Living with Constant Manipulation by Choice!

Gaslighting, brainwashing, swaying, emotional blackmail or whatever you may call it, manipulation has unfortunately been seen in all relationships, knowingly or unknowingly, to some degree. The most common form in near and dear relationships being that of emotional blackmail, which usually both parties are aware of and which usually has some mutuality in it. It may even be seen as a form of possessiveness or neediness in love. The problem happens when it crosses the level of emotional blackmail and one person uses manipulation techniques in a subtle manner, slowly and steadily, without the other person realizing it to gain control over the other.

However, I am not talking about relationships of any kind. I am about to address something that is manipulating the entire mobile and social media crazy world.

Credits: reportdoor.com

“The Social Dilemma” by Jeff Orlowski is a docudrama that was recently released on Netflix about social media and its negative effects on the entire population. Once insiders of the tech giants like Facebook, Google, Twitter etc and now out on their own due to ethical concerns, a number of members of these great companies talk about how computers have taken over everything and how AI is now almost its own entity and humans have lesser and lesser control over the disaster it creates. The extent of control these computers have, which are programmed to generate clicks in order to make money, is uncanny.

With every click we make, we allow those advanced systems to make a profile of ours and they know over time, our areas of interest; what affects us, what lures us and slowly but surely, they start feeding us stuff we would naturally be drawn to, sometimes giving us fake information just to keep us hooked. They change reality from user to user (reminds me of the Mammootty and Mohan Lal fan battle in Kerala. For a very long time the Kerala movie scene was ruled by these two film stars. There are certain areas which are Mammootty crazy and other areas which are Mohan Lal crazy, so in a particular movie which was a love triangle, they filmed two different endings wherein Mamootty gets the girl in the movie released in his fanbase zone and Mohan Lal wins the girl in his!)! While that’s okay in a movie, do you realise after a couple of decades we will not really know what to believe!! They can instigate groups to violence and so much more. Our brains are being moulded without our knowledge. It is scary that people get trained in Universities to do this as a part of profit making.

 We are all aware of psychological warfare when countries go to war but being manipulated every single day just doesn’t gel with me. What’s worse is most of the people in the docudrama said that despite knowing the reality they couldn’t get rid of the addiction themselves. Children of those working in these companies aren’t given a smart phone till high school because there is no stopping anyone who has one! It is an addiction that knows no limits. Media in itself sways public opinion with biased views but social media does it a hundred times faster over a wider base!

This docudrama is worth a watch. Whether or not anything changes in your life after this, at least you will be aware of what you are getting into. I have removed all history from my YouTube and Google so that suggestions don’t pop up. They are one of the baits. I am hardly on any other social media app. I watched this film with my husband and kids and they made fun of my paranoia and though my son tried to pacify me, that he wasn’t on social media as much and mainly into gaming, my daughter laughed out loud and said that she would knowingly be addicted to it all happily! My husband told me to take it all with a pinch of salt and carries on living his life as before.

I hate the idea of being controlled and manipulated by anyone and this was the last straw so I am hardly on the phone anymore. The long and short of the story was that I began to live a boring life. The kids and husband carried on being tied to their gadgets and I, in the hope of setting an example, remained alone and coping with withdrawal symptoms on the quiet!! A week later though, it’s not so bad, I am reading more and giving time to other interests as well. Our mind can be taught what we want it to learn, I guess. Not an easy task and the mind wastes no time in reverting back to its old ways but if you take it up as an effort to liberate yourself, you can do it! Do watch the movie on Netflix and No, I am not getting paid for promoting it!!

 



 

Comments

  1. Quite relevant in the times that we are living in. As they say, excess of anything is harmful. We must know when and where to draw lines, so that our peace of mind doesn't get hampered. Social media can be informative, entertaining and interesting, if only we strictly set boundaries for ourselves.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. Setting boundaries is so important and yet, the most difficult. It all boils down to self-discipline!

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