More and more people are waking up to the reality that we are in the midst of a real life zombie apocalypse. Mark Sisson over at Mark's Daily Apple noticed the same thing, too:
Restaurants and bars and coffee shops across the world are littered with broken-neck zombies gazing into their smartphones. I’ve seen entire families out to dinner, each member’s attention fixated on an iPhone as they spoon food into mouth, pausing only to breathe and guzzle cola. I’ve seen young guys out at bars who, instead of checking out the women at the next table over or jabbering at each other with youthful exuberance, feel the need to tell everyone on their Facebook lists just how much fun they claim to be having. I’ve even caught myself lingering at the computer after work, doing nothing of import even as a gorgeous spring day ticks away into the ether of time right outside the window. Why? Just what the heck is our collective problem?
One guy who is studying the palm-zombie apocalypse is Dr. Kieth Ablow, who writes in his recent FoxNews article:
WE ARE RAISING A GENERATION OF DELUDED NARCISSISTS
I have been writing a great deal over the past few years about the toxic psychological impact of media and technology on children, adolescents and young adults, particularly as it regards turning them into faux celebrities—the equivalent of lead actors in their own fictionalized life stories. On Facebook, young people can fool themselves into thinking they have hundreds or thousands of “friends.” They can delete unflattering comments. They can block anyone who disagrees with them or pokes holes in their inflated self-esteem. They can choose to show the world only flattering, sexy or funny photographs of themselves (dozens of albums full, by the way), “speak” in pithy short posts and publicly connect to movie stars and professional athletes and musicians they “like.”
Using Twitter, young people can pretend they are worth “following,” as though they have real-life fans, when all that is really happening is the mutual fanning of false love and false fame. Using computer games, our sons and daughters can pretend they are Olympians, Formula 1 drivers, rock stars or sharpshooters. And while they can turn off their Wii and Xbox machines and remember they are really in dens and playrooms on side streets and in triple deckers around America, that is after their hearts have raced and heads have swelled with false pride for “being” something they are not.
Well that would certainly help to explain one aspect of why we now live in an age where most people are compulsory slaves to their hand held gadgetry that gives them mobile access to the virtual lives of virtual SUCCESS that they've built up on teh Interwebz. The disconnect is growing.
What is it about teh Interwebz and mobile device technology that has become so addictive to the masses? It can't just be the creation of a virtual life of virtual success and popularity that is driving the ubiquity of mesmerized zombies staring incessantly at their hand held devices anywhere and everywhere. Roosh recently posted a dramatized account of a woman slavishly addicted to her
It boggles the mind.
The thing the think we need to understand, is that these addictive behaviors are not just some accidental, unintended consequence of technology companies who only really want to realize profits by offering their gadgets and apps to improve our lives. The principles of using intermittent rewards with visual and audio stimuli to cause addiction is well understood by designers and engineers alike. As Ricky Raw pointed out in his post, Bullshit and Intermittent Rewards:
The simplest definition I can come up with for intermittent rewards would be “unpredictable random rewards in response to repeated behavior.” A perfect illustration would be gambling in general, and slot machines in particular. With a slot machine, you do the same behavior over and over again, put in a token and pull a lever, but you never know when you’ll actually be rewarded for this behavior. This creates an incentive to keep repeating the behavior, because you are chasing the reward, and you become convinced that if you just do it one more time, that may be the time you get the reward. All gambling works like this to a degree, which is what makes it such a compulsive addiction. Intermittent rewards also are used in dog training. B.F. Skinner is credited with pioneering the intermittent reward theory by his experiments with the operant conditioning chamber, better known as a Skinner Box…
This NY Times article  discusses intermittent rewards and describes their power well:
The makers of slot machines may rely on the lure of life-changing jackpots to attract customers, but the machines’ ability to hook so deeply into a player’s cerebral cortex derives from one of the more powerful human feedback mechanisms, a phenomenon behavioral scientists call infrequent random reinforcement, or ”intermittent reward.” Children whose parents consistently shower them with love and attention tend to take that devotion for granted. Those who know they’ll never be rewarded by their parents stop trying after a while. But those who are rewarded only intermittently — in the fashion of a slot machine — will often pursue positive outcomes with a persistent tenacity. ”That hard-wiring that nature gave us didn’t anticipate electronic gaming devices,” says Howard Shaffer, director of the division on addictions at Harvard Medical School and perhaps the country’s foremost authority on gambling disorders.
”The slot machine is brilliantly designed from a behavioral psychology perspective,” says Nancy Petry, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. ”The people who are making these machines are using all the behavioral techniques to increase the probability that the behavior of gambling will reoccur.” She refers to intermittent reward and ”second-order conditioning” — the lights and sounds that go off when a player wins, for example, or the two cherries in a row that convinces people they’re getting closer.
”No other form of gambling manipulates the human mind as beautifully as these machines,” concludes Petry, who has studied gambling treatments since 1998. ”I think that’s why that’s the most popular form of gambling with which people get into trouble.”
Intermittent rewards and second-order conditioning, taken from slot machine technology and brought to a whole new level of addiction with the combination of smart phones and social media. A continually reinforced addiction to a virtual reality life... an electronic leash far too many are willing to embrace without a second thought as to how it may impact their lives and behavior.
Creating virtual lives is only a part of the overall dynamics of what technology and 24-7 access to teh Interwebz is doing to our species. We've got an increasing epidemic of sexual dysfunction thanks to teh pr0n. While most of the reported problems arising from masturbating to porn are males who develop PIED - Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction - it appears the young women who've never had real sex and begin masturbating to porn at a young age can also develop dysfunctional, sexually deviant addictions and become incapable of normal sexual response to good old fashioned, human male-in-female sex. I had no idea teh Pr0n could do it to women too...but it looks like no one is immune to it's effects.
The more we look plainly at the evolving reality around is, the more apparent it becomes that we are currently living in the technocratic dystopia foretold by the likes of Orwell, Huxley, Wells et al. The addiction to the intermittent rewards doled out by hand held gadgetry is just the latest means for amusing ourselves to death.
As the Palm Zombie Apocalypse virus continues to spread, I'm sure we will see various new manifestations of the ways in which it's addictive uses and abuses affects the human mind and behavior in strange, pathological and deviant ways.
The mantra of the cultural Marxist's revolution of the 1960's was "Tune in , turn on and drop out."
That platitude has now been replaced.
The revolution will no longer be televised.
"Log on, Update and Zone Out" is the mantra of our Brave New World Order.
The revolution will be tweeted, instagrammed, pinterested and facedbooked. Quick, better go and check your SMARTphone...you just might miss it!