What do guitars, lollies, lipstick, tamagotchis, padded bras, pornography, movies, opium, Ever Quest, and 98% of any Australian newspaper in common? They are all technologies of emmotional manipulation which distort our perceptions for the benefit of their masters. Language centres in our neocortex may claim to "know" they are fake, but these words only feebly suppress those primitive areas of the brain which give rise to our feelings, colour our memories and command our attention. These non-verbal processing regions of the brain have not evolved to deal such sensory sophistry. For them, sensing is believing.
Hence the feelings in a young woman's breast buffeted by the flashing lights and impossibly sonorous tones of the amplified rock star; master of a 20 KiloWatt Adam's apple and by inference a super man having the chest cavity of God. Hence the dilated pupil of a man glancing at skin tone pigments on matted wood fibres, a pattern of vision that once meant love was not only in the air but ready and willing, prostrate on the ground. Hence the wariness of the horror movie attendee when returning home and opening the door of what was, and infact still is, a pefectlty innocent closet. Hence understanding Neighbors instead of neighbors and having Friends instead of friends. Hence the poker machine addict. Hence the dramatic rise in the economic take of powerful industries built around using advances in technology to stuff our heads with false feelings and memories. Not content to be zero sum, in exchange for our wealth and time these industries generally leave us less able to function by decalibrating our emotional and intellectual repore with reality.
"But, I like it you cold hearted Lutheran, you Stoic, you stone mason, you Zeno loving stick in the mud!". Well naturally, since the whole game is to manipulate your feelings, it is not suprising that you have positive associations about your perceptual opium, is is, after all, what keeps you going back to your dealer.
Such deceptions, previously known as "Art", as in "Artifice" or "Artful" have a long history of successful human parasitation. But the industrial control of and rapid advances in the ability to successfully falsify sense data has no historical analog. I have previously argued that a possible explanation for the Fermi Paradox (why don't there seem to be any aliens, dude) is the existence of a developmental ceiling created by technological advances flowing into the perceptual manipulation industry till it gobbles up through diversion and wealth destruction all economic growth.
The credulous will not inherit the earth, but they'll get to play a game where they do. A beautiful reality and a beautiful dream.