Everything you want, and free ... but at what cost?
There's a great beast that roams amongst the myriad ones and zeroes.
It churns along the internet. It feeds off the energy of time.
It comes after you, your loved ones, your enemies.
Nobody is safe.
It will try to take you over. Suck you into its influence.
For some of you, it will succeed.
It will find ways to make you more engaged.
Feed thoughts that you can feed back to it.
Keep yourself engaged.
You can't escape it. Even if you cut the cord. Even if you unplug.
It somehow has you.
Even though it's exclusively online, you will feel its presence in the real world.
It knows you.
It knows your friends.
It knows your enemies.
It knows everyone.
And it knows you through them.
Some people call it the algorithm.
Others may call it the deep state.
Others still don't even know it's there ... suckling off the teat of our attention ... feeding forever.
A literal God in the Machine; A many-faced Deus Ex Machina.
And it's winning.
It's guiding public discourse, it's creating extremist behavior.
It leads people in two directions: reinforcement and criticism.
There is no other way.
If you have an opinion, it will get reinforced.
It doesn't matter if it's overblown.
It will find a place for you where people there agree with you.
You will belong, and you will be all right.
You can be led another way, to the opposite end of the spectrum.
Where your enemies live, and your enemies are myriad.
They don't think like you, and they must be shown the way.
You must show them the errors of their ways.
But it isn't real.
So you fight online. You comment and troll and downvote and report and do everything you can to struggle against the wave of opposition sent your way.
But you never see it.
Supporting. Opposing. Anything. You do, and it has you. You do more, and it digs deeper. All the while, it learns about you. It feeds your behavior.
To it, your movement is delicious.
And it wants more.
It's free to go hunt, to roam.
Will it stop? Will it be stopped? Can it be stopped?
Until then, what are you willing to pay for it?