Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More on evolution and devolution

Continuing an idea blogged about elsewhere...


But when Gutenberg (borrowing from the Chinese) perfected moveable type, he led the way to another and even broader form of cultural sharing; literacy became widespread in the aftermath of the printing press, and savants throughout the Europe published their insights, sharing their own expertise, producing the Enlightenment and igniting the Scientific Revolution. Peer-review, although portrayed today as a conservative force, initially acted as a radical intellectual accelerant, a mental hormone which again amplified the engines of human culture, leading directly to the Industrial Age.

The conservative empires fell, replaced by demos, the people: the cogs and wheels of a new system of the world which allowed for massive cities, massive markets, mass media, massive growth in human knowledge, and a new type of radicalism, known as Liberalism, which asserted the freedom of capital, labor, and people. That Liberalism, after two hundred and fifty years of ascendancy, has become the conservative order of culture, and faces its own existential threat, the result of another innovation in sharing.

Last month, The Economist, that fountainhead of Ur-Liberalism, proclaimed humanity “halfway there.” Somewhere in the last few months, half the population of the planet became mobile telephone subscribers. In a decade’s time we’ve gone from half the world having never made a telephone call to half the world owning their own mobile.

{ snip }

Sociability has always been the cornerstone to human effectiveness. Being social has always been the best way to get ahead.

{ snip }

It is as though we have all been shoved into the same room, a post-modern Panopticon, where everyone watches everyone else, can speak with everyone else, can work with everyone else.

Some Grump


All of this activity makes a perfect cover for our real activity: a tacit conspiracy to evade reality.

We're generating more information, product, media, etc. than ever before, but how much of it is accurate? How much is relevant?

Sure, the proles love it, but their love is easily bestowed. What's going to last beyond the immediate generation?

The answer is very little, for to be loved, it needs to be truthful, and most of what we're seeing thanks to sociability is a pleasant, white-lie, denial of truth. It starts with "that dress doesn't make you look fat" and ends up with "everyone is equal."

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Subvert the dominant paradigm, don't be a solipsist.

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