Why I Feel Guilty For Helping The Tyranny of Tech as Jeff Bezos Blasts Into Space (And What I’m Doing About It)
When I saw that Jeff Bezos had blasted into outer space and wanted to take billionaires with him, instead of realising it was the beginning of the tyranny of tech, I thought, ‘What a dick!’
Seconds later, a light bulb went off in my head. I realised I’d contributed (in my small way) to make this happen and I was appalled. Maybe it was just the cover for the blinker of his spaceship or the zipper on his spacesuit but I contributed to making this happen, to the tyranny of tech that we now are facing and I am guilty as charged!
I have been a huge Amazon fan and contributed to the success of this giant in many ways. I loved having my books delivered to my home in Paris as often it was difficult to track them down here or it meant making an effort to trudge off to one of the bookstores that sold English books across the other side of town. I also bought other things that I could have found in a local shop if I had tried such as photography equipment, cat beds, and gadgets, but I used the excuse that it was easier, and herein lies the problem!
Amazon — like many of the incredible tech creations such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google — started out as a truly amazing idea and service that liberated us on one hand and gave us the opportunities to access products once not possible delivered to our doors but have made us exceptionally lazy and housebound.
Then the tech giants grew from backyard underdogs to be a global monopoly that stamped out the competition in the form of corner bookstores and small chains around the world; family-run businesses that had served communities for generations and the individual, the artisan, and the way we communicate and congregate. We have ushered in a new era, the the tyranny of tech. Social media and tech giants hijacked our time, creativity, common sense, and distanced ourselves from mother nature and humanity. Our dopamine addiction and their brilliant use of algorithms have made us slaves to smartphones and screens, dishing up just one more cat video that will give you (me) our next hit.
Instead of hundreds of thousands of families being able to live through selling books or selling other products that bring them joy, it has become one family, Mr. Bezos’s and his mates.
Don’t get me wrong, I love technology as much as anyone else and I’m grateful that it allows me to have an online business. These giant tech corporations have given us brilliant innovations that have, on one hand, liberated the way we work but also dictate what we can purchase, what information we have access to or don’t, freedom of speech and censorship, the breakdown of communities, and how our society is being shaped. Right now it feels like we are on a giant seesaw where one end is hitting the ground and the other is swinging way up in the air, there is literally no balance.
In short, we have given this handful of people the ability to control our lives on every level and we have lost our way with how we use it.
We forget how powerful we are. We think that our actions and choices don’t make a difference but they do, it’s how we consume, what we purchase, where we invest, and who gets our attention, time, and pennies that make certain corporations, men and women, social media platforms and tech giants so powerful. We are collectively responsible.
The tyranny of tech means that the power in the world right now is in the hands of very few people, and it’s impacting our world in an enormous way.
Imagine if Jeff Bezos decided to save the Amazon forest instead of shooting himself up into space on Friday night with his buddies for a whiskey and dry, what a difference that would make? What if Mark Zuckerberg, the ‘illegitimate prince’ in the tyranny of tech, decided to unite the world instead of dividing it with his algorithms and censorship and plans for even more artificial intelligence simply so whatever our brains think will be delivered to our door without hitting a button? What if we all started walking across town to get our books and art products, who would we meet, what would we see, what conversations would we have, what inspiration would come into our minds and what joy we would receive? What if we got the control back in our lives and put down the phones, even left them at home, and freed ourselves from the dopamine that is begging us to pick them up yet again?
Of course, this is all my opinion and you may see it differently and that is OK!
Bare with me whilst I continue my observations.
Here is what it is doing to us:
Social media has contributed more than any other innovation in our lifetime to the breakdown of human connection and isolation. Once upon a time, we relied on community halls and gatherings, feast days, and concerts to come together and do what humans do. Talk, help each other, laugh, dance, rejoice, mourn and live. Instead, people are staying home and making endless Tik Tok videos.
The tyranny of tech means we are isolated in our homes, anxious and disconnected from each other, and held hostage by a screen. A screen that tells you highly curated information so only you get to see what they want you to see. A screen that has hijacked our lives and we have all become addicted to being inundated with useless information from thousands of people we barely know, bits of mind numbing trivia that occupies our consciousness, energy and drains one of the most precious resources we have, our time.
The other great disconnection is with ourselves. The chaotic amount of information and opinions of others derails our intuition and losing your own rudder means losing yourself, decisions and choices become overwhelming.
Social Media — Too Much of the Wrong Information
I had a thought about this the other day! When I was a kid, I would know about some aspects of the lives of the kids around me. There were vague whispers about others through parents, teachers, and other adults, and the news from outside my world came through magazine articles and television. Now if I click on Facebook, I can access trivial information of literally thousands of people that I barely know. Superficial Information that takes up my attention, affects my emotions, and clogs up my brain. The human being has never been in a situation of such ineffective, useless information overload since the beginning of time. No wonder people can’t get anything done or teenagers (and adults) are wracked with anxiety. Anybody that consumes it, would feel anxious.
Watch Social Dilemma on Netflix to get a better understanding.
Mainstream media has become poison. Yep, I said it.
People always ask me how I manage to stay positive in a world that feels scary and my answer is, ‘I don’t own a television.’ Mainstream media has become a version of social media with its one-sided algorithms and blasting fear into your living room 24/7. No wonder the quality of people’s lives is becoming less and less because the greatest weapon used against humanity today is fear and the mainstream media love nothing better than giving you a daily dose to keep you topped up and under control. What happened to great journalism and debate, what happened to creativity and storytelling? What happened to the search for the truth and the marvels in our world?
People often ask me how I managed to create three books of my own and collaborate on a further five when I was starting out? The answer is very simple, social media didn’t exist at the time or it hadn’t ramped up to overtake our lives. I wasn’t busy creating content on social media, walking along a street being dragged out of reality by a ‘ding’, or going down a rabbit hole of posts that triggered my emotions and sucked my time. Instead, I was wandering around villages in Italy or Europe, finding beauty and sharing that with others. I was sharing positivity and joy and allowing space for ideas to come in. People often have remarked that I produced a lot of work and when I look back now with all the distractions in our lives, I realise the difference is the peace and ability to focus. Now you have to have a military game plan to make that happen, strict boundaries, and bucket loads of self-control because the level of distractions and interruptions is mind-blowing (literally).
Once upon a time social media came in the form of community halls, festivals, sporting clubs, charities, RSL clubs, music, art classes and many other wonderful ways that humans would congregate. We’ve lost the balance, many of us have had moments in our lives where the tyranny of tech has meant we have had a good night in ‘staring at our phones’ with a home delivered meal instead of putting on our favourite outfit and going out into the world to hear the music and laughter.
If anyone is shaking her head and wondering what the hell is happening is the mother of all mothers, Mother Nature. One of the greatest tragedies that I believe in our lives today has been the imbalance technology has created with mother nature. It has disconnected us from the great outdoors, from getting off the couch and going for a hike, sitting in the backyard, diving under a wave, planting a garden, and just admiring her beauty. We have forgotten we are her children, we are part of nature and not apart from nature. That we need her as much as she needs us and our bodies do well when we are connected to nature. She is wondering where we went, why the mass exodus from outdoor barbecues, playgrounds, hiking through her forests, and sailing on her seas?
I would encourage you to check in and see if the people at the head of the places where you consume everything in your life have values that are aligned with yours.
Ask yourself, ‘What values are important to me?’ Start to consume and align with people, companies, and platforms that have similar values to you. If you don’t align with a guy who wants to blast off into space then find another place to get what you need and with someone who values the same things as you.
What I’m doing to change it and you can too.
- I stopped purchasing from Amazon and found other alternatives. I want to do business with people who believe in our planet. I made a pledge to ‘buy better.’ I check who owns what. Instead of buying a Nestlé chocolate, I choose a local French chocolate maker; instead of buying from Zara, I buy from family-owned or small companies promoting quality, not quantity. I shifted a long time ago from products like L’Oreal shampoos to a locally made solid shampoo. For the past twenty years I do the bulk of my shopping at my local market where I meet the same people each week, individual families that run their stalls and sell their produce instead of shopping at big chain supermarkets. Start looking at alternatives, locally made products, small companies, or alternatives to the giants. Start spreading the love/money. Your money will make the difference.
- To lesson the distraction and the tyranny of tech, I have moved my coaching groups off Facebook onto a private platform and will be closing my Carla Loves Photography page for good this week as well as my personal profile and slowly closing down anything that is owned by Mr. Z Berg. Instead, I meet up more with friends in person, have conversations with the ones I love, and set a daily limit on social media. I’m putting time into the community on my doorstep. Observe how much time you spend on social media and set a limit. Start to become conscious of how it makes you feel and what it stops you from doing because you are consuming too much of it.
- Turn off the television and give it away. Make a conscious decision to control what comes into your mind and energy field instead of letting an endless mantra of fear program you. Start to pay attention to what they are saying instead of letting it cascade over you and you will see the fear is a constant message.
- Walk away from your screens, call a friend, knit, go outside, take the dog for a walk, create, play tennis or get your friends over for a barbecue and talk. Join a club, go see a concert, get up and dance, laugh, and celebrate being human. Get out into nature and enjoy her beauty, go on a hike, swim in the sea, or go for a walk on the beach. Fill yourself up with goodness and recharge your tired mind and soul.
- Get connected to your breath and release the anxiety that comes with staring at your screen. You can breathe with Athalee Brown and myself HERE
Above all, my beautiful friends, remember you are powerful. You may think you are small and what you do won’t change anything, you are wrong, it will change everything. There are millions of us and we are the ones that ultimately have the power and with every choice we make, we can create a new and exciting framework for the future that will serve our families, children, nature, creativity, nervous systems, and our souls.
If we spread our money, love, and joy around, we spread the power around too, it will be in the pockets and hearts of many thousands upon thousands of families and small businesses that one by one will help us build a better and more harmonious world. By waking up to what is going on we can turn this tyranny of tech around before it is too late.
Please feel free to add a comment, a contribution, an idea, a way you manage your life today because opening the conversation and working together is what I believe will make a better world.
Sending you love…