Discover more from The Point
From Humanized Mice to Micenized Humans
How Social Media Mirrors Gain-of-Function Research
This is only the second article that is making its first appearance here as opposed to another website like American Thinker or Zero Hedge, etc. So feel free - actually please do - share and send and Facebook-post and Tweet and stand on your roof and read it aloud through a megaphone if you can (here is the Twitter link - https://twitter.com/ThomasB67289195 - it will be at or near the top, I think, and here is the Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/thomas.buckley.9828 )
Not to cast aspersions, but it seems there was this lab in China that performed gain-of-function research on a certain virus that ended up upending the entire world for two years.
Now imagine that it was not just one lab using humanized mice to change a virus but a ubiquitous and global mechanism that caused virtual viruses to create micenized humans.
Welcome to social media.
For purposes of clarity and for those who, like Anthony Fauci’s checkbook, are not exactly sure what gain-of-function (GoF) research is, a quick nutshelling is in order.
In nature, physical viruses exist and, in the right environment and set of circumstances, can evolve to a level where they can become rather problematic to humans.
GoF takes a virus and artificially creates a perfect environment for its hyper-accelerated evolution. It can involve human guidance of the virus’s evolutionary path towards a pre-determined desired outcome and it definitely involves intentional generational serial passage through an intermediate species – in COVID’s case, modified or humanized mice - making sure that whatever is meant to happen happens very quickly.
The basic concept behind the GoF process should actually be rather familiar to the general public as everyone everywhere sees it every day in real time – it’s called social media.
Imagine a rather benign concept – people need food to live. And then imagine that instead of it being passed through generation after generation of mice, as a virus would, it passes through the intellectual Habitrail that is the world wide web. What will come out the other end, what will be the result of making the simple statement that food is necessary to life?
Some of it will survive intact. But for it to get any replicative traction, it would have to mutate – either on its own (think goofy typos, accidental send-alls, a cat on a keyboard accidentally liking it a million times, etc.) or be intentionally modified. Even with such a simple beginning, the end result – before it burns out – would almost assuredly see numerous omnivore versus vegetarian spats, righteous indignation that “food culture” leads to any number of societal and health issues, and, of course, something about how Trump’s hotels serve food so that’s why it’s bad and/or something about how the Clinton’s got rid of Vince Foster because they used him to set up an offshore account to buy a chain of dodgy restaurants and that’s why it’s bad.
This process works for any number of reasons – most people put far more faith in a statement that is written rather than spoken and everyone engages in categorization. The brain is hard-wired to search for and create patterns of thoughts and actions to protect itself from the cacophony around it and to protect its body from getting eaten by that lion or hit by that car. The virus takes advantage of that as it strives to replicate and it can do so literally at light speed because of its internet environment.
Obviously, the past has seen its share of equivalent events and trends, but the speed at which “facts” and thoughts and ideas move on the internet essentially destroys the usual “predators” of bad ideas – nuance, history, research, reason, time to reflect, reliable sourcing, and proper context. Just as the natural obstacles to virus growth are removed in GoF research in a lab, the internet removes - in large part intentionally through algorithmic suggestion – those analogous inhibitors, leaving society practically defenseless against the virus.
Now imagine a far less benign concept, the social equivalent of the version of the virus found in a cave 700 miles from the laboratory in Wuhan (due to the countless discrete versions of this having already occurred, it is not necessary to amplify any specific “cancel culture” or bullying or what-have-you incident, but the process is the same). The virus is intentionally put in one end of the chain of cages full of micenized humans, as it were, and comes out thoroughly weaponized at the other end.
That is how cancel culture works and it is as socially lethal as COVID is physically lethal. In other words, today’s Typhoid Mary lurks on Twitter and the “wet world” impacts – like COVID’s - have ranged from the merely irritating to the catastrophic.
Personal “truth” is replacing the truth, the cudgel of humorless mockery has replaced the deftness of witty satire, baseless accusation and aggressive intimidation – so effective online – have replaced thoughtful discourse, and the will of the collective (as driven and determined by a surprisingly small number of people wearing Twitterverse hazmat suits) has taken nearly absolute precedence over the needs of the individual.
Sadly, what feeble attempts to address the problem that have been made have not only failed but have been so nakedly self-serving as to actually make the matter worse. It appears that the Internet’s gatekeepers will only attack those viral strains that do not work to their advantage, either financially or socially. It is as if the virtual scientists are trying to go through the cages to pick out the individual mice they wish to preserve, presumably as pets in new – albeit gilded - cages of their own.
While the only 100 percent effective vaccine for an internet virus is to simply to permanently turn it off, there may be ways, to coin a phrase, to “slow the spread.” First, practicing social media distancing could be a first step. An internet virus thrives on re-tweets, likes, emojis, clickbait, half-truths, and vitriol – doing what one can to avoid engaging in those activities would have an impact.
Second, instead of masking (which it seems didn’t have an impact on COVID), unmasking may be part of the answer. The very anonymity of the internet eviscerates impulse control. With apologies to the Washington Post, civility dies in darkness and ensuring that people are made to publicly stand by their word is crucial.
And third, avoid when appropriate the cure of the apology. While everyone has done something they are not proud of and really should try to make up for it, by saying you are sorry for something other people did decades before you were born you are only ensuring that that type of virus will sooner rather than later infect someone else. And the plague that is inherited multi-generational dishonor is – and shall always be as long as it is allowed to exist – incurable.
Just as COVID will become less of an issue, so shall many of the specific internet horrors of today (though they will always leave a residue of ritual disrepute around their victims forever).
Unlike COVID, however, there are right now a million people in a million labs around the planet, experimenting with a million new strains just hoping that their own personal affliction will go viral.