Brave New Digital World – the live presentation

“Like the citizens of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, we are undone in the digital 21st century less by the things we fear, and more by the things we love and invite into our homes.” — Jeff Einstein

Join digital media pioneer turned Digital Apostate, Jeff Einstein, as he describes what happens to our time and money and freedom in the rise of a Brave New Digital World, a society ruled and controlled by a state-sanctioned meta-addiction to digital media and digital media devices.

Reserve your tickets below, and: “Be prepared: Jeff Einstein will challenge just about everything you think you know about both media and addiction.” — M Caro

 

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The Addiction Algorithm

“Ignorance plus intent equals innovation.” - Jeff Einstein

ian bremmer art

Our lives in the digital 21st century are ruled by tens of thousands of digital algorithms. But here’s the one that matters most:

Chemical destiny minus meaningful ritual = addiction.

Here’s how it works, step by step:

  • We are wired for addiction by virtue of the simple fact that our brains are chemically motivated to pursue pleasure and avoid pain.
  • All of our time is spent in relationships with various people and things.
  • The rituals we build around each of the relationships in our lives dictate how, where and with whom we spend almost all of our time and money.
  • There are two kinds of ritual: meaningful (those that contribute to and promote our physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing), and self-serving (those that contribute to and promote our obsessions and addictions).
  • Over the past two generations, the institutions (family, meaningful labor, education and organized religion) that once championed meaningful ritual, moderation and common sense in our lives have been obliterated, marginalized or co-opted by a deliberate, corporatist onslaught of digital narcotics.
  • We all became hopelessly addicted to an endless supply of digital narcotics as the meaningful rituals in our lives were replaced by the rituals of our digital obsessions and addictions. By the early 21st century, addiction became the default social condition, the rule rather than the exception.

We now live in a Brave New Digital World, a society ruled and controlled by a state-sanctioned meta-addicti0n to all things media and all things digital. Like the citizens of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, we are undone in the digital 21st century less by the things we fear, and more by the things we love and invite into our homes and lives. In the end, our meta-addiction to all things media and all things digital steals our time and money and freedom — just like any other addiction to any other narcotic…

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Addiction as Chemical Destiny

“I spend all my time on all my time-saving devices.” - Jeff Einstein

CHEMICAL DESTINY minus MEANINGFUL RITUAL = addiction.

Over the past two decades I have come to believe that addiction is chemical destiny by virtue of the simple fact that our brains are wired to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. Couple that with the quasi-sober understanding that we now live a time when the supply of affordable (and legitimate) narcotics — analog and digital alike — is suddenly universal and utterly relentless.

We now live in a Brave New Digital World, a world where addiction is the default condition, the rule rather than exception. In the world of default addiction, meaningful rituals (those that improve the quality of our spiritual, physical, social and emotional lives) have been replaced in large measure by self-serving rituals of convenience (those designed to protect and promote the interests of our many addictions), and those who profit from them.

To sum things up: we live in a society with functionally limitless access to a bottomless supply of affordable narcotics at a time when we’ve already lost or sacrificed our institutional ability to resist. Of course, our actual resistance is rarely as strong in fact as we expect it to be in fantasy. Likewise, the actual narcotics almost always net stronger in fact than we imagined them in fantasy.

Meanwhile, the meaningful rituals (the lifestyle rituals designed and codified  our spiritual, physical, social and/or emotional wellbeing) designed specifically to improve the quality of our lives are being crowded out, obliterated by the incessant demands of self-serving rituals (those built to protect and cater to our obsessive compulsive behaviors and addictions).

Each self-serving ritual devoted to our obsessive-compulsive behaviors and addictions is time devoted away from the quality of life.

The quality of life, however, is decided by the quantity and quality of the rituals we invite into our lives. Because ritual is how we manage our lives. Ritual dictates how, where and with whom we spend almost all of our time.

Self-serving rituals are those we devote to our obsessive compulsive behaviors and addictions. They dominate our lives in early 21st century America and consume almost all our time: a 2015 report from the USC Marshall School of Business concludes that the average American now consumes 15.5 hours of media per day.

Meaningful ritual — ritual designed and employed to enhance our spiritual, social, physical and emotional wellbeing — stands between us and wholesale surrender to our chemical destiny as addicts.

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Not Your Daddy’s Fascism Part 1

“Metrics and statistics rarely define what works. Rather, they describe what can be sold.” - Jeff Einstein

Powered by tens of thousands of massive server farms and billions of microchips, this ain’t your daddy’s Fascism…

Not Your Daddy’s Fascism
Video Transcript:

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” — Benito Mussolini

Secular Fascism debuted early in the 20th century with the first marriage of corporate electronic media and state power. (We called it radio.)

But this ain’t your daddy’s Fascism. The new Fascism is hip, stylish, immensely entertaining and powered by thousands of server farms and billions of microchips.

I call it eFascism and define it simply as the religion of the state in 21st-century digital America. — Jeff Einstein

Under eFascism we are enslaved and controlled not by the Orwellian things we fear and loathe, but by the Huxleyan things we love and welcome into our lives.

For most of us, Big Brother isn’t some stranger who kicks our doors down and invades our homes under cover of darkness. Far more often we invite him like an honored guest into our living rooms and dining rooms and bedrooms and kitchens.

Remember, secular Fascism is the invention and natural bias of electronic media. — Jeff Einstein

Want someone truly different and truly entertaining to address your school, civic, religious or business group? I’m a veteran public speaker with hundreds of radio, TV, trade show, university, corporate and community appearances over three decades. Contact me today and let’s talk it over.

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Digital Technology, Addiction and Kids

“All addictions, regardless of the narcotic, leave us spiritually, physically, emotionally and socially impoverished.” - Jeff Einstein

Here’s the generic pdf version of Digital Technology, Addiction & Kids, my live presentation to educators and parents. Total runtime for the live presentation is about 90 minutes. Nothing like it anywhere else…

 

Want someone truly different and truly entertaining to address your school, civic, religious or business group? I’m a veteran public speaker with hundreds of radio, TV, trade show, university, corporate and community appearances over three decades. Contact me today and let’s talk it over.

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The Age of Fascism

“Too big to fail is not the consequence of our failure to plan. Too big to fail is the plan.” - Jeff Einstein

There’s a reason why secular Fascism emerged in the early 20th century with the arrival of radio…

The Age of Fascism
Video Transcript:

The printing press…

  • PROMOTED linear thought and reason,
  • DESTROYED Western theocracies, and
  • GAVE RISE to nation states, the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason and the American, French and Industrial Revolutions.

Electronic media…

  • PROMOTE raw emotion, tribalism and corporatism over reason, unity and democracy.
  • CAME OF AGE with radio in the early 20th century as the galvanizing force behind…

THE AGE OF FASCISM

It ain’t your daddy’s Fascism and it’s just getting started. — Jeff Einstein

Want someone truly different and truly entertaining to address your school, civic, religious or business group? I’m a veteran public speaker with hundreds of radio, TV, trade show, university, corporate and community appearances over three decades. Contact me today and let’s talk it over.

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Well Beyond the Age of Reason

“Love your country, but be skeptical of all technology, all media and all government authority. Skepticism is your first civil obligation in a free society.” - Jeff Einstein

Well Beyond the Age of Reason
Video Transcript:

Election 2016
Trump vs Clinton

Sometimes we forget that the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason ended two centuries ago. — Jeff Einstein

Want someone truly different and truly entertaining to address your school, civic, religious or business group? I’m a veteran public speaker with hundreds of radio, TV, trade show, university, corporate and community appearances over three decades. Contact me today and let’s talk it over.

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The Truth About Addiction

“Love your country, but be skeptical of all technology, all media and all government authority. Skepticism is your first civil obligation in a free society.” - Jeff Einstein
Media Addiction
The new face of addiction…

By Jeff Einstein

“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.” — Carl Jung

Turns out that nothing we’ve been taught about addiction is true.

My theory on media addiction is disconcerting to just about everyone who reads my writing or hears me speak, not least for my claim that our meta-addiction to all things media and all things digital is now the default social condition, the rule rather than the exception.

It will become clear as you read my thoughts and convictions on addiction below that I’m no fan of the standard addiction-as-disease model, still dominant and still going strong after nine decades. First popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous back in the 1930s — and later adopted by the medical establishment, the justice system, the public schools and most private and public employers — the addiction-as-disease model has stigmatized generations of American citizens, justified a racist War Against Drugs and produced the world’s largest prison population — all in the name of quasi-science, and all without moving the recovery-rate needle even a single notch.  That said, I firmly believe that addicts in search of treatment should invest their time and money in whatever works for them and disregard what anyone else says.

Addiction, of course, is a loaded word, and few of us want to accept the fact that we’re addicted to anything. Much of our resistance, however, is borne from a legacy of lies and mistruths about the true nature of addiction, lies and mistruths long promoted and fed to us for many decades by an immense addiction industry that zealously protects a yearly cash cow now measured in hundreds of billions of dollars.

The addiction industry tells us — decade after decade after decade — that addiction is a chronic, escalating, incurable and ultimately fatal disease of the brain that requires immediate and sustained professional and peer intervention. But the simple truth is that addiction isn’t a disease at all, isn’t necessarily chronic, most often plateaus before it renders us dysfunctional, can be cured, is almost always self-correcting and is rarely lethal. Yes, opportunistic diseases and pathologies often result from protracted addictive behavior. And yes, our brains re-wire themselves over time to accommodate and promote addictive behaviors repeated over and over again. But that’s a far cry from the definition of addiction itself as a chronic, escalating, incurable and ultimately fatal disease of the brain. Again, it’s not, and saying so for the past nine decades serves the interests of no one except those who work and profit from the addiction business.

The truth: We are wired to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. In essence, we are wired for addiction, better and more truthfully defined as a largely self-correcting and perfectly normal lifestyle coping mechanism that sometimes goes awry. It tends to come and go over the course of a lifetime, to disappear and reappear in accordance with life events and exigencies. We frequently entertain more than one addiction at a time, and our drugs of choice often change to suit our current circumstance. We are sometimes more addicted, sometimes less, sometimes — far less frequently these days — not at all. And BTW, there is no addiction gene to blame.

Note: The inveterate college drunkard graduates, gets a job, gets married, has kids and buys a home. En route he matures out of his dependence on alcohol — almost always with no professional intervention.

Note: More than 40 million Americans have quit smoking over the past generation, almost all with no professional intervention or assistance whatsoever, despite the fact that nicotine is among the most addictive substances on the planet.

Note: The vast majority of GIs who returned from Viet Nam as heroin addicts stopped taking heroin once they were reintegrated into their lives stateside, and almost all them stopped with little or no professional intervention at all.

Headlines talk ceaselessly about heroin addiction or cocaine addiction or crack addiction or social media addiction. But all the media discussion about drugs notwithstanding, addiction is never about the specific narcotic. Addiction is about behavior, and all addicts behave pretty much the same way, regardless of the narcotic. Thus heroin addicts behave pretty much like sex addicts, who behave pretty much like alcoholics, who behave pretty much like compulsive gamblers, who behave pretty much like cocaine addicts, who behave pretty much like social media addicts.

Year after year the addiction industry (via the media) portrays addicts as down-and-out misfits victimized by an insidious chronic and incurable disease in order to instill in us inordinate fear and anxiety about our own dismal prospects as addicts in lieu of professional intervention.  The same media-induced fear compels us to hand our lives and bank accounts (often by court, employer or other mandate) over to outrageously expensive and invasive treatment regimens, almost all of which stigmatize us for life as damaged goods — and almost all of which ultimately fail.

The truth: The vast percentage of addicts are perfectly functional, with jobs and families and mortgages and plenty to smile about (hopefully).

The addiction industry tells us that we are victims of addiction, and that we become addicts in spite of our values.

The truth: We become addicts not in spite of our values but precisely because of our values, as reflected in how we choose to spend our time and money. Indeed, the only reliable diagnosis of addiction is the measure of how we spend our time and money in excess: exactly why addiction is almost always diagnosed first by a family member, friend or co-worker, not a doctor. Your family, friends and colleagues know where you spend your time and money. Your doctor doesn’t.

Moreover, we are not victims of our addictions.  If anything, we’re entirely complicit in them, especially in our meta-addiction to all things media and all things digital. No one ever put a gun to your head and threatened to pull the trigger unless you binge on “Charles in Charge” reruns over an entire weekend or camp out in line for days to buy the latest iPhone.

These are the simple facts about addiction. So why the fuss? If addiction is perfectly normal, what’s the problem? The problem is that addiction of any sort is a reflection of overt excess in our lives, and that late-stage addictions — like our meta-addiction to all things media and all things digital — eventually take over as moderators and arbiters of our thoughts and lives. Eventually they steal our time and money and freedom, regardless of the narcotic. An individual addicted to one narcotic or another is one thing. But an entire society addicted to the same narcotic (think all things media and all things digital) is something quite different. The real question that confronts us as citizens of 21st-century America is, “What happens to our time and money and freedom when addiction emerges as the default social condition, the rule rather than the exception?” Simply stated, the establishment of addiction as the default social condition is the perfect Fascist tool in a Brave New Digital World, exactly per Aldous Huxley’s premonition (see my essay The Rise of Fascism in a Brave New Digital World).  Look around and tell me otherwise…


Want someone truly different and truly entertaining to address your school, civic, religious or business group? I’m a veteran public speaker with hundreds of radio, TV, trade show, university, corporate and community appearances over three decades. Contact me today and let’s talk it over.

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