October 21, 2017

A Deeper Connection (With Fiction)

Reality is shaped by the fictions we surround ourselves with. We bathe in movies and books and digital medias that depict a concept we’re trying so desperately to understand and recreate. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Eventually, they always become reality. 

It’s funny, really. To think our fictions are merely portrayals of “truth.” In a sense, they are. They’re dreams rooted in deep thought; a reflection of human condition. Look at H.G. Wells or George Orwell. Look at the hauntingly similar evolution they’ve illustrated in their futurist societies. And yet, the residue they leave behind is still just fiction.

To think is to manifest. To create is to reflect. To act is to grow.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited; imagination encircles the world.” - Albert Einstein

Fiction stems from the imagination. Writing it forces you to utilize a part of your brain in ways that might’ve not been previously challenged. In turn, reading it shapes our understanding of the world. All while stirring up our sense of empathy. What a daunting full circle. 

So through the lens of fiction, as any good reader or writer will tell you, consuming a novel, a movie, or any piece of art helps us to develop and encourage a sense of humanity. That seems like something we’ve been taught for years, with no solid evidence to support the concept. It felt like common sense. Something we knew to be true. Culture at its core.

It interacts with our subconscious to help develop soft skills and self-awareness among humanity. I explored this concept in my post “Mr. Robot Reflections” last week. My epiphany of the “real world.”

Scientists have recently dug up some proof that literature can help strengthen and bond empathy in readers of fiction. Dr. Keith Oatley, a Professor Emeritus of the University of Toronto Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, suggests that stories are pieces of consciousness being passed on from mind to mind. 

To better understand the human condition, one must contribute their side of the story while absorbing many others. What an absolutely fascinating concept! 

Check out this [great] article from Express UK and try adding a little more fiction to your #TBR pile. While nonfiction certainly has its benefits, don’t forget to keep a little imagination in your continual self-improvement. Your subconscious is more powerful than you think. There, intelligence is born and roots into whatever amazing work you put into the world.

Several of my friends usually express that they prefer to not read fiction because it makes them feel like they’re wasting time. I will state the same thing here that I normally tell them.

It’s ok to feel like you’re wasting time. That’s human nature. Our biological clock is constantly ticking to remind us of our expiration date. But don’t fear! Consuming fiction is not wasted time. It helps you see the world from another perspective. Which is something we all absolutely need reminding of. Concepts your subconscious see often come back to help you evaluate and adapt your own perception of “real.” Even when you don’t realize it.

And most importantly: time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. 

October 11, 2017

Mr. Robot Reflections [#WeArefsociety]

Hello friend. It’s an exciting time in the world right now.

With Season 3 launching this week, I figured it might be time I take a minute to reflect on one of the luminous shows to hit television since Breaking Bad.

And don’t worry - no spoilers here!

First, kudos to NBC for backing the “let’s reclaim the Guy Fawkes mask” promo. Americanizing the mindset-shift society is currently experiencing. I see what you’re doing. And I’m all for it. Anonymously, of course.

Many know fiction is rooted in truth. Few understand how fiction sparks truth.

Mr. Robot does both. It’s a hacktivist drama, crossing pixels beyond the very screen you view it on. There’s a /book/, a [quasi] cryptocurrency, an interactive VR adventure, and an app for Apple and Android. They even threw a launch party in NYC. But that’s only a couple of obvious reasons why an average TV go-er might delve.

The reason it’s snowballing a cult?

Intelligence. Emotion. Well-developed, unnerving characters. Realistic hacking. Cyberterrorism.

It makes you think, and reflect, and question the very experience of whatever you consider truth. Not to mention, the fantastic job it does portraying the corruption coating government, technology, and human condition.

Straight from their website: 
“A revolution has begun. One that’s struck a chord with the people. People like you. People who are tired of feeling trapped. Tired of feeling like they have no voice. Tired of feeling exploited. Controlled. Isolated in a connected world. We don’t have to accept it. We have more power than they think. Change is coming. Will you be part of the problem? Or part of the revolution?”

Since the 2015 pilot, fans were hooked on it’s narrative within the first 10 minutes. Ron’s Coffee. AFK.

Sometimes I feel like I can relate to Elliot. Other times it’s more Mr. Robot. 

It’s unsettling to admit that. I worry people might find something abnormal that I find normal. Or that I should be medicated. I know I shouldn't waste time worrying about what others see of me, but I think my biological genes can’t help it. I see the same anxiousness in my father. And I’m sure he sees it in me, even if he’ll never admit it.

Hereditary DNA is embedded in our timelines. We’re all encrypted with something, whether or not we’ll realize it.

This show has given me plenty of equally stimulating concepts to ponder: the myth of digital security; an artificially intelligent future; a reality that may or may not exist beyond [or beside] our own consciousness. Even the sheer lack of privacy.

Nothing feels certain after watching Mr. Robot. And I don’t regret that at all. It wakes me up. Invigorates the side of my brain that absolutely knows there’s more to what we’re being told. Seasons 1 and 2 illuminated some world-changing truths for me. Woke me up to the hidden agendas of society.

All through the art of fiction. 

It also sparked a MASSIVE new project for me. Something that litters my dreams in Evil Corp money. (But more on that when the time’s right.)

For the same reason we fell in love with cult classics like Fight Club, Blade Runner, and The Matrix, Mr. Robot forces you to stop what you’re doing and question the existence of yourself. It pushes things typically regarded as “conspiracy” to the forefront and helps us to see things from a different perspective. All without sounding like a pretentious D-bag. (Which is not easy to do.)

I can’t even begin to tell you how many revelations it’s sparked for me. Of course, my vehicle for learning was the internet. Mostly Reddit and Wikipedia. But it started with Christian Slater and Rami Malek. And that goddamn ferris wheel.

Yes, I am certainly lucky to be alive during this time period.

Here’s the bottom line: Mr. Robot inspires you to do something. To take action on something you're passionate about. Even if it puts you up mountains, over oceans, and below binary. Like Tyler Durden, Rick Deckard, and Neo.

Like the texts they were based on and the authors who created them. 

  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
  • The Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow

It’s important to recognize when this type of mindset shift occurs. You have to be self-aware so you can grow from it.

I see things in a different light now. I am part of the intelligent future, stuck in the murky tradition of an outdated present. All thanks to Sam Esmail. What I would give to have a conversation with him. To pick his brain and see what kind of cryptoDNA lives in there. To learn from his algorithmic methodology like Alexa.

[Hey Sam, if you see this, I’m in the market for a new mentor... ]

This might not make sense if you’re not with us. Be warned: the rabbit hole runs deep. You will lose yourself if you’re not careful.

WE ARE FSOCIETY. And there’s more of us than you think. Want to join the revolution? Check episode 1, this Wednesday, October 11th. 10pm EST. 

Dig around for Mr. Robot and fsociety in all the corners of the web. We’re here, waiting for you to join us. Just be sure to encrypt yourself accordingly. Someone is always watching.

Are you a 1 or a 0?