Dissenting through the Mainstream

| 2 minutes read

Viewing social networks as gigantic social information dissemination and synchronization machines makes understanding today’s zeitgeist palpable. The networks economically seek engagement and present users with many current takes. Debating culture, consensus-seeking, and decision-making is ever-accelerating in all fields of society. Easily sharable opinion packages sway whole nations, and while minority opinion-holders call for “freedom” and the virtue of “thinking for yourself,” the network’s argument chest grows through the compatibility and universal comprehensibility of their contributors arguments. Not the originality of the thought counts: Rather, it is the moral integrity within the political ideology. But, pre-bundled opinion dissemination poses dangerous consequences for the population: Commercializing over functionalizing maximally optimizes for beautifying packaging and not increasing utility. The Populus mandates social media to represent the global common denominator, and a virality coefficient measured by a click-through rate indicates the content’s success: Not its general utility to the consuming. The dissemination logic of content on the internet for maximum attention is a binary tournament of competition: The thumbnail, title, and description of content A and B compete for side by side. Through continuous hierarchical competition, a never-ending AB engagement test conducts today’s champion in this battle royal. Thus, although we are observing social networks to create dissent and subversion on the long tail of their attention markets, the dominant players are those who create the most agreeable, comprehendible, and composable opinion packages in due time for consumption - minding the appetite. Dissenting has become pathological: Psychotic, conspirational, crazy. Subversion is anti-social, un-virtuous, or evil. The mainstream is good, and it is all-encompassing. It can express dissent and subversion: It provides a glossy (non-commercial looking) surface; a $9.99 starter pack: A new season’s item pass for overthrowing the latest tyranny.

But, real dissent, by definition, cannot exist within the mainstream. Its existence is created through distinction and seclusion. It is maintained through careful curation, debate, selective consumption, and lifestyle. It has to be created not only through consumption but through play and sacrifice. Today’s enemy of dissent is exposure to the agreeable and the compromise. Dissent is conflict, not its aversion: Surface-ly and not within the underground anymore. It does not look dark, pointy, hidden, colorful, natural, or secluded anymore. And it rejects permanent or phenotypical identity and plays on all stages - under masks, dresses, ornaments, and sometimes naked and in plain sight. Its function is the production of true epistemic intelligence through trust in the human mind’s error-correcting capability. It understands influence and power to be invisible and undiscovered. Its strength emerges from adaptability, continuous reproduction, and resilience, from asymmetry, asynchronicity, and solitude.

Once observed through all its facets, dissent and subversion form the base of all bias. Its utility is rationalization and quantification: Its effect is the mainstream’s emergence.


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