AuthorTopic: Our Devolving Species  (Read 4146 times)

Offline GypsyMama

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Our Devolving Species
« on: January 27, 2014, 11:00:57 PM »

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Published on The Butterchurn on January 24, 2014



Discuss this article at the Newz & Multimedia Table inside the Diner


Social Media’s psychological grasp



I’ve recently been accused of being “crotchety” when it comes to new technology. Over the past few months, I have had to relay to new acquaintances that I do not have internet on my cell phone and if they need to contact me while I’m out of the house, Facebook isn’t a place we can both visit to correspond. Apparently, I’m an oddity.


I have always felt a strong pull toward types of old. Old ways. Old things. Old people. I appreciate their beauty. I connect with their energy. I’ve often felt that I am an old soul. The older, the more natural, the better. History. Quality.


For my 33rd birthday, I decided that as a gift, I’d like minimal contact with a computer for one week. Aaron and I had noticed a decline in our demeanor and after much discussion, we realized that the internet was causing it. We were overworked in virtual world. We had numerous sites to “check” and many interactions to respond to.


“For my 33rd birthday, I will celebrate as a person. Not an avatar.” This was my final Facebook status before I gifted a hiatus to myself.


So, on my birthday, I did not log into Facebook to receive my virtual birthday wishes. I have 700 “friends” on Facebook. Five of them contacted me outside of Facebookland.


Two of them called me. The other three texted me.


Our species is changing…for the worst. This list is an overall view of what I see and feel about the age that I live in. An age that I am apparently out of sorts within. “We” may not include you, but I bet you’ll know a few (if not many) people who fit into these groupings.


1.We are tethered.

We strap our cell phones to our hip. We interrupt those precious, in person human interactions when we are notified by our gadget that a virtual avatar is trying to speak to us instead. We feel vulnerable and out of sorts without our handheld window into the internet world.


2.What is a true community?

Overall, I’d say that we (specifically Americans) communicate with other people VIRTUALLY much more than we do IN PERSON. We buy our goods at box stores, foregoing the power of supporting our fellow man locally. We lack, and sometimes avoid, actual human interaction. We text and type, we shy away from speech. We are solitary.


3.Viewing our elderly as a nuisance.

We place our elderly into enclosed housing and don’t care to hear the tales of what they’ve learned from their past. We are much more “advanced” than they are, so what could they possibly have to offer to our technological lives? Stories about being cold and hungry? Overall, I see a theme with people my age: we tolerate our elderly. We do not respect them. We do not view them as wise. We have an inflated sense of know-it-all youth… deepening much farther into middle age than I feel is acceptable.


4.Children molded through blindness.

Us 30-somethings watched our parents work all the time to pay the bills, pay the mortgage and have one or two days off on the weekend. We learned their behavior and carried it on into our own adult lives. There’s no other choice but to work hard, all the time, and put the kids into the care of another, right? That’s just the way it is, right? WRONG.


Television also fits into this category. Television molds behavior. In public school, your kid could NOT watch television and could STILL be affected by it…because of the other children who DO watch it. The ability to be involved with (or in control of) what your child watches is crucial at an early age. Speaking to them about what they’ve watched (preferably watching it with them?) We ain’t got time for that. We’re much too busy. The boob tube has become the nanny. Meanwhile, while their tiny tushes are parked in front of the moving screen pixels, they are being molded by their new teacher.


5. Escapism through Entertainment.

A few people that I know live to be entertained. All they ever talk about are movies, television, bar adventures, gaming and the like. I have never had a meaningful conversation with any of these folks. Their outlook is always happy happy, because their number one daily action is partaking in an agreeable occupation for the mind. A diversion away from reality. This, I fear, is becoming more and more common among those once considered to be at an ADULT age. A bunch of big babies are out there driving around in their metal bullets, running on auto pilot, on their way to the next thrill…turning all the bookstores black with the soot from their exhaust.


6. Medication for your weak mind.

I don’t have a specific statistic that I can list here, but I am of the belief that over half of the people you cross while in public are probably on some sort of mind bending pill. Illegal or naught…they’re medicated. It seems to me that folks are more willing to pop a pill than do a little mind work on themselves. You know, actually take the time to focus on why they are acting a certain way? Be responsible for it? Do the hard work it takes to change it? Naaaaah… that’s too much work! Get a prescription instead. That’ll fix your woes.


I could go on with the list, but I won’t. I’m sure reading the pessimistic ramblings of a person such as myself does not bode well with your happy internet time. But that’s what we want our internet time to be, right? HAPPY!!!! Happy happy, joy joy.


I am the girl who is on Facebook because I get paid to be on Facebook. You have to sign up for a personal profile to be able to run a business page, which is what I do for another company. I also choose to use the cop out that I’m on Facebook because we have family across the country who wants to see photos. That, of course, is something that an ole’ fashioned email can easily cure. It makes me feel better to be involved with the beast to say that I’m there because I want to share images with family. It does not make me feel better to realize that I’m still a victim of the psychological grasp that social media places on us. The feeling that we HAVE TO BE on Facebook because EVERYONE wants us to be there. So we can “Keep up with each other.” So we can “Stay in touch.” TOUCH? What a joke. That requires human interaction.


I try not to get sucked into the vortex (let’s face it, it is a DEEP vortex) that is my personal page’s NEWSfeed. What a laugh. News? The articles that pop up on my feed are supposed to be from reliable sources. Laughable. Just the other day I viewed an article who’s title had been twisted and contorted and designed to GRAB more viewers. To obtain more likes. To get people to view their page, even though the article attached to the title was completely unrelated. The name of this page? “Daily Mail.” *Sigh


Alas…back to the HAPPY!!!!


The majority of the things that I see posted on my personal page’s friend newsfeed are indeed HAPPY things. People are happy they’re on vacation. They share some images. They’re grateful for the things they have, they share an image to show you their newest thing. They’re out having a blast with their beautiful, large family. More pictures. They’re eating a great meal! Hey! Here’s a photo of my plate! Happy. Happy. Happy.


Here’s the deal: I have no qualms about happiness. Happiness is needed in this cussed up society. Our world is SO far away from the natural world that it makes me mourn the loss of simplicity. Why have we become so damned complicated? We can’t even poop in the woods without being prosecuted. We can’t even be ALIVE without being forced to “comply” with purchasing health care…and if we don’t comply, we’ll be fined. Shame on you for being alive without paying for it.


My problem with the happy that is all over Facebook, in particular, is that Facebook is a virtual world where you are in control of allowing your “friends” to see what you want them to see. You may be posting happy happy all over the place, but are you really happy? Are you in reality, fooling yourself and those who see your status updates?


I’ve seen people bitch on Facebook about all of the “negativity” that they see on their newsfeed coming from those painfully awkward “friends” who may feel a little less than happy every now and again. No worries, though: you can handle that by DELETING them. So then, they no longer exist in your happy virtual world. You can continue on. You’ve solved your dilemma.


Now, let’s compare this to actual human interaction. When you’re in the physical presence of a TRUE friend, do you stop them mid-conversation and say, “Oh…you’re unhappy? Too bad. I don’t want to hear about it. I’ve stopped listening. I don’t want to have you in my life anymore. Let’s not keep up with each other’s lives anymore, okay?”


Facebook is CUSSED UP!


People live in a VIRTUAL world that they have handcrafted for themselves. I’d say that is pretty delusional, SAD and worth putting some time and effort in to think about. How can we handle the REAL world with an attitude like that? The way I see it, you just don’t. You don’t handle it. You opt out. You don’t “like” it! Easy!


Is this interpretation extreme? Maybe. But I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.


Or…if you prefer, I could post a photo of a grumpy cat instead.


gpissed


I’ll tell you what I long for after my description of how I see Facbook has affected our species. I long for a group of intelligent minds. A group of critical thinkers who see the old time value of actually, physically, being in each others’ presence. Friends. I miss catching up with my friends IN PERSON.


Why is this a problem for me? Why can’t we seem to get together? Because they’re all too busy working to pay their bills. To live as they’ve been taught to live. Because they’re all so damned tired from working 8 hours a day to do anything but plug into their computer at night. Because they spend their weekends with their families– the only time they can.


wiredI have had many conversations that have began with, “Did you see my post on Facebook about…”

Granted, a much worse beginning to a conversation could be phrased as “Did you see the new episode of” or even WORSE, “Have you seen that funny commercial where..”


Am I completely lost within my own civilization? Am I some spacial being? What is WRONG with people????? Better yet, why can’t I just play, play along? http://wp.me/p2jbNu-3j


Yes, I’ve been a bit depressed about this lately. I feel as if we are devolving instead of evolving. We’re taking a big, fat stupid step backwards. And why? Because of technology? Because of a virtual world that was created? Because of our surrogate lives?


I recently read a post (also a line that is part of normal conversation, sadly) in which a friend (a true friend) wrote: “If you knew the world was ending, would you take time to update your Facebook status?” A number of people responded, broadly, “absolutely.”


Sometimes I wish I could just pull the power plug on social media. The multi-pronged, super extension cord that is wrapped around our necks and turning our faces blue. The wires wrapped in plastic coating, perfectly bundled together to link us in. To connect us.


 




Offline agelbert

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Re: Our Devolving Species
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2014, 11:18:22 PM »
GypsyMama,
Hear! Hear!  :emthup: :emthup: :emthup:


I never joined Facebook and I refuse to part with my beloved land line for a DUMB PHONE!.  :icon_mrgreen:
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline Surly1

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Re: Our Devolving Species
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2014, 02:39:29 AM »
By all means, be crotchety.

EXCELLENT article.

Quote from: GypsyMama
I recently read a post (also a line that is part of normal conversation, sadly) in which a friend wrote: “If you knew the world was ending, would you take time to update your Facebook status?” A number of people responded, broadly, “absolutely.”
Sometimes I wish I could just pull the power plug on social media. The multi-pronged, super extension cord that is wrapped around our necks and turning our faces blue. The wires wrapped in plastic coating, perfectly bundled together to link us in. To connect us."

Correct to observe that these so-called "virtual" lives consume disproportionately far more energy and attention than they should. Too many approach Facebook as if they have finally found the Work God Called Them To Do, rather than recognize it for the pernicious time-suck Satan than it is.

Which is, of course, exactly the point. If you spend your days locked in meaningless debates about political points with the unconvinceable, and work diligently to damage existing relationships via virtual communications, you don't run the danger of encountering real people and discussing real ideas… just post up a meme, my work here is done. Yet the investment of energy is substantial, and to no purpose.

Interesting that most times, we would never behave as rudely IRL as we do in FB debates.

In programming the FB page I interact almost completely with Hootsuite and thus keep my exposure to high levels of social radioactivity to a minimum…

Very well done, ma'am.
"...reprehensible lying communist..."

Offline DoomerSupport

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Re: Our Devolving Species
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2014, 08:21:14 AM »
One of my favorite songs at present,  I've always like the performer, Fish, he goes to town on the social media phenomenon.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/R3UaZzMagyA&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/R3UaZzMagyA&fs=1</a>

the song that follows this on the album is "blind to the beautiful" a haunting ballad on climate change. 


Offline DoomerSupport

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Re: Our Devolving Species
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2014, 08:59:32 AM »
For my 33rd birthday, I will celebrate as a person. Not an avatar.” This was my final Facebook status before I gifted a hiatus to myself.  So, on my birthday, I did not log into Facebook to receive my virtual birthday wishes. I have 700 “friends” on Facebook. Five of them contacted me outside of Facebookland.  Two of them called me. The other three texted me.

The wife has not checked her profile since October.  She refuses to get a smart phone.  We send all our friends real, paper-and-ink Christmas and Birthday cards.  Seh only uses email to communicate with employers and those out of the area.



Quote


<p>I try not to get sucked into the vortex (let’s face it, it is a DEEP vortex) that is my personal page’s NEWSfeed. What a laugh. News? The articles that pop up on my feed are supposed to be from reliable sources. Laughable. Just the other day I viewed an article who’s title had been twisted and contorted and designed to GRAB more viewers. To obtain more likes. To get people to view their page, even though the article attached to the title was completely unrelated. The name of this page? “Daily Mail.” *Sigh</p>

It's called "link bait" and every time you click though you create new impressions (that's the industry term for eyes-on-adverts" that are littered about the page.

Make the headlines more interesting with a plug-in browser that corrects them.


Quote
The majority of the things that I see posted on my personal page’s friend newsfeed are indeed HAPPY things. People are happy they’re on vacation. They share some images. They’re grateful for the things they have, they share an image to show you their newest thing. They’re out having a blast with their beautiful, large family. More pictures. They’re eating a great meal! Hey! Here’s a photo of my plate! Happy. Happy. Happy.

It's called social grooming and the posts denote membership of certain social groups, particularly the political reposts, photos, etc.  The interesting element is that it allows the peer group to have more influence on kids than parents and teachers, since the peer group is visible 24/7.  How that manifests in behaviors in the next few decades will be interesting.




Offline luciddreams

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Re: Our Devolving Species
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2014, 11:49:12 AM »


It's called social grooming and the posts denote membership of certain social groups, particularly the political reposts, photos, etc.  The interesting element is that it allows the peer group to have more influence on kids than parents and teachers, since the peer group is visible 24/7.  How that manifests in behaviors in the next few decades will be interesting.

Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

by Gabor Mate MD and Gordon Neufeld PHD

http://www.amazon.com/Hold-On-Your-Kids-Parents/dp/0375760288

Peer orientation is a bitch that is ripping apart the ability to be an adult.  Most 20 somethings grew up in a peer orientation world that is made possible by social media.  24/7 access to your friends and what they think.  Nobody being parented in the bunch.  You end up with narcissistic feral human beings brought up by Hollywood and marketing with no idea about anything outside of their imagadet. 

Offline agelbert

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Re: Our Devolving Species
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2014, 01:36:42 PM »
LD said,
Quote
You end up with narcissistic feral human beings brought up by Hollywood and marketing with no idea about anything outside of their imagadet.

Exactly right.  :emthup:
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline luciddreams

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Re: Our Devolving Species
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2014, 02:37:42 PM »
LD said,
Quote
You end up with narcissistic feral human beings brought up by Hollywood and marketing with no idea about anything outside of their imagadet.

Exactly right.  :emthup:

I've always agreed with you geriatric fucks  :laugh:

And I mean "fucks" as a term of endearment.

I'd put that in a peace pipe and smoke it if I thought it would be good for me. 

 :icon_mrgreen:

Offline JRM

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Re: Our Devolving Species
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2014, 02:48:16 PM »

LD said,
Quote
You end up with narcissistic feral human beings brought up by Hollywood and marketing with no idea about anything outside of their imagadet.

I had to google "imagadet". Nothing turned up.

Google asked: "Did you mean:

imaginet

imagenet

imagdent

imagedit


Color me curious.
My "avatar" graphic is Japanese calligraphy (shodō) forming the word shoshin, meaning "beginner's mind". --  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin -- It is with shoshin that I am now and always "meeting my breath" for the first time. Try it!

Offline Eddie

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Re: Our Devolving Species
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2014, 02:57:42 PM »
I believe we're talking i (ma) gadget here. As in smart phone.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline luciddreams

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Re: Our Devolving Species
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2014, 03:02:30 PM »
I believe we're talking i (ma) gadget here. As in smart phone.

JRM...it's a word I made up a couple of days ago...as far as I know.

And yes Eddie, that was how I imagined it.  I mean...that's what I meant to have understood by that word.

I guess I succeeded.  JRM...WTF?   ::)

Offline agelbert

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Re: Our Devolving Species
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2014, 04:26:42 PM »
LD, always glad to be a good example to you young whippersnappers (I also mean that as a term of endearment  ;D).

I am pleased to see you are interested in a little hopium to brighten your day and your mood.  :emthup: :icon_sunny:

I actually force myself to filter out negative posts to see if I can have the ratio of positive somewhat higher than one to one over the daily shitstorm of doom I run into. Believe me, it is HARD TO DO and sometimes I do not succeed but I keep giving it the old college try.  8)

Speaking of positive stuff, check out the EZ -EV video on my channel. That sucker might be cheap to build and have quite a bit of range if the cost of Li ion batteries keeps coming down. With a mini-u-hail type trailer attachment, it could be used to haul stuff around the farm or get groceries or give the kiddies a ride!

On the negative side, I just ran into a video on a city under the ice built in the late 50s or early sixties in Greenland. And get this: It was powered by a PORTABLE NUCLEAR REACTOR! The video shows a pack of future cancer victims handling fuel rods like they were shock absorbers!  :P I took a few screen shots and will upload them with the story. The film was recently declassified. I am interested in your take on the nuke since you worked on one.

I'll post it in a couple of days or so.  It's getting harder and harder to have more positive posts than negative ones...  8)
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline Publius

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Re: Our Devolving Species
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2014, 09:18:09 AM »
Exactly.
I left Facebook about a year ago, and have never looked back.
It is evil.

The main reason to avoid social media is because you are commodifying yourself. You are the product. You are being consumed by Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, whatever.

Your attention is the product, but you don't get paid. You get paid nothing for having your time and attention sucked away.

Regarding positivity: Faceplant is a great example of the American mind has been completely destroyed by the values of "positive thinking." I'm sorry, positive thinking is not thinking, it is propaganda, it is self-delusion, and loss of autonomy and community.

When the grid goes down, or disaster strikes, your Faceplant friends will not be there to help. The real, physical neighbors you have been ignoring for years and probably don't even know will be there. But you won't know them. Or trust them. They won't know or trust you.

Worst of all, social media teaches you to make yourself into a product. You begin to self-censor, because you crave the "likes" just as a heroin addict craves a fix.

The fix is in, and the fix is easy: quit. Delete your account (which will never be deleted - it will be frozen on the server forever, but whatever... better offline and forgotten).
Once you get over the withdrawal pains, you will have more time, but most of all, your thoughts will be freed from the need to be constantly liked by strangers who don't really give a damn about you.

What I found out was that 90% of the so-called "friends" couldn't even be bothered to email me the old-fashioned way, let alone call, or even text. And I certainly have never received a written letter from an ex-Facebook friend.

Offline luciddreams

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Re: Our Devolving Species
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2014, 12:04:07 PM »
Exactly.
I left Facebook about a year ago, and have never looked back.
It is evil.

The main reason to avoid social media is because you are commodifying yourself. You are the product. You are being consumed by Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, whatever.

Your attention is the product, but you don't get paid. You get paid nothing for having your time and attention sucked away.

Regarding positivity: Faceplant is a great example of the American mind has been completely destroyed by the values of "positive thinking." I'm sorry, positive thinking is not thinking, it is propaganda, it is self-delusion, and loss of autonomy and community.

When the grid goes down, or disaster strikes, your Faceplant friends will not be there to help. The real, physical neighbors you have been ignoring for years and probably don't even know will be there. But you won't know them. Or trust them. They won't know or trust you.

Worst of all, social media teaches you to make yourself into a product. You begin to self-censor, because you crave the "likes" just as a heroin addict craves a fix.

The fix is in, and the fix is easy: quit. Delete your account (which will never be deleted - it will be frozen on the server forever, but whatever... better offline and forgotten).
Once you get over the withdrawal pains, you will have more time, but most of all, your thoughts will be freed from the need to be constantly liked by strangers who don't really give a damn about you.

What I found out was that 90% of the so-called "friends" couldn't even be bothered to email me the old-fashioned way, let alone call, or even text. And I certainly have never received a written letter from an ex-Facebook friend.

Before I deleted my account in 2010, I deleted half of my "friends."  The only requirement for your deletion was if I worked with you, you got deleted.  I had 140 friends of which 70 were work associates.  Another 40 or do were family, and the rest were random people from my past.  I had to explain to my paramedic partner that it wasn't personal...just I was deleting everybody whom worked at Piedmont EMS.  Several people stopped me at the hospital in the ambulance bay and asked what was going on...as in they actually noticed that I wasn't showing up in their feed.  "yeah, it's nothing personal, it's just I deleted everybody who works here." I'd hop in the truck, open my book and read, while the rest of the crews would stand around hob knobbing. 

Everybody considered me weird...which is saying something considering the company.  EMT's are by nature fucked up people...you have to be to want to work on a meat wagon.  Yet even amongst that crowd I was considered weird.  My supervisor, whom was sure she understood me and liked me very much, would always go to bat for me when I'd come up "no, he's not weird really...you just have to get to know him."  Later I found out I have Aspergers, which explained why I was considered weird amongst a weird subculture. 

I was on facebook for a little over a year.  I actually started blogging on FB in the "notes" section, and I just used it as a blog while I was on it before I started Epiphany Now .  Once I started blogging I had absolutely no reason for FB any longer seeing as how 90% of my "friends" I didn't give a shit about and the rest were family.  I got tired of seeing the dumb shit people were concerned about when all I could see was how we're consuming a healthy human habitat.  So I started selecting to ignore people, so I'd still be their "friend" but they wouldn't know I no longer saw their stupid shit.  After I deleted work associates I began ignoring, and then I realized that out of the 70 or so "friends" I had left I was ignoring 90% of them. 

I realized that the only thing FB was for me was a constant source of depression.  It depressed me to see my fellow man marinating in stupid amongst a narcissistic blend of imagadets.  Relentlessly pursuing a reality that only exists inside a literal Matrix.  Shortly after deleting FB I deleted my Matrix account by resigning from it.  I've since been in a glitch.  Now, from this vantage point, I've realized that I no longer belong in the Matrix.  There is no place that I want to inhabit in it. 

Except maybe the Diner and Epiphany Now...my transmission into the fringe of the Matrix.  Because even Aspergians need friends every once in a while  :icon_sunny:

Ironically I find myself at home in this medium.  It's much easier for me to get the human interaction I need virtually.  My writing self gets to interact with other writers in this medium.  While it's not "human" interaction, and while it takes place on the Matrix, it still fills a need to belong to something.  That's why FB works so well...it makes people feel like they are a part of something that is all about them.  In a society where one must struggle with ferocious tenacity to find something worth giving a shit about, feeling that you belong and that people like you is one hell of a commodity. 

Offline step back

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Re: Our Devolving Species
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2014, 01:00:11 PM »

Worst of all, social media teaches you to make yourself into a product. You begin to self-censor, because you crave the "likes" just as a heroin addict craves a fix.


Excellent insight.
I hadn't thought of it that way.

Pleas press the "LIKE" buttons to the right to like like me. Thanks!  :emthdown: :emthdown: :emthdown:

 

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