Heroin, Melange, and Notification

Screen grab from Dune (1984)

My introduction to the cult of the Dune was through a backdoor that I accidentally stumbled through.

Spotify still amazes me with the ingenious usages of learning frameworks that deliver patently usable outcomes to its user base. One such example is the XYZ Radio playlist concept.

Here is how it works. I am listening to @night, my usual nighttime companion, when I hear Ney Nava playing on the speakers. I am called back into a whirlpool of nostalgia and contradictory feelings of joy and pain. I want to hear more. I press on the three vertical dots on the top right corner of the screen and a few options show up. “Add to Playlist”, I have already done that. “Add to Queue”, sure, let’s do that, but I need more, and that’s when I find out about “Go to Song Radio”. I touch the magic words and the gates open and I am flooded with feelings that are too complex to give in to the imposition of words.

Through one such journey I discovered The Squatch Expands Life, by Mr Squatch, and was taken aback by whatever it is that that piece of music is. A short while later, and a few playbacks had already happened during this period, I started to pay attention to the words that are spoken when the track opens. “The spice extends life. The spice expands consciousness. The spice is vital to space travel.” I had no idea where these verses were descending from. I took note of them, and moved on.

The second shoulder tap came in a few weeks later. I was sifting through the Netflix offering to intellectualize my night and then stumbled upon a 1984 film by the name Dune that describes events that take place in the year 10,191. Distant and precise. A Google search later, I had recognized that I am faced with an adaptation of a, if not the, world’s best-selling science fiction novel.

And that led me to Melange. Potentially coming from the French word for mixed, as Google translate suggests, Melange is a fictional drug invented by Frank Herbert. Short named “the spice”, the author has been vague in describing the appearance of the substance. The drug has been rarely observed by people. Among the most frequent sightings stands David Lynch’s depiction in what Netflix was suggesting would make an enjoyable companion for my night.

The point of these paragraphs is of course not Melange. I assume, that is clear. Neither you or I have had a trip on Melange. I have not taken to the skies on the wings of Heroin either. Making the assumption that a similar proposition is applicable to you too, that leaves us with the third drug in the list, i.e., Notification, and I am fairly confident that both you and I have been, or are, addicted to it.

A posts a picture of her lunch on Instagram. B writes a short Facebook post in which he boasts about his latest athletic achievement. C “lives” a concert. For the illiterate, living, and it is pronounced similar to fiving, is the act of being live during an event. D and E and F perform other deplorable acts of narcissistic behaviour. But why is that?

I suggest that every one of these activities is a plea for a small dose of the digital drug referred to by different names, among which Notification seems to be a proper umbrella term.

And here is a prediction. There is going to be a noticable, upside down, correlation between the sales of marijuana in Canada and activity on Facebook in the same geographical location and time.

p.s. I am fully aware that I have utilized a very powerful non-relevant statistical factor in my own favour extremely sneakily. Don’t tell them.

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