Friday, January 19, 2007

Beyond Government and Politics

If one monitors the mass media, one gets the impression that “government and politics,” is all that is happening in the world -- rather than that it is irrelevant for most people, as the declining poll numbers show at election time (as opposed to the constant polling of the few remaining who still make it a significant part of their lives to express an opinion at every chance they get).

But the most part of society has moved on -- since such opinions have become not only plentiful but oppressive. The mass media target still has a lot of easily manipulable people, but it is not likely to contain the most discerning members of society anymore -- and it is contact with that “intelligent life in the universe,” that is the meaning and purpose of our own intelligence. Those people have moved on to gaining most of their information through firsthand experiences -- rather than relying on the mediated event as interpreted by a “celebrity” journalist or an autocratic “teacher” -- who invariably is the limit to the understanding and even perception of the event.

The alternative is learning to read between the lines -- of what is not said, as well as what is said, which is the silence of the unknown. Often, there is much more content in what is unsaid than what is said -- for the discerning reader or listener. It has become an even greater art and talent than producing the (original) piece -- and never more so than in this age of interactive, collaborative writing, speaking and thinking that the new media makes possible.

The old mass media was always one way -- with those who controlled the media, as well as those who could afford to pay for the access -- in unilateral control. Some “bloggers” still try to maintain this control by moderating/editing/suppressing all feedback, in the old style editorial control -- as though the Internet simply made old style publications possible for everyone, rather than expanding the universe of possibilities, including how it could be done way better.

And thus we see human ingenuity and creativity explode as never witnessed and made possible before -- unlike the old style of battle of control for a limited resource. Once resources become very plentiful, than the strategy must shift from capturing it all, to discerning which is the best needle in the haystack -- because the best implies all the others, and can do what all the others cannot.

Government is usually not on this leading edge -- although there is no reason it can’t be, as it once was. Government leaders used to be visionaries of society, defining future society -- and the last thing they were interested in was their own job security, like every union worker is likely to be -- serving their own narrow self-interests. But usually what they value and are competing for, is not what the intelligent person values most highly.

That is invariably more food, clothing and shelter, ie., money, which are necessary for everyone up to a point, but beyond that, becomes the indiscriminate overconsumption that are visibly obvious in the contemporary problems of these times -- that “More” is not the solution.

The next step is not “More,” but “Better” -- and knowing the difference.


At January 21, 2007 12:54 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

“If we are to have right relationship between human beings, there should be no compulsion nor even persuasion. How can there be affection and genuine co-operation between those who are in power and those who are subject to power? By dispassionately considering this question of authority and its many implications, by seeing that the very desire for power is in itself destructive, there comes a spontaneous understanding of the whole process of authority. The moment we discard authority we are in partnership, and only then is there co-operation and affection.

The real problem in education is the educator. Even a small group of students becomes the instrument of his personal importance if he uses authority as a means of his own release, if teaching is for him a self-expansive fulfillment. But mere intellectual or verbal agreement concerning the crippling effects of authority is stupid and vain.

There must be deep insight into the hidden motivations of authority and domination. If we see that intelligence can never be awakened through compulsion, the very awareness of that fact will burn away our fears, and then we shall begin to cultivate a new environment which will be contrary to and far transcend the present social order.”

Education and the Significance of Life

At January 21, 2007 1:08 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Most of the controversy, divisiveness, partisanship, coercion, and even violence of these present times -- are caused by the mass media demagogues, who see creating this drama, as a worthwhile vocation in their lives.

In another time, they were called hate-mongers, and some pride themselves on being "devil's advocates," whose sole purpose is to start an unnecessary argument -- as their entertainment and power trip in life.

The most celebrated of such characters is Shakespeare's "Iago" in Othello -- who was the perfectly happy man of whom "Iago" was obsessed to destroy as the singular meaning and purpose of his existence.

Many of today's media "celebrities" exist for no other reason.


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