Fiction vs. Reality on FB

by Jim Morgan

Fiction vs. Reality on Facebook

In the last couple of days I have seen some stories on Facebook passed off as “real” news that actually make me fearful for the future of the human race. We have become so obsessed and self-indulgent that we can no longer separate reality from fiction. One of these stories was highly critical of sonograms. Another one would have us believe that this is really the year 2050 and we are all hooked up to a machine and are in a shared computer-generated illusion. Yet another one would have us believe that all vaccines are going to kill us. The grossest one involved the use of aborted fetuses in weird science experiments creating new life forms. Anyone who knows how to read books and chooses to do so occasionally should know that these “news” stories are not “news” at all but are the plots much older (and better) fictional works.

While it is my understanding that a few militaries are said to be developing sonic weaponry, the closest they have ever actually gotten was playing loud rock music outside the embassy General Noriega was hiding in when the US invaded Panama in 1990. (I will say, however, that some very interesting non-lethal weapons projects involving radio waves exist.)

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I believe it was the popular 1965 science-fiction classic "Dune" by Frank Herbert that has sonic weaponry in the style imagined by whoever cooked up this story about sonograms melting your innards.

 

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Our living in a computer-generated illusion world story is, of course, the plot of "The Matrix" movies of a few years back but has its literary roots in the teachings of both Buddhism and Gnosticism dating back more than 2000 years. Both Buddhism and Gnosticism hold that the physical world is not the “real” but a shadow of the real, which, of course, in their parlance is the spiritual realm.

The story about vaccines killing us or controlling our brains dates from the birth of vaccination itself and has been consistently proven false. Anytime someone sticks a needle into another person and injects something into their body there is a risk of side-effects but overall the track record for vaccination speaks for itself and is a proven success. I remember seeing an X-Files episode where Mulder and Scully go to some vault and learn that the smallpox vaccination was actually a ploy by the dreaded “Them” to get human tissue samples for the aliens to use in nefarious ways.

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The saddest story, though, is about the fetuses. HG Wells wrote that one in the 1896 and gave it the title "The Island of Dr Moreau." That book was about animals rather than fetuses but the similarities are staggering. The basic story is that Dr Moreau is a mad scientist who takes the parts of one animal and attaches them to another thus creating new life forms. Why this one is sad is that I know of at least three different movies adapted from the book and one of them is less than 20 years old and all of them were rather popular.

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One could even make some quantum leaps and say that all the media coverage of Bruce Jenner and others like him has shades of the 1969 book The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin. For those who have not read this book it is a speculative fiction about a world in which the sexes are not divided.

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The DaVinci Code created quite the uproar when it came out. Christians around the world protested the book with such vehemence that everybody bought a copy to find out what the fuss was all about. I guess the protesters missed the subtitle, The DaVinci Code: A Novel. A novel is a work of fiction and in spite of whatever whacky and previously-debunked theories author Dan Brown may have proposed in his bestseller he had the good sense to tell everyone that he wrote a work of fiction. It saddens me to say this but maybe everything ought to come with a warning label these days to prevent the intellectually challenged from going off half-cocked.  

I guess it is ok to twist fiction around to fit your political or religious agenda. That is a tradition that has been going on for thousands of years probably. The problem though is that I wonder if people can separate fact from fiction anymore. The people spewing stories such as these on Facebook and other places online come across more as unhinged and uneducated lunatics with so much hate in their hearts that they are willing to believe anything that may make their opponents look bad no matter how far-fetched the story might be.

Be all of that as it may, folks, read a book once in a while instead of Facebook, but please remember that it is just a book. Then if we still choose to live in fantasy-land can we choose Monty Python's Holy Grail instead of this stuff?


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