We talk about how the country is divided, and it appears there is no way to bridge the emotional and intellectual gap between our citizens. We tend to refer to each other as "extreme lefties" or "extreme righties". No longer do we use generic handles like Liberal or Conservative. Even worse, we are increasingly attaching diabolical characteristics to groups that support certain causes. Folks that were formally referred to as "Pro-Life" are now called "Antiwomen Fascists" and Pro-Choice supporters are called "Baby Killers".
And on top of that, using powerful influential tools like social media we cancel, or purge selected persons and businesses, and effectively sentence them to social purgatory.
If you ask those involved if they consider their actions to be acceptable behavior, they will, on both sides, declare they are just doing what the other side is doing. It is a circular firing squad.
It would be reasonable to conclude that everyone is detached from reality because they can't all be behaving correctly. The key point is that "in their own minds" they think they are justified and righteous.
Some would say they have been brainwashed. That would be a misinterpretation of the term. Brainwashing wipes the slate clean, and then replaces the data with new data. Victims of true brainwashing seldom remember anything about their past experiences or relationships.
In most of these social interactions and conflicts, both parties still retain most of their original programming. In other words, if their parents were liberals, they remain liberals. Same for conservatives. But in the interim, something has corrupted their mental data processing system. Their minds are different now because their algorithms have been altered. The way they process information, store and regurgitate it, has been affected.
I would argue that most of us have been hacked. We are all having our brain's data processing code rewritten. But we are not conscious of the process because it is happening subconsciously.
We are, as a culture, predisposed to get most of our information from electronic displays on our personal electronic devices such as television, computers and cell phones. As a percentage of the total amount of information we process, in the past two decades, that would have to exceed 90%. Very few people sit down and read magazines and newspapers anymore. Few walk into libraries to spend time researching anything. Google is our digital library and YouTube is our modern school house.
So why is this process so effective at reordering our brain, and changing the way we perceive the data we are seeing?
When we read, we are effectively speaking to ourselves. We internalize the dialogue. It is essentially a lateral form of data absorption. We determine when and how we apply value, emphasis, or dismissal of the data. We file it in a mental file, based on what quality and value we give it.
Conversely, when we receive data from visual sources, we tend to give all of it similar value and validity. It is multimedia, arriving as visual, audio and sometimes tactile form, it overrides our own internal narration. The data is absorbed in the same way we taste food: It is processed in a multilateral way. It is an emotional experience, as opposed to an intellectual experience.
Our nervous system uses different pathways to process multilateral experiences. Why is this important to the current status of our ability to code information inside our brains?
Those multilateral pathways are not designed to analyze and divide the data into critical files. They are designed to steer that data into sensory sensitive areas of the brain. That is how we "feel" or "taste" things. So important intellectual data that needs to be studied and critically reviewed, and separated into "real" and "unreal" files, instead gets sent to sensory files designed to "enjoy" or "reject".
Our current "modern" culture is saturated in data, but only the "Feel Good" stuff is getting processed and stored. That in itself distorts what we think and how we react to new information. Over time, mass culture changes its moral standards. It starts revolving around the experiences that feel good and rejects anything that interferes with those "rosie scenarios".
The old saying "if you don't use it, you'll lose it" applies to the neurological pathways that our brain uses to process "difficult" data. Stuff that requires serious study, analysis, and examination, when unconsciously ignored, not only deprives us of vital decision making data, but by avoidance, stunts the brain's ability to "code" it altogether.
Perhaps we are blaming our schools for undereducating students, when in fact, it is the students "coding system" that is producing citizens with no critical thinking skills. Instead of embracing the difficult arenas of politics and religion, of marriage and child rearing, and of managing their personal environment, they instead focus their energies on self-aggrandizement and entertainment.
Thus, millions of humans are growing increasingly detached from reality.