Welcome to Platonic Flatland or the reinvention of insanity


Everything starts at the feet of our matriarchs. It is at the hearth where we are first lulled by fairy tales of the morally mighty, the self righteous who uphold the truth. We have to overturn everything that our matriarchs taught us. They loved us, but did not prepare us for the real world in which facts don’t matter. They did not tell us that with self righteousness comes vanity and naivete, a naivete that can ruin the world. A grudgy naivete that insists that every individual, especially them, might have his or her own version of the truth, their reasoning based on the science of changing eyewitness statements at the scene of a crime. But at this point we have entered the realm of prestidigitation. To save truth from the various bubbles we inhabit, let’s state at the outset that fundamental truth is the all-seeing security camera at the scene that saw what happened and not a version of it. Thanks to the amplifying mechanism that is social media we now know that the self righteous are illusionists able to shift the truth around as they please. And like Narcissus they have glimpsed their reflections and cannot peel their eyes away.

The new normal is a group of ancient fabulists who became technically adept at controlling the algorithms of a virtual realm, valued by young opinion makers or millennials. This two-dimensional world is easier in many ways. It is a Platonic Flatland in which the uninformed can flourish in ways they have not before in a three-dimensional world controlled by an elite, not the truly meritorious. The unsuave uninformed outnumber the suave elite but like them are masters of righteousness in love with the vibrations of their own voices. But this rise of narcissistic righteousness is missing its essence, as now anything goes in the name of righteousness, as long as it sounds righteous. This also happens to be the chink in the armour of the righteous. What sounds like it is right is most probably sentiment masquerading as righteousness. In online forums everyone is quickly moved to reactive emotion, therefore they are suspect, as their motivations could be based in grudge, and not actuality. Apply this simple criterion to everyone on the left, the right and even those in the middle.

Many of the ones speaking out, the ones we call trolls, are also, very simply, insane. Everyday insanity is more mundane than we realise and very difficult for many of us to come to terms with, as the problem is in our very human design. What we term humane or civilised behaviour is an afterthought learned after centuries of painful wars and pogroms. Insanity is catching, it is contagious, especially when everyone believes it to be quotidian. The line is crossed when dangerous men and women, who are not merely ambitious, but also casually insane, lull the largest number of people into false belief, into mass delusion, through disingenuousness in the form of imitation film dialogue, one-liners the uninformed believe is oratory.

The elitist old guard did not look up from their many corruptions to see how the tide had turned, most importantly how the public conversation had twisted to allow the new medium to cover up what was essentially an ancient fabulism repackaged in the newspeak of democratic opinion-mongering, modernist development and the banishment of elite corruption.

The fabulists tried to change the way we think about the world. And we were left unable to solve the riddle of their democratic opinion mongering, which was really the suspect righteousness of the uninformed. When they upturned all that was previously considered and generalised as good we did not look up from our two-dimensional screens. There were of course blurry lines even in the past and the fabulists knew to manipulate these. But this was also something new. The rationalising half of our brains known as the left brain interpreter had lied not just to us but an entire population, creating a mass delusion that took hold in many countries. As the opium spread, the irony was in how the uninformed beat back the resourceful corrupt elite, who although uncomfortable felt pressure to rationalise, they survived by reinventing, repackaging insanity as the conventional. Welcome to the democracy of Platonic Flatland, it is now safe to air old secret grudges in the guise of free speech.

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