Contrary to what you’ve heard, free speech doesn’t really exist in America, or on the Net. The mainstream media patrols the boundaries of acceptable narratives, and Google arbitrarily censors material. Censoring my political pieces is bad enough, but Google went too far in expurgating my column yesterday, “What Is Our Place In the Universe?”
Sometimes a “Meditations” simply doesn’t appear on the octopedal “search engine,” though it’s at or near the top of the other two wee search engines, Yahoo and Bing. But other times, like with yesterday’s piece, my column initially appears on the first page in the same position as Yahoo and Bing, only to disappear altogether an hour later.
That means it isn’t removed by an algorithm, which would be rotten enough, but by some human acting out of God knows what motivation. Given how much crap floats around in the massive septic tanks of the Net, that’s hard to take. Especially when Google gags a column of the caliber of “What’s Our Place In the Universe.”
What’s the reason? Friends think a fundamentalist Christian mole is embedded at Google, and “Meditations,” which perhaps conveys true spiritual and philosophical insight, is an existential threat.
I’m not so sure. Is it that that anything that comes too close to the unfixed, ever-moving truth, anything that may spark actual insight in readers, has to be suppressed, because the entire edifice of so-called civilization wouldn’t last a month if ordinary human beings began having ignitions of insight?
After all, opinions and beliefs, however wretched, are fine, but once you really begin going beyond opinion and belief, you’re a danger to all power structures, acceptable narratives and psychological authorities.
I’ve had more than my share of experience with censorship, both from old-timey newspapers, and online websites. For example, when I moved to this sylvan, superficially friendly town in the mid-1990’s, I talked the conservative editors of the infamous Chico Enterprise-Record into a spiritual and philosophical column called “Contemplations.”
There was one condition—I couldn’t write about politics. Agreeing to that precondition was a mistake, but the column appeared for three years and was read by people from all ethnic groups, economic classes and educational backgrounds.
Before email killed letter writing, I actually got snail mail at a post office box, and regularly showed a sampling of it to my editor. In short, to use another crustacean metaphor, I was happy as a clam to have a local voice and be contributing “Contemplations” to the community.
Though it’s ancient history now, when I read a scathing report (by an American no less) about the cosmic scale of corruption in the Oil-for-Food program in Iraq, I thought it safe to write about it.
Without explanation, the Enterprise-Record didn’t run my column. A couple months later, after three years without missing a deadline, the E-R, without notice or explanation, simply stopped running “Contemplations.” Enter George W. Bush and the invasion of Iraq, followed, after the Obama interregnum, by Donald J. Trump and the destruction of even the semblance of democracy in America.
With regard to the Net, a few years back a friend told me about the secretive work her daughter was doing at Apple AI. The young woman is a brilliant anthropologist hired to do Google knows what. When I wrote a piece about it, being careful not to use names or provide any specific information, my site manager was directly contacted by the young woman, saying that she and Apple would bring a lawsuit against him if he didn’t immediately pull the column.
The question is, why censor “Meditations” at all? A careful reading of the two offending columns, “What Is Our Place In the Universe,’ censored by Google, and “What Is Apple Up To?”, censored by Apple, gives a clue perhaps.
The Big-Tech project is control, or at least manipulation, of virtually everyone through the exploitation of thought’s programs (that is, our conditioning) through AI programs. So if there is a deepening insight into thought by even a small minority of individuals, that goal will be defeated.
It’s become a commonplace, especially by old school columnists, to decry, deride and dismiss “the Internet” as dumbing down, if not destroying common sense and basic human decency. But the Net is a straw man, since they may as well decry, deride and dismiss human consciousness itself.
A cliché goes, “nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” The truth is however, that ideas have no true power to effect change; insight does. And apparently, insight must be squelched. Not gonna happen.