Monday, November 7, 2016

Finding A Consensus On Truth...


...Or, as I like to think of it, establishing an ongoing dialogue of what is going on around us so as to keep a dynamic national narrative going; a narrative that gives us a chance for a shared vision of what is real and important.

The excellent article linked below by Maria Bustillos presents a view of just how challenging that undertaking will be. In getting into the distinctions between information, misinformation, disinformation, and what she's coined as "dismediation" (where so much disinformation is pumped out across a wide spectrum of information channels that we get distrust of all channels through false equivalency), we begin to see just how difficult this will be. Especially with "dismediation" do we see a particularly troubling aspect of media manipulation; made all the more troubling now that nations such as China and Russia put such huge efforts into social media trolling, with millions of fake participant posts touting anything but the truth.

In my opinion, however, for such an effort to have long term success we need to confront two aspects of not only how we interact with each other, but what formulates the predominant basis for communication now; two aspects that are intrinsically woven together by the current economic operating system we live in.

The first aspect is the basic nature of what living in a factory modality of life mandates: That we must necessarily be made to be separated and segmented into either specialized work types, and/or industry groups; necessarily creating specific requirements of interest for economic survival. That this also serves to keep us separated physically on a day to day basis, so that we hardly ever, if at all, interact directly with each other, is no small thing either. The bottom line here being that we start out at the get go with de facto echo chambers of narrowly defined elements for what we would see as important, and thus affect what we view as true.

 The second aspect is what might perhaps be the most insidious, and vile, characteristic of a commercialized, specialist, mass production/consumption form of social organization: The absolute need for there to be the "hard sell;" the sales mentality mandatged to get unquestioned consumption required of a productive machine now amplified by electric experience retrieval. Where the "hard sell" is the utilization of every aspect of our emotional, psychological, and physical being to induce want, and the gratification of that want, by the means of consumption. And included in this is not merely the consumption of a particular service or product, but of "buying into" the myriad of ideas, or practitioners of ideas, that affect the huge interactive environment of not only who pays and who benefits, but of what our nation sets forth as priorities as it acts within the community of nations.

This is, of course, where the other aspect of our economic life comes into play: Money. The problem here, though, is not only that those with large accumulations can have an inordinate impact on how information flows out through all of the many media channels, it also comes into play for one of the very reasons that technology has been made Capitalism obsolete: That, in the age now of electrified information flow, money and information have become the same thing. For that reason, just as capital is played out with the expectation of net gain, so must the flow of information itself be conducted; something expressed both in terms of the proprietary nature of information, but also because knowing certain things, or not knowing them, makes all the difference in whether you will benefit, or you will pay; in either the immediate moment, or ongoing through successive years of events unfolding. And thus do we see why a Democracy depends on an informed electorate.

In order for us to rethink how we can interact with each other more directly on an ongoing basis, as well as to change what information itself has been made to become, we will have to recognize that a fundamental change in how we manage both production, and the way we distribute the output of that production, must be implemented. Finding common ground is hard enough given just our natural tendency towards unique interests, tastes, and way of seeing things. Having a social organization that structurally compounds that to absurd levels of separation, and very different practical aspects of daily life, is just insane. Add to that an information environment that starts out pandering to every aspect of our base selves to both consume for product, or be entertained as a service; creating an ever more pervasive saturation of fiction and fantasy, and you get the kaleidoscopic fantasia that passes for reality now. Finish up then with a little salt on the wound in the form of always working your ass off just to stay in the same place survival wise.

Is it any wonder that people have so little ability, or inclination, to be properly informed? And why being entertained is always so much more desirable? So that even government has become a "reality" TV show?


When Truth Falls Apart

How do we restore consensus in an age so divorced from fact?

By Maria Bustillos

See Also:

Democracies end
when they are too democratic.
And right now, America is a breeding ground for tyranny.