This pandemic changed our world in ways we would have never imagined before. One of the things that changed dramatically is how we work. Before the pandemic, working remote was some sort of weird thing to do (when it wasn’t “sold” as being a perk, that is) whereas now, it’s pretty much the norm.
But not everyone was prepared for this. For some of us, this change came with real challenges, especially if we didn’t necessarily have to use tech in our daily lives before. A hilarious thing happened because of this a week ago. Look at the video below to understand what I’m talking about.
Let me summarize this if you didn’t watch the video: during an official hearing in a trial, one of the lawyers accidentally pressed a filter button in his Zoom app and turned himself into a cat. You know, the kind of filter that you use for kids, or for fun, where your face is replaced by a very realistic cat. Needless to say, this thing became viral almost instantly and turned into an internet meme.
But the funniest thing of all was that the lawyer felt compelled to say to the judge: “I’m not a cat”.
Am I Really, Really Not A Cat?
Let’s stop for a while, please. It’s ok to have a laugh, I had a few, actually, while watching the video, but after that, I still had something on my mind. Something so strange, and so hard to understand, that my first reaction was laughing, although, underneath it, there’s a very scary territory.
It’s about the “I’m not a cat” thing. How can a human being feel compelled to actually say that to another human being? I don’t necessarily think that lawyer was a stupid person, on the contrary, I think he’s a very clever and intelligent man. So, what are the processes that are going inside that mind? How did we get here?
I mean, it’s ok to laugh, but then you gotta make a few steps back and start asking some questions…
Truth is, we live in a world where we have to disambiguate everything, because we believe anything.
We live in a post-factual world, which started in the Trump era, and segued into a post-fundamentals world (which was proven by the famous GME stock story).
The post-factual world was created as a consequence of constantly rejecting reality in the search of self-validation. If I repeat incessantly that I’m a genius, people will eventually start to believe this. If I repeat incessantly that I’m the best president ever, the world will have to follow my orders. If I repeat incessantly that an election was stolen, not only people will believe me, instead of the people who are delegated to check these facts (like the judicial system, for example) but they will even take action to implement the result of my imaginary election by storming the Capitol. If you look at the faces of those participating in that riot, you won’t see hardcore soldiers applying a coup, but merely kids believing that Santa Claus will bring them presents if they will behave (like Santa Claus wants them to behave, in this case).
For what is worth, I don’t see ex-president Trump as the culprit, but merely as the most prominent figure promoting a post-factual world. The phenomenon was already woven in the deep fabric of society when he became president, he just made it “mainstream”.
We live in a world where we believe everything we want to believe, because there are no immediate consequences. We believe for instance, there are no biological differences between women and men, and one can identify as anyone. And if you deny to someone that right, to identify as whoever he or she wants, you’re committing a crime. Let’s be clear, this is not about the freedom to believe what you want, which doesn’t even have to be discussed, it’s beyond fundamental, but about the imposition of your beliefs onto others.
Somewhere along the way we stopped accepting reality from the outside, and we’re forcing it from the inside.
Everything is plausible now, because we’re out of reference systems. To the point that we, as humans, have to tell to another human, in human language, that we are really not a cat.