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Feed MT Anderson

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The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words. – Phillip K. Dick. In the book ‘Feed’ by M.T. Anderson, a lot of power and manipulation is shown and that is my topic for this essay. The characters in this book, all have something called a ‘feed’ inside their brains, such as the news feed on Facebook. In this feed, they can interact with each other, see what is happening around them, and several more things, but the feed also controls their way of thinking, their emotions and feelings. The feed is designed so the people behind it can access everyone’s minds and control them, control their feelings, their emotions, their actions, their way of thinking, etc. The characters on the book also receive several kinds of advertisements and things to do, which they will eventually do and believe because of those advertisements always popping up in their minds or ‘feeds’. At one point in the story, when Violet and Titus were at the mall, Violet tells him “Everything we do gets thrown into a big calculation. Like they’re watching us right now.

They can tell where you’re looking. They want to know what you want.” (Anderson 97) This shows that the company or companies in charge of the feed are always looking over you, they know everything you’re doing, how and when. And this is really creepy. Another example of the way the characters are manipulated, is when Titus and Violet think that the companies behind the feed tapped into their feeds, causing scary pictures to show up in their minds late at night and waking them up scared. That night, Violet told Titus “Hey – look lively. Someone was just nosing around my feed, checking out my specs and sending me all these images.” (Anderson 153) If at this point, someone would be able to easily access Violet’s feed and control it as he wanted, this meant that the people behind the feed had a lot of power, and that they could actually do whatever they wanted. Controlling people’s thoughts and actions is bad, but playing with somebody’s mind and manipulate it to your advantage is even worse.

A human’s emotions and functions should not be something to play with. The feed controls everybody’s emotions really bad as we can see when it comes to Violet and the others. A good thing about Violet is that she had her feed put in later than the others, this means that she had a view on life different than the others, she had the opportunity to live freely, therefore she wants everybody to be like that but she know that a lot of people, including her friends, would not be able to live without it. Violet comes up with an idea and explains it to Titus “What I’m doing, what I’ve been doing over the feed for the last two days, is trying to create a customer profile that’s so screwed, no one can market to it. I’m not going to let them catalog me. I’m going to become invisible.” (Anderson 98) This is Violet’s way of rebellion against the feed, because she thinks the world would be better without it. By becoming invisible, the people behind the feed will have a difficult time controlling hers. This plan backfires later in the story when ‘FeedTech’ refuses to fix her feed.

Another way I found in the book where people control their minds is when the main characters were at a party on the moon and they all got what would be called hacked. The effect didn’t last long and was easily fixed by everybody but Violet had a hard time with this. As her feed was installed later, it was a virus difficult to fix and her body started to shut down. She was feeling very weak and she said “Something happened when the guy hacked. Most people, the hack just jammed them for a while. Somehow it affected mine more. Something’s still wrong.” (Anderson 90) The third, and last way in which the companies and the feed impacted and manipulated the characters was in their social interactions. The social aspects of life are completely different, from life without them. In the book, all of the characters have something called a ‘private chat’ that is part of their feeds.

This kind of ‘app’ allows them to text each other over their feeds, when they are in front of each other, without having to actually talk. “I couldn’t receive any more of her chat because our feeds were spiking.” (Anderson 37) Having a private chat like theirs, completely changes and manipulates the idea of talking to somebody and having an actual conversation. This feature allows them to just look at each other and ‘silently’ talk. Other example of the feed taking power over social aspects, is when we find out Violet’s ideas and beliefs are very different from the other characters, those who have had the feed their whole life. Growing up without the feed, Violet isn’t really aware of what are the latest trends or in what way to act. She doesn’t fit in with the others. Violet thinks that living with the feeds is horrible while the other characters think it is amazing. Violet is different from everybody else and they started to slowly walk away from her. Her boyfriend, Titus, is tired of her because of her being different and her different opinions in life, and ends up breaking up with her.

“We’ve only been going out a couple months. And I’m supposed to act like we’re married. A couple of months. It’s not some big eternal thing. We should’ve broke up weeks ago. I would’ve if you hadn’t been…” (Anderson 271) Titus is disgusted by the way Violet is acting, just because she is different. Titus doesn’t realize how horrible the life he is living in, because of the manipulation of the people behind the feed, but he soon finds out how bad it is. As you can see, Titus, Violet and all of their friends, live in a terrifying world where their thoughts, actions, emotions, and their social interactions are being manipulated and controlled by other people. Humans have the right to take care of themselves, think and act on their own and nobody should ever have the power to manipulate them and change their lives completely.

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