Sensationalizing the internet: a tool of individualism or robotic behaviour ?

Are we as Individuals becoming Pavlov’s Dogs to the marketing and media industry that works on behalf of Corporations/Governments , but who in turn are themselves ultimately controlled by other institutions that are all interconnected with each other. So the individuals forming a collective to create an illusion of distanced reason and power that says ” we want THEM, whoever the THEM are, to respond like Pavlov’s Dogs to OUR stimuli for OUR advantage. But without realizing that they themselves are also individuals like us, and are being conditioned within themselves to  respond to THEIR own stimuli in a Pavlovian way.

Though there is a different and a conditioned Pavlovian Response by the collective.  Of groups formed for specific intentions of control, that takes them out of the general consumerist behaviour pattern for the period they are in that group. But hey, watch all the modern economic models of the world, and you realize that a Pavlovian response is what drives them on a psychological level. Is that what I do when I make a film. Try and step out of being Pavlov’s dog in one level, and then step into another conditioned response on another level. Am I a free thinker any more ? Is free thinking possible at any level of a world conditioned to be driven by sensationalism ?

In an increasingly hyped competitive environment , created by these collectives themselves, these collectives/corporations/ governments too are becoming Pavlovian in the their decision making and the actions against each other.

As the world goes more sensational is anybody safe ? As we lose the idea of stillness. As we run scared  always, that a moment of non action is defeatist, we are driven to constant reaction (the psychology of what happens when the sales of branded goods open – often like a mass hysteria). As we consume news, information and media at highly sensational levels, provoking us towards sensational reactions, consuming as we are more out of ‘fear of not consuming’ than a real innate need to satisfy beyond sensationalism. The picture that is fast emerging is of us as Pavlovian Dogs , tail constantly wagging, tongues hanging out in hyper expectation of the next sensation, aching to respond in a more robotic way. We are becoming reactive creatures rather than active one. Isn’t that how we define Robots ?

Robotic , did I say ? Extreme sensationalism and a constant Pavlovian response to that leads to more and more robotic behaviour. Defined as common mass response. And as I argued even within the collectives/corporations/sates there is clear Pavlovian behaviour patterns. So the question for debate is :

Is mass media including social media leading to more Individuality, or more Robotic behaviour ? Are we closer to George Orwell’s 1984 than ever before ? Isaac Asimov wrote some the best science fiction novels ever on this premise in his Foundation series. Does his book ‘I Robot’ take on a different meaning than potrayed in the film with that name ?

Phew – what a scramble of thoughts trying to find coherence – trying to steer away from the political overtones of the ‘corporation vs us’ argument – and finding whether the whole system and way of life now has become so sensationalistic that at every level we exhibit robotic behaviour.

24 Responses to “Sensationalizing the internet: a tool of individualism or robotic behaviour ?”

  1. Harb says:

    The first word was created as a cry to let the outside world know that the crier is in prison, and that was in fact spoken by the first homo sapien. Or thus was in fact born the first homo sapien. Since then words are doing the same thing in one way or the other. The other’s response is according to the level of imprisonment or freedom they are. Those who have become totally free neither utter a word on their own nor respond.

  2. Janita says:

    Dear Mr. Kapur,

    we all live under the same condition /in equal part of our environment and its changing’s.We may differ from social level, education, money, influences, ability,capabilities and believes, colour, characters,likes and taste but live is demanding the same things from us(task of live).
    Our inner(souls) and our outer world (earth/reality/time) has made a shift.We are going through this changing.
    It’s more logical to understand the fears of humans when you see the background.The fear of changing, loosing, illness, getting old,death.
    Media, Internet and Sensations are a good tool to distract from our fears. It’s far more easier to step down from our duties instead of having to showdown with our fears,our tasks and responsibility’s.

    It’s interesting that you mention robotic.
    In 1921, Czech writer Karel ?apek introduced the word “robot” in his play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots). The word “robot” comes from the word “robota”, meaning, in Czech, “forced labour, drudgery”.
    Other characters use labour/work/ workaholic to prevent meeting fear .

    Asimov’s “I Robot” is based on principles:
    ” 1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
    2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
    3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.”
    He wrote about it:
    ” …one of the stock plots of science fiction was… robots were created and destroyed by their creator. Knowledge has its dangers, yes, but is the response to be a retreat from knowledge? Or is knowledge to be used as itself a barrier to the dangers it brings? With all this in mind I began, in 1940, to write robot stories of my own but robot stories of a new variety. Never, never, was one of my robots to turn stupidly on his creator for no purpose but to demonstrate, for one more weary time, the crime and punishment of Faust. “ Isaac Asimov, 1964

    He humanised robots.
    Now humans robotisise?

    George Orwell”1984” to me it’s about the fear that other control you,to keep others under surveillance,that you do not decide free because of a minority(inner party) who made decision for all in secrecy, control by fear and scare the majority.
    In the end-dialogue Julia say :
    “”Sometimes,” she said, “they threaten you with somethingsomething you can’t stand up to, can’t even think about. And then you say, ‘Don’t do it to me, do it to somebody else, do it to so-and-so.’ And perhaps you might pretend, afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it to make them stop and didn’t really mean it. But that isn’t true. At the time when it happens you do mean it. You think there’s no other way of saving yourself and you’re quite ready to save yourself that way. You want it to happen to the other person. You don’t give a damn what they suffer. All you care about is yourself.”
    “All you care about is yourself,” he echoed.
    “And after that, you don’t feel the same toward the other person any longer.”
    “No,” he said, “you don’t feel the same.”
    Humans made machines(robots),write stories we give them characteristics, which can give an explanation about humans characters.
    Ivan Pavlov and the phrase “Pavlov’s dog” is often used to describe someone who merely reacts to a situation rather than using critical thinking.
    So to answer your question for debate:
    Every human has got the possibility and the responsibility to think, to understand and to free from fear.
    If we ignore it mass media is a tool against humanity. If we pay attention, scrutinise , try to get to the bottom of trues ,if we think(not let other do the brainwork for us)and not let us get carried away by mainstream(created by masscontrol) or blended by prejudice the Internet is a chance to communicate, to find solutions, to entertain and to educate, to develop.
    Internet must be free,( because of the risk someone(someone who seek for power)/or a group (control masses by publishing fake/controlled news).The question you asked had to be answered by everyone who takes (basic) notice to be individual .

  3. Harb says:

    I know my response is difficult to understand, but so is visualizing a mango in a one day mango tree.

  4. KayEm says:

    Dear Shekhar,

    What a wonderful post. First off, I’d have to admit I looked up Pavlov’s Dogs.

    I believe people have conditioned responses to various stimulii to an extent. Humans are, after all, social animals who want to be liked. They strike a balance between what they see as something desirable or what the rest of the world thinks is desirable (be it behaviour or objects) – I call them the sensible ones.

    There’s a certain category of humans who have this unique ability to do things because they genuinely and deeply enjoy those activities (or objects). They are not afraid to be free. If that is tempered with kindness they are admired; if not, they are despised, feared or hated.

    As for a great number of humans – they do have conditioned responses at the cost of what their hearts and minds tell them. They’re either too scared to be independent thinkers, they’ve been subdued with physical or monetary threat or torture, they are young and gullible, or, old and gullible – they are Pavlov’s dogs. One can only pity some in this category and hope the rest will grow up one day.

  5. Deepak R says:

    ‘Am I a free thinker any more ? Is free thinking possible at any level of a world conditioned to be driven by sensationalism ?’

    No – absolutely not, it never was. Simply because that question itself is coming from a conditioned mind. To pre-suppose that there is ‘a free thinking’ and that you as an individual have a right over it, that itself is a coming from conditioning.

    The connected world is in your mind. Even the so called collective operates in an ‘individual’s mind not outside it. It simply records and replays all that which gets the benefit of self- interest and attention.

    This does not need any scientific study, simple plain observation will suffice. Can you lay stake to anything in your mind as your own? completely original, unaided coming without any prior context, understanding, known need or suggested result. Offcourse not, the mind only operates contextually and relatively. Can a painter stake claim to him painting in its entirity? He is simply one of the many things that come together for the painting to come into place.

    This is not a collective struggle as you see it Shekhar, it is an individual one as has always been.

  6. Vasanta says:

    Shekhar,

    Why did you delete/deactivate your facebook profile?

  7. shekhar says:

    my face book has been hacked into

  8. Chakra says:

    I truly wonder who hacked ur facebook account! recently thousands of google accounts were hacked after android officially became the # 1 in mobile market.

    Coming to internet marketing, even the upcoming royal wedding is all over the internet, I hope they dont show it live on youtube 😉

  9. Harb says:

    Slowly we are moving to a phase in which all our mental and related insides will be coming to outsides such that then there will remain nothing to be hacked INTO. Radia tapes and WikiLeaks were part of only that process.

    As I have written in my book, then we will be the same from inside as from outside, as to a great extent we are in youth. This all is a play of four asic forces or interactions.

  10. brahmastra says:

    You have to be firmly grounded in yourself to remain unaffected by this power of maya. It is very simple once you get it. No need for complex theories and reasonings. Of course, it would require a certain level of detachment.

  11. In my life I alway find something is unfair to me, but this is life . We should be suitable it.
    That is what I do.

  12. RajuK says:

    I quote:
    So the question for debate is :

    Is mass media including social media leading to more Individuality, or more Robotic behaviour ?
    Unquote

    Most things are best answered by personal experience. Your blog is mass social media, and every time I submit a reply to you, I am reacting to you. I have no freedom to post on your front page. You control that page, (including my replies on the comment pages). But I do post comments, because I do not know if you agree or disagree with my comments, but you always show respect by posting them, (I agree you reserve the right to not post/edit offensive comments).

    Although, you do allow me to submit a link to website (of my own blog), but I have not taken that opportunity yet.

    On the face of it, my posting on your blog is my reactive behaviour, but my agenda is manifold, including getting a chance to work with you, meeting like minded people on your blog for possible future collaborations, enjoying the learned comments of some people who post here, etc.

    So in my case, my idividuality is alive, but your individuality apparantly dominates mine when I post here.

    Coming back directly to the question for debate, mass media can be channelised for what you want it to be. If internet is the worlds largest dynamic encyclopedia, guys, don’t waste all your time reading/writing the encyclopedia. And Shekhar, if anything happens, we can choose not to react to it. When I was a kid, in our neighbourhood, we used to play checkers with one of the rules being, “killing is compulsory if an opponents piece is near to your”. When I went to play checkers with guys in another neighbourhood, there, killing was not compulsory. This taught me broadly, that we can choose not to react, if we dont have to.

    About 10 years ago, I was sort of addicted to the internet for knowledge, till I saw that my niece in high-school using the internet only for homework. She was not at all distracted by all the other posts on the internat that were not relevant for the homework at hand. Today, she uses the internet more broadly, but 10 years ago, but her aforementioned actions, she taught me how not to be an internet addict.

  13. AJ says:

    Why most people are putting every effort to have life on OUR planet ONLY for 200 years more ?
    Sad !
    Shocked !

    Where are those who need to Act !

    We all were gifted this world by our parents
    what are we leaving for future ?

    “Paani is not just about Water, it is about Water as a weapon of war against people by those in Power.”

  14. Blue Sky (CU) says:

    Dear Mr. Kapoor:

    (I am going to place this entry on the latest one, since it is hard to decide which category to place it in.)

    I apologize in advance that this note may not be (is not) brief.

    I met you at a symposium, last month. You were kind enough to listen to me for a few minutes. I was too afraid to talk, and very surprised at that–because public speaking is what I do for a living. I forgot the schpeel I had had in my mind for years…just in case I was to ever see you in person…I would simply regurgitate it.

    I could not even open my mouth:((. All I could muster was extending my card.

    I was the irritating one, in the audience, who was taking pictures and busy deleting the old ones to make room for more, on the memory card. Two people asked me to stop because of the annoying beeps from my camera.

    As I stated, I am interested in story telling. Immensely. I almost thought of handing you a folder of writings, clips from my blog and short videos I put on youtube. All creatively edited (not from previous materials, but videos I shoot on my travels). But knowing how it must feel for someone as famous as you to be crowded by a gazillion hopefuls at any meeting such as that symposium–I did not have the heart to bother you. And a combination of embarrassment and self-derision contributed to that decision.

    However, I would like to assert, if I could be an AD or an AD of an AD or hold the boom at one of your projects (movie related), I shall be grateful for the next twenty lives.

    I do have a question though. In the middle of taking pics and trying to put together a video in my mind, I did not find the time to ask it.

    If you could at some point address this question on your blog, I would be grateful.

    Especially since I am researching the place of Bollywood in the lives of Indian diaspora (and to some extent Indians in India. Something I will come to later), how would you define or describe the Indianness of Bollywood films. I have heard it so often that they reflect an Indianness and are therefore close to the heart of the Indians than the Hollywood films.

    But in what respect do you think we can say that today where either most of the films are senseless, without plots or any deep meaning and often rely on showing gyrating, well toned, almost naked bodies of actresses who cannot act to save their lives, are we holding to anything Indian? Showing a random family? A cute child?

    One aspect that I loved when watching Bollywood was that the person who sacrificed ego for a higher purpose was considered a better person-both in personal and professional decisions. Is there any Indianness to bollywood, did it ever exist? Does it still? And is there such a thing as Indian values, or are they simply universal values, still talked about only in India (although not always practiced).

    Thanks for this blog. Several of the points you bring up, are often researched, but the more important ones are overlooked.as is the state of our world!! So thanks for keeping the ignored ones alive..

    Warm regards,
    Blue Sky (CU).
    Sweden

  15. RajuK says:

    Hello Blue Sky (CU),

    I believe if you make a movie with universal values, it will not only appeal to Indians and non-Indians, but also to future generations.

  16. Rudra says:

    Shekhar,

    Economic Powers that-be that rule this world have a vested interest in keeping the rest of the society , who they see as consumers at best or slaves, in a robotic state -which is to say that individualism and thinking individuals are seen as a threat to the system they have created.

    There is enough intelligence and technological capability in the world to solve all the world’s problems . But while 100% of the people who are asked the question ‘ do you like war?’ always answer ‘No’ , we should wonder and even think out of the box to know the real truth behind the state of current affairs in the world.

    History has been hijacked and given a modernist , darwinian , european christian anglo saxon twist. No history of the world beyond 2000 BC is ever considered or even talked about . We have to recognise that this age we are living in is the Kali Yuga , and the symptoms of this age are in full view.

    The western models of economics , race theories and world view as a whole is very shallow and biased – truth is alwasy what is and was – one should have the personal integrity to acknowledge truth for what it is . If Truth be that 6000 years ago , after a great war on this planet , there was a complete breakdown of the esoteric religion of the spirit ( also called the Sanatana DHarma) , so be it.

    Your own post is an example of sensationalism and the desire to use buzz words trumping any real truth seeking.

    Why seek truth ,when you dont like the truth for what it is or is not what you like it to be ?

  17. Vinod Kumar Agarwal says:

    Sir awaiting your thoughts on Japan Earth Quake. Is their GOD different from ours?

    Regards
    Vinod A

  18. KayEm says:

    Enjoyed your comment Raju K.

    I enjoy movies that deal with issues sensitively; hate crassness e.g. various sounds that pass for comedy – I prefer words. So Shekhar beware – I’m trying to CONDITION you

  19. Blue Sky (CU) says:

    Thanks RajuK and KayEm for commenting on my two cents worth. I agree universal values will appeal to all, however, the question still remains….two of them…Anything called Indian values? and if so, how does Bollywood reflect that Indianness or any Indianness?

    kayEm, checked out your book, looks interesting, will try to get my hands on it. tack, Blue Sky

  20. Blue Sky (CU) says:

    Vinod Kumar Aggarwal, if I may add something to your comment. IF THERE IS A GOD–then there is no difference. Important to remember that nature has no agenda. All is energy and it moves. That is why, there is emphasis on meditation, simplicity, thoughtfulness, reducing the speed of life, or controlling it and questioning the way we live–to extent–to what effect. Blue Sky

  21. Blue Sky (CU) says:

    Not that those ‘ideas’ are not worked on in a tsunami ravaged country–on the contrary….but in times like this the most important tool we have is calm, and a deep desire to assist the other, as if we would our own. These events, sadly enough, bring us back to thinking of ourselves as one humanity. I have two good friends in Japan, who are fortunately out of the country at the present. Soon, as I found that out, I spent less time on the news. That is me being disconnected. Not acknowledging the oneness of those who are not known to me but suffering…must stop here, before it all circles in a non sensical loop. But I hope some of this m akes sense.

  22. Chunmun says:

    Scramble and not coherence are the ulterior means to the end which is control. Control through paralysing and then raping the mind. Gently, repeatedly and all encompassing. The attack is so overt that it is accepted as a principle. An absolute. A way of life.

    Common mass response. Sure. But the single denominator still remains the individual.

    A more terrifying question needs to be raised here – what is prompting, facilitating and propagating the creation and more importantly, the acceptance of this illusion of distanced reason, this acceptance of a common mass response?

    I concur that we are becoming reactive creatures rather than active ones (though I’d prefer the use of the word pro-active). But Robotic?

    No.

    A robot is devoid of choice. But the same does not hold true for man (and for other living creatures.. animals constantly astonish us with choices that they make) for man’s greatest tool is his ability to reason, to weigh , to choose. His sharpest weapon is his mind.

    Do we choose?
    We choose.

    We choose to abdicate choice of rational thinking. We choose to relinquish integrity, values and ability that underscore rational thinking.

    We choose to create sensationalism. We choose to support it. We choose to propoagte it.
    On its own, a robot is incapable of such a feat.

    So does that make it a’common mass’ or an ‘individualistic’ repsonse?

    A moment of non-action is defeatist?! Is the very act of non-action not a choice? It is action. And it is also a reaction.

    Finally, what is wrong with individuality? Or the celebration of it? Why does everything need the approval stamp of “collectivism”?

  23. Mee says:

    I can only speak for myself- when I feel too swayed or crowded in- I simply detach, move away
    (mentally or physically or both)- and find my center again. Always helps keep things in perspective:)

Leave a Reply