Friday, December 23, 2016

The Fake News Head Fake

We only need pay attention to find ever-present examples of how a particular narrative about the way things are dominates our culture.  One can hope that the latest fad in the MSM clerisy of swooning over the sudden appearance of alleged “fake news” might help us all consider the question of how we help create our culture with our mass delusions and blind spots. 

Since the development of in the Advanced Sector mass media with the widespread affordability of the radio after World War I, we created the possibility of inculcating specific memes of taste, belief, and prejudice as “mainstream” currents of the culture.  This was grafted onto and reflective of the existing methods of mass communication based upon newspapers and pamphleteering, which were by and large generated by very specific political economic interests. 

The concurrent rise of dictatorships left and right allowed for the sharpening of these emerging mass media into an instrument of general propaganda, creating a blueprint for mass manipulation available to any amoral enough to take advantage of it.  So powerful was this invention that George Orwell famously wrote of how it might be applied much more aggressively in times when technology might make a monopoly feasible even in the democratic West. 

Even those on the Left note from time to time that—at least until the appearance of the worldwide web—almost all news outlets—newspapers, magazines, radio, and television—were commercial ventures, governed by the laws of financial survival.  Those that became, in the way of these things, the flag ships of the mainstream media, were well-positioned to become monopoly instruments capable of dictating not only tastes and fashions, but political and cultural beliefs more generally.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Transcend and Exclude: the Postmodern U-Turn

Ken Wilber has argued, and I completely agree with him, that humanity’s current task is the extension and maturing of the orange, modern, individualistic wave of consciousness.  Globally, only around 20% of us have our “center of gravity” in orange, although the contributions of those at orange have radically altered all of us for the better in the past 200 years.  And, as I have explored previously, we have yet to fully integrate the earlier waves so that even our current occupation of/by orange has a long way to go to operational maturity among a critical mass of us.

This challenge is complicated by the emergence of green in a very immature and reactionary version he calls, appropriately, “Boomeritis.”  The mass appearance of green as a wave distinct from orange can be dated to the 1960s, even as we can see expressions of it showing up in the mid-nineteenth century.

The discontinuity from orange that green has generated is that individual identity (the gift of orange) is the birthright of every human being, no exceptions, and thus no one person or group can be privileged over another.  In the long run, for green to mature into a separate and superior wave with probabilistic characteristics that transcend and include all the inferior waves, it will have to demonstrate and express this embrace consistently.

To date, the Boomeritis version of green which appears to predominate in Europe and the United States does not yet transcend and include, much less integrate, the earlier stages.  Indeed, in its left-wing postmodernist expression, it explicitly rejects the rational domain which, as a necessary condition for individual identity, was a categorical advance over amber.  This transcend-and-exclude dynamic has all kinds of impacts on our current situation, most of them (apparently) leading away from the expansion of consciousness.