for humans to progressively renounce the real world.
It's preordained. Our physical, carbon-based existence has to give way to a digital, silicon-based illusion. And to sustain the illusion, technology has to eliminate the interruptions.
“Interruptions, what interruptions?”
The illusion is interrupted when humans have to attend to reality. Every time they travel to work, every time they prepare food, and every time they leave the house to socialize and find a spouse. Those interruptions pull humans back to reality.
And reality is anathema to this cult.
That’s why consumer technology is trying to banish it, one “smart” contraption at a time.
For the illusion to stay in place, reality should never be allowed to catch up.
Endless wars in Ukraine and Taiwan? Endless health threats? Ever-approaching climate apocalypse? Those stage plays only serve to push people deeper into La La Land.
No real crisis can ever take place because nothing should be allowed to pull humans out of the illusion. The only apocalypse those humans ever experience is in Zombie Netflix series and hysterical CGI newsflashes.
Most Europeans will never really freeze this winter. As long as they toe the line, as long as they sign up for government subsidies and digital IDs, and as long as they keep staring into their displays, no one will get hurt.
Any real-world punishments are aimed at those who still hold on to the real world: farmers, laborers, shop-keepers, and their ilk. Localized crises – attacks, rather – will keep happening to them until they renounce reality and bend the knee to the cult of illusion.
“Unexpected” floodings and droughts dislocating entire communities; “lumpy skin” outbreaks vaporizing thousands of cattle; “sudden” forest fires, “freak” tsunamis, and “baffling” weather phenomena; those are attacks on the last vestiges of reality.
Oftentimes, people decide they have had enough.
So they start to complain – you know, like kids do when their parents take away their toys.
They get out on the streets and join peaceful protests, thinking that if they express their angst loud enough their guardian adult will treat them better.
It’s as foolish as it is naive.
Protests are controlled experiments which help the architects of “our democracy” learn and adjust how fast they can turn the screws on people without waking them up from their stupor.
Complaining is not the answer.
To break the illusion we need to grow up.
Infants expect that an adult will feed them, entertain them, keep them warm and, most of all, keep them safe. In other words, they are helpless.
Modern westerners have been infantilized – their bodies and minds have atrophied. They are utterly useless and therefore powerless. The only thing they know how to use is their iPhone. No wonder they have to toe the line when governments threaten to jail them for turning the heating on. They’re like infants – naive and defenseless.
I often ask myself:
What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and there was no electricity? How would you go about meeting your needs?
Would your university degrees be of any help? How about those corporate diplomacy skills you’ve honed in over the years? Would your deep expertise on feminism help you find food?
This is just a mental exercise, of course. Electricity will never really disappear, because the illusion cannot exist without it. Those questions, however, should help demonstrate the power imbalance, i.e. how weak and impotent most westerners are.
To outgrow our induced infantilization we need to stop:
Trading skills for convenience.
Trading responsibility for comfort.
Trading ownership for peace of mind.
Are you relying on public transport and Uber for all your movements? Why not own a bicycle, a scooter, or a car?
Are you relying on Deliveroo for your meals? Why not reclaim your kitchen skills?
Are you relying on Waitrose for carrying groceries to your door? Why not get out there and reclaim your neighborhood?
I’m not even talking about owning land and growing your own food – just some baby steps to awaken your reality muscle.
Engaging reality seems like hard work because we’ve been conditioned to have things magically appear at our doorstep – much like infants expecting to be fed.
But reality is so much better once we taste and smell it.
All it takes is a few hours away from phones, smartwatches, and AirPods for the illusion to lose its grip.
If everyone disconnected for a day, this pipe dream we’re living in would dissolve and collapse. That’s the problem with fake things – they die the moment you starve them of attention.
If people ignored the cult and engaged reality we could save humanity and future generations in short order. No protests or social justice movements. Just people living their lives, detached from ideologies, fake cults, and digital illusions.
And here comes the best thing.
You don’t have to convince or wait for others to join you on that adventure. You can start tasting reality right now.
Start by switching your phone off and see what happens.
Okay, time for some housekeeping.
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Well said. HODL Reality!
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