7 weeks into the NFL football season, there are millions of people in this country scouring their fantasy football rosters every day, devoting more mental and emotional energy into winning their fantasy football leagues than they are putting into their jobs or even their marriages. It’s called fantasy football. It is not real. It is a fantasy. But many people who play fantasy football act as if they are actual NFL General Managers and believe that the decisions, they make for their teams are as important as the ones real General Managers make.
It is a fantasy. It is a delusion, as is most of the rest of our lives in modern day America. People are spending more and more time on the Internet, in cyberspace, playing video games, wearing virtual reality headsets – living in a make-believe world. It is all made up. It is all a delusion. Nothing about those worlds, nothing about those realities is actually real. The screens which create our reality are simply the confluence of millions of colored pixels derived from thousands of combinations of zeros and ones.
None of it is real. It is all a mirage. But we react to the images we see on our screens emotionally and mentally as if they were real. But believing they are real doesn’t make them real; it only makes them real to us. And what we see as real is so fleeting, like Snapchat – what pops up on our screens disappears seconds after we see it. We are living in this unreality, believing in these computer-generated delusions which is causing untold amount of harm to individuals and society. Maybe the reason why so many people are suddenly convinced that they are a member of the opposite sex, is because many young brains have been trained to live, think and believe in a world of delusion, and not of reality.
How many trans-people were there 150 years ago, when life for many consisted of waking up at the break of dawn and working manual labor until the sun went down simply to earn enough money to survive until the next day so they can work manual labor from sunrise to sunset again? How many people bought into delusions when their minds did not have the luxury to live in a world outside of reality? When the reality of life was so stark that to entertain a delusion for even a moment could cost you your very life.
But we don’t even know what reality is anymore. One of the biggest euphemisms in our society is the term “reality TV”. There is absolutely nothing real about reality TV. But there are people who were glued to it, who are addicted to the delusion of reality TV. The Kardashians are billionaires for doing what? Famous for being famous. Important people not because they achieved anything important but because we have been told they were important people even though they aren’t. It’s all make believe, and the further we go down the road that leads to mass delusions, the more people will completely embrace those delusions. There are people who are risking their marriage to a real, flesh and blood person, to have cyber-sex with some stranger on the Internet, or to stare at pornography for hours on end, because that delusional world is preferable to their own reality. And when you are living in the delusional world, and are suddenly forced to confront a harsh reality of life, the tendency is to sink further and further into the world of delusion.
But that world is very easily manipulated. We see this with Covid-19 and climate change. There are millions of people in our country right now whose two biggest fears are Covid and climate change – scared to death of a virus that is invisible to the naked eye, and a gas which is colorless and odorless – terrified by things that we cannot see or feel or touch or smell or hear. There are millions of people who are scared to death of those things, because the people who control the information, tell us to be scared of them. How do we know they are real? And if they are real, how do we know that they are as bad as they are made out to be?
Millions of people believe they are existential threats because they have been told by those who control the narratives – our politicians or our so-called experts – to believe that they are. And because people believe that these things are real and existential threats, they are willing to give up most of what is important to them to protect against these threats. In 2020, we relinquished many of our Constitutional rights to protect ourselves against Covid-19. Right now, our leftwing government is implementing the green new deal, and our economy is being destroyed because of it; we are losing much of our retirement wealth; we are losing most of our take-home pay; and our freedom is being stripped from us. But millions of people are gladly supporting our destruction because they believe by doing so protects them from the horrors of climate change.
All of this is why there has been so much talk about controlling what is said on the Internet, under the guise of combating “misinformation”. The people in power are fighting to control misinformation, or more accurately control our delusions. The Internet is the prime source of our delusions. It is the source of our unreal reality. And many people, on both sides, want to be able to control what is put out on the Internet because they know what is on the Internet is what creates the delusional world that most of us live in. They want to control the information so they can control us. The people in power tell us that the border is secure, the economy is strong, there’s no recession, inflation is transitory, there is no increase in violent crime, drugs are not an issue, homelessness is a choice – creating a world of delusion that is not connected to reality. And millions of people believe the delusional world they create.
But when you challenge their delusional world, they come after you with things like the Twitter mob. But the Twitter mob is also a delusion. It cannot harm you. In the old days when a real mob with pitchforks and torches showed up at your door, you feared for your life. But we treat the Twitter mob, like we would treat a real-life mob when, in fact, the Twitter mob is just a delusion, made up mostly of bots – fake accounts. The Twitter mob’s role is to control the information so they can control the delusion, so we continue to live in the virtual world they created, but we must push back on it every step of the way.
If you were to talk to two neighbors, one who only viewed conservative websites, and the other, who only viewed liberal websites, you would believe that they were living in two completely different worlds when in fact they were living in the same neighborhood, on the exact same street, but the picture of their separate realities would be diametrically opposed. But in fact, they are both living in a delusion. They are both living in their Internet created echo chambers. And that is why so many people want to control the information on the Internet because they want to control the people. When they control what the truth is, what the interpretation of the truth is, and what the reality is, they control you.
The only way to break the delusions under which we live is through free speech, not censorship. The best answer to bad speech is good speech. The best answer to misinformation is more information. As we have seen throughout history and also in present day America, when censorship is implemented, it is the truth that gets censored, and the lies that get promoted, and the word becomes a delusion. We must push back on our delusions and lean into the harsh realities of life because that is the source of our strength, that is the source of truth.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.