Tapping Out

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So I’m trying to get interested in the sport of MMA and the various major league venues  for combat sport such as the UFC and Bellator, but I’m struggling. Mainly because I’m too lazy to actually learn anything about fighting or even do research about the fighters, but also because the vast majority of MMA media I consume comes from watching Rednecks fight Former Gang Members on YouTube.

Most of them can’t fight for shit but I fucking love it. There’s nothing better than watching a racist crack-head who was on Jerry Springer once get the ever living shit kicked out of him by a Black guy with good form.

So in my pursuit of knowledge I encountered this term; Submission.

A submission in fighting means for a fighter to yield to the opponent, and hence resulting in an immediate defeat. The submission – also referred to as a “tap out” or “tapping out” – is often performed by visibly tapping the floor or the opponent with the hand or in some cases with the foot, to signal the opponent and/or the referee of the submission. In some combative sports where the fighter has cornermen, the cornerman can also stop the fight by “throwing in the towel“, which may count as a submission.

A technical submission may occur when the referee or doctor stops the fight because a fighter has sustained an injury or is rendered unconscious while in a submission hold. An example would be a fighter’s arm breaking in an armbar, or a fighter passing out in a choke hold.

In both cases the fighter is unable to tap out, and an official decides that the fighter cannot safely continue to fight. Such a match outcome may be called a technical submission or a technical knockout (TKO) depending on the rules of combat used for the match.

There’s rumours that Floyd Maywether is looking to get into the UFC and has even bragged that he’ll never tap out. But if you’re familiar with the sport, and you know the severe pain felt when you’re being choked or having your arm twisted in such a way that it feels as if it’s about to snap- then you know you’re going to tap out.

There’s no shame in tapping out, why hurt yourself for no reason? What do you value more, your health or your pride?

So I’ve been thinking about the term tapping out and how it may apply to things outside of the world of combat sports. Over the past week I’ve taken a break from most social media platforms in the hope that it would improve my mental health.

There’s been a few studies that show how taking a break from Facebook can lead to a more satisfied view on life. Mainly because you’re not being bombarded with images of other people who seem way happier than you. There’s a lot of things going on here psychologically, the main issue is that you’re comparing your own life with another persons.

But most people’s Facebook isn’t an accurate portrayal of who they are or what their life is really like. For them it’s more like a highlight reel, so you’re essentially comparing your day to day life with what the other user considers to be the best moments of their day to day life.

Then there’s of course the influence of likes on Facebook. You put out a post and get a few likes and you feel great, because it means that other people approve of your message and thus approve of you. Then you begin to compare your likes to other users and now you’re starting to feel insecure. Imagine, you were thinking of a joke for a good solid hour but somehow fucking Sharon from work gets thirty more likes simply cause she said she likes ice cream? What the fuck Sharon?!

Then of course there’s the negative aspect of likes. I’ve talked to several women who complain about these other women always liking their selfies but you just know that they’re in another group chat talking complete and utter shit behind your back. So it’s an insincere like that solely exists to keep up appearances.

It’s a strange culture that has developed in the last ten or so years on Facebook. You’ll find yourself liking the selfies of people you’ve met like once in the hopes of maintaining some bullshit relationship that neither of you will acknowledge for the rest of your lives. I know guys have a tendency to like the selfies of girls they really want to fuck, hence why pretty girls get up to well over a hundred likes for a fairly shitty selfie.

Those likes mainly consist of friends and frenemies liking the post and then commenting upon how pretty the individual is, then of course there’s always that weird middle aged man who says something strange in the comments and that’s never nice. The price of being a pretty girl on the internet is that yes you can get a great deal of appreciation and that feels nice. But you also open yourself up to weird guys who always pop up to say weird shit. I should know, I used to be one of those weird guys.

Then of course there’s the newsfeed which is almost always awful. Filled with friends sharing stuff that you don’t give a shit about, news articles that make you really angry and the occasional meme to entice you into staying on the site longer. Facebook in and of itself isn’t really a fun experience, it’s more or less just a device used to kill time.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been hanging out with a friend and he just spends twenty odd minutes at a time scrolling through Facebook aimlessly for no other reason than he ran out of things to talk about.

But as far as mental health goes, the worst app for young people in particular is none other than Instagram. Now I’m not too familiar with site, but from what I gather it’s more dependent on images than Facebook- so that highlight reel effect is cranked up to eleven.

The highlight reel is arguably worse than comparing yourself to say a celebrity or a model or a social media influencer, because although there might be a lot of naive people who compare their lives to these millionaires- most people know that their lives are bullshit. Because you know full well that if you had the money and the time then you too could look that good all the time.

But with the highlight reel you’re not comparing your life to a celebrities, you’re comparing yourself with your friends and random people you know. So you find yourself thinking how the hell does Greg the technician look happier than you do?

Surprisingly the social media platform that most benefits young people is YouTube. Mainly because they’re able to find people such as vloggers that they feel have a special connection with themselves, as if you saw that individual as a close friend to yourself. You can build a sense of community by joining a fandom that obsesses over a TV show or a specific person. So this online experience can be very welcoming to many people, but it’s ultimately detrimental to the peoples real lives.

Because the marketing strategy of YouTube is to keep the user on the platform as long as possible, so the algorithm will always be recommending videos for the user to watch. An algorithm is essentially these tiny little robots that analyse giant streams of data and assigns what data is more relevant, what data deserves demonetisation and what data needs to be removed.

CGP Grey has a great video on algorithms and how they effect practically everything on the internet. Basically we’re seeing these tiny robots go through the process of billions of years of evolution in real time. Some day we’ll get something so smart that it’s able to think for itself, thus rises artificial intelligence. But for now the internet is being run by these mentally disabled robots who have no idea what they’re doing.

YouTube’s main issues mainly affects both the user and the creators. A user who is very interested in politics may watch one video talking about a subject they’re interested in, then another and sooner or later you find yourself going down a rabbit hole which leads you to saying and believing the most ridiculous things. Everyone knows at least one guy or girl who talks about these weird abstract political movements that they assume everyone is familiar with because they themselves have consumed over a hundred hours of that said content. You can really churn out some assholes via this process.

The creator on the other hand, who may have started out just for fun or even to promote themselves, has now been granted some temporal fame but now they have a need to maintain that audience. That involves producing more content, engaging more on other social media platforms to keep updated with both the events in your circle and your fans- basically you exert an intense amount of energy to ensure that people will still pay attention to you and that is exhausting.

To my surprise the second platform that gave users the most enjoyment was none other than Twitter. Really? Twitter? I mean, sure you’ll occasionally see something funny or enlightening but the vast majority of the time it’s just people yelling at each-other incoherently in 180 characters or less.

Twitter is one of the places where things like politics thrives. Snapchat and Facebook aren’t nearly as good at getting political engagement as Twitter, it’s just the ideal platform for shitposters and politicians- even a President.

The price of engaging with so many like minded people is that often times you’ll encounter someone from the opposite side of the political spectrum who you get in an argument with. There’s so many people who go on Twitter before bed and then can’t go to sleep because they’re so angry about what some random guy said online.

As far as politics go Twitter is extremely detrimental. People on the far left and right are less likely to interact with others but people who would be considered more centrist will interact with others. But in each community people are prone to hurl insults instead of responding to the argument or even engaging in a massive circle jerk with their followers that just confirms their own biases and worldview.

The latter case involves a lot of straw-man arguments, in which a prominent twitter user will set up an individual (usually someone like themselves) who say something completely reasonable but the opponent is usually this crazy loon who says something completely banal. So you’re basically imagining a person who possesses the ideology of the opposing ideology that you imagine to understand and then you implement what you perceive to be one of their talking points and then you immediately shut them down.

It’s essentially the equivalent of making up fake arguments with imaginary people in the shower that you always win, but in this case there are fifty thousand people watching you shower and cheering you on like “yeah, you tell that imaginary guy who’s what!

So with all this you can understand why I felt the need to tap out for a week. But it seems that it’s become almost impossible for most people to tap out of the internet completely. For those in full time employment you can’t really afford to miss any important work emails or messages.

And I know it’s a privilege to simply ignore the horrors of the world, because for a lot of issues some people can’t afford to tap out. Ignorance is bliss, but ignorance is also the greatest detriment to mankind. How many people are aware of the abysmal working conditions Amazon employees have to abide by? How many people were aware that these said employees were going on strike a few days ago during a huge sale for the company?

Not many I imagine. Because on the day of the strike, Amazon received the most customers they’ve had in their ten year history.

The tragedy of the internet age is that we have never had a time where so many people have immediate access to so much information. But the people remain ignorant because they are locked in to this tight-nit community, they don’t go out to search for information themselves. They just listen to what their friends and family say and take it at face value.

Despite the internet usually being complete and utter shit, it’s worth noting the freedoms we will gradually lose overtime. Right now in internet history we are living in the wild west. This frontier will eventually be conquered by a few multi national corporations and what we perceive to be freedom is simply the illusion of freedom, what we see as choice is merely the illusion of choice, any perceivable change is just the illusion of change. The illusion of progress.

Some day, very soon, you will be unable to find free porn on the internet. Just let that sink in for a moment.

So all though it’s vital that you occasionally take a break from the internet to essentially live your own life, you cannot afford the luxury of ignorance. You can’t simply unplug from the Matrix whenever you feel the news is depressing you, you can’t just tap out when you feel completely and utterly alone and helpless at a seemingly cruel and indifferent world.

In the words of George Orwell; “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.” our job is to ensure that never happens. So you can tap out now, but for the love of god make sure you get back in that ring.

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