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  • Writer's picturelilmyacofield

The Djinn

The Djinn Once upon a time, there was a Djinn who lived inside of another wise unremarkable brass lamp. As the story often goes, this Djinn had the power to grant three wishes to anyone who discovered him. Quite a few legends surrounded this Djinn, including one claiming that the Djinn was actually a sinister spirit who delighted in twisting the wishes around to harm the person who made the wish. One day, a brave explorer discovered the cave that held the Djinn’s brass lamp. She rubbed the lamp and the Djinn appeared, offering her the three wishes of legend. Now this brave explorer had given the matter quite a bit of thought. She was, in fact, a very well intentioned individual who wanted to help her entire kingdom. Looking down at the notes she’d brought with her, she read from her carefully prepared wishes. “I want people to always be able to find other like-minded individuals, so that they are never alone,” she declared. “I want people to always be able to communicate with each other,” she added.(She’d given the matter some thought and came to the conclusion that the first two wishes, while similar, needed to be independent.) “And, finally, I want everyone to have access to much of the world’s information. ”The Djinn bowed before the brave explorer. “As you wish,” he proclaimed, and clapped his hands once before vanishing back into his brass lamp. The brave explorer suddenly found herself in possession of a pocket-sized conch shell. And when she got back to her village, everyone there also now had a I miler conch shell. In fact, everyone in the entire kingdom was now in possession of a similar shell. The shell came with no instruction manual, but experimentation soon showed that it provided access to everything the explorer had asked. It allowed them to communicate with anyone at any time, and to find like-minded individuals with similar interests and hobbies. Finally, it provided them access to all of the world’s information. But the shell did not discriminate. By providing access to all of the world’s information –it also included a great deal of incorrect information. When provided with contradictory information through the shell –most people opted to just stick with what they’d originally believed. The shell also provided some information that was dangerous and quite a bit that was not appropriate for children. Additionally, some people became so dependent on the shell as a source of information that they became increasingly lazy and ceased to ever really become fully informed on a topic. They hit a point where they wouldn’t even bother to use the shell’s information archive-but would lazily just ask others to do so for them. As noted, the shell also let people communicate with each other at any time. This also had its down side, especially when telemarketers began to use the shell for their own sinister purposes. Children bullied at school found that the mistreatment continued –through the shell –when they were home. Stressed

members of the workforce now couldn’t even escape to the bathroom without being contacted. There was no longer any way to get away. In similar fashion, the shell did, in fact, allow people to find like-minded individuals or others they wanted to find. This turned out to be great for conspiracy theorists and terrorists –now instead of being isolated, they were better able to organize and cooperate. Predators and stalkers were now able to use the shell to better track down children and ex-spouses. Finally, while the shell brought everyone together in some ways, it did so in a way that was oblivious to the actual meaning of the word together. People would sit together at a dinner table -but they’d ignore everyone seated with them because they were busy swapping conspiracy theories and insulting people they’d never met. In truth, many people had never felt more alone. ***“I know what you’ve done!” shouted the brave explorer, barely giving the Djinn time to emerge from his brass lamp before beginning her prepared diatribe. “You’ve provided me with cursed wishes!” The Djinn lowed his eyes. “Have members of your kingdom not used their shells to find old friends?” he asked, softly. “Have they not used it to bring comfort to isolated family members?” “Well, yes, but...”“Have they not used it to bring justice to crimes that would have gone unsolved? To convince people seeking medical attention to do so? To allow anyone who wants to know the population of Iceland in mere seconds?” "But it has also caused a great deal of harm!” The Djinn smiled sadly. “Perhaps you were not ready for the shell. Perhaps it was too much at once. But what’s done is done. Perhaps your shell should be viewed as both a blessing and a curse. So maybe it’s up to you guys –both as individuals and as a kingdom –to get your crap together. Stop believing stuff that only fits your conformation bias. Develop and actually enforce better rules to protect children and others from predators. Learn to recognize shell addiction for what it really is. Evolve. Adapt. Improve. The Djinn began shrinking, turning into a swirling mist as he returned to his lamp. “You can start,” he whispered. “By putting your shells down at the dinner table.”

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