As people choose the messages that they will receive and believe, does self-awareness, critical reasoning, and altruism matter?

  • There are people in the United States who have no idea that conflicts between police and African American communities are raging.
  • There are people in the United States who have no idea who’s running for President, or why, even as November 8th approaches.
  • There are people who are unaware that there are celebrity divorces going on, sports controversies, and other, seemingly ‘low-level’ and ‘unimportant’ cultural conflicts going on right now.
  • There are people who are unaware of the presence of wars (and rumors of wars) in the world today.

When mass media falls apart at scale, and when the historical, cultural, political, and social forces that used to bind disparate populations in the United States together in the last century and a half, no longer matter, can altruism, critical reasoning, and self-awareness matter?

Or, are we returning to a smaller, localized, conflict-ridden past that may be out of our historical memory, but that hews closer to the way people have always interacted?

And the sub-question: Cui bono? Who benefits the most from this seeming cultural return to a baseline we don’t remember?