What happens when a popular culture’s symbols become exhausted, like once-fecund fields of imagination that must lie fallow to regenerate? Man-machine, man-animal, superhumans, lesser gods, now post-human artificially superintelligent beings who replace empathy with computation.
Pop-culture junkies mainline free-and-empty emotional highs, developing tolerances for personalized public relations, hyperviral marketing and targeted advertising that require exponential crescendos of cynical message manipulation.
The real future dystopian drug du jour may not be e², molly2, vaca, k3 or even krok++. Rather, a pervasively insidious barbiturate may keep us happily seated, sedentarily staring at screens, sifting dereferenced symbols for existential meaning.
It’s name is _media_: a near-future neurosemantic reuptake inhibitor that saturates the virtual sensorium, drenching our synapses in realities so compelling that we gladly and permanently abdicate privacy, personhood, and citizens’ responsibility. The populace gleefully turns away from the physical world to plug into a lifelong simulated adventure of passively superstimulated delusion.