Reality fabrication - Which "truth " is true?
New media and the internet as alternative information sources
My dream is set in the context of today. The television that sits upon a high corner shelf in the office frames the solemn face of a lovely lady newscaster. A number of people are crowding below with their necks bent back. Their eyes strain to get a better look at the television. I stand behind the nest of my fellow colleagues. For some reason, I am not that interested as the rest of them. But I listen from a distance.
"The city of Philadelphia is now quarantined. No one can no longer leave the city and no one can enter. The president has formally confirmed that it has now become necessary to take extreme measures to ensure the safety of the American people. This most recent case of bio-terrorism has engaged the American people in a new way. There appears to be no escape from this new form of bio-terrorism. The mysterious nature of this attack has caused the nation to become in fear of its own people.
Since a few days ago, the White House has been behind closed doors to discuss the best solution for this outbreak in Philadelphia. There is still no formal word about the roots of this bio-terrorism. Nor do we know why it has been placed in Philadelphia. All we do know is that it is highly contagious. There is no cure. It is lethal and it is concentrated in Philadelphia. You can contract this by as easy as talking with someone who already carries the virus. It can be passed through human touch, a cough, a kiss; basically any human contact.
After days of deliberation in the White House, the President has just, one hour ago, confirmed our suspicions that the city of Philadelphia will, in fact, be quarantined until experts can come up with concrete solutions to this lethal virus, which has yet to be named."
I look to see the faces of the others. They don't look surprised. It's as if they knew this was going to happen.
The setting changes and I am on the street with my mother. Cars have been flipped over along the street. A stench of exhaust and burnt garbage stings my nose. I see a woman running with a baby clutched in her arms like a stolen handbag. Four men crouch on the curb across the street. They are completely intoxicated and are laughing while chucking empty bottles against an abandoned truck. A group of teenage boys growl as they pass us by.
Suddenly I am in a park filled with newborn flowers of rainbow colors. Masculine trees with heavy branches dressed with gently swaying leaves randomly scatter the background. In the foreground, I see a green hill rimmed with daffodils, which have been purposely placed to cover the scars of an artificial lawn likely laid down a few days before.
At the bottom of this green hill, I see Gwenyth Paltrow (a successful actress of our present generation) being embraced by her mother. I come very close to them, but they don't seem to see me or maybe they just don't care that I am there. Gwenyth is crying and she looks at her mother with total desperation. She won't be able to work again. No more movie premiers? What about the glitzy soirees? No sound exits from her mouth, but her eyes yell of her despair. She's going to die and there is nothing she can do.
I laugh to myself. No, I am not evil. I do not take joy from other peoples' suffering. I laugh because I realize how absolutely silly I have been to think that these "stars", these "famous figures" are not people like me. Ha, silly teenage hang-ups tossed in the wind. Their lives are no more precious than mine. Them being "stars" does not exclude them from hand of death on their mortality. I laugh too because I realize the fragility of my own life at that very moment. I will die too and there is nothing I can do.
I find myself in a house. My friend Michael is there painting. "Michael, how the hell can you spend your time painting? Don't you know? Don't you know that this is it? We can't get the hell out of here! Have you heard? Have you been listening to what they're saying? We're trapped and unless we lock ourselves away from the rest of society, we are going to die like the rest of them! Shit, I could already have it. I mean, how do I know? Oh my god, I probably do have it. O.K. well that's it. I should just go do whatever I want. Come with me! We don't have time! We should just do everything. Anything! We should just do it all before we die. Holy shit. Common."
"Jamie, hold on. Don't you know the latest? They have just said that this thing takes a few years before it actually does you in. You won't die for a couple of years. So you still need to be a responsible human being. You just can't go off and do whatever you want. You've still got time. You're not dead yet. O.K., yeah, you're right, we'll all die. This is sure. But it seems likely that we will all die together."
A television that sits near his bed shows the face of the newscaster. Her voice is mute and her face even more devoid of any sensation. She looks like wreckage. Her eyes dull with black half moons hanging down to her cheeks.
Her voice suddenly becomes audible. "The recent act of bio-terrorism in Philadelphia has caused America and the rest of the world to react in a state of panic. The President has urged that the danger of this deadly virus has been contained and that daily lives should resume normally, but with caution. We do know that the people of Philadelphia are not yet suffering. Let us all hope and pray that a solution to help these innocent people will soon be found before it is too late."
A moment passes in silence and suddenly I realize, "But how do we know that there really is such a virus? We have never seen it. We cannot taste it, feel it nor smell it? God, they don't even have a name for it! They continue to harp on this idea that we will all die, that there is no escape, and that this is the new reality we all must accept. But how can they actually know that any of this is true? If it really takes years for this to actually kill anybody, than how do they know this thing is lethal at all? How can we really say that I have it, that my neighbor has it, that my dog has it? Where is the proof?"
The noise of the television became louder and louder. The sound of prayers, fire trucks blaring their sirens, running footsteps, a newscaster preaching her two bits about the newest tragedy in America, Oslem, Oslem, Oslem...
But wait a minute. Wait a minute.
Who are you? Who are you to tell me what is true? What gives you the right to dictate my reality; to tell me that this is my new world. Why am I listening to you?
"Michael, they could be lying. This could all be some grand hoax. Can't you see we are being fed? They are shoveling this garbage in our minds, in our souls...they are raping us of our security."
I sat looking at Michael, at the television...and then, at all of this from a bird's eye view.
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