Twenty one years ago, a movie revolutionized the whole concept of philosophy and cinema. The Matrix, released in 1999, was not a simple futuristic masterpiece but the illustration of a new world to come. Back in 2000, as a preteen, our former teachers joked about the turn of the new millennium claiming that for the first time cars would be flying. Yet, none of this happened. The early 00s, up until 2006 were nothing less than the continuity of the 1990s. Upon its release, the Matrix became a cult movie and was internationally acclaimed for its edge and visuals. The kung-fu fights, the weapons, the high technology and story line influenced our states of mind. However, none of us truly understood the real depth behind its philosophy. Indeed, the movie was not a fiction but the description of our future lives in the West. We, as humans, would be exposed to our own demise, plunged into the power of the machines and simulation. One day, it is sure, technicians working in the Silicon Valley will be able to create food through codes to modify our systems.
The year 2000 was not the annointed time for the gullible believers in flying cars. Indeed, the beginning of the new millennium was just the starting point.
From 2001 until 2018, hence for more than fifteen years, technology had not only become more and more present in our lives, especially with the use of the Internet, but politics also played an important role in its diffusion. For the first time during the period previously mentioned, political synchronicity was also experimented to test the functionality of the world through the use of the same media, the same Internet sphere and the politics of surveillance justified by the horrific terrorist attacks in September 2001. The selection of mixed-race war criminal Barack Obama in 2008 was the first symbol of this simulation. There, millions of people around the world gathered and celebrated the selection of the first mixed-race president, even populations guilty of anti-blackness who had nothing to do with such festivities at all. Those were tests. The use of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram later on, were our own ways to log into the matrix or virtual world of simulation. Contrary to what many other people think, the virtual world is not just a fantasy. It is real and does exist. When people decide to unplug all their accounts, they actually talk about going back into the “real world” where many are bored.
If your mind easily accepted the worldwide restrictions and lockdown imposed by authorities in March 2020, it is because you have been prepared to think globally since 2008 and your social media give you the impression to be directly connected to the entire world. Which is true.
The social media have become the world where anybody can become who they want and exist through the image they portray and show to the millions of other users. We plug and unplug as we want.
In a matter of twenty one years, the Internet has become the principal source which nurtures the world and constitute a real threat to the old and obsolete codes which preceded us. Those who have been struggling to fit in society, deemed way too rigid and strict, based on elitism and the trust of the elite which does not change, rejects the new and doesn’t want things to evolve, can find solace within the virtual world where, if listened to, can touch the virtual hearts of millions of individuals. It is also true for money. The debate surrounding crypto currency is very important. Indeed, we are slowly but surely moving towards a cashless society as the old world is dying.
The technology of Western societies and the downfall of the old codes have a cruel impact on the world of academy as well. Actually, it is quite frightening to say that those born between 1984 until 1994 were the last ones to experiment the old schemes and codes of the former world. However, this reality does not apply to those who did not have the chance to graduate, did not want to graduate or favored a manual formation. The others followed the schemes of their parents in order to settle and have a normal and “good life”. They went to school, middle school, high school, got into college, found a beautiful honey, married and after having achieved all of these things began to work until the pandemic began to destroy their plans. We were not raised in the alternatives given to those who came after us and who have no restrain and problem to navigate between the different lines of the new virtual world. They were actually born into the machines.
For many children born to immigrant parents, the pain was double as they focused on the importance of earning diplomas. Most of our parents are now grandparents and old. Born in the 1950s, they were raised with an old mentality and belong to the old world. Many do not understand the key factors of the virtual world we are living in. By the time they were becoming young parents, people had one restricted vision of success. Though the Americans were the first to give chances to artists, the Western European view on social success was always more restricted. According to our parents, winners in the 1960s until the early 2000s needed to have one and one unique job for the rest of their lives. For this reason, professions which evolved around medicine or law were praised, especially as a person of color. Achieving this status was the real answer to systemic racism. Black parents forced their children to study not for their own elevation and well-being but to have a taste of white prestige by the obtention of diplomas.
Yet, by supporting such obsolete mentality, they sacrificed us, for the virtual world, as sick as it is, gives way more opportunities to people of color. If the real world is extremely difficult when it comes to the understanding of individuals with several backgrounds and intersectionalities, the virtual world embrace them and gives them a platform where others can identify with them. Our generation was the last one to deal with the politics of “diploma-supremacy”. Yet, some people from the old world already understood that school was never meant to mean anything. Indeed, the outcast and marginalised individuals from the ghetto, who never had the interest or love to go to college and study, seeing it as a waste of time, were bright enough to anticipate and created their wealth on their own. This attitude was looked down upon by the black parents who hoped to be a part of the “good system” for these ghetto dwellers never had any stability. Yet, American men such as Master P who came from the projects proved many wrong. Indeed, he succeeded to build a musical empire, beginning his career by selling hip-hop records in a store he built on his own.
As the pandemic began to turn our lives upside down, one realises how the false ideologies promoted by our parents and forefathers who were more interested in the preservation of their own image than our own well-being, damaged us more than ever. The new millennium was also the symbol of new desires and a new approach to life where one could experiment new things and adopt new visions. Many of us have been forced to believe that only the regular jobs were synonym with stability. Yet, who would have thought that in 2020, these so-called regular jobs would be threatened? And it’s the people who were called “geeks” and names who are now making millions off of it.
In the days we are living in, the diplomas hold no power anymore and it is more than probable in the future to see more universities partner up with social media such as Instagram or Facebook (or their versions of the future) in order to gratify some talented individuals who managed to have a career inside the virtual world. Instagram and its corporations could also create new forms of universities as well, where photographers, designers, singers or others could be given rooms and structures to work on their crafts and paid by virtual money or Instagram itself. In order to remain relevant, the old world will be enslaved to the machines and try to adapt its virtual codes within the old system.
What about the starlets then? Many of us have been guilty of judging improbable personal figures such as stripper-turned-feminist-on-demand-activist, Amber Rose, who, somehow, managed to not only make herself paid, but to build a certain virtual fanbase. This probably explains why the irrelevant Kardashians have so much success. They understood that we were living in a world where people would judge you on the final products, not on your beginnings and for this, you don’t need any diplomas at all, but a good inventive mind and an abusive mother behind you to push you further. Untalented freaks have no other choice but to rely on the emergence of trends to remain at the top. Indeed, they have no talents and gifts.
A woman like Amber Rose would have more chance to get back on her two feet in times of catastrophe. Indeed, she knew poverty and was mocked for having been an exotic stripper dancer. Yet, she has seen the real world and she would have no problem using her basic abilities to reinvent herself again if anything crashes. As she came from poverty, it is true that she will always have the drive to rebuild herself if she happens to lose everything she built for herself. In this sense, a diploma preacher or an individual who only gives credit to the years spent on college books will never go anywhere and will always be surpassed by the likes of Amber Rose for they are too arrogant to taste the brutality of poverty and the reality of starting from zero again. They are unable to use their hands, for too arrogant, and only rely on the intellect. Theories have no place at all in the virtual world.
The failure of the West could definitely rely on the inability of its inhabitants to use the power of their hands to rebuild. The development of technology is one thing, but the preservation of some old codes is also extremely important. Indeed, our consciousness and lifestyles are built upon machines, virtuality, and the Internet which has become the new source. The architects of such matrix can either plug or unplug us indefinitely for they have become the new gods of people’s lives. How many would feel empty without their presence on Instagram? How many would be down if their accounts were to be taken down? How many of us have lost our true sense of selves, scared and unable to drive through life without being guided, liked, approved by other entities we have built our lives upon for more than ten years now?
In the years to come, the robotization of society will finally affect the most prestigious fields of study applauded by our parents before. Medicine and law will be on the first list. Indeed, if robots can scan cars which need to be repared in garages, soon, they will also be used to detect a scientific problem in the body of a patient. Cancers will be digitally detected and the doctors will probably no longer have to indulge hours of information to cure. The medicine diploma will mostly focus on the learning of manual operations but the robots will give the diagnosis. Old professions such as librarian will disappear. Indeed, they will pay the price for their lack of open-mindness as they mostly rely on the old codes and are not inventive. For this reason, Amazon has also become a good platform for those who desired to launch their first novels rejected by the so-called guardians of good literature. The Internet actually breaks with the rigidity of the old.
The only valuable diplomas which will be preserved will always evolve around sciences and technology. The future is in the development of the tech. Indeed, as I am writing right now, Russian companies are working on the elaboration of flying cars/taxis to make the traditional road more easy to deal with. The flying cars would therefore appear by the early 2040 era. Literary fields will disappear for not interesting and imperative anymore. Though the preservation of memory is important, people will focus on solid thoughts and not speculations anymore. Indeed, as our societies are fully based on the Internet, such structure can crash at any moment just like any computer. It is therefore crucial to have a clear mind and being able to reset your own path by repairing the wrong pieces. In this new era, you have to be ready to face the viruses and the new programs which come to you. Wasting five years studying a literary book which has been published in 1942 is interesting but not valuable at all in times of catastrophe. In this sense, a musician or gangster can easily get back on their feet for ready to face any potential danger on the way.
Only the more alert people will be rewarded. Not those who love to dream.
In this day and age, the diplomas have lost their value and you don’t need one. The focus of the machine will be put on your potential and your own drive. This is what will reward you. Not a sheet of paper signed by the director of your college.
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