The Haunted Web

When I tell ghost stories of my time in The South, I talk of old hospitals and ancient beaches. The subtle coldness and fear of the experiences that I had. Transient feelings never quite solidified as memories. Never internalized to a point that I could reflect on them in a deep way. Lingering somewhere in me, both as part of my story, yet never a part of me or of the physical world for that matter.

Ghosts exist, I think, somewhere between our physical world and our mental reality. They surround us and walk the margins of experiences we can’t comprehend.

There is a stark similarity between old Southern mansions and the modern web. I’ve noticed for the past few years the subtle coldness and fear of every day experiences.

I look to the social web now, the a-temporal electronic monolith. Minute-by-minute breathing the data formed from our concurrent shared experiences. An algorithmic life force churning away.

Ask anyone who has recently tried to escape from stalkers, criminals, and mobs to define the web. The web is horror manifest as reality. The web is an eye and a voice for actors that seek infinite vision and reach. The web is no longer contained to devices. It’s a geographic net overlaying reality. An algorithmic structure grinding and shifting reality as it changes.

The web paints our days and nights, it constructs our dreams and nightmares.

When structures overlay reality, the opportunists take advantage of these structures. We know these people now, the people that have mastered the social web. They understand what it takes to make us tick, to make us react and pay attention. They know how to to mold us. We’ve given them the data to do so. Volunteering the key to our collective psyche.

Over time, the opportunists have woven themselves into our data centers. They’re now nested in the sharp frameworks of the algorithms. The algorithms elevate them like knives to our homes where they’re unwelcome.

But we pay attention for whatever reason.

The opportunists speak to the margins in our society. They summon ghosts of untruth lingering in the parts of our lives that we can’t quite comprehend.

We don’t know whether to call them opportunists or activists or political players. We just know that they shift reality to gain power. They work their way into conversations we have on the web. They help to create margins where margins didn’t before exist.

Opportunists from all directions equally swoop in to establish structure. Old conversations previously closed are now re-opening: race, evolution, religion, time, and space. The Enlightenment is more and more discarded as a temporary myth. The foundation of America is more and more seen as a failed experiment. Voices haunted by ghosts of untruth whisper that all people are not created equal.

Reality itself seems to be fracturing.

We don’t like the web, but we exist within it because we need it. To communicate with our friends and family, to gain power in society, even to breed. We’re all in the fight.

However, none of us are happy with this, minus the opportunists. We’re simply adapting because we’re suited to adaptation. We’re adapting to be hyper-connected, adapting to the chaos, adapting to the new ghosts of untruth.

At all times we’re exposed to the worst of mankind. Peace (or the illusion of it) is something of the past. With the worst of mankind, opportunists siphon ingredients to summon ghosts of untruth. To guide us in directions we had previously not considered.

But why are we here, why do we linger with the opportunists and ghosts? Why can’t we rid ourselves of them?

It’s all too eerie. As we collectively experience each others experiences, the nature of experience changes. We are no longer unique, no longer capable of solitary reason. Truth becomes untruth because we willed it to be. Or maybe, that we’ve forgotten reason. With a collective psyche, we have no time to process memory or to make sense of experience. Myths are created to establish collective structure. With collective structure, our lives are failing to be uniquely lived. Our minds are failing to uniquely rationalize experience.

We may be evolving into something post-human. We may look back on our current situation and understand it as growing pains. Or, it could be that we are spiraling downward. There may be no future if all truth is made untruth. Time will tell as we continue to adapt our ancient biology to the modern web. Learning collectively how to rationalize truth. Knowing when a situation will be used by opportunists. And knowing how to extinguish the ghosts of untruth that currently haunt us.