If you could create a business that could capture the IP, the imagination, the actual creative force of humans – would you do it? And if you could, if you did, imagine what would you have. An epiphany came to me while reading the book Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal, that just might be what the new Meta company is really about.
Greek mythology illuminates deep philosophical quandaries through audacious, implausible storytelling. Interestingly although the stories are sourced from a time when humans were far less reliably informed on the way of the world, their insights can be no less insightful.
This book takes its name from the story of Prometheus (the name meaning ‘foresight’) stealing fire from the Gods (here’s a useful overview). In the context of this discussion, however, ‘fire’ is our highest-level cognisance, the essence of creativity and our ability to access the fire within each of us. To really get in sync with my thinking, it would help to read the book. Generally speaking, the book explores how accessing the state of ‘ecstasis’ is sought by elite performers and what’s achieved once it’s accessed.
To give you a general interpretation, think euphoria, ecstasy, higher-plane consciousness. Achieving ecstatis in this context is to escape the sense of self, time, and place, to stand outside oneself. In so doing to be in flow, allowing access to an unrestrained, pure source of our conscious, our unconscious, our very being – the place where ideas, solutions, and energetic communication come from.
“Zeus was livid, not only had Prometheus stolen from the gods, but he had destroyed, perhaps forever, the subservience of humans”
How Does This Relate To Facebook And Meta?
Since introducing Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and his team have always been ahead of the curve. Whatever they didn’t invent that was of value, Facebook bought (or tried to buy). Society has integrated its technology into the fabric of our lives for social, professional, and business purposes. Some might say it’s essential, irreplaceable, unrivaled in its value and usefulness in their lives, certainly, those who rely on these platforms for their advertising would defend this position.
That’s a precarious position of power weighted in favour of Facebook, like the Gods being in control of fire (in the literal sense). In the story, Prometheus tricked the Gods and their revenge was to withhold fire, plunging the humans into darkness and cold, as a reminder of their power. You might relate a similar effect to when a Facebook or Insta account is irretrievably and inexplicably shut down, or the platforms are down for a few hours….
Commercially the value of this technology currently, is in its ability to capture and measure our behaviour to generate critical observational data. The nature of the data that the Facebook-owned platforms have on humanity gives extraordinary insight into what we’re doing, how, where, when, why, with what, and with whom. That’s very valuable information, but what if they could capture our fire, capture our ideas before we acted on them? That would commercially be infinitely more valuable.
“there would always be someone who would try to trick and scheme.”
“Zeus gave Prometheus another task. Since the humans on earth would worship the gods, they should be told how to offer tributes and sacrifices properly. That way they would know that they must give the Gods the first pick of anything that was valuable.”
As you contemplate my insight, keep in mind that technology is moving at such a pace, in no small part because this higher plane of human intelligence is being accessed more readily, especially in Silicon Valley. Technology is bridging divides between our mind and thoughts to the extent that it can allow a person who’s trapped in a body unable to speak, to convert thoughts into handwriting to communicate.
But this insight is old news for those that are already vested in this technology. For more detailed insights into how far progressed this technology is, watch this 60 Minutes segment with historian Yuval Noah Harari. He’s also the author of internationally bestselling books Sapiens, 21 Lessons For The 21st Century, and Homo Deus. Apparently, Mark Zuckerberg has read his books and according to Harari, at least some people in Silicon valley are at least a little afraid of what the technology could be capable of.
A Whole New Meaning To Meta Data
What if the technology being developed by Meta could capture our thoughts, our cognitive processes, paired with our emotions, how we feel about things, while we’re having our immersive experiences with the Meta products?
What if the technology we use to participate in their virtual world inspired thoughts, ideas, and intellectual content, that they could capture, just as they capture our behaviour now? Mark Z and Meta would have the supa-nova of meta-data!
In my hypothesis, the story is twisted so that Meta is Prometheus, but instead of stealing the power of ecstasis from the Gods, the fire is stolen from the humans.
Think I’m getting ahead of things? Look into perception science and then watch Mark Z’s presentation on the future here, which specifically identifies perception science as a component of development. Call it immersive experiences, but by their own admission, his team has been working on this for several years. A quick search to explore my theory found an article that’s almost two years old now, from psychologicalscience.org titled Cognition and Perception: Is There Really A Distinction.
Once I read this article, I realised how my theory was not only plausible but if I could join the dots from such a cursory introduction to the field of capturing ecstasis in one morning, what would several years, deep pockets, and many driven minds on the subject collaborating produce?
If you think I might be on to something, I recommend reading the book Stealing Fire, I expect reading even the first two chapters will get you on the same page. Whatever your thoughts are about Mark Zuckerberg, he’s no duffer and he has consistently proven to be a wiley adversary to the less imaginative or visionary. He has also proven that scruples are no barrier to pursuing his own grandiose schemes.
His name was ‘foresight’ and he had always known that humans would change the world for good or for ill. His resilience in the face of oppression became a popular myth and even today he is celebrated for bringing knowledge, progress, and power to human hands.”
What if Meta as Pythagarus, took the power from human hands and put in the machines, his machines? In selecting a new name for the extended venture of Facebook, Meta might seem a little, banal, obvious or unimaginative, but they could hardly call it Pythagarus or a synonym of the name. Better to hide in plain sight.
So my question is, to anyone who has deeper knowledge than I of such things, do you think it’s possible Meta is planning on stealing our fire in the guise of providing immersive, mental stimulation through virtual worlds which simultaneously provide escape, while they capture our fire?
I mean, just because you change a name and a logo, doesn’t mean you change the spots.