We are more divided, Angry, Anxious, Hateful & The Future Looks Bleak Unless We Change

In today’s society, people are becoming less social, more anxious, more divided, and more political, while showing less understanding of one another. The rapid advancements in technology, globalization, and the increasing influence of social media have created a fragmented world, reminiscent of the dystopian society described by George Orwell in his novel, “1984.” As Orwell wrote, “Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”

The rise of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, has drastically altered the way people communicate with each other. While these platforms have made it easier to stay connected with friends and family, they have also led to a decline in face-to-face interaction. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2021 found that 41% of adults felt that social media platforms did more harm than good when it comes to personal relationships (Pew Research Center, 2021). In essence, this digital age has bred a generation of people who are more comfortable interacting with screens than with other human beings.

The reliance on social media and the internet has also contributed to a rise in anxiety and depression. A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Affective Disorders in 2020 found that there was a significant relationship between social media use and increased symptoms of depression and anxiety (Yoon et al., 2020). The constant exposure to carefully curated images and updates of others’ lives can lead to social comparison, lower self-esteem, and feelings of inadequacy.

Furthermore, the nature of online communication has created an environment where people are more likely to encounter extreme viewpoints and engage in aggressive behavior. Social media algorithms often prioritize content that generates strong reactions, which can lead to echo chambers and increased polarization (Allcott & Gentzkow, 2017). This phenomenon is best captured by a quote from Yeonmi Park, a North Korean defector and human rights activist, who said, “The more you watch YouTube, the more extreme you become.”

Political divisiveness has also become more pronounced, driven by a constant barrage of polarizing news and commentary. In his book “The Big Sort,” Bill Bishop discusses how people have been increasingly sorting themselves into like-minded communities, both online and offline, creating an environment where differing opinions are rarely encountered or tolerated (Bishop, 2008). This fragmentation of society has given rise to tribalism and an “us vs. them” mentality, making it increasingly difficult to foster understanding and empathy for those with opposing views.

In conclusion, the social, emotional, and political challenges faced by contemporary society are eerily reminiscent of the bleak future depicted in Orwell’s “1984.” If left unchecked, these issues could continue to exacerbate societal divisions, leading to a world where individuals are more disconnected and less empathetic toward one another. As Orwell ominously warned, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

What is “divide and conquer” and how is it being used today?

Divide and conquer is a strategy that has been used for centuries to maintain control, weaken opposition, and maximize the influence of the ruling entity. It involves the deliberate creation of divisions among people, often by exploiting differences in race, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or political affiliation. By fostering discord and mistrust among various groups, the ruling power can prevent the formation of a unified opposition and more easily maintain control. In today’s society, divide and conquer tactics are employed to manipulate and control populations, both by governments and other influential entities.

One of the main ways divide and conquer is applied in modern society is through the media. News outlets and social media platforms often present biased or polarizing information, with the intent of appealing to specific audiences. This approach serves to create echo chambers where people are primarily exposed to information that reinforces their existing beliefs and opinions. As a result, individuals become more entrenched in their views and less likely to engage in open and constructive dialogue with those who hold opposing viewpoints.

Another example of divide and conquer in contemporary society is the manipulation of identity politics. By emphasizing the differences between various social groups and framing issues in terms of identity, powerful entities can exploit these divisions to maintain power and control. This often involves promoting narratives that pit one group against another, fostering resentment, fear, and hostility. As people become more focused on their group identity and the perceived threats posed by other groups, they are less likely to unite against common challenges or question the actions of those in power.

Divide and conquer tactics are also employed in the political sphere. Politicians and political parties often use wedge issues to create divisions among the electorate, making it easier for them to garner support and maintain power. These divisive issues can range from abortion and gun control to immigration and climate change. By focusing on these controversial topics, politicians can distract the public from broader issues and prevent the formation of a unified opposition.

So, why is divide and conquer being used in society today? There are several reasons:

  1. Maintaining power: Those in positions of power, whether political or economic, have an interest in maintaining their influence. By creating divisions and fostering distrust among the populace, they can prevent the formation of a united opposition that could challenge their authority.
  2. Manipulation and control: Divide and conquer tactics are effective in manipulating public opinion and directing attention away from the actions of those in power. By keeping the public focused on internal divisions and conflicts, the ruling entities can more easily control the narrative and pursue their agendas.
  3. Economic interests: Large corporations and media conglomerates often benefit from a divided society, as it allows them to cater to specific market segments and maximize profits. Additionally, a divided populace is less likely to unite against corporate interests or demand greater economic equality.

In conclusion, divide and conquer is a strategy that has been employed throughout history to maintain power, manipulate public opinion, and control populations. Today, this tactic is used to exploit societal divisions and prevent the formation of a united opposition to those in power. As long as the public remains focused on internal conflicts and divisions, those who employ divide and conquer tactics will continue to maintain control and further their agendas.

References:

Allcott, H., & Gentzkow, M. (2017). Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(2), 211-236.

Bishop, B. (2008). The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Pew Research Center. (2021). Social Media Use in 2021. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2021/04/07/social-media-use-in-2021/

Yoon, S., Kleinman, M., Mertz, J., & Brannick, M. (2020). Is social network site usage


Posted

in

by

Tags:

Comments

One response to “We are more divided, Angry, Anxious, Hateful & The Future Looks Bleak Unless We Change”

  1. Joy avatar
    Joy

    So true. So much division it’s best to stay home.

Leave a Reply

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: