Sunday, February 11, 2007

Reality TV is the Opiate of the Masses

People of late seem to be deeply enamored of reality TV.

Survivor. American Idol. The Apprentice. Big Brother. An ever growing list of programs, with an ever-growing nigh-insatiable appetite for more.

And people don’t just enjoy watching these shows. They love to talk about them, at length. Speculating about them. Obsessing about them. It becomes a social imperative. A clique: those in the know. And if you’re not in the know, then you bear a form of social stigma. You are outside the elite. Stranded in ignorance. There is often pressure from your peers: repent your ways. Rejoin the fold, and all is forgiven. Join us.

Have you ever wondered why they call it ‘TV programming?’ An interesting choice of words. And each show a ‘program.’ A series of electrical signals carrying billions of discrete bits of information, carefully routed to your television set with a minimal amount of data loss, where it is reconstructed into very specific patterns of light. Light that enters through the eyes and directly into the brain.

There it is reconstructed back into electric signals, which race through the brain creating new patterns that no one sees, where they are interpreted on both the conscious and unconscious levels.

How difficult would it be to create a signal to program the neural pathways, the same way we program a piece of computer software? Or a piece of hardware, for that matter? The brain is merely a wetware CPU. It may be far more complex than a CPU, but there are certain fundamentals that likely apply to both.

Subliminal messages are known to have been attempted many times in the past, and no doubt this practice continues into the present. This is no more than the attempt to bypass the conscious mind directly, and plant a specific idea into a person’s subconscious. Perhaps a thought that they never would have had on their own. Or perhaps a specific desire.

What if you could program a person like a machine? Simply send the right set of electronic signals to be interpreted by their mind, bypassing their conscious thoughts and awareness entirely?

What if this has already been achieved?

When people talk to each other, they are not dissimilar to programs interfacing, sharing information. Human language is a relatively inefficient and slow means of communication, especially when compared to the electron-quick language of machines. It can take a remarkable amount of time to convey a relatively simple series of information packets from one person to another,

Unless, of course, the human voice is used as merely a carrier wave. On the surface, we would have sound waves of meaningless small talk and chatter, while underneath it all is the true signal. The true data being exchanged. We can have programs interchanging crucial pieces of data, with minimal integrity loss, while the biological machines that bear them to and fro remain blissfully unaware.

Wasn’t last night’s episode amazing?

Happy little automatons, passing the time with idle chatter and passive entertainment, unknowingly programming others and being programmed. Spreading the Word across the globe. The Will of the Program be done.

And for those that have not heard the Word?

Resistance…is futile.