When it comes to networks, we are like Medieval people lurching towards an understanding of AIR -- much as we want to know and understand, much as we can feel it's IMPORTANT that we know and understand, that it will change our lives! -- we just can't yet conceive of those invisible atoms and molecules that we move through, and breathe in and out every day, let alone what they do, what they carry, how they interact.

Humanity exists in networks (AS networks?), whether digital or not, and those networks serve us well, but they have always "gone wrong" in various ways: the internet didn't invent the madness of crowds, social distrust, or misinformation. Unlike most of the networks throughout human history, tho, digital networks both speed things up and leave a trail -- an utterly complicated, almost incomprehensible trail. Some people ask if we're "living in a simulation" -- maybe, maybe not, but either way, we're at least partially-living in digital networks that are vast experiments in human behavior accelerated and documented.

But all that data is meaningless if we can't make sense of it.

I just read Peter Pomerantsev's _Nothing is True and Anything is Possible_, about the waves of cultural desperation and hysteria that have washed over Russia in recent years, and what struck me most was that even though the stories he tells are absolute madness, none of them seemed alien or removed from my American experience of life... Russia isn't us, but we are connected, in profound ways, beyond shared humanity: our networks are taking similar shapes: feedback loops, vicious cycles and doom spirals. Too much irony layered on top of unspoken understandings, winks, memes that aren't for you, outright lies. Our responses to such dysfunctional networks drive us to extremes of belief and extremes of apathy. Some find solace in side-taking, some escape into cults, must most shrug and divorce themselves from the whole mess, decide it's just a game you have to play to get along -- what is truth? Big shrug. It all moves too fast and is too complex for the average person to derive any human meaning.

I applaud you, Erin Gallagher, for the work you're doing, and I hope to read and see more about what you discover. And thank you Charlie Warzel for continuing to bring these ideas to the public in this new way.

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Correction, that's: Peter Pomerantsev's _Nothing is True and Everything is Possible_

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Provocative piece.

"Yeah, the call is coming from inside the house…"

I feel like this is the key takeaway. Do you think all the psychographic stuff (Cambridge Analytica, remember them?) of 2015/16 was the pilot for what we are seeing now? I think the sources for that were mostly outside the US, best I could tell.. but it was a way of training, inculcating, spreading the methods and modes inside the US. Talk about an iceberg. Like HEY KIDDS, HERE'S HOW YOU DO THIS and then Qanon and the bots just took off. It was external, but now it is totally internal, and has been wed to right-wing by-any-means-necessary agency.

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