What Media? 2-Dimensional Ex-peri-hence Ex-trap-olated

EVER WONDER WHAT THAT NONDESCRIPT OVAL character from the classic Zoloft commercial is supposed to be? As a life-long guinea pig lover, I couldn’t help but notice that it looks a little bit like….

Detail of painting from 1658 featuring two guinea pigs, by Jakob Bogdani (wikimedia.org)

A guinea pig! And what do guinea pigs and humans have in common (besides both having been to Outer Space)? Anomalously, neither human nor guinea pig bodies produce (synthesize) vitamin C. Hence the need for supplementation via diet or pill to ward off scurvy. In this and many other ways, Cavia porcellus (a.k.a. the Cavy) is the perfect type specimen for homo sapiens “medical research”. They are especially valuable in research related to clinical depression, since scientific studies (like this one) have illustrated a relationship between depression and vitamin C deficiency. Ironically, a depressed guinea pig is uncommon (they are really happy pets!), while a depressed human is common in the 21st century.  So why isn’t the 2-dimensional cartoon Zoloft guinea pig being treated for depression with vitamin C? Seems…weird…but still not as weird as a commercialized anthropomorphic oval in a cave being pursued by a butterfly:

Zarathustra in the cave of his mind?
“An orange, whole and split” Image: wikipedia
The Cavy happily emerges…

As the orange (fruit) might parade as the vitamin C mascot par excellence, is the color of the butterfly parading its secret vitamin C properties? Being only slightly less nondescript than the oval, it flutters in through the hole in the wall as the most generic butterfly imaginable. And just as the oval is an oversimplified guinea pig, I’ll propose that this butterfly represents an over-simplified Monarch butterfly:

A Monarch butterfly tagged to track and study its migration habits. Image: wikipedia

Do you think that by following the butterfly, the oval is also being tracked?

But wait, there is another generic flying creature socializing with the 2-dimensionoval pro-tagged-onist:

Trick or Tweet!

Out in the open landscape by which a single line separates sky from ground, we find our friend oval smiling meekly under clouds (of thought?) up at a passing blue bird. Hey, wait a minute…I think I’ve seen that blue bird somewhere else…

Sounds like the little blue bird has gotten a lot of followers since the first Zoloft commercial was aired/took flight (no pun intended) in 2001–five years before the first ever “tweet”. And according to statisticbrain.com, the number of “active Twitter users” is currently 342 million. That is only slightly more than the U.S. population (which at 8:29 AM on January 31st, 2018 was 327,116,473, increasing at a net gain of one person every 18 seconds (www.census.gov/popclock/)). The total number of “registered Twitter users” is more than twice that many. These of course are just the statistics for the day I typed this, which was Wednesday January 31st, 2018.

Now back to the commercial: why was the orange butterfly transformed into the blue bird? Its a sphinx of a riddle without a clear-cut explanation–but–it is noteworthy that both monarch butterflies and blue bird followers are tagged with tracking devices! #hashtaghomosapienssurveillancecircacentury21. Other than these trivial revelations, what does the oval have in common with Social Media? They are 2-dimensional representations of 3-dimensional experience!

Just wanted to re-in-state-tweet my first amended rights with an avian addition to the already avian-themed Great Seal. Is this killing two birds with one…image?

However much of a wild card these juxtapositions may appear, I do not intend, in drawing these cards on the table(t), to condemn any of the independent subjects involved–whether it be anti-depressants, guinea pigs, the study of Monarch migration, or the Twitter bird. Zoloft and guinea pigs can be medicine. (And who doesn’t feel better after seeing a blue bird or an orange butterfly?). I am not concerned with targeting Zoloft (whose effectiveness should be determined on an individual, rather than collective, basis) or Twitter (hey, its a fact of American politics now, no?). I am, however, interested in zooming in on the visual and linguistical representations and advertising (the collective conditioning) of said subjects, with their specifically designed imagery and words.

iSelf 6 / mixed media sculpture / 2017 / Celeste Evans

Which zooms us back around to the nature of Social Media: a made up 2-dimensional virtual realm of images and words. How we correlate and integrate images and words with personal understanding most often happens unconsciously. We see an image or scenario combined with a term and this creates a compound meaning. Sad anthropomorphic oval + “anti-depressant” = future happy person. Profile image of person + a “tweet” on their page = the person who exists in 3-d reality said it (and meant it!). But did the 3-d “real” person say it–or was it the 2-d representation of that person who “tweeted” it on the internet, directed towards a willing group of followers? Is every “active Twitter user” their own virtual preacher to their own individualized collection of followers? Can this 2-d MEDIA be translated into the 3-d realm? Or is it only REAL within the realm (i.e. Twitter interface) it actively operates in? If a 2-dimensional (flat) tree falls flat on its proverbial face in a 3-dimensional forest space, can it be heard–or seen? Does it even make noise at all? To get some clarification on the different dimensions of “reality”, lets tune in and go back in time by turning on some classic Carl Sagan (see video about the tesseract here).

Are you gonna take a bite out of the forbidden apple of 3-dimensional experience? Or is that biting off more than you can chew–so you’d rather refrain and remain in the flatland of selfie-centered awareness? I’d say say the tetragrammaton to get inside the tesseract. It’s all dreamensional!

To go even deeper into the vesica piscis of “anti-depressants” and Social Media: both essentially have the effect of treating (tweeting?)–directly and indirectly–depression: more specifically, treating a root cause of depression: social alienation. However, just as “anti-depressants” do not “cure” depression, Social Media does not and will not “cure” the pervasive state of individual and collective alienation which, I perceive, is characteristic of this technologically “connected” 21st century. Is it really that great being a happy oval on a screen?

If the demonstration of Zoloft ameliorating the “chemical imbalance” of depression illustrated in the commercial is a dramatization, could Social Media be a dramatization of the “real life” situations it supposedly represents? And if so, should we take Social Media to be any more REAL than the Zoloft commercial is a REAL representation of the workings of the REAL brain? (Do nerve cells really look like that? Does so-and-so really look like their latest selfie?). Meaning: can these 2-d expressions of 3-d existence be translated back into 3-d–or do they remain the cartoon image that they are? If the cartoon advertisement was as effective as the physical drug itself, we could just watch the cartoon and feel better, right? If “a little bird told me so”, then I guess it must be “true”.

The phrase, “A little bird told me so” has several potential origins, one, according to Wikipedia, is from the 1843 Hans Christian Anderson tale “The Nightingale”, a summary (from wikipedia) of which is below:

In the story, a small nightingale is put into the palace of an emperor for his amazing voice. When the emperor receives a bejeweled mechanical nightingale, everyone prefers it, because it is known what the mechanical bird will sing, while the real nightingale sings whatever comes into its head. As a result, the real bird is banished from the palace. One night, while the mechanical bird is singing the emperor to sleep, something in it breaks. He takes it to a watchmaker, who says that the cogs are worn down from too frequent use, so the emperor only plays it once a year. Unfortunately, the emperor soon falls deathly ill. He sees Death sitting on his bed, holding the emperor’s crown, sword, and banner. Just then, the little nightingale flutters through the open window, and begins to sing. The song pleases Death so much that he agrees to leave the emperor to hear another. The nightingale sings again, and the emperor is cured. The emperor asks the nightingale how he can repay him. The nightingale says that he will gladly sing to the emperor of everything that is happening, far beyond the reach of his palace, but warns him, “You must not let anyone know that you have a little bird who tells you everything; then all will go even better.”

What Media? iSelf 4 / mixed media sculpture / 2017 / Celeste Evans

So what happens when we are dependent upon the mechanical bird to keep us happy–and what happens when it breaks, and there is no one there to fix it? What happens if the Twitter bird who tells us everything we need to know stops tweeting–will we be able to talk to each other? Will this be a new Babylon all over again? As we become more reliant on “technology” and immersed in Media, we are becoming further entrenched in a 2-dreamensional existence. I am suggesting that this can further disconnection from our already troubled 3-d world. Our increasing “connectivity” in the 2-d virtual reality game playing can, if we are not conscious, disrupt our true connection with the physical, living realm. No amount of selfies is going mitigate the disconnection with yourself. No amount of followers is going to make you connected to others.

Saturn Devouring His Son / Francisco Goya / oil on canvas / 1819-1832. Image: wikipedia

As a “thought” experiment: could Social Media be an experiment in mass consciousness control and manipulation? As MEDIA is a consumer product that inevitably alters an individual’s thinking and thus perception–as do advertising and drugs–wouldn’t Social Media operate the same? It’s all good, its all right, its ALL MEDIA! Too cool for Facebook, Instagram users? I hope you are woke that Facebook bought Instagram just before the world ended in 2012. Love National Geographic, but hate Fox News? Newsflash! They are both owned by News Corp. As can be understood based on this news and infographics like this one, we can forget about the illusory dichotomy of “fake” verses “real” MEDIA–because (…drum troll please…) its all fake! It’s all made up (created; fabricated) by someone or something somewhere over the rainbow…And guess what? The makers and shakers of ALL MEDIA know this. So: Is ALL MEDIA the giant inter-web of some giant spider in the Cloud? Let us not forget that, reverse of Saturn devouring his son, young spider hatchlings eat their mother spider (as can be virtually witnessed here at www.nationalgeographic.com).

Mother wolf spider with babies. Image: www.infinitespider.com

However, in the case of the Wolf spider, the babies hatch and for a time take residence on the mother’s back (kinda like humans on Earth, huh?).

Back around to Truth coming to Light: whatever happened to MKUltra? Did it really get devoured in time (is the CIA really MIA)? Is Captian Hook’s original right hand still locked in tick tock time in the belly of the croco-sun-dial? Why did the orange butterfly transform into the blue bird? And finally, just as Buddha warned about getting lost in the illusion of the 3-d realm (Maya), shouldn’t we be wary of getting stuck in the degenerated human-fabricated illusion of 2-dimensional existence?

Looks like the bald evil–I mean eagle!–is bald of its bodily existence…But its ok because its “The Work of a Nation. The Center of Intelligence.” Alternatively: “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32).

Only YOU are your own Central Intelligence Agency: the REAL III: Individual Intelligence Illumination

Image: freepublic.com