The Mark Hastings Experience – Episode #68: “Black Mirror” (TV series)

In this episode Mark talks about the British dystopian science fiction anthology TV series “Black Mirror” created by Charlie Brooker. Made up of standalone episodes (which are alluded to all take part within the same fictional narrative universe) each of which examine humanities ever-evolving and over-dependant relationship with ever more advanced forms of technology, and dramatises questions such as: to what end society may become influenced in the actions that they choose to make in the future because of the overabundance of technology. Often told with a dark and satirical tone, and often dealing with controversial and contemporary subject matters, each episode of the series explores who humanity is and why some people are motivated to do what they do no matter the cost to themselves.

My Poem “1984/2020”

Forget George Orwell’s “1984”,
because the year 2020 is a story
that we who are alive now
will never forget and hopefully
we will never have to live through
such a year again – because living
in this present time
is like living in a dark reality
the like of which could never
have been accurately predicted
nor imagined before.

Governments right now are
tracking where we are, where we were,
when we were somewhere in particular,
and who we were within
close proximity to at the time
we were where we were
while doing what we were doing –
so forget about “Big Brother”,
because in real life, in real time,
cameras, satellites, our own
personal mobile devices,
search engines, artificial intelligences,
the eyes of authorities are tracking, tracing, monitoring, and analysing
everybody’s every move and everything that we all say, type, read,
watch, and browse while we are
out and about, and even when we are within that privacy of our own house.

Unfortunately for many
this is year will be remembered
for being full of among other things,
including fear, death, panic, and paranoia;
however I believe that 2020
will also be a year that
will be remembered for being
one in which people thought
about one another,
felt grateful for having one another,
stayed in regular contact with one another,
and when people lived
in hope with one another
while some of the greatest artists
and the greatest medical
and scientific minds
all came together for a common goal
that would unite people like never before.

What no one wants is a time,
a reality, a future that may
have some similarities to a famous,
prescient, George Orwell novel –
however, over time, circumstances
will be influential in rewriting
the book of what it means to be human
and every one us will ultimately have
contributed to the tale of humanity
that generations in the future
will come to know well:
a compelling real life story
of worldwide disease, panic,
surveillance, and control
that may one day rival,
and perhaps eclipse, what was
only supposed to be a cautionary tale
of a dystopian world –
the unforgettable story
featured in the novel that is “1984”;
but the story of 2020 is still
being written, so we will have to
wait and see what the future has in store.

My Poem “Liberty will never fall”

Humanity has lived through times
when we have looked at what was going on
around the world and we have had to
ask ourselves: what is going to happen next?
What does this all mean?
Is this the end of the world?
Times of plague and pandemic:
times of financial crisis; times of war;
times of terrorism – and in recent history,
apart from what we are all
living through right now,
I would have to say that the terrorist
attacks on the United States of America,
on September 11th, 2001, would have to be,
and will always be considered as,
one of the single most destructive
and world changing events
that we have ever known
and which will never be forgotten.

The events of that Tuesday afternoon
in September of 2001, when thousands
of people were killed as a result of terrorism,
have been ingrained within my mind,
and the world, for 19 years now –
and I can still remember exactly what I saw,
what I heard, and what I felt when
I witnessed, along with the world,
the last moments of life of innocent people;
and the subsequent attacks that have
taken place upon people who have done
nothing to nobody, as a result of a
ideology of fear, are deployable, cruel,
nonsensical, and grotesque.

One thing that should have been
made abundantly clear by now
to those who hate others so passionately,
by those who have been attacked
but who still continue to stand
and who still continue to the fight
the scurge of tyrrany that continues
to blight societies all around the world:
freedom is a gift, and nobody has the right
to spread fear, to intimidate others,
and to kill people who only want to be
who they were brought up
to want to be.

We all live on an interconnected world,
and we all have the right to think,
to dream, and to wish for things that we want;
but actions have consequences,
the world is not always simple to navigate,
and no one can do anything with impunity,
and if every peace-loving person works
together for the betterment of all mankind
then there will come a day
when the true gift of a free society,
liberty, will continue to rise
and will never fall.

My Poem “A Summer Like No Other”

The Summer season is usually
a time that most people
look forward to and plan for…
the Summer is usually when
people have once in a lifetime
experiences that they
have never had before…
the Summer season is usually
when people spend most of
their time outdoors…
the Summer is usually when
everybody is smiling
from ear to ear and embracing
the rays of the sun
that seem to shine a light
on certain aspects of life
that inspire moments of awe.

The Summer season is supposed to be
when people enjoy certain examples
of beauty as they come into bloom…
the Summer is usually when people
like to take their time
when talking to one another,
face to face, instead of feeling
like every interaction is just one long zoom…
the Summer season is supposed to be
when people feel optimistic,
and they are generally in a good mood…
the Summer is supposed to be
when most people are singing with joy
and not crying because they had got
a bad case of the blues.

This Summer has already been filled
with so many examples of good news,
as well as the ultimate example
of bad news which we all know about
which in truth has felt like
one long, continuous, and engulfing
cloud that has been the epitome
of a bad dream that has
unfortunately come true…
this Summer has been one that
will forever be etched upon
the psyche of everybody
far into the future…
this Summer has been a time
in the lives of everybody alive
that will be something spoken about,
chronicled, and remembered as a
Summer when the whole world
had to do what they had to do
to protect the most vulnerable
and to preserve as much as possible
for the next generation…
the events of this year
will haunt humanity like a spectre,
because this year has felt like
a Summer like no other, and memorable
in most cases for all the wrong reasons.

My Poem “We Can’t Go On Like This”

We can’t go on like this forever…
we can’t go on staying away from places,
wearing masks, and being socially
distant from one another…
we can’t go on living in insulated bubbles –
because if we do then we must
expect ourselves to over time
become suffocated from real life
and traumatised emotionally
as well as psychologically as if were
we prisoners who had committed a crime…
we can’t go on living a life as if one
that parallels those of the past –
because the destiny of humanity
is to be interconnected both emotionally
as well as physically, and if we are not
then I believe that we may one day
find ourselves regressing as a species and over time aggressively devolving
into even smaller tribes.

We can’t go on not exploring new things
and not finding ourselves somewhere
that we never expected ourselves to be…
we can’t go on not sharing new
personal experiences –
even those made under
the most extreme and
stressful of circumstances…
we can’t go on not living like
we need to live for our further development
so as to ensure that we live to see
the day when the entire world faces
all the threats that present themselves
together
rather than individually and country by country.

People can’t go on not working,
people can’t go on not providing,
people can’t go on as they are
and as they have had to
for far too long as it is –
however I know that everybody
around the world can collectively
agree that no matter what happens
humanity will survive what is going on now,
but in the long term we cannot go on like this.