Monday, June 3, 2013

Addiction by Design

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:


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 mobile affirmation device smart phone. I wish I could say it was a work of pure fiction...but I know a few men and women who are like that. I know some folks in my social circles who now politely decline invitations to go camping or beach parties because they are planned to be held in areas where there is no wi-fi access. These are people that used to come to all the events my peer groups, the prospect of an entire weekend without being plugged into their social media realities is like a heroin junky contemplating an entire weekend without any smack.

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 [4] 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 just might miss it!


Anonymous said...

I've had this same discussion about porn and ED with Eivind Berge.

I'm not sure that you guys aren't reversing cause and effect. Honestly, the quality of modern women is so low that they could cause erectile dysfunction in many normal men; who in turn visit porn sites for relief. Now I agree that porn's a poor substitute for the 'real thing' but when real women are in such desperately short supply, it's somewhat like eating Ersatz Bread to stay reasonably healthy when no real bread is available.

Granted that with our 'government's' notorious penchant for mind manipulation, those dangers are often overlooked by proponents of virtual sex. But still, you have to take in account that it really IS a genuine toss-up between an Ameroskank and a sexbot. Even the attractive ones have such abysmally low characters that having sex with them would require a strenuous effort for most men.

praguestepchild said...

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.

I've always thought that Huxley got short shrift considering that Brave New World has turned out to be far more prescient than 1984. There are certainly plenty of Orwellian elements in modern society such as Newspeak (PCism), but the most ubiquitous tragedy is that with an ocean of knowledge at their fingertips these days, the majority of people squander it on things like writing and liking meaningless drivel on FB and Twitter.

Keoni Galt said...

I'm not sure that you guys aren't reversing cause and effect. Honestly, the quality of modern women is so low that they could cause erectile dysfunction in many normal men; who in turn visit porn sites for relief.

Nah, I think you've got it reversed here, Eric. Most young boys first experiences with any sort of sexual stimuli nowadays comes from masturbating to teh Pr0n. Girls their age, are dating and banging the older guys and alpha's in their social cliques at school.

Guys who's only experiences with orgasms while viewing high speed pr0n actually re-wire their brains to associate their sexual responses to teh Pr0n. If/when they finally get a real woman naked, they find they simply don't respond to real human stimuli...ED.

The forum "Rebalancing your Brain" is full of journal stories of guys frustrated that they cannot perform for their girls, and they know it's because they've become to addicted to spanking it while viewing teh Pr0n.

Praguestepchild - the most ubiquitous tragedy is that with an ocean of knowledge at their fingertips these days, the majority of people squander it on things like writing and liking meaningless drivel on FB and Twitter. Agreed.

What I think is happening, and I've since seen other columnists and commenters allude to it as well, is that Huxley was more accurate FOR NOW...for the past several decades, we've been amusing ourselves to death. But we are now in a stage of transition towards a more totalitarian, Orwellian state.

It's not that Huxley was more right than Orwell, but rather that both were describing the coming New World Order at different stages.

Brave New World --- > 1984

Indeed, ever since 9-11, we've seen the framework for the totalitarian state being built up, piece by piece, dismantling all of our freedoms and implementing total surveillance and behavioral control measures similar to Orwell's 1984.

Anonymous said...

"when they get a real woman naked, they find they don't respond to real human stimuli."

I would say that more likely, they find themselves in bed with a misandryist who isn't turned on sexually by men at all. Female frigidity is probably causing ED moreso than porn. As the following study shows, most American females are not sexually attracted to men in the slightest:

Wherein it is documented that most women today are latently homosexual.

Besides, if porn caused ED, how can men reach orgasm by viewing porn? Obviously, they aren't dysfunctional when genuine sexual stimulus is present.

Beans Mcgrady said...

Eric, If you think the takeaway from the times article is that most women are latent homosexuals, you either have a serious reading comprehension problem, or you don't know the meaning of the words you are using.
People do wreck their dicks for real women by getting hoked on porn. I don't think it is very common, but it happens.
That is actually another problem with the rapid access to information that the internet provides. We hear about things we never would have 20 years ago, so now we suddenly think they are happening ALL THE TIME. . .
Good article, and BTW, Huxley actually wrote a letter to Orwell telling George that the Brave New World model was more likely, based on the fact that the state could not muster enough constant force to keep people in line without the distraction/delusion factor. Orwell did have the surveillance state element down though.

Seraph said...

Interesting for me that you posted this just now.

I am a technophile, love gadgetry have loved video and computer games for years, and have been looking forward to more immersive technologies...and yet.

I have found myself pulling away from it recently a lot. I have been feeling more and more that I should and want to do more ACTUAL things, to learn real skills rather than ones that are simulated, no matter how realistic.

Part of it is simply lack of time, but also that I do not wish to waste time I do have that I could in other more substantial pursuits. I have been re-prioritizing. I ask myself, "Is this adding to or subtracting from my life?" If it is subtracting, I try to dump it. And anything that does not give me some tangible benefits while consuming my time is in my opinion subtracting.

I got off Facebook because I found it to be generally pointless and shallow when it was not aggravating me people's stupid opinions. I have to admit that I got on it in the first place for pretty damn shallow reasons.

I think technology is overall a great thing, but like most everything else, too much of even a great thing is bad for you. The problem seems to be people want Second Lives without actually working on their first.

By the way, Keoni, I have been reading the blog for a while and have really enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

I guess you're right: the article also DID mention that women were turned on by monkeys too. So I guess they're not exclusively into other women after all.

"Men do wreck their dicks for real women by getting hooked on porn."

Sure---because there are so many 'real women' around, right?

It sounds to me like you're in a very serious state of deep denial. The results of the study posted in the NY Times are obvious to any male who looks at modern women objectively. They are incapable of emotionally bonding with men in a sexual way, because they see men as inferiors and subhumans.

Although I'm sure that you're an 'Alpha Male' and that never happens to you...LOL

Anonymous said...

This may be the only iteration of things zombie that i do not enjoy

Anonymous said...

this is John Rambo, Anti-Feminist Soldier. I am posting this on behalf of Peter-Andrew: Nolan© also now known as Joschua-Brandon: Boehm©. I am doing this because, as a young men who knows Peter well, I know he has our best interests at heart.

It is well known that five years ago, April 2008, I spent a month suicidal as I went through the process of disowning my former children. When I came out of that rather unpleasant experience I contacted other men who had been similarly affected. I realized that many men were killing themselves because of the criminal abuse of the family law courts all across the western English speaking world.

As a direct result of this experience, and my compassion for my fellow men, I made a vow in June 2008 to re-introduce the rule of law into Australia and Ireland. Naturally, at the time I made the vow I had no idea how that might be done. We call it “throw your hat over the wall”. You make the vow and “figure it out later”.

Along the way I have talked to many tens of thousands of men, perhaps as many as 100,000 men have seen at least one comment by me one way or another. What I heard from men in 2008 was that they were DESPERATE for a remedy for the crimes being committed against them in the family courts. They were DESPERATE to find a way to end the criminal effects of feminism on their lives. Because so many men told me the same thing I mistook this to mean they actually WANTED to solve the problems of the family courts and feminism. As I said. My mistake.

Through very extensive research and labour, and collaborating with the best and brightest, the remedy for both the family courts and feminism was proven on 2009-11-26. A mere 18 months after I was suicidal. The court meeting that I did on 2009-11-26 I regard as one of the finest achievements of my life. Regardless? The very men I risked my life to create a remedy for have ignored that remedy, preferring to whine, bitch, moan and complain because that is far more rewarding to them than actually solving their problems. If they solved their problems they would have nothing to whine, bitch, moan and complain about.

The remedy has now been available 2.5 times as long as it took to develop and has proved uniquely unpopular. I am hated for even talking about it. The blood of every man who kills himself due to criminal abuse in the family courts is on the hands of those perhaps 100,000+ men who have heard from me and done nothing. I did all I could. They did not. It is actually very simple.

The mechanism for men to free themselves now is the Mens Business Association. The MBA provides individual based services to get men out of the control grid. Such services may well save the mans life from suicide. Going forward? It is necessary to create second economy outside the control of any government entity. Why criminals in governments can dominate and control men via the economy they will continue to do so. There is no reason for them to stop. The MBA is the proposal of a second economy outside the control of the government. This is a NECESSARY ingredient for men to live in freedom.

Only a small percentage of men will want to live in freedom. Those men who want to live in freedom? You are invited to watch a short update on how we are going in our efforts to get the second economy going. Naturally? The second economy will grow just as quickly or slowly as men join in and contribute to it. Those who want to “stick with the government run economies”? You are welcome to do so. I wish you luck with that because you are going to need it.

best regards

your brother peter

Unknown said...

I spend a lot of time at coffee shops and am amazed at the number of people who spend their time staring into their Apple laptops. And I've seen people zombified by TV since I was a little kid.

Orion said...

My wife and some friends wonder why I have the absolute cheapest cell phone I could find. I even had them remove the texting function (well, to whatever degree they could). I spend too much time at my computer as it is, so I drew the line at mobile devices. You want to contact me? Email or call me. I just had a three day break with no internet. I think I need to do that more often.

blog remaja indonesia said...

I spend a lot of time at coffee shops and am amazed at the number of people who spend Reviews their time staring into Reviews their Apple laptops. And I've seen people zombified by TV since I was a little kid.