SMSD Disorder

Curious to know what exactly is SMSD Disorder? You will not find the definition in an electronic software manual today nor will you find it in the DSM-5 or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. At least, not yet. However, after almost 28-years, the last ten being the most disturbing illuminating, there will probably soon be a SMSD Disorder officially entered in the psychiatric DSM-5. I will answer your curiosity later. Meanwhile, allow first a preamble.

I watched a provocative, telling interview segment earlier this week on PBS NewsHour with Judy Woodruff and Jeffrey Brown. Brown was asking author Jia Tolentino to introduce and summarize her new published book entitled Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion.

The book and interview caught my interest primarily because of my under-grad studies and work background in psychology, particularly my previous work-experience at an inpatient Psych/A&D hospital. Self-delusion in psychology is a mental-illness I am familiar with firsthand while employed at the hospital. But the NewsHour segment also caught my attention because of its now greater relevance with the deplorable events surrounding the January 6, 2021 attack by domestic insurrectionist on our U.S. Capitol building and Congressmembers. The insurrection was undeniably incited by the former President and planned on a host of social websites days/weeks prior.

Jia Tolentino is a staff writer for The New Yorker as well as a contributing editor to several popular acclaimed publications. Jia’s newest book is a collection of nine essays addressing our nation’s critical problems with and our reckless consumption-digestion of mass social-media platforms. The specific topics Tolentino examines in those essays are the “scammer culture,” and our intellectually gullible internet culture over the past decade. It also examines one of Jia’s personally resonating subjects: modern feminism. Here is the PBS NewsHour 5-minute Now Read This segment with Jeffrey Brown and Jia Tolentino:

Yes, the internet’s magic Jia states. Due to the relentless, now one year lasting COVID pandemic kept alive by hundreds of thousands of Americans defiant and indifferent to masks, to public health and safety, to the safety of coworkers, and to their own family members, the pandemic has been continually given steroid shots to remain here taking more American lives for the foreseeable future. Those rebels have fueled this killer virus by spreading it and feeding it non-stop with their social contempt.

Besides surpassing the death-toll of all modern U.S wars combined, excluding at the moment the Civil War, another consequence has been the unprecedented number of confined Americans pushed online and onto social-media platforms for much, much longer timespans. Tolentino says this current internet’s virtual world and its …weird currents of aggression and loneliness [are] evidence of the way that the Internet is, at best, kind of a poor simulacrum of real life.

I have to say, “a poor simulacrum” is a soft benign way of describing the sheer potency and addictiveness the online social-media platforms hold on us. Their software algorithm-machinery’s ability to move us, incite en masse thousands of naïve, internet addicts, many of whom possess poor critical-thinking skills—let alone a modest legal understanding of our Constitutional (elected) democracy operating within a tri-equal branched government—and possess an inability to distinguish what is reliable, factually-based, verified data, news, or knowledge versus what is not. This politicized condition of scientific biological ignorance has reached alarming, lethal manifestations made glaringly visible Jan. 6 at the Capitol.

The vicious jargon was apparent the 9-weeks following the Nov. 3rd elections. The former fake President vomited daily unfounded, unproven claims/Tweets (and over 60 lawsuits) of widespread election fraud, all of them empty. The days following the Georgia state Senate runoffs in which their legal, multiply-verified results injected continued insane, inflammatory conspiracy theories spewed from the White House and echoed on extreme Right social-media platforms. The Twitter fiasco reached unparalleled volume and frequency not seen from any POTUS in American history. Trump and his ardent vassals supporters suffer from SMSD Disorder.

Attention moderate, sane, middle America, you… the vast and sensible majority of this country, it is past time to wake-up to the Coup-sirens! This disturbing, domestic, self-deluded thinking and behavior is no longer sporadic. No longer is it a tiny, trifling gecko lizard. It is a full-blown Godzilla and he is obscenely pissed and hungry. What is distressing though, is that the symptoms of the cyber-disorder in a shark’s tank with many shark’s teeth has been observable and rogue for several internet years. The once captivating Information Age is now The Disinformation Age.

Arab Spring vs American Winter and Free-Speech

Between 2010–2012 social-media was a catalyst for The Arab Spring throughout North Africa and the Middle East. It was widely held that the anti-authoritarian, anti-government protests were in large part the result of “free speech” over social networking platforms. The armed rebellions promoting free elections, regime-dynasty changes, democracy, and a number of other sociopolitical virtues were jubilantly celebrated in the U.S. Many in the West characterized these fights for freedom as evidence of global change for human rights and self-determination. The Arab Awakenings were praised in the West as reflections of the free world with free-enterprise producing technology for an imagined better, more informed, autonomous life as we live in the United States.

In the end and as a whole, only modest changes occurred in the regions at the estimated cost of 61,080 people dead. To this day, countries affected by the Arab Spring are greatly divided between those preferring the status quo and those who seek democratic transformations. Violence and hate-speech actually weakened and undermined the hope most ordinary Arabs envisioned for their country.

What took place in America November 2020 and leading up to Jan. 6th, 2021, an American Winter if you will, cannot be compared to The Arab Spring, not in an already democratic context. An Authoritarian regime fighting for its preservation is not an American Winter fighting for civic virtues and sovereignty it already possesses and was established almost 245-years previous. What is arguably identical between the two “people’s protests” was the violence, hate-speech, and the unrewarded loss of lives to murderers. And finally, all the erroneous screaming about censorship, Second Amendment rights and free-speech are only an individual’s right as an American when it is on outdoor public squares or on public property. It does not, nor has it ever applied to the private sector or privately owned social-media companies. The radical Right is sorely lacking in its comprehension of Constitutional Law. They have slipped into nothing other than very perilous, poisonous Populism disguised as the Republican Party.

Monetize the FUCK Out of Personal Internet Identities

As Tolentino was saying, the internet is magic.” But it has become more. It is now as much white-magic as it is black-magic. Both are exploited by hungry internet consumers. Social-media has become a dopamine addiction for people craving human connection. It was further amplified by COVID-19’s necessary constrainments for public safety and health.

Image credit: Research Hubs

The evolution of the internet from Web 1.0 (1999) to the currently operating Web 3.0 we engorge today provide almost unlimited avenues of profit/revenue for the corporate tech-industry because they monetize the bejesus out of your personal data and tracking your browsing activity and GPS movement. The consequence for many American internet addicts and gullible consumers is what is now emerging. I would like to coin it as SMSD Disorder: Social-Media Self-Delusion Disorder.

The Web can give something back that was not previously known. Web 3.0 learns and understands who you are and gives you something back.

Gian Gonzaga, Ph.D. and Senior Director of Research and Development at the dating site eHarmony

Like Tolentino, Dr. Gonzaga also gives another soft benign description of the dopamine fix of the social-media drugs for consumers with SMSD Disorder. However, when does too much liability and criminal accessory, let alone the loss of moral and democratic principles, outweigh or justify excessive monetizing greed? When is too much, too much? Did Twitter, Facebook, and the other social-media companies wait too long to ban the former President? Did he have special, profit-generating privileges for Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube subscribers that thousands of other banned members did not have and could not generate?

Internet social networking is in some ways a marketplace of Human Futures for Corporate drug-dealers. In other words, the cyber history and personal tracking database are the commodity and consumer attention spans are the revenues and products targeted by the social-media companies. The gullibility of the American internet consumers with unbeknownst, undiagnosed addictive personality risks have been exceptionally depicted in the Netflix tech-opic/documentary The Social Dilemma.

One of the computer scientist interviewed and consulted for The Social Dilemma tech-opic documentary was Stanford University grad Tristan Harris. He is a former Google employee who pioneered Google Inbox that quickly rocketed the tech-Giant into the stratosphere. But while Harris was at Google from 2011–2015 he felt all the American social-media tech-Giants should “feel an enormous responsibility to make sure humanity doesn’t spend its days buried in a smartphone.” They listened, but did nothing. If you can spare a brief 17-minutes, watch this online Collision Conference presented by his cofounded and present non-profit organization the Center for Humane Technology, a progressive group addressing the ethics of consumer technology, governance, and the fate of society as we now have it:

Has history taught us nothing? America is losing many Gen X’s, Millennials, and now Generation Z’s to a plethora of phone apps and addictive cyber-networking algorithms. The mental-disorders growing among these three generations—not surprisingly a timespan covering the internet and tech-boom from Web 2.0 to 3.0—are proportionally associated with social-networking platforms. This is our history ignored for the sake of hyper-monetization.

Is it past the time to regulate, monitor, and hold accountable the social-media megabots before they turn into a repackaged Nazi propaganda machine for megalomaniac Authoritarians? Has our collective memory suddenly taken a nose-dive off the cliff of reason and rationale thought? Can we not, or at least the vast majority of us, no longer recognize and stop a treacherous direction, a cult, its Cult of Personality, and their utilization of any and all mass media platforms to pervade gullible brains. History’s deadliest, most sinister, covert, power-hungry cults of personalities are littered across our world continents within historical records of all cultures, including numerous dark times in our own U.S. history.

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?

Marcus Tullius Cicero

When will we learn? When human symbols, alphabets, and writing were invented 5,500 years ago, news, political propaganda, sales and marketing, bookkeeping, fine arts, along with lies and half-truths among social groups began. When Gutenberg’s printing press was invented in 1440, mass publishing, at least on a quicker wider scale, more information began reaching individuals, not just kings, queens, and nobility. When the telegraph then AM/FM radio was invented in the 19th and 20th centuries, all of the above was magnified exponentially to the world, to nations, to any group, company, or family home that could afford such technology, including more political propaganda, sales and marketing, lies and half-truths. By 1933 Joseph Goebbels and Hitler’s Nazi Germany seized total control of all German radio stations in order to censor and hide their atrocities, genocide, and war crimes from the ordinary non-Jewish German citizens. Instead, Goebbels fed the people daily with blatant lies and half-truths for over a decade. The German people believed every fanatical, inspiring false word, to their demise in May 1945.

When the computer and world-wide-web (internet) were invented in 1989, everything aforementioned above was further disseminated, amplified, and exponentially multiplied, limited only by the number of homes which could not afford a computer and modem, later to become cable-internet or satellite WiFi/internet. The once unfettered Wild Wild West frontier of lawlessness in the early and mid-19th century America was reborn in the Wild Wild West of unstoppable, lightening-speed, mass information and insatiable consumption never before imagined. Like alcoholism or drug addiction, its moral-ethical consequences and impact could not have ever predicted or reeled in the speeding uncontrollable train train-wreck we have today. And yet:

We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.

George Bernard Shaw

When we do not pause, take a moment to think rationally after hearing or reading shocking information or news before speaking, acting/reacting, or writing, we risk and possibly deface or sacrifice our own integrity and dignity. When we impulsively blurt-out vocally an idea, thought, or reaction without first verifying or confirming its validity or without doing the required legwork/homework before speaking, acting/reacting, or writing, we risk and possibly deface or sacrifice our own integrity and dignity. Case and point:

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., condemned “mob” violence after a day of protests at the Capitol building. McCarthy said, “It is clear this Congress will not be the same after today.” — NBC News

That was in the late hours of January 6, 2021. Today Rep. McCarthy has done a complete 180-degree reversal of his moral integrity and once again is an ardent Trump vassal. This is a symptom of SMSD Disorder of not only online conspiracy theories, but also of being enslaved associated, in bed with a Cult of Personality. Both are dangerous simpatico concoctions. Unfortunately, the same gullible American internet consumers forgive and forget repeatedly political offenders or criminals as long as they make a public apology, no matter how many apologies they’ve made in the past. Too many apparently suffer from chronic dementia when it comes to repeating offenders by public figures and government officials. What sort of precedent does that behavior set? Did Nixon or Reagan set it? Do American voters even know who Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan were?

The “Sexual Free-for-All” Promoted by Social-Media Platforms

In 1997 while inside an electronics store for televisions, stereos, etc., and crude computers by today’s standards, a salesman who was apparently a subcontractor by the store, approached me with a brand new, cutting-edge service called the world-wide-web. After his 3-4 minute sales-pitch, I told him it sounded fascinating, but no thanks. Why did I turndown his “ground floor bargain price“? I couldn’t honestly tell him what I thought at the time about his offer and the earliest concepts promoted of the world-wide-web, or internet, and its networking potential and perceived promises. However, I can say it here.

Depiction of the Roman Floralis Ludi, but of homosexual orientations.

What I thought back then in 1997 and have repeated ad infinitum, ad nauseum to this day is this. The internet is like a wild, 24/7, 365-day world orgy where seemingly limitless pleasure (dopamine & connection) abounds for everyone online, but without condoms, IUD’s, spermicides, and other protections from unwanted pregnancy and STD’s. The internet is a modern Roman Floralis Ludi, if you will. Is it wise to ignore all the risks and promote only the benefits? Some large number of social-media users are absent-minded, wear rose-colored glasses, and are reckless with those they engage and sleep with at the risk of very serious infections. Very little has changed, I think, since 1997. I still hold firm to my 24-year old assessment of online social-media given the rise and growth in America of the psychological SMSD Disorder.


Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always


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Treasure Hunting & Worth

In life’s ambitions, treasure hunting is more common than you might think. It is just as popular today as it was centuries ago on the high seas, or the mountains of Shangri-La, or El Dorado on the banks of the Orinoco River. In fact, in some form or fashion and metaphor we all hunt for value, for meaning, the marrow for one or more “X Marks the Spots.” Every single human being has done this: seeking our fortunes, literally or supernaturally, or both. Whatever form this aspiration takes, it has certainly been human nature for over 300,000 years of evolution. Our desire to become less ignorant and/or less afraid through understanding. In so many ways our lives are stories, or as Shakespeare aptly described: “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.” We strive, we perform to somehow be of worth to self and others, worthy of life as well as at death. We love and hunt for some type of an astonishing, ageless story.

COOIshow posterI stumbled across a business magazine article last week about a very well-known, fascinating trait we humans possess: worth-seeking. The article was What ‘The Curse Of Oak Island’ Teaches About Actually Finding Treasure. The article critiques the History Channel’s popular Tuesday night show. The article and hit TV show both reveal a lot about human nature and our obsession for extraordinary stories told in extraordinary ways, whether we are the audience or the actual treasure hunters. If anything, the two key components of a timeless “story” reveal our vulnerabilities and insatiable curiosities no matter what side of the story you are on.

Even if the Lagina-History Channel team already know the [final] answer, the ‘gold’ their mining from the franchise they’ve built around the whole undertaking promises to stretch out the timeline to when they decide to tell us. But as we wait for the imagined treasure, Rick [Lagina] has already given us the most valuable treasure of all: the reminder that there is no isolated ‘ah ha’ moment in which the value we seek just appears.

All human beings have this general trait to find the greatest payoff manifested during our lifetime in many different ways. To degrees we are all treasure hunters. However, history is replete with legends, stories, hoaxes, and myths of an ultimate, incomparable treasure yet to be realized. The hunt becomes bigger than the prize.

Most tangible, known hidden “treasures” have been found. But there are indeed hunts that lead either to an unexpected different treasure or a completely empty dead-end. Consequently, the latter can lead to more hunting, more conspiracy theories, or redefinition, retro-fitting, and modifications for the sake of hunting and hope which drives humans to no end, supernatural resolve or “faith,” and yet no tangible treasure!

You might assume otherwise, but Oak Island co-star Rick Lagina is just like the rest of us. As a treasure hunter and a cable show star, from the outside he may look different. But below the surface he’s surprisingly the same, something he proved last month in a season 7 episode of the show. In a crescendo moment of discovery for a show that already has 99 episodes in the books, Rick summed up the breakthrough saying this: “It was a truly aha! moment.” But it wasn’t.

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I do recommend everyone read the entire Inc.com article by Larry Robertson. Why? Because it hints, perhaps demonstrates that if we are patient enough to allow this enormous Universe/Cosmos to reveal its answers. Allow its hints and clues of why and how it functions and at what speeds, sometimes beyond our measly, instant (impulsive?) attempts to understanding it all. Patiently allow the macro-Universe and subatomic/Quantum Physics, laws, and “spooky action at a distance” to reward our impartial, patient, persistent curiosity and scrutiny so we can indeed realize over time—not always in our own lifetime or within our grandchildren’s lifetime—but with cumulative, scholarly consensus this mindset generates higher accuracy and detail of those hows and whys.

When we cannot know or explain with any certainty or high plausibility, there is no loss, no embarrassment to tell others:  That is inconclusive. We need more time to determine for sure.” Or to say confidently After 1,900 years and especially the last century and more so the last two decades, what was once believed and commonly, socially accepted as infallibly true, is in fact NOT true at all. But how many are brave and willing to be undecided, unswayed by the norm, the vast majority, or even stand firmly against the falsely, ill-founded traditions and conventions of the crowd, of the antiquated systems of This is how it is, how it has always been for 2,000 years!?

Humans Are Obsessed with Aha Moments, Supernatural Feelings of Divine Profound Revelation and Treasures

Allow me to draw comparisons to the human addiction experience and the sheer lure and power of perpetual hope, commitment, and undying faith for an ultimate, undetermined, possible winning lotto-ticket IF you keep playing every day, every week for the remainder of your life. You can’t win the jackpot, however, if you don’t pray play and ask too many critical questions while playing. It begs the question, What makes people, a person, to wish upon hope even in the face of no proof, no guarantee of success and reward at the end, for the rest of their life?

The undeniable fascination with the intertwining of historical theories and possible treasure is what drives each season of The Curse of Oak Island. Because the speculation excites and entices, it’s likely that the show will not only see a Season 8, but a Season 9, and more.
Aiden Mason,Why the Curse of Oak Island Will Live to See a Season 8,” TV over Mind.com, accessed Jan. 24, 2020

Like Speculators of America’s early 19th century westward expansion and economic development, and those today in the stock market and banking investments, analyzing and forecasting future prices and ROI’s, the Laginas brothers and their team must find and contract with investors to hedge risks and losses, not to mention their public image and reputations. This is smart business, right? Funds have to be raised in order to keep the treasure hunt alive! From the Showbiz Cheatsheet website:

The rewards of Oak Island’s supposed treasure might be bigger than Marty and Rick Lagina (and the rest of their The Curse of Oak Island team) ever imagined. But, the cost to dig on the mysterious… Money Pit is now in the millions. Which begs the question: Who is paying for the Oak Island treasure hunt? Up ahead, we deep dive into the Oak Island’s financial backing and reveal who might be covering a majority [or all] of the costs.
Jessie Quinn,Who Is Paying for the Oak Island Treasure Hunt?Showbiz CheatSheet.com, accessed Jan. 24, 2020

Before the TV show became #1 in cable TV-ratings with over 3.34 million viewers, Marty Lagina was already a very successful, wealthy energy mogul through the sale of his natural gas drilling company Terra Energy. That sale enabled the start of his two current companies Heritage Sustainable Energy (wind turbines) and his winery Mari Vineyards, both in Michigan. With his accumulation of capital, business experience, and past drilling experience Marty Lagina and his financial-business partner Craig Tester, along with other business-team partners, Oak Island Tours, Inc. was founded.

When the production company Prometheus Entertainment approached Marty, his brother Rick Lagina, and the Oak Island team in 2014 to create a reality TV-series and A&E Network’s History Channel as its distributor, Marty Lagina and Oak Island Tours, Inc. were diversified and firmly established for long-term financial backing and revenues. Seven years and seven television seasons later, with a probable eighth season pending, the hunt for the famed Money Pit, the underground vault/room rumored to hold unimaginable untold treasures, the insatiable hunt for the ultimate payoff continues… (long exhale, deep breath) again.

Does this legendary story remind you of any other riveting, extraordinary “stories” in history of immense value and wealth waiting to be discovered and owned? Do all hidden treasures, found or not, have to be strictly monetary in value? No. When they are never found they take on an almost Gnostic, metaphysical meaning, perhaps to save face. Consider these few popular tales still alive today:

Notice the consistent patterns? That is, the consistent human psychological patterns of Gold Fever or addictive greed or more precisely the constant need for external affirmation for one’s self-worth:  polydependency versus codependency. Why are individuals, or groups, organizations willing to put everything on the line, change their entire lifestyle, risk even their own life for some cause, for a legend or unconfirmed story that has no guarantees of a payoff, much less that exists or has only half-truths… or worse? Why have over 3.34 million TV viewers become obsessed fans of the History Channel show The Curse of Oak Island for seven or eight years? Why is it that an unconfirmed existence of some future jackpot, treasure or worth can perpetuate 7-years, or 20, 100 or even 2,000 years of unyielding, unwavering belief by millions of television followers?

The Tomb of A Jesus

Empty tomb of Jesus/Yeshua bar Jebediah, tax collector

And if you really do feel/think the hidden treasure you seek probably, maybe exists, a better question would be:  How could one raise the probabilities of verifying its existence then raise your chances of finding and claiming it?

Yet, millions upon millions of people go on blind treasure hunts daily, weekly, or over their lifetime with no such credible forensic or plausible confirmations and evidence that the “story” is factual or mythical. Why? Why would they make such life-changing decisions and take such drastic measures for something that isn’t there? Could they be suffering from psychological polydependency? Is it the gnawing need for pure wealth, or multiple affirmations and heightened self-worth by others? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Status Update

Several of you might be curious as to my delay in posting the 4th part and conclusion to Black Underworld Inc. I am glad to say Part IV is over three-quarters finished along with much of the conclusion. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately depending on who you are 😉 and your preferred tastes of blog-subjects, I have been beset by several simultaneous life, family, and other related significant occurrences and their ripple-effects. Obviously, these have made several inevitable interruptions and postponement to the finish of this 5-part series and any other blog-posts of late I had intended to tackle, compose, and publish. This is the quick explanation.

Thank you all for your patience, inquiries, concerns, etc. I do foresee a respite of these events and their consequences in the near future. But I can not say with any precision when it might be—as Robert Frost candidly puts it, In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on. And I am not a psychic or fortune-teller. There could very well be more unexpected curve-balls and shenanigans that the infamous Murphy and his law firm of sinister pranksters have in store for me. I hope not.

There are some gremlins too that I know could arrive at my doorstep, through unlocked windows or hatches, tunnels, ventilation pipes, or by phone… IF particular events and circumstances beyond my control went left, right, up, or down and at a particular time. Inopportune times too! Hah! I’d imagine this is exactly what an insurance underwriter wrestles with and considers daily:  damage control and minimization of risk/exposure. Can’t you just hear him punching his adding machine and the clah-clicks tallying totals as the paper-roll moves across the floor?

Bah! So that’s the polite short of it.

I am still here. Until that day or evening of some respite, please do check your new blog notifications for the Professor. I shall return as soon as all my escaped circus animals are located, returned, and settled back to normal… whatever is considered “normal.” 😛

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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