Polarization and Anti-Social Networks

Day by day there is more division and polarization, more anger and hatred, which is weaponized by an increased flood of information on social media. That is the conclusion of a recent study revealed by Yale University. But is anyone really surprised by the discovery?

According to the research co-authored by Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Southern California, more information does not mean more pluralism, it only intensifies already polarized views. Individuals tend to read and absorb only the material that confirms their existing beliefs in a sort of “confirmation bias.”

To change the direction of thinking we need to recognize, face, and acknowledge our harmful nature and talk about the human egoism that rules us. Heightened awareness can persuade the public to agree to eliminate this evil ruling nature. Proper and serious recognition will make everyone realize on their own that thinking and acting badly toward others causes a split that gradually leads to self-destruction.

To me there is nothing new. After all, it is written and known, “The inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21).” That is, we are all under the control of an egoistic desire, in a constant desire for self-fulfillment. Not only in every human being does this tendency exist, but society as a whole is founded on it. Family, national and international relations — all of humanity is built on selfish systems. This is natural and logical, since everything in nature, including the inanimate, vegetative, and animate levels, works to get maximum pleasure with the minimum investment.

What started as a desire of social networks algorithm developers to fight for our attention, to bombard us to live on their platforms, and to profit financially by influencing marketing content, has led to intensive efforts to crack those algorithms and understand how they work on us, but what really needs to be explored through a deeper layer is our human nature.

It is far better to research and find out who we really are. Our evil instinct is a ticking bomb with tremendous negative potential; we will witness this more and more day by day. There is great advantage in internalizing that under certain environmental conditions we will not hesitate to benefit ourselves even if that comes at the expense of others, we seek our own momentary pleasure without any remorse for anyone we might harm to get it.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that at some point we will no longer be able to tolerate the monster we created with our own hands, and we will unanimously decide to destroy it or at least direct it to the right place for re-education.

We have no idea how much our brain is destroyed when it is infected with this polarizing disease. According to our evolution we must eventually become a more balanced humanity, but until that happens, instead of assembling and connecting ourselves to one global system, we let our egoistic desire control and separate us, and the mind, which responds to our will, cooperates. As a result, we divorce, separate, quarrel, and divide, and cause ourselves more trouble that we pay for dearly.

When we cannot settle things with rational common sense, then we are filled with anger and rage, and erupt under pressure. Social networks reflect our nature and ignite the antagonistic passions. An extreme opinion voiced from the other side of the barricade is enough to raise our threshold of agitation and throw us out of emotional balance.

It will not help to clean up the toxic content and censor the inciting videos and tweets. In the end we will only reduce the noxious evil for a short time and soon will continue our destructive habits until the next eruption.

To change the direction of thinking we need to recognize, face, and acknowledge our harmful nature and talk about the human egoism that rules us. Heightened awareness can persuade the public to agree to eliminate this evil ruling nature. Proper and serious recognition will make everyone realize on their own that thinking and acting badly toward others causes a split that gradually leads to self-destruction.

This process needs to happen in all of our social systems, and from there it will also spread to social networks, which mirror ourselves. So naturally we will enact laws that will be agreed upon by social media users and will forbid us to be careless toward others out of a simple understanding that this evil will eventually backfire on us.

If we are already reaching out to the networks and intervening in them, then it would be good to develop a positive algorithm that encourages unity and closeness, that evokes a feeling of connection to benefit and sweeten our lives. Just as social networks have entered our lives with great impetus and changed them fundamentally, so can this positive algorithm be implemented with great success. Only then we will start building real social networks.

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PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah. MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute.

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Michael Laitman

Michael Laitman

PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah. MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute.

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