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Thread: Democracy in the Age of Too Much Information and Too Many Ideas

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    Avalon Member Kryztian's Avatar
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    Default Democracy in the Age of Too Much Information and Too Many Ideas

    In spite of our concerns about censorship and authoritarian control of our thoughts and ideas, we live on a planet where half the population has internet access and can instantly get information from almost every corner of the globe, and can easily share there own thoughts and opinions, from lengthy blog posts to posting simple emoticons on social media.

    Is the world any better for this? We all have something to share, something to say, something to preach, and yet we all have radically different ideas about what the problem is, or who the problem people are. What seems universal is that people are less and less happy with the governments that are running their planets, the elites that are running the corporation, and the institutions of health and education, but somehow we can not come of with an alternative solutions to these problems that we can agree on.

    This subject is taken up by the WhoWhatWhy podcast Why Is Everybody So Damn Angry? Martin Gurri, the author of The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium looks at the intersection of technology and how it affects human communication and civilization. Some previous instances where technology has lead to social upheaval:
    • The Thirty Years’ War (1618 - 1648) was a result of the invention of the printing press, which allowed conflicting ideas of religion to be expressed and disseminated
    • The European Revolutions of 1848 were a result of more widespread use of printing presses and cheap pamphlets, which allowed conflicting political ideas to be expressed
    • Fascist movement of the 1930's exploited the new technology of radio
    • The counter-cultural movement of the 1960's had ideas often expressed in music can at a time when people had home stereos and portable radios.

    It is only logical then, that with the advent of the internet, with forums, social media sites, etc. that there would be another process of social upheaval.

    Gurri is a former CIA analyst of global media. Like most people who have worked for sinister organizations, I sense nothing sinister in him, just someone who is sincerely interested in how we can all make the world a better more productive place, but I do find it revealing that the CIA has been interested in these phenomena, and has been anticipating them and can only speculate about how the CIA and others have put this information to use.

    Gurri believe that there is just too much information out there for the any government organization to process, and that controlling information flow is impossible in just about every nation of the world except North Korea. At one time, the Mass media was just another unifying factor in our social fabric.

    Quote there used to be a mass audience. I was a part of it in the 20th century. The mass audience was like this gigantic mirror where we all saw ourselves reflected. I saw myself there. The entirety of the United States of America, we were all there looking at each other in that mirror. That was the mass audience.
    Many of the structures that help people together, church, community, family, etc. have broken down. That combined with our new technological ways of communication has brought about a new type of nihilism.

    Quote That mirror has toppled over and it has shattered. The public now inhabits all the broken pieces. It has all this information, all this idea about the government being a failure, all this idea about interpreting failure not as incompetence but as corruption and self-serving. In other words, they think the people who run the government, it’s not that they are trying and failing because they’re not competent enough. It’s because they are feathering their own nest. That seems to be almost universally the interpretation that is given to government failure. You have these broken shards of the public mostly disliking one another and fighting one another. The only way they can unify, the only way they can mobilize and become a political actor as the public has, is by being against. There’s no positive proposals. There is no program that they’re advocating. There are no organizations. There are no leaders. There isn’t even an ideology. Ideologies are frowned upon. There is just this feeling of loathing of the status quo, of the way things are. Established order needs to be bashed at.
    Gurri isn’t entirely pessimistic about this situation. He does state that what we are going through could just be a phase in humanity’s development.

    Quote Well we now know that the printing press was by far the most liberating technology that has ever been invented. So we are in the very early stages of this vast migration out of the industrial age to somewhere parts unknown, some place that doesn’t have a name yet. So it seems very conflictive. This seems very painful and it certainly in many ways is, but it’s early. It’s early
    He discusses the dynamics between populism and the elite leadership of the world, and hints that our current situation of distrust for the people at the top, was inevitable, and probably known in advance by the people he worked for, but what ex-CIA analyst Gurri does not speculate about is what have the CIA and other institutions controlled by “elites” done with this information? Did they just passively despair about the coming lack of trust in government, or did they work behind the scenes to fragment the public into different camps and factions? Mainstream media is now divided between liberal and conservative factions which all try to polarize their audience and see that the problem is the people on the other side of the political fence, and not the people at the top of the pyramid.

    While most of the discussion is focused on what happens at the bottom of the pyramid, Gurri does state that the pyramid need to be flattened, and does have some positive suggestions about what we need and should expect from our leadership:

    Quote We need elites that are more humble. We need elites that are more modest and that are more courageous, that feel comfortable being among the public. Right now, the internet can be seen as bringing the public and the elites into kind of an unbearable proximity, and the reaction of the public has been anger, and the reaction of the elites has been to fly as high up into the top of the pyramid to escape. I mean that’s where they are right now. So you need people who have the courage.
    I highly recommend listening to the podcast (35 minutes) or reading the transcript.

    https://whowhatwhy.org/2020/01/31/wh...so-damn-angry/

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    United States Avalon Member RunningDeer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Democracy in the Age of Too Much Information and Too Many Ideas

    Quote Posted by Kryztian (here)
    I highly recommend listening to the podcast (35 minutes) or reading the transcript.

    https://whowhatwhy.org/2020/01/31/wh...so-damn-angry/
    Why Is Everybody So Damn Angry?
    Elite institutions — from government to academia to media — are losing their authority and monopoly all over the world. Why?
    January 31, 2020

  4. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to RunningDeer For This Post:

    Anka (10th February 2020), EFO (7th February 2020), Kryztian (7th February 2020), rainsong (7th February 2020)

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