The theory of One and the Zeros

 

 

NUMBERS 

- I mean little, it‘s true
- said the One to the Zero -
but what do you mean? Nothing, really nothing.
Either in action and in thought
you still are something empty and useless.
But if I instead get the lead
over 5 Zeroes just like you
you know how much I become? One-hundred-thousand. 
It‘s a matter of numbers. Thereabout
what happens to a dictator
who grows in power and merit
as much as the Zeroes who follow him.

Trilussa (Carlo Alberto Salustri, 1871-1950)

 

 

This famous poem by Trilussa is more topical than ever, because of the many little dictators that are imposed on the international scene in recent years. Actually, it makes little sense even minimize them, because as with humanitarian tragedies are already somehow memorable and some other calamity perhaps worst still lies ahead.
However the dictator is not necessarily only the authoritarian head of a state and the dictatorship is not necessarily only a form of government, we can also intend it as a behavioral phenomenon that regulates the social relations between individuals. As long as there are Zeros, in short, ready to get behind any One.
A generous hand in developing this type of relationship comes, in recent years, from the so-called "social networks". This is the feeling whenever I am faced with the dynamics of the "I like". I feel like one of those Zeros that line up behind the One. I use this tool, „I like", the bare minimum. Sure, it says it has another function. As a territorial piss. It means you have been there, you saw, you liked and you left a sign of your passage. Explanation that instead of convincing me most often discourages me definitively. I do not like leaving a trace of my passage, I have never recorded a trunk and I never smeared a wall (but I don‘t condemn this practice). If I have something to say, as long as I can, I prefer to say it openly.
However, that the practice of "I like" is all the more similar to the story of the One and the Zeros it is found in the pride aroused in the mind of the One, the author of the message or video or photo. Just as it is also reflected in the special satisfaction of the Zeros appearing behind the One. "Be the first of your friends" is an irresistible attraction for most.
We are now entering the civilization of "I like", the next century of communication we'll play probably under the dictatorship of the "I like". Dictatorship that produces other small and big dictatorships. Look at the One how it poses as many are the "I like"s that are below. By now the technique is well known by everybody: hammering continuously and without pause, catchy and aggressive messages, uniqueness of communication, your own "target" and so on. .. It‘s almost a job in itself, and there is now no profession, from the Prime Minister to the baker, that can do without.
And the more "I like"s crowd, the more one acquires authority, credibility, charm, infallibility. Practically the scene of Mussolini from the balcony overlooking the Piazza Venezia in Rome. The dynamics are the same. No, but you can also always write a negative comment, someone says. Yes, that's right, you can. But I'm not making a comparison between Facebook and the fascist dictatorship in Italy (we are getting closer but there is still a bit), but rather between the gloating Italians in square and the millions of "I like"s that diligently row every single day behind the crap posted on the net.
Internet is not a bad thing. Here we are, I write and you read. It‘s a place, a tool. But the workplace and the tools work as we want them to work. And Facebook-YouTube-Twitter and the other little brothers are the prophets of the philosophy of "I like", a philosophy disseminated by publicly traded companies, inspired by a vision hegemonic and colonizing the world.
A philosophy that shapes our minds as perfect Zeros in withdrawal symptoms, in desperate search of an One to go behind.
How many examples through my head. But I will not make them, to you the task of finding. But one example I would just try to do it. I will not name him, however, to not discriminate against all others who have as much right to be cited. He is an Italian blogger-writer-actor-filmmaker, a machine gun by several posts per day, complete with a "V" certified by Facebook as "public figure", burning of what is writing to the point to write in his profile: "Click I like to make grow this community already fucking good". For me it is the prototype of the facebookian One, the clear manifestation of the phenomenon that Trilussa explained above.
Profile as young intellectual politically engaged, he is engaged with issues such as immigration, neo-fascism, corrupt politics. In short, he's fucking good. And I find him posted a bit by all my Italian contacts lately. Yet he does not work in TV. Or maybe I'm wrong.
One of his speeches I read it. Removed the bad words and insults you will always find a lot of confusion and hot air. Removed the "fucking-goodism", a literary form that never fascinated me, very little remains. Yes, the insults are always well addressed. These include the racists, fascists, homophobes and the like. But after the insult what is left? A baseball bat, I guess. Does he allude to this when he says: "good things happen outside the Internet"?
However it is: he arrives with his 130 thousand-odd "I like"s, 2-3 times a day, insulting the all sides, posting strong images ("fucking good"), without a shred of analysis and self-analysis of what he writes and the disease spreads, other wagons of "I like"s are queued.
Perhaps it is worth to point out that this philosophy of "I like" is the death of the Critical Thinking. Also because of the reinforcement arrived from the algorithms of Facebook that repeat things it expects you to like. So it engages a vicious circle and you compulsively click "I like" as a frantic search of the One to whom belong. It makes certainly community, identity, narrative but then makes especially affiliation, militancy, dictatorship. Yes, there is the opportunity to comment, even to disagree (until you are not removed), in some cases even to argue. Fantastic, this does not detract from the process, from the law of "I like" there is no escape, the flocks are many, sooner or later there is one for you, tailor-made for you.
So people are polarized, are convinced of what they think, they require more and more confirmations, go hunting for things in which to click "I like" and do not realize that all other internet users are doing the same. And the internet, allegedly democratic, becomes an instrument of social polarization neither more nor less than was once the television, even more powerful because without censorship. After following many years the story of the Syrian conflict I am convinced that the "social networks", more than an instrument in the hands of activists, is a tool in the hands of someone else that pigeonholes us behind 2-3 Ones and paralyzes us, extremizes us, divides us, controls us. Those that support Assad publish news, those that support the "rebels" publish opposite news and so everyone is happy to be right. As kiosks of Kosovo in 1998, the Albanian-language newspapers were publishing things described in the opposite way in the newspapers in the Serbian language. But in our case we are ignoring and dividing each other even when we speak the same language! And the change does not come, because there is the "I like" but not the "tell me what you mean" function.
I do not know if Facebook has created the One, or the Ones were already on the loose and in Facebook they have only found their natural habitat, but there is certainly a match of amorous feelings. It made it me clear that One of whom I told before, when after having squeezed all its neurons in the head has given birth to this sentence: "fascists back in the sewers" (and again avalanches of "I like"s). But where are these sewers I have not yet figured out. Maybe I ask something that "I like" does not allow to ask, in fact, he did not answer.
I do not like to be a Zero following a One nor be One with Zeros behind. I always treated with suspicion those who have made me compliments, since I was a child. And I have some talent in demolishing the intentions of anyone wants to become a "fan". Many of my works have been seen and copied a little by anyone, most of the time in hiding, but I was never the One with Zeros behind. The freedom and pleasure of criticism and counter-criticism I have never denied myself nor I have never denied to anyone. And what I have said I have said it always free from the laws of conformism, of "communication" and of the market. Rather than a "I like" I have always preferred a "Yes, but" that it helped me grow and learn something.
Therefore, if indeed you love me, do not click "I like" here below. Write me a message (also private) and instead send me to hell.
 

 

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