What to do and how to protect ourselves

A few days ago, I got a call from a friend, and, in these southern parts, my neighbour. We talked at great length about what follows and what disturbs him deeply; and he called me to ask me to spread the word of his concerns as a warning and a caution; so that people know what awaits us.

Since he is an expert in his field and he knows what he is talking about, I suggested that he put his troubles onto paper.

My friend gave the following title to his thoughts: “Completing the devil’s work”.

It is about modern technology that brings into question everything we know about ourselves and about each other.

He says: “If you want to deceive someone it is necessary to deceive all of their senses of which the two most important ones are the sight and the hearing. It is not by chance that we say: “I saw it with my own eyes.” or ” I have personally heard it.” That is the main evidence of the proven facts after which it is unnecessary to doubt the matter in question.

There have been many attempts in this aspect for a very long time, but there has always been a missing link for the work to be completed. For example, one could have ended a theft by tracking the money that led them to the culprit. That problem is now solved with the Bitcoin, so that money can circle around without trace from whom it came and to whom it goes

It’s been a while since one could manipulate pictures and videos to the perfection, but the mimic of the human voice and the synthesis of the speech always sounded robotized and artificial.

With the development of the modern technology the puzzle is now complete.

We have been witnessing for some time now the possibility of putting someone’s face onto another person to show something that the person is doing which in fact has no relation whatsoever to that person. With modern Hollywood effects anything can be achieved. You could be watching a movie, for example, and right before your eyes Los Angeles is razed to the ground.

That is how your sight is deceived.

Google has recently demonstrated a new technology where they took a woman’s voice frequency and added so called “artificial intelligence” to their Google Assistant and showed how it was used to book a hair salon appointment. The woman on the other end could not tell that it was a robot and she booked her the appointment. Of course, the audience could not tell the difference either between the real woman’s voice and the robotized one, and it was all followed by a loud applause.

We could see that even our hearing could be deceived.

Beside the above-mentioned Bitcoin, we should bear in mind that there are many other electronic illusions such as the anonymous method of collecting money, remote control of cameras on the smart phones and the computers without the owner’s awareness, social networks where information on people’s habits and relationships are collected, various viruses for collecting information from computers regarding their owners etc

The time has come when one cannot believe his eyes or his ears.

Some quite realistic scenarios can look something like this: If someone wants to ruin someone else’s relationship all they need to do is to record an audio of one person saying things the other person cannot justify.

Or: they take a photo from a facebook profile of a girl and put her face on a porn star and then send the email asking for money blackmailing and threatening they would send the clip to her parents and all of her friends and family. There have been already many suicides committed for that reason.

We can only imagine the level of impact that scenarios and blackmails like these can have on lives and careers of young individuals.

Imagine this terrible scenario: God forbid, they make a video of the US President proclaiming the war to Russia, and they show the demolition of Moscow. (The above-mentioned example of the razing of Los Angeles for movie purposes). Is the Russian soldier in Kamchatka going to wait for a call from Moscow to tell him to shoot.

These manipulations can easily cause a modern Armageddon. Of course this is an exaggerated example, and the wide spread use of more benign cases is more probable.  There’s nothing left but to realize that one can no more believe their own eyes or ears.

Until recently there were ways to protect people on Internet from similar experiences: nowadays that is not possible anymore. Police forces that want to fight such abuse of technology cannot do it, simply because there is too much of such abuse.

One has to be confused once they realize that establishing the truth and separating it from deception will be impossible. And manipulating and controlling confused and muddled people is very easy on a mass or even individual level.

That is how my friend presented it.

To his fears Lord responds with consolation that we hear every Service at church, that we are blessed when others revile us and persecute us and utter all kinds of evil against us falsely because of Him.” (Matthew 5:11)

This bliss was very clear to the martyrs. The time will come when our faith will be tested and tempered based on this.

The saints have shown us how that was done with their own lives. I would use two, among many, very distinct examples from The Prologue by Saint Nikolai Velimirovic.

During the time of the Patriarch John the Merciful, there was a young monk who made the list of all prostitutes in Alexandria.

What he did was very unique and exceptional. During the day he would offer himself for hire to do the most difficult jobs, and then at night he would go to harlots, give the money he had earned to one of the prostitutes and close himself in the room with her the entire night. As soon as they would locked the door, Vitalius would ask the woman to go to bed and sleep while he would stay all night awake in the corner of the room praying to God for that poor sinful soul. That way he would save her from sinning at least for that one night. The following night he would visit another one, and then another, and so on until he visited them all, and then he would start over again.

Following his advise, some of these sinful women abandoned their sullied trade, some got married, others went to monasteries, and then still others obtained respectable work.

He forbade all of these women to tell the true reason for his visits. Because of this behaviour Vitalius became resented by all of Alexandria. People reviled him, spit on him, even beat him on the streets. But he endured patiently, keeping his good works a secret from people but making it known to God. When he died everything was revealed.

Reviled by people he was glorified by Omniscient God.

It is hard to say whose work was greater that of Vitalius the Venerable, or that of Venerable Theodora of Alexandria.

Persuaded by a fortune-teller she committed a sin. She immediately started feeling the bitter pangs of conscience. She cut her hair, dressed in men’s clothing and entered the monastery of Octodecatos, under the male name of Theodore. Her labour, fasting, vigilance, humbleness, and tearful repentance amazed the entire brotherhood. When a promiscuous young woman slandered her, saying that Theodore made her pregnant, Theodora did not want to justify herself, but considered this slander as a punishment from God for her earlier sin. Banished from the monastery, she spent 7 years living in the forest and wilderness, and in addition caring for the child of that promiscuous girl. After 7 years, the abbot received her back in the monastery where she lived for 2 more years, and then reposed in Lord. Only then did the monks learn that she was a woman; and an angel appeared to the abbot and explained him everything.

“By your endurance you will gain your souls.” (Luke 21:19

That is the answer to what to do and how to protect ourselves.