What does Rendezvous with Rama have to do with fake news?

March 25, 2018

It is fitting that Arthur C Clarkes novel, rendevouz with Rama is widely considered science fiction. That is to say it like the notion of fake news is not an actual concept….rather it is imagined.

In the story. A spacecraft named endeavor makes contact with an alien construct that has suddenly appeared in the planet of jupiter. Again the idea is reminisent of how the idea of fake news has also suddenly appeared and taken hold in the public consciousness.

The alien construct is called Rama….Rama has appeared at a time when the human race is asking so many questions that cannot be answered by traditional beliefs. Hence all of mankind in this imagined federation of planets and moons look to Rama as a form of tabula rasa approaching salvation…..again this is what we are witnessing now as the fake news circus is being played out, various actors are called upon to lend their points of view as to how best to counter the evils of fake news…real and imagined included. These new adherents all speak with great urgency as if this is something new that has suddenly appeared before them like some giant flying saucer that is parked menacingly at their front door…they are frantic…they dont know what they should do. Neither do they seem to understand how is it possible that a craft should go round and round yet none of aliens seems to be affected at all by motion sickness along with other such mysteries.

Only understand this and understand it clearly…the idea of fake news like the concept of Rama in Arthur C Clarkes novel is not real….that is why in the very beginning of this blog entry, I have termed it as a construct – a notion…a suggestion…and as such both ideas can never escape the gravity of reality.

Just because you put a label to something like ‘fake news’ and get worked up about it doesn’t make it realer than what it actually is. Neither does it have the capacity to alter reality either. As in reality, just as the sudden appearance of Rama can never slake the deepest yearnings of man to know the unknowable…the same will apply to the fad of fake news…one fine day when everyone calms down hopefully the sane and reasonable amongst us will all say, this is not a new problem that requires new laws and new ways to combat it…it is simply old dressed as new.

Like the story of mankind’s first encounter with an alien construct that they have called Rama…soon all questions will merely boil down to one and only one – hey! This isnt new…I have been here before!

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‘In this committee that is set up to beacon out the murk on the notion of fake news…..one thing is missing that is the representatives that are supposed to reflect the various constituencies of the federation of the internet. If you observe very carefully how the proceedings are unfolding, every aspect of views is solicited by the committee on how to best deal with fake news. But no one in the committee seems to be very interested in what the internet has to say about the idea of fake news….so what you have here is a very curious situation where everyone seems to be convinced there is malevolent force that has suddenly appeared in the scene….it is like the story of how Rama suddenly appeared in the solar system….and how by its very appearance it provoked a storm of reactions that seems not have existed previously before…but the story of mankinds fascination with the sudden appearance of Rama is also the story of how man seems to like to make a mountain out of a molehill.’

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