Sam Vaknin: The TRUE toxicity of social media

Target group: Psychologist, psychotherapist, (life) coach, concerned parent

Save your child from social media, before it's too late

Transcript from this video 1 hour 30 minutes:

The most popular accounts on Instagram have zero content. They are teenagers, usually girls, who eat bananas, zero content and they have 16 million followers.

Signaling increases anxiety

Here's the problem: Signaling invariably leads (in studies that we had) to performance anxiety. In other words signaling enhances anxiety invariably. There is no situation, where signaling reduces anxiety or has no connection to anxiety. It always increases anxiety. It increases anxiety, because you have to maintain not only prospective success but retrospective success. Let me try to explain it in common terms.

If your last post had 2,000 likes and in your next post has thousand likes you failed, so you are constantly competing against yourself actually, not only against others and not only against the market but against yourself. You have to exceed yourself all the time. This creates enormous performance anxiety. Actually we discovered that 41% of frenchmen, who were on social media reported extreme anxiety compared to 18% of frenchmen in 1985, so the number of frenchmen, who reported extreme anxiety tripled over this period of time and all of them are on social media and it was the only component, that changed between the two dates. So social media did this.

Social media as an epidimic

We can safely borrow techniques and methodologies from epidemiology and regard social media is an epidemic. As we studying Ebola or similar things we can study social media. If we do that, we discover some amazing new insights and one of the most important new insights is what we call in epidemiology "self-limitation".

All viruses spread very fast and then stop. Why didn't the black Death kill all the population of Europe? Why did it stop at half of the population? Why didn't AIDS kill all of us? I mean why does epidemic stop? Because viruses stop and why do viruses stop? Because they want to propagate. They want to continue to survive. If there were a virus, who would have killed all the population, the virus would have died as well. So we call this self-limiting.

If social media are like viruses and if we can use technologies, then it means, that we are coming right now to a stage of self-limiting. It means that the growth (coefficient) of social media will now stop and the world will then be divided into two groups: 1) the group of people who do not use social media and 2) the group of people who use social media.

Social media users

They are not geographical groups and they are not socio-economic groups. We can’t say e.g. the rich world will use social media but not India and China. We cannot say rich people will use social media but not poor people. We cannot say highly educated people will use social media, we can’t say this, because the profile of social media users are about two billion by now (2018). It’s totally universal, I mean nothing distinguish, no distinguishing facit.

The only thing that will distinguish these two groups, absolutely the only thing - it’s not gender, not income, not education, nothing. Only: Are you using social media or not? This is a revolutionary thought because social media has a massive effect on psychology. In other words there will be one group of people, about two billion, with one type of human psychology and another group of people of about five billion with a totally different type of human psychology. This is the first time, I think,. that there is such a massive reengineering of human psychology in between groups which count in the billions. So this is another way of looking at it.

-------I would like to also…. I’m gonna talk a lot and you can edit me out of course (”I wouldn’t dare” – interviewer laughing), if I were you I would edit out the whole thing, bloody hell, I just lost the thousand quid. ---------

Who created social media

I think one thing that's neglected when we consider social media is by whom social media was created? Consider for example the fashion industry. The fashion industry was created by homosexual men. Homoseual men who had a liking to boys. They created an ideal female figure, which was boy-like, and to this very day this is the ideal female figure. Females, women all over the world make the mistake, it’s an utter mistake.

We have numerous studies that show that it's a mistake, it's wrong, it's not true. Women think, that men like thin, anorectic, slim women, because that's what the fashion magazines are telling them. But the fashion magazines are telling them that, because most of the founders of the fashion houses and fashion magazines were homosexual men. (Interviewer: And they are only interested in how they make the clothes look, they want clothes, that just it).

Yeah, but the ideal female form is actually male, young male, teenage male (Interviewer: So they’re like androgenized?). Right, and women adopted this. They belive this is what men want, but actually we have numerous studies that showed that men prefer fuller women, curvaceous women, women with love handles and so on. And women refuse to accept these studies. They say this is not true. Why am I telling you this? Because social media was created by a very well defined profile.

All social media were invented by men. There was not a single woman involved. All social media were invented by schizoid’s, people who recluse, hermits, people who were socially inapt. All social media were invented by nerds. Most of these men - later on when we read biographies and so on, we realized that they were asexual or with very low sexual activity. So, the profile of the men, who invented social media - and we are talking about all these men - is very very narrowly defined.

They created social media in their own image, of course since they were asexual, asocial, schizoid, white men, they created a tool, which was geared towards asexual, asocial schizoid, white men. And then what happened to this tool to their utter surprise (for example you can read Zuckerberg articles) to their utter shock it took off and it started to cater to black men and black women and very sexual people and asexual people and social people. It started to cater to population groups, which were totally out of sync with the nature and character of the of the technology. And I think we are witnessing this conflict.

The technology is designed for a highly specific psychological profile and yet it is being used, abused and misused by other psychological profiles and this creates dissonance. The technology has inbuilt dissonance and I think we are feeling this dissonance a lot.

Screen time

We know that exposure to screen time – but not all screen time - and social media, we know that it tends to encourage depression, anxiety, suicide and so on. Anxiety among teens increased by 20% since 2007. 17% of all teens with anxiety are today with severe anxiety, life-threatening anxiety. 17% compared to 3 about 10 years ago (2008).

We know that screen time decreases happiness, decreases life satisfaction - everything I'm mentioning is studies of that - decreases happiness, life satisfaction and decreases self-esteem, we know that. We know that it increases enhances anxiety and depression. The Royal Society of Public Health published a study in June 2018, which found out that 63% of all Instagram users are unhappy.

We don't know whether unhappy people gravitate to Instagram or whether Instagram made them unhappy, but since we have similar statistics from other social media, it would stand to reason, that it's the platform that made them unhappy, not the other way around.

We know that anxiety and depression among the young - between 15 and 24 - increased by 70% over the last 30 years. It has simply doubled. And we know that since 2010 teen suicide climbed by 31%, so teen suicide is rampant. Today it is the first time in human history, that the leading cause of death among teens up to the age of 24 is suicide. Not any disease or not even accidents - it used to be accidents - today it is suicide. That's the leading cause of death, and this is intimately connected to social media. So it raises the question: Why is that ?

Social media, a conditioning tool

I mentioned before that social media is a conditioning tool - not an addictive tool but a conditioning tool - and that it uses relative positioning. But what are the emotions that are attached to relative positioning? Well, the first one is envy of course. So social media are constructed around envy, pathological envy. They are purveyors of pathological envy and amplifiers of pathological envy. And they quantify via various ranking algorithms. They quantify envy with likes, with retweets. So they quantify envy and then they leverage envy to motivate you. In other words they use envy to cause you to adopt some course of action. So they weaponize envy. But not only envy, I think even more so, aggression.

Of course pathological envy is a form of aggression. People confuse jealousy with envy and here's the difference: 1) Jealousy is when I look at you and I say "I want to be Richard Grennan" [the interviewer] so I will study hard, I will buy the right glasses and and so on, develop muscles, so it will motivate me to positive action. Jealousy is constructive. It motivates me to act but in a positive way to emulate you. 2) Patological envy means that I regard you as a source of frustration, that I can't be like you, so I would seek to destroy you or to make you me. E.g. by forcing you to wear white shirts, which you will never do.

So pathological envy is a form of aggression and when we look at social media, we see that all social media encourage aggression via their algorithms in via the way, they foster interactions. So they encourage for example peer aggression; they encourage bullying; they encourage mobbing, gang stalking; they encourage black humour; they encourage brutal honesty and so on so forth.

Designed to condition

You could say what you've been encouraged to - it's an empty space. In this empty space you can put brutal honesty or you can put compassion. It's not like they are forcing you, it's your choice how to abuse this empty blank space. Of course this is not true. It’s not true because these platforms have been designed to condition, or as the founders and constructors of this platform now are attesting: They were conditioned to become addictive. But it's wrong, it's not addiction! Never mind. We know what they’re trying to say.

These platforms encourage repeat use, repeat compulsive use, and now we know from psychology, that only these kind of emotions - aggression, envy, hatred - only these kind of emotions encourage repeated use. So there is no way that they have designed these platforms without being aware that they must leverage these emotions to create addiction.

Interviewer: You're saying that in order to guarantee that there will be eyeballs on the screen for longer and more eyeballs on the screen, they've deliberately fostered negative emotions in that?

Yes. Anger? Yes, there was no other way. Envy? Yes. Resentment? Yes! And they cannot come out and say "you're wrong, we similarly encourage love", because all psychological studies show, that love does not create or motivate repeat usage, repeat action, does not foster addiction.

We have forms of love which are addictive, but then we are talking stalking, erotomania stalking, infatuation. These are pathological states, pathologies. These platforms were designed with pathology in mind. It's not just what I am saying. Some of the founders of Facebook and the main engineer of Facebook, in the first few years, have now gone public and admitted, that they have built addiction into the platform.

And how do you do that? The only way to build addiction into the platform is to foster agenda and enhance exactly these emotions. There is no other way. You can't encourage volunteerism or love and expect repeat usage. Simply that there's no study that support this.

So it's no wonder, that these platforms ended up being platforms for hate speech, for fake news, for bullying, cyberbullying. No wonder at all, they were absolutely built for this. Consider for example Twitter. Twitter limited the number of characters - until recently - to 140, now they’ve incresed it to 260. But never mind, 140. What we know is that aggressive speech acts are much shorter. I’m serious, completely!

There are psychologicalstudies from the 60s 70s, Princeton studies and so on, that have demonstrated that aggressive speech acts are much shorter than non-aggressive speech acts. (Inteviewer: It make sense. If I gonna have road rage I’m gonna say ”fuck you”. I’m not gonna say ”listen, I’m very disappointed with the way that you drove….) Exactly.

We tend to send love letters. I’ve never heard of a road rage letter. If you would say "I love you", the other part would be very disappointed or taken aback "that's all you have to say?" Even if you say "I love you" in a minute the other party would usually say "that's all he has to say? I mean, what's wrong with this guy, right? I mean that's it”?

Love is effusive. Compassion and empathy are effusive in order to engulf, in order to accept, in order to make the glow, in order to create these positive emotions; you need to work hard and you need to be very verbose. However, in order to injure you or attack you or frighten you or terrorize you or whatever usually two three words are suffice.

Built with negative features

So we know from the start in the 60s and well into the 80s - which is the period that this was studied - we know that aggressive speech acts are much shorter, so why 140 by the way? What was the technological need for140, why not 1400? I mean what was the problem? Server space? What exactly limited? (Interviewer: Well, I mean if you’re right and I think you are, it's the inference, it's horrendous, they’re deliberately fostering agression).

Again, it's not what I'm saying. I encourage you actually to plug in to find the latest interview with the chief engineer of Facebook, the ex, the former chief engineer and he says: We built it for addiction and we built it with these features, with negative features. And he said: I regret it, I feel horrible, I regret what I've done.

Now PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) came up with two programs about Facebook which actually claimed, that it's an extremely extremely sinister platform - and it IS an extremely sinister platform. I am saying, that it's extremely sinister, because of the way it's designed and the algorithms behind it - and I'm saying this from the point of view of psychology, clinical psychology. Of course you can make use of these platforms in numerous ways, but you're not encouraged to. (Interviewer: You’re not rewarded for it).

The reward incentive system

1) I can give you a knife and with a wink wink and a nod nod I can tell you, if you stab Richard I'll give you four thousand pound. And you know I can, I'm good at it and can do that OR 2) I can give you a knife and say if you cut the bread for me I'll be very grateful. I mean, it depends how you're motivated. Many people would stab Richard.

The instrument of the tool is only as good as what you are rewarded for. The rewards incentive systems and so on usually determined usage. I think if there was no fear of using knives on people many more people would use knives on people. Because we have a negative incentive for using knives on people, we don't use them on people. This negative incentive is called prison. Simple take that away - and trust me - there will be an epidemic of people stabbing people.

So, incentives - both negative and positive - regulate behavior and to a very large extent by the way regulate emotions. Which would explain why anxiety, depression and so on so forth… Because if you're exposed to utterly negative territory - where negative messaging is rewarded, when negativity rules, when the captivity is retreated and liked etc etc - obviously it will poison you. It's a toxic environment and you're poisoned simply as surely as with arsenic in your food you're poisoned and your mind begins to change. Neuroplasticity guarantees that. Your mind begins to change, first of all you'll begin to defend against this toxicity and one way to defend is to withdraw. So many people withdraw.


Network effect.

I believe social media is the most asocial invention of ever, like ever. It encourage more a social behavior than anything before or after in my view. Social media created an unprecedented wave of withdrawal and automization (that's a reaction to negativity). On the other hand, those who have aggressive tendencies and so on would find social media an ideal turf, so they gravitate toward social media and of course enhance the toxicity. It's a self-perpetuating feedback loop, a negative filter which amplifies and attracts and connects like-minded aggressive, dangerous, lethal, the crazy people. This simplification is known as ”Network effect.” Of course all these platforms of social media were designed as networks. Now you can say, wait a minute what is this guy saying? I mean, that's a very trite statement, of course it's a network social media network! Why?

We have numerous ways of organizing social interactions. Why did social media chose networks? Why didn't they chose hierarchy? Why didn't you chose curated conversations with editors, moderators?

Before social media came online we had other ways of interacting online in the cyber world. Which had nothing to do with networks now. (Interviewer: Forums were huge, right?) Forums for example. I had a forum for 5 years. It had 250,000 members and it had moderators. We had 30 or 40 moderators, so it was what we call curated conversation. Everyone could say anything, it was super active, everyone was happy and satisfied, it spun numerous out of the forums it said. What was wrong with this model? In other words, our natural assumption or instinctive assumption: We were brainwashed by social media to believe that the only way to run social media is with a network model. It's not true!

This model was selected on purpose because it's the only model that has what we call network effects. Network effects leads back to epidemiology. Network effects are an epidemic, simply epidemic infection - intellectual and emotional and psychological infection - of people by other people. Exactly as you would spread the black death or Ebola, you spread your social media.

Social media could have selected as I said, hierarchical model, curated model, any of twenty or thirty existing models for online interaction. Yet they chose none of them! They chose the only model which is self-propagating, self-replicating, invades your DNA, your psychological dealing, alters your brain via neuroplasticity, conditions you, and later gets you addicted! The only model that does this is network, because of network effects. This created shared psychosis in many cases, mass hysteria on many cases, cults, including death cults, including teenage death cults, and it created new types of role models such as schoolshooters.

Network effects theoretically can be leveraged for good. An example would be Wikipedia. Even Wikipedia started as a network and gave up on the model. Why did it give up on the model? Because it became a cesspool of aggression, misinformation, slander, libel.

I was one of the hundred founders. We were 100 people who founded Wikipedia - it was called Nupedia. Then Jimmy Wales threw away all of us and took over and made it Wikipedia. Wikipedia, when it started with Nupedia it was curated. Each one of us had a hidden editor. I wrote the entry for narcissism. I had an editor who was the professor of psychology. It was curated and we still created content. Jimmy Wales came and said ’no I'm converting Wikipedia to a social network and Wikipedia became Facebook. Anyone could edit, anyone could interact with anyone, I mean there was no end, it was spreading, Network effects and so on. Within 10 years it became an artist sewage, cesspool, attacks, nutcases, slander, libel, hatred, hate speech – horrible!

I had a public altercation with the Jimmy Wales on numerous magazines all over the world, Brazil, Russia, you name it. When finally - I don't know if it's owing to me, I suspect not only because of me, but I was the only one who sued him in court - finally Jimmy Wales retreated and changed Wikipedia back to Nupedia and today Wikipedia is actually curated. It's not a network. But look what happened: The minute it became curated, the number of active editors dropped from 3 million to 70,000! People are not interested, people want the aggression. They want the chaos.

Realizing human nature, you are faced with two options: 1) Either you surf the wave, you ride the wave, or 2) you put up dams and you try to act civil? and try to channel this energy or whatever.
Facebook, Twitter, all these networks are surfing the wave. They know it's a dangerous wave. They know people are drowning. They read all the statistics of increased suicide rate, depression, anxiety. They know absolutely everything. They have designed maliciously, malevolently and possibly criminally, I don't know. They have designed their algorithms and their networks exactly to cater to human pathology in its most extreme forms. They have sown the wind. I’m not sure if they were not ripped the storm – I think it's coming.

Interviewer: You said that it's a self-limiting virus. Do you think, you know, like the documentary are making, we’re plugged in and we can see that other people feel the same way, do you think this is all part of that where people are saying: Okay, enough is enough? Yes. Then you said that there will be two groups, one group will continue, the other group will no longer use social media. Then I think you said their psychologies will be molded differently. So do you think that will actually be the social media users if they keep going for the 10 or 15 years, they'll be more pathologized or? Yes.

SV: I think it's the first time in human history - that's why I said it's a revolutionary statement - it’s the first time in human history, we have created the technology, that succeeded to pathologize two billion people. These 2 billion people - most of them, not all of them - it's too late to save them. They are conditioned and addicted and maybe 1 billion of them, one and a half billion of them, 1.2 billion, I have no way to predict.

But some portion of them will remain on social media forever. Their pathologies will increase and they will become sicker, more anxious, more depressed, more suicidal, more in need of therapy, less functional, more automized, more schizoid, more of everything. This group of people will be like an island. They would live on social media.

It's like these famous multiplayer games, you know. They would live in social media, become their world, they will swap the delusional fantasy world of social media for reality and they will lose the reality test - which is the definition of psychosis in psychology. But this will be one group. And the rest of humanity? There has never been a case in human history of a group that big going sick, mentally sick, never been a case. Maybe with the exception of Nazi Germany, maybe, but there's never been such a case. So we don't know and I cannot predict what it would mean.

Interviewer: So to be clear, I think what I'm hearing you say is, that people have quite literally been driven crazy, dangerously crazy, by the social media usage and that it was designed to do that, to addict them to the social media.

A self-perpetuating loop

SV: It was designed to condition them and to some extent addict, it’s more conditioning, but designed to condition them. Once they got conditioned they reacted like any conditioned or addict: They’ll develop depression and anxiety. However, when you develop depression and anxiety in reality, reality has the capacity to cure you, to heal via the what we call the reality test. Reality keeps sending you messages that intrude on your depression and anxiety.

So for example: A beautiful girl smiles at you, you're promoted at work, I mean something happens - gradually - and this is how we overcome grief. Grief for example: Time heals everything. What do you do if you’re firewalled from reality and you live in a toxic environment that gets increasingly more toxic, where you’re exposed only to toxic messages and where you are engaged in a toxic activity of social ranking, which is made public in order to shame you and motivate you further to go into the toxicity. It's a self-perpetuating loop. You have no countervailing influences. So it becomes what we would define a psychotic disorder. I mean, it's a psychotic world, it's a bubble.

It's the first time it's happening in human history. I have no way to predict what would such a billion people do, because they're spread everywhere and they're men and women and they are of all age groups and they are all socio-economic strata and all education levels. I mean, they are off limited, they are more or less like seeds and in this sense they are epidemic. When there's AIDS you have AIDS in San Francisco, you have AIDS in Paris, you have AIDS in Africa, you have AIDS in China. It's in distance. I'm comparing it to a virus. It's a group of sick people who are exposed to a virus, known as ”Social Media” and now they have sickness.

Every virus is self-limiting. This documentary is a manifestation of self limitation but we have other phenomena which are even more impressive than this documentary. For example the fact that about 20% of all social media users pull out of social media. Disconnect, close their accounts or inactivate accounts and even get rid of their smartphones. That's more extreme but there are people who are doing this. There is a new phenomena of retreats where you cannot go with your digital devices. There's a new phenomenon of jammers so that when you enters cinema or ballet or opera, whatever, your smartphone is disabled automatically.

So there are many signs of revolt and rebellion against the status quo. That's why I'm not saying that all 2 billion users of social media will be pathologized to the end, but a billion probably will. That's a gigantic number. It's what we call in physics ”Phase transition”. It's such a big number that it must have universal all pervasive extensive effect on the totality of humanity. What this effect will be is anyone's guess. Even the pathology is not well understood. We don't really understand what is the pathology.

There's a new diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual edition 5/2013: Internet addiction. It's new, but I don't think it captures sociological aspects and cultural aspects, none of this. How for example will we, the ”healthy” people, how are we gonna accommodate these people?. What if someone is a therapist, how would you, if someone comes and says "listen I'm very depressed because I’m all the time on social media".

What tools do I have to cope with it? What if a group of these people sue for disability benefits? "I can’t disengage from social media, I'm on social media ten hours a day, I try, I can’t."

It opens all kinds of very interesting questions, political, economical, legislative, therapeutic. This is a group of sick people. As we had to cope with the outcomes of AIDS and the outcomes of the influenza of 1918; as we have to cope with previous epidemics, we will have to cope with this.

The social media epidemic is much more reminiscent of zombie movies than it is of anything else. If you have black death you die. If you had influenca in 1918 you also died. If you have AIDS up to a certain point you died and after that you lived. It was these situations we are familiar with. But social media addicts are much more like zombies. Their psychology is altered to the point that some of us would have difficulty relating to them, even via empathy. We will have difficulty relating.

It reminds me that there are groups of people, who live inside multiplayer games. They absolutely live there. These games have money of their own, you can buy all kinds of merchandising goods and so on and so forth. So when you talk to these people - and I did - when you talk to these people, they try very much to pretend, that they're in reality, but they're not, absolutely not! They live much more there, inside the computer, than outside the computer. How would we relate to these people? We don't even have the common background.

Interviewer: Is that possibly a way of explaining the difficulty that people are having now relating to each other, because they lost the ability to relate outside of…

SV: I think that - as I said before - I think that social media is the most asocial or even anti-social invention ever! It automized, pulverized, rendered the social fabric completely, by now completely. Because it started with six million youths but now we're talking two billion. The effect is global and total so by now I think the effects of social media have been disastrous.

For example teens prefer to interact with other teens exclusively via social media. The number of face-to-face interactions among teens dropped by 70% - seven zero, not seven - in the last ten years! The amount of dating teenagers dropped by 63%. The amount of sexual encounters, blow jobs, you name it, dropped by 50%.

In other words, teenagers have moved exclusively to social media. They no longer interact with each other except via social media. There are numerous documented observations in cases of teenagers communicating via social media, sitting next to each other. Sitting next to each other! We have documented observations and studies of teenagers on for example trips, sitting next to each other but communicating via social media, and not talking to each other.

Interviewer: Like something from a sci-fi dystopian movie, isn’t it? People just sit there twitching and flicking their thumbs.

SV: Of course this has effect on sex, and in due time reproduction family formation. Indeed family formation dropped to an all-time low. Less than one-third of people under the age of 24 consider having a family. More than one-third of people under the age of 24 are homosexuals and so on. Nothing against homosexuals, let me be utterly clear: Sexual preference as I respect and I have no problem with whatsoever. I'm not a homophobic in any shape or form. But homosexuality reflects a basic disconnect, because we know that the historical figures for homosexuality were within a certain range. It is conceivable that a sexual orientation or sexual preference will triple within less than six years.

Interviewer: What do you think has caused that - and it’s particular amongst the young, isn't it? Yes, under age 24. Social media you think is causing this?

SV: Yes, I think one of the reasons is social media. It's much more comfortable to interact with your own gender, if you are not face to face. Social media enhances likeminded – what we call ”bubbles” - enhances likeminded people. For example politics: You will gravitate in social media to people who think like you, agree with you. You will read only news stories that agree with you. You will never read anything that disagrees with you.

Interviewer: Social media feeds back that which it knows you're gonna look at.

SV: It is called ”bubble”. There is also a gender bubble. It's much easier for you to interact with the same gender. Same gender, same income, same education, same political views, same sports preferences. If you're a fan of this club, you will gravitate towards them.

Interviewer: So people literally fucking themselves? Or an achetype of?

SV: Yes, as I said in previous interviews, homosexuality is auto-erotic, absolutely auto-erotic. It's a form of masturbation in effect. Of course it has psychosexual dimensions, it has emotional dimensions and it's as rich and as profound as any relationship between two genders, two opposite genders. No one is taking this away.

But there is something in homosexuality that does not exist in heterosexuality. It's the fact that you are making love to your own gender. In other words: A pronounced hot-auto-erotic element - and this is exactly what social media does! It closes you that with fragmented society into identical groups and I call this phenomenon ”Identicalness” (we’ll talk about it when we talk about malignant egalitarians).

The selfie

I enticalness is the tendency to propagate to collaborate and to interact only with people who are very very very very very much like you. Of course the epitome of this is the selfie. In the selfie what you're doing: You're interacting with the only person who is hundred percent like you. Selfies today constitute 60 percent of all activity on social network! We don't have statistics for the beginning, but I remember the beginning and I remember when social networks started. It was never about selfie. I don't remember selfies. Actually the word selfie entered the Oxford English Dictionary only in 2015, ten years after social media became popular. At the very beginning there was no such thing as selfie.


Selfie became very prominent in 2014/15 and today it is six out of every ten posts. In other words: Six out of every ten times we interact with ourselves. We watch ourselves, we shoot {a selfie}, inviting the world, I'm looking at me, you look at me. ME.

I would put it like this: As far as autoeroticism - not as far as depth of emotions, not as far as depth of interest - but as far as the autoeroticism. Heterosexuality which is very different. It's not autoerotic, it's different. It's heteroerotic having sex with the other. Then there is homosexuality which is having sex with someone who is 50% like you, almost you. Then there is selfie which is masturbating - having sex with yourself indeed.

The main sexual activity between 15 and 45, among men, is masturbation. It has become the main sexual activity. 51% of all Internet users consume pornography on a daily basis, at least once a day, and this in order to masturbate. If you look on only the male side of Internet users, it's 90 percent. Women do it much less. So we have a situation of making love to ourselves, literally making love to ourselves, psychologically falling in love with ourselves. Taking photos of yourself all the time you must be in love. Developing emotional investment in ourselves, this is known as {Kartexis?}. Kartexis is an emotional investment.

Objectrelation theory in psychology told us, that we start by being emotionally invested in ourselves and then we learn to externalize this investment in invest in others. This is called objectrelations. We invest in objects. Social media reverses this process, it creates regression. Indeed social media encourages very very primitive, infantile, baby-like defense mechanisms, such as splitting. You're either my friend or my enemy. You don't like me, you are my enemy. You like me, you're my friend. It's the like – dislike. It's a very binary state, you know, very primitive, baby-like.

Today Facebook have added emojis and all kinds of possibilities, but have a look. Take thousand posts, no one uses them. The vast majority are still using ’like-dislike’. A few are using ’wow’ or very few. No one uses them {emojis and all kinds of possibilities}, so it's very binary. Splitting is an example like, you're my enemy, you're my friend. Black and white thinking, catastrophizing. That's why we have conspiracy theories. Social media caters to the most primitive defense mechanisms, behaviors, trades. It is in this sense psychologically regressive.

Social media is all by design.

Here's the problem: If they had good intentions, you could say, okay, they tried it, they got it wrong. No, it's all by design! That's the shocking thing. There is no difference therefore between social media and tobacco, all drugs in effect. I can see a world where social media will be banned. I will not be shocked at all. Frankly, on psychological grounds alone, I would have banned it, of course. Anything that increases suicide by 31% should be banned.

Interviewer: I was gonna suggest within that paradigm of this documentary, that maybe we don't say to people, ’look, you don't have to stop, but maybe reduce that’. But based on what you've said here, really the only responsible thing to do is to stop. If it's that toxic, if it's actually designed to actively encourage aggression and envy in the way that you say.

SV: And regression. When you regress you don't have control, so lack of impulse control results very very serious and sick pathologies. But forget all this. There is a direct link established now, beyond any doubt, on three continents between anxiety, depression and suicide. Simple. In the most vulnerable group, 15 to 24!

If there were a drug, a legal drug, that would have created the same effects, it would be banned by now. Banned! If someone came up with a pill for muscle enhancing or an energy giving pill, and teens would take it - and then suicide would shoot up 31%. The pill would be banned. Don't you agree? That’s what social media is doing.

Interviewer: So I can't say to people: You can have a little bit of this highly toxic substance?

SV: Of course you can, and it's very telling, that social media is not doing this! For example, why not limit the usage to two hours a day? Why not have a clock, an inbuilt clock, that I can use my Facebook only 2 hours. After 2 hours Facebook will block me.

Interviewer: Well, Instagram, just last week, put a clock in. I imagine Facebook will do, because they know that documentaries like this are being made and that the tide is turning.

SV: If such clocks are introduced, it only enhances my proposition, that it's an epidemic.

But that's not the real question. The real question: Why wasn't it done 10 years ago? Why wasn't it built that way? If the whole platform was built for addiction, as the chief engineer himself admits. If you knew that you were creating addiction, why didn't you limit the number of pills? Why didn't you limit the usage from the very beginning? Why did you have to wait until - by a rough estimate - 20 thousand teens died every year. Every single year. Why did you have to wait for this to happen, before you introduced a watch?

Interveiwer: It’s being pulled up in front of the Senate committee and I think even Britain is trying to get him in front of some people here to question him as well.
SV: Yes. Tobacco, it's exactly the same strategies of tobacco. Tobacco companies knew it's addictive. They introduced ingredients that made it addictive. Their advertising made it addictive. I mean, it was all about addiction. It's exactly the tobacco situation. And, tobacco is addiction, not conditioning.

Social media is conditioning. I can't emphasize enough how critical this distinction is. Addiction can be overcome. There are well-known techniques to counter addiction and reverse it and so on so forth. Conditioning is much more difficult, much more difficult.

Interviewer: Conditioning, undoing conditioning is more like the type of work that we do when we are dealing with trauma victims, isnt it?

SV: Yes, trauma victims have some conditioned affect in behaviors. But there is a much much deeper conditioning. For example to food or to pain aversion.

Interviewer: So it's primal conditioning?

SV: Primal conditioning, yes.

The fear of not to belong.

Listen, we are social animals. The most terrifying thing for us is not to not have food, not to not be in pain. Pain doesn't frighten us, food doesn't frighten us, the weather doesn't frighten us. The most frightening thing for any of us is to be ostracized, to be excommunicated, not to belong. Absolutely by far the most frightening thing.

We can look at history. People prefered to die just not to leave the community. The biggest weapon of the Catholic Church for 400 years was not burning on the stake or to the fake, it was excommunication. Their worst heretics were left to live, but they were excommunicated.

When Baruch Benedict Spinoza attacked the Jewish perception of God, when he attacked the concept of God in Judaism, he was not killed. He was not stoned as the Talmud dictates. It was simply excommunication. He was thrown out of the community. There is no bigger punishment. None.

If I was threatened with lack of food or no one will talk to me for 10 years, I mean no one not even you, I don't know what I would have chosen. I think I would have chosen to go hungry. There’s nothing more frightening {not to belong}. And THIS IS what social media is threatening you with! If you don't behave in certain ways, if you are not negative, if you're not hate speecher. If you don't behave in certain ways, your likes will be nothing, your likes will be minimum, it will not be retweeted. You will be ignored. You will be excommunicated.

If you want to belong, this is what you have to do: Do it! Be aggressive, be a split, dumb down, don't be intellectual, dumb down, keep it simple stupid. And there is no manual in how to be popular.

Interviewer: It’s coercive.

SV: Trial and error. Then you discover: If I am stupid, I have more likes. The stupider I am, the more likes I have. The more scarce or sparse the content, the more likes I have. If I put a banana peel I will get more likes than if I put an Aristoteles quote. If I don't use long words, I will be more popular. If I don't pretend that I know something or if I don't tell people that I know something, I'll be so dumb down.

You are forced to hide your true identity.

One other thing it does: It forces you to hide your true identity. Social media forces you to become not you, to deny critical aspects of you. If you're intelligent, you have to deny that. If you are empathic, you have to deny that. If you're compassionate, you have to deny that. It forces you to conform to some kind of ideal that is essentially aggressive, regressive, infantile. In one word: Narcissists.

Interviewer: I am not proud, but I'll say it:
I watched a YouTube video that was talking about promoting yourself on social media and advertise. It said this is the thing that you should do: If you're traveling, you should take a selfie of yourself and show people that you're on a plane. I was like: That is the dumbest, most narcissistic and pointless fucking thing I could do with a smartphone. I tried it the next day. The most likes I’ve ever had, and then you saw me repeat that again and again and again. People loved that. It's not a picture of anything, it's just my stupid face.

SV: That's a highly sophisticated, intellectual statement compared to some other things. I mean, I swear, there is a girl - I'm not kidding - there's a woman, I think she's a Russian girl, teenager. She has photos only with bananas. She's peeling banana, she's eating banana, banana peel is on the floor. By the way: No text, she and banana. I must give her points for creativity. I mean, how many things can you do with a banana without doing, what you can do. But that's it. And by the way, 20, maybe 20 posts, I mean not very active. She has 16,8 million followers.

Each of these banana things has like 270 thousand likes. 16,8 million, you can't say anymore that they're all teenagers. They are not. Statistically they're not, I mean it can’t be. There must be grandmothers of sixty years old there. There must be a few professors of psychology there. There must be, statistically speaking. I mean, it's shocking that anyone who graduated primary school, would like a teenage girl with a banana. I mean, what do they do?

And of course the jumping cats on YouTube.

Interviewer: That makes more sense, because it's funny. You get a dopamine hit from that, I'm getting something from it, it's funny. This is the most vacuous thing I've ever done on social media, ended up being one of the most rapidly popular. I mean, within 24 hours eight hundred likes! I was doing nothing. I said nothing, there's nothing there.

SV: It forces you to deny yourself, even if you don't feel it: ”Oh wonderful I got two thousand likes”. Somewhere at the very very very back recesses of your mind there is a tiny tiny Richard Grannon voice that says, ’look what you're doing, this is different, stupid, what's wrong with you’. It's a tiny tiny voice, and of course not only it forces you to deny parts of yourself, which are sometimes critical, but it forces you to fight with yourself. Because there's this small voice and you tell him ’shut up, I got a thousand likes, shut the fuck up, why do you keep tormenting me, I hate you’.

Social media creates dissonance.

So it creates what we call dissonance. All behavioral social media is dissonance based, all of it. Because even when you post a selfie, it is automatically sharing the selfie with people you don't know, you don't care about, and haters, potential haters. You're opening yourself up - you're vulnerable. Posting a selfie is the epitome of vulnerability. You can certainly be attacked or reposted or whatever. It’s anxiety enhancing.

The minute you post a selfie, your level of anxiety shoots up, absolutely shoots up. After a million times that you're anxious. After two hundred thousand times that you have a fight with you in a voice. After three hundred thousand times that you denied part of yourself, you become depressed. These are the makings of clinical depression.

We are clinically depressed when we deny ourselves. We are clinically depressed when you have constant dissonance and feel helpless about it. With dissonance means two forces, two equipotent forces, two forces with the same power, that tear you apart in effect and so on. These are the makings of depression. And indeed teens, who were interviewed and were asked the simple question: Does it make you feel good to be on social media? A big portion said, I think about 40 something percent, said that it makes them feel very bad. Another 20 something percent said it makes them feel bad. Only 3 percent - three - said that it makes them feel good. Shocking!

Interviewer: It makes you just ask the question ’Why are they there’?

SV: Conditioned! Precisely what I'm saying. The only reason we do things that make us feel bad is if we can't help it. And the only things we cannot help are addictions and conditioning.

Conditioning vs. addiction.

I maintain that social media is conditioning, not addictive. Of course every conditioning looks like addiction, because these are compulsive behaviors that you cannot control, and so they look the same, but they're not the same. They're not the same at all.

For example: One of the main features of addiction is that it provides you with a meaning. Take the drug addict. A drug addict has to get up in the morning, find money, steal from his mother, find money and then buy, connect, call the pusher. If you look at it from outside, it's a bit like business: You have to get up, you have to manage your business, it's a mission, purpose, it’s goal-oriented. At the end of the day it’s a product, it consumes the product. It provides meaning. We call it exoskeleton. It provides a meaningful exoskeleton. A conditioning? No. Conditioning doesn’t provide meaning. Conditioning is totally automated, like ’I want food, I press lever’’, I don't want pain, I don't press the lever’. There's no like ’the lever is my meaning and I'm goal-oriented’. It's utterly automated, robotic.

Most of the behavior in social media is robotic. It doesn't give meaning. It doesn't endow you with meaning. It's utterly robotic in the sense that it's one-on-one. You push – result, and again you push and the result creates the next push. So if I put a selfie and I get 100 likes, I will try to put another selfie, so that I get a thousand likes. This is conditioning.

This is one of the differences: Addiction is a much much much much more complex phenomenon than conditioning. Social media is simple. There's no complexity there. Actually there's a hatred of complexity. That's why 140 characters, there's a hatred of complexity. It’s anti-complex.This is one of the tell-tale signs: The simpler the activity of the platform, the more it is geared towards conditioning.


then towards addiction okay anyhow a few a fewperceptions pointing towards is the age issue I mean literally the age of theperson who's using the social media and when they were born the age in whichthey were born post if you were born post 1990 I guess by the time you arecoming into your sense of self more socially which would be adolescent yearswith net after the age of 12 this is when social media probably will have themost sway over your perception of yourself and the world do you think thatthe if you were born into using internetthat you're more susceptible and more vulnerable to the ill effects of ever Ithink there are three assuming the Internet has an all pervasive influenceshave just claimed I think the there should be three groups one is people whowere exposed to the Internet in their late 20s 30s 40s cetera et cetera andthat would include dinosaurs like me then people who were exposed to theInternet during adolescence and native digital natives were exposed to theInternet during the formative years were bornwith the tablet and exposed to the InternetI think the first group still uses social first program in the the old daysstill use the social media as a form of communication essentially reconnectingwith old flames and all perils and so forth creating social network and thefull sense of the world communicating as they would have done ona telephone or earlier via mail post office so they would see social media asa natural extension of the Telegraph and the telephone and in the post office andso on and they're buying therefore I think they would miss out on all thepernicious effects of social media because they would limit theircommunication to the swapping of information the expression of very basicemotions and the coordination of meetings essentially and the secondgroup would be so they'll be extremely reluctant to use social media for anytruly intimate communication conversation there are more face-to-facemore the second group are people who've been exposed to social media duringtheir adolescence and they would tend to use social media for social positioningfor competition for info connecting but for highly specific purposesso for example connecting romantic using it as a romantic aid or using it inorder to exchange information about the preferences music preferences in musicpurposes in movies and so on and so forth again the communication would besuperficial it would be a motionless in in many ways and so even this group Iwould say is pretty safe because they've had exposure during the formative yearsto alternative alternative methods and ways of communicating digital digitdigital natives are doomed they are doomed because social media pervades alltypes of communication as early as six years old I have seen six years oldcommunicating on social media I've definitely seen nine years old and tenyears old and so on the thing with social media is that the gratificationis instantaneous response times are very fast therefore any hormonal or othereffects in the brain are immediate and addictive conditioning is total andevery other mode of communication by comparison looks lacking yeah it'seither too slow or it's too accurate and big you Utley plays a big role in insocial media it's too accurate or it's too all-encompassing or it's toointimate or it's too something social media is ideally suited to digitalnatives and it both shapes their brains on the one hand and on the other handreflects their their brains and mentality they grow up in a world whereattention span is very truncated worried the emphasis is on communicatingunbridled sharp emotions clear very primitive very infantile where all thedefense mechanisms are activated in every interactionwhere and where aggression and similar negative emotions are freely expressedand used as social means of social control or peer control and to be moreprecise so this is their world social media is is well suited to itthey have no alternatives they never experience anything else theirface-to-face interactions are very limited if at all families havedisintegrated don't forget we are talking about generations which alsoconcurrent with the experience of social media lost all other social experiencepeople who are 40 50 60 years old have experienced the family people who are 2030 years old so certain people who are 4050 years old experience the extendedfamily yeah so the nuclear family grandfathers grandmothers and uncles andso on people who are 20 30 years old experienced only the nuclear family andpeople who are 15 to 25 years old experienced no family whatsoeverstatistically speaking right forty percent of them grew with single mothersand about 70 to 80 percent of them come from divorced families so the the lackthe lack of all other social interactions and all other socialdimensions makes it impossible for them to compare to develop critical thinkingabout what they are experiencing to realize that the limitations andproblems of social media and so on so forth social media is the only socialworld they know they have no family they have no nothing else to compare it toadult rule or and also because they are not in term intermeshed because they arenot embedded in other social other types of social interactions social unitsthere's also no control yeah there's no control over the usage of social mediathis this this movement of controlling the usage of social media is very newit's about two years old only now we are beginning to talk about limiting accessto tablet since smartphones smartphone 3hourstailoring the use of social media to age groups etc etc but even this control isrudimentary and and utterly ineffective this is no way to control the use ofcyberspace and you can find children as young as 9 year old or 10 year old whoare self-mutilating online who are for joining suicide counts death counts whoare exposed to extreme violent pornography and and so on and so forththe the world therefore I think there is a problem with the question there is noworld and social media social media is the world for digital images right thereis no other world outside it there is no reality outside it they live insidesocial media this is their and this reminds me of the question you asked meabout simulation mm-hmm these are simulated people they live inside thesimulation they are in the matrix already you said that simulated peoplethey themselves are experiencing themselves as simulations they don'texpect the experiences as real people who are were living real lives but theydon't yeah they are living in a matrix yeahsocial media is not is is their reality bits and bytes are there the the insteadof atoms come instead of atoms their families are peers it's their they andthese peers are not real they never see them or rarely see them face-to-facethey interact with digital renditions of other people of objects of places ofevents of yes these are all digital and in this sense they are denizens of thematrix absolutely they live inside a simulation so the gulf between someonewho is 35 years old and someone who is 15 years old is not a quantitative gulfone who is 35 years old uses social media 2.6 hours a day and the one who is15 uses social media 6 hours a day which by the way these are the statistics it'snot a quantitative curve its qualitative golf the one who is 35 or 25 comes fromreality and uses social media as we would use or she would use any othertool a knife a camera the one who is 15 lives inside social media - the one whois 15 years old or 10 years old or even 20 years old up to 24 actually accordingto study studies by 20 up to the age of 24 these people live inside social mediathey perceive reality to be unreal they perceive social media to be real andreality to be unreal because everything they see they see mediated via screen ifthey see starving children in Yemen these are bits and bytes and digits on aflickering screen these are never they are these starving children in Yemen areas real to them as their peers across the street as their classmates in otherwords as unreal to them yes the reality is vanished with thisgeneration now this is this is an open question ancients like me very me oldpeople would say that this is an unmitigated catastrophe because you knowthey can't function in reality they would elect someone like Donald Trump tothe presidency because reality TV and reality are the same line and so theywould make decisions which are not grounded in reality or badly grounded inreality and so they would have better outcomes and disasters and so so someonelike me would feel that this is horrible someone who is a bit younger or a lotyounger may say so what reality is becoming simulation we are becoming thematrix yeah what's wrong with it actually in the interview we had lasttime you asked me about simulation and I said well if I mean if I'm plugged intothe matrix and I am allowed to to control how the program operates inother words to express my wishes and preferences and priorities and theprogram abides by them obeys me who why how why should we say it's not realyeah for example if I'm plugged into the matrix and my wish is to have a wifewith two children and I instruct the program to generate a wife and togenerate two children and I live with this wife and two childrenfor the rest of my life another 70 years and then I die could you say that I didnot have a wife or two children I think that you wouldn't be able to say thatthere's a difference so there's no way I can tell you I mean they look made ofatoms I agree so what the emotional reaction to this wife and two childrenbe a we experience the experience of having a wife and two children would beidentical to having the wife and two children made of carbon so this is thisis I think what people find very difficult to to understand to acceptthere is no difference in principle between simulation and reality realityis a simulation made of carbon atoms that's allwhile simulation is a simulation made of other materials or electric currents sophilosophically speaking there is no rigorous argument that can distinguishreality from simulation and if the children live in social media and incyber world for the rest of their lives and never ever meet another human beingmade of atoms I cannot say that their life has been meaningless insignificantand lacking in any way I can I want to ask you a selfish question I I'm singlebut I'd rather be in a relationship and I've been trying for about six months toget myself into one it's very very hard and there's a lot of difficulties thatI've associated with that and want to just pull up to things you saidthat social media encourages and ambiguity it encourages a lack ofintimacy could you tell me why that is and do you think that that would bleedout into the real world because that's these are the things I'm struggling withpeople's communication is extremely ambiguous and there's a terror ofintimacy just the intimacy of meeting face-to-face creates this relationshipdestroying terror like you will be fine until you want to meet in flesh andblood ah now that's a problem because you've only ever met my false self sowhy does social media need to be ambiguous and non internet the onlyintoning of ambiguity is intimacy the only way to disambiguate anything is toget to know it right and the only way humans get to know each other is viaintimacy okay so when we become more and more intimate with another person thatperson becomes less and less ambiguous to us every initial contact is alwaysambiguous and every relationship always end in certainty it could be very badsir too soon to show it's not the guy for me it's not the girl for me it's thegirl for me but it's always certainty absolutely the thing is that socialmedia is structured to prevent certainty and to deter intimacy and the reason itis structured that way is because intimacy is is intimacy is gearedintimacy reduces the need for addiction it reduces the need for conditioningintimacy is in a way its biggest the biggest addiction when you are in anintimate relationship array ship it usually consumes most of our emotionalresources cognitive resources or there's simply no time for for other addictionsor to put it very bluntly intimacy competes with Facebook yesyou're either intimate or you're on Facebook so intimacy and of courseintimacy has social aspects it's a social activity it's aninterpersonal activity but it's a social activity as you are never only intimatewith one person the minute you're intimate with one person you alsoautomatically intimate with her friends yeah with her family with her backgroundwith her even city we never are intimate with one person we are always intimatewith networks centered around one person in a way intimacy is a mini mini minisocial network with extreme addictive power which of course renders the likesof Twitter Facebook and everything else Twitter and Facebook Facebook purvey andrely on loneliness they need atomized schizoid separated Hermits reclusesnerds socially in act socially unable to bought to bind and to bond and to beintimate they need this kind of population it's the only kind ofpopulation that becomes conditioned and addicted to social media usage in lieuof real contact in real relationships we know that manufacturers of productsintroduced into their products to elements we know that first of all theytry to make the products indispensable here we have iPhone 7 why - three worksperfectly because they have rendered the product indispensable to our lives by usas a status symbol via branding by our new functions by I mean so-called newfunctions and so so all manufacturers try to render their productsindispensable and built into the products obsolescence these are the two- mantras of manufacturing same goes with social media social media tries torender itself indispensable and would obliterate any threat to itselfthe biggest threat by far is an intimate mature adult healthy engulfingrelationship so social media are anything but socialthey need optimized lonely individuals and the second thing is obsolescencesocial media expires much faster than any product the minute you post thetweet and the minute it's been liked 24 hours is that later is dead it'sobsolete its obsolete and you need to renew the product you need to postanother tweet you need to tweet again these are the only manufacturers in theworld who made you their employee it's the only manufacturing industry in theworld where the users are its employees when you buy an iPhone iPhone doesn'texpect you to go to Foxconn in China and put the components together but when youuse social media you generate the content think about itit's supposed to be a content platform yet you generate the content it's it'sselling the content to advertisers but you generate the content yeah it'ssupposed to be a communication platform but you communicate it's it's you doeverything Twitter and Facebook are dumb idiotic black spaces doing nothing butobeying your input you are working for Facebook and Twitter and others ofcourse that are not machine are you saying that the wizards of Facebook andInstagram are aware that their users getting into intimate relationshipswould be bad for business yes I've no doubt about this theydiscourage intimacy in every conceivable way do you think they're actuallydiscouraging humans from meeting face-to-face with humans because itwould make them redundant and that's written into the algorithms it's reallythey're not worried about face-to-face meetings because as I told you theplatform is built for instant gratification it's it's very much likedrugs so that's not a real threat okay but the real threat is that you willfind someone through Facebook or some that with whom you will develop anintimate relationship and listen it's extremely simple when you start a loveaffair you really have no mind for facebookyes it's simple eyeballs yes your eyeballs will now rest on the beautifulwoman that you fell in love with yes not on Facebook yes she is their competitionthey need to eliminate her from your life they need to monetize your eyeballsthey need your eyeballs anything that competes with them for your eyeballs isa bloody threat and let your family your your girlfriend television other socialnetwork anything Google why Facebook doesn't allow Google to crawl toFacebook database did you ever ask yourself Facebook does not allow Googleto crawl the database mmm why I mean some accounts are private okay yeah youcan put a robot text you know it will not be scanned but why the open onesyeah why my page my page of my yeah Facebook does not allow Google to scalebecause that would steal away its resource yeah it's a product it's it'swhat they sell to advertisers and so on now if you have a girlfriend yourconsumption of Facebook will collapse by 60% perhaps even your girlfriend insiststhat you don't use Facebook anymore because you're flooded by offers fromvery beautiful women yes many many do penguin many say listen if I see TommyTasha if we get together I mean cut cut down on social media yeah because listenevery men every men almost every means is is flooded with you know offerssexting is much more common than you thinkyour experience it's it's there oh yeah so sex thing is a standardcommunication yes sexting became standard so imagine imagine imagine Ihave a wife or a girlfriend yeah who would go for good who would agree tothat I mean she would tell you isn't cut itcut it off cut down so it's just right it's a lot love is a threat social medialove is a threat relations literate not a intimacy straighttogether Ness is a threat a community is a threatfriendship is a threat anything that takes you away from Facebook Siri ifsocial media is a Virant is a virus as community family love intimacyis that the antidote to the virus yes of course if you once in your lifeexperience true intimacy mmm social media suddenly feel plastic feelsweird weird feels creepy I would say everything yeahabsolutely creepy yeah if you really for once in your life experience trueintimacy yeah and it's true intimacy is utterly addictive you will spend therest of the life looking for it again yes yes you will travel to Italy youwill travel to I mean you will look for it everywhere nice to start actuallyright you will look for it again in a game in a game okay I mean I mean poorpoets have been writing poems for the entirety of the life mmm because they'veexperienced love when they were 21 great cases mm-hmm the experience not what youwant when there were 70 they were still writing poems about lovewhat is love oh it's love it's love we know by the way physiologically speakinglove is addictive yeah absolutely addictive person yeah why why would younot assume that one addiction fights another for limited scarce resourcesyour eyeballs your time your money but social media so love is the love is thealmost the antithesis of naadi antithesis it's it would be antidote tothe virus of social media digital is the competitor of the simple so if I'mtrying to generate intimacy with people whose brains are conditioned by socialmedia I am doomed to your fail absolutely because they will beambiguous come to dependence of intimacy nor there will be conditioned againstintimacy it's not a question that they are incapable of intimacy mmm theyregard intimacy negatively as a threat they regard intimacy as athreat because one thing that most people neglect to mention is that mostinteractions or social media are painful social media creates for intimacy fakeintimacy indeed but even that because it's very minimal but even that isusually accompanied by some some dose of pain in other words you put yourself upit's a kind of intimacy mmm very minimal binding but still it's intimacy of 10comments 3 will tell you how ugly oh and I'm being generous yes 3 will tell youhow are you never mind if you're not I mean everyone if you are yes yeah yeahit wasn't matter 3 will tell you how ugly are just to pain you to hurt youit's sadistic mister so people are conditioned to expect an experiencedpain from even tiny minimal exposure no aversion intimacy you expect intimacyfrom these people yes are you kidding me so you're sayingthat condition to find micro intimacy very painful so they assume major macroif there was these thousand times more painful torturehow about there is also as I was told that's conditioning but not addictionthat's contagious example of conditioning the other thing I'mthinking is of course if I've met them through social media and I've seen andwith their filters and the photoshopping and everything else the last thing theywant is for me to meet the because intimacy as you said was a lack ofambiguities getting to know someone then I will see you as you are not as youhave been projecting yourself yes social media encourage you to encourage you topresent only specific aspects of yourself or even photoshopped I meankind of modified but even those who are totally honest and don't Photoshop theirphotos even they are of course extremely selective what they present and they areselective because of the pain yes I mean I would love to be intimate andvulnerable on social media but then I can expect thousands of or you'll bestabbed and we stuck to this yes psychology at least up to this I had anextremely painful childhood and so on and sometimes I want to share I'm goingthrough a very difficult period I would never do this social media nevermmm so if if a bonito if the very verybeginning some things are excluded from the very beginningsome things are excluded then it's not really communication and it's verylittle to do with the real person yeah these people learn to interact onsuperficial levels they can never go deeper because they're terrified theirpain averse what social media has done it has exponentially multiplied theamount of negative social interactions and pain exponentially you know thereare these stories by Thomas Hardy and others about small village or a smalltown and you did something wrong and then all the town is gossiping about youthat was how many people how many people gossiped about you mm yeah you can beeasily attacked on a typical day by 20,000 people easily on social media[Music] Thomas Hardy in the worst nightmaresthat he created like the Mayor of Casterbridge casterbridge this was theworst I mean this guy committed a crime here to escape this date if you count inthe novel how many people criticized him we are talking I think about 60 rightany post on Facebook would get more a bigger number of negative reactions yeswithout a doubt so so social media amplified exponentially negative socialthe negative aspects of social interactions of all kinds and especiallyintimacy in other words pain a version conditioning yes when you when the dogpresses the lever to get food and is electrocuted he would prefer to die ofhunger yes fact yeah it's a fact of course dogsdie of hunger in experiments because every time they press the lever they gotelectric shock every time you press the lever you get an electric shock yeah soyou don't press the intimacy lever anymore yeah and even when it's offeredto you in a safe environment you would still not press itwhen the electric shock was disabled the dogs still did not press the lever yesthey died see that's what is happening to all ofus we're emotionally dying what Sam if I could invite you to be crisperprescriptive what can I do in there so that in my situation where I am lookingto be in a relationship what would be the the path that has the most chance ofbeing successful do you think do I need to go to a country where there is nosocial media there's no internet well first of all I think that there areenclaves even in our society social media is much less dominated orprevalent of interest for example academia mm-hmm you can find gorgeousintellectual girls who are far more interested in in reading and so on theleading social media so depends to a very large extent the message you aresending hmm I don't know if you're really talking about yourself but yeahyeah if you are really talking about yourself the message that you aresending is that your social media savvy that you live on social media mmmYouTube channel the zone and therefore you create a filter your message createsa filter and so the women who would approach you women who are into YouTubeinto social media into celebrities into gurus into perhaps either dispensingwith this filter or creating a different filter a parallel life yeah creating aparallel life okay we've ever totally different filter yeah would then get youthe right director a woman okay the right girl okayI'm lucky to have this mmm was I have a parallel life yeah I have Ihave a life on the internet much longer than yoursI have a life on the Internet be gone them for 25 years and these are tracksthis kind of women and so on and I italic know them and I have I but I dohave a parallel life mmm I have written the physical books andpublished them physically I you've been around before the internet Iwork in a khadeem etcetera etc so I absolutely have so we are forced bysocial media to develop multiple personality if we want the old-fashionedway of loving being intimate catering to our deep emotional needs and so on weare absolutely forced to divorce social media and to do that you need either todivorce shut down the devices or if you can do that by exigency I mean your ownthen you need to create a parallel life and you need to simply have twopersonalities yeah two parallel trajectories - and then I think it's nottoo difficult to find because they are in enclavesI mean seriously peeking please yeah women who volunteer women to work in akhadeem women who are into theater into yeah I mean they are absolutely enclavesthat are not into social media but of course as you are now only such women Imean yes now that's your right I just got love advice from from Sam Backmanand it was it was good historical moments if you're broadcasting so through Sam helped me know I didn't

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