måndagen den 14:e december 2009

Wisdom vs Populism in the Internet Age

When I wrote Netocracy with Jan Söderqvist in 2000 we pointed out this problem with the internet society. It was quite easy to see that there would be phenomena like Google and Wikipedia around soon which would radically alter the way we look at knowledge and the processing of knowledge. I believe the way to fight the increasing anti-intellectualism (Dino is 100% correct about this problem) is to emphasize WISDOM rather than knowledge. And wisdom in this new environment is the talent to PROCESS information and then ANALYZE it! This is not something that comes automatically with having Wikipedia available in your iphone. Rather it takes an awful lot of meta-knowledge, skill and talent to do. So while there are many people who can quote and refer to sources nowadays by sneeking onto a computer screen, analyzing material and thereby become a WISE rather than an OPPORTUNISTIC leader is a unique skill. The way to go about this is to FIGHT against relativism and instead propagate probabilism and pragmatism as the OPPOSITES of relativism!!!

2009/12/14 Special Kain

Dear Rory,

Yes, it's either right-wing populism or left-wing populism. But the world has become much more complicated in the meantime. Secondly, it's not only populistic propaganda thanks to the increasing medialization of politics (see Thomas Meyer, Winfried Schulze, Otfried Jarren and Patrick Donges), it's a simplistic and arrogant attitude that comes with political egalitarianism: expert knowledge is being rejected, because everybody feels they have the right to speak their minds and voice their concerns - so there's no opinion «truer» or «more valid» than somebody else's. With anti-intellectualism comes radical relativism: «Well, that's your opinion, but I think that ...»

And there's also a strong and increasingly anti-elitist attitude manifesting - thanks to knowledge-sharing platforms such as Wikipedia. All information is available out there. University professors are nolonger the authorized gatekeepers of expert knowledge. Their part has changed functionally: now they're gatekeepers of information management skills. They have to explain their students that research stretches further than Wikipedia and whatever Google spits out.

This has become a major issue in Switzerland. The political equality of all people is something formal only, but it's contemporary narcissism that tricks them into believing that their opinions and whims would be just as important and valid as an expert's. And they also think that thought isn't productive: it's only material goods that make a difference, but thinking itself has no value (and criticism is a counterproductive waste of time).

This problem hasn't been dealt with properly. The next step in philosophy will be to defeat anti-intellectualism, simply because we'll live in an increasingly networked global society soon. Heavy problems require smart solutions. And hairdressers don't know a thing about loop quantum gravity. ;-)

Ushta, Dino

--- Rory schrieb am Mo, 14.12.2009:

Von: Rory
Betreff: [Ushta] Re: Zoroastrianism in Tajikistan - Regarding Democracy
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Montag, 14. Dezember 2009, 5:58

Dear Dino,

Amazing. One would expect people to become more appreciative of education the more ducated they become. What is causing it? Is there strong populist propoganda being used by poiticians?


--- In Ushta@yahoogroups. com, Special Kain wrote:
> Dear Rory
> I know that it's a fairly pretty picture, but it's quite exhausting. There's way too much anti-intellectualis m amongst Swiss people. University students are constantly being dissed and discriminated against: to the vast majority of people university students are theorists only that have spent too much time in their ivory towers, being completely detached from «the real world».
> I've recently graduated, but I still get same rejection. University equals bullshit, that's how people see me. Anti-intellectualis m as a problem in democratic societies is as long as the notion of democracy itself, see Plato. All opinions and whims are treated as equal, as if the political equality of all people would justify such nonsense. But there's anti-intellectualis m anywhere, simply because both dictatorships and democracies live in fear of a bright mind's smart conclusions.
> It's really tiring. I wonder if it's resentment. Anyone who's different and has a strong desire to stand out is discriminated against. That's why there's no praise of plurality in Switzerland. And what are democracies without pluralism - or with pluralism «on the paper», but not in their thick heads? It's nothing. But Switzerland is famous for its xenophobia and dismissal of individualism. You can't help but becoming a cultural radical when living in Zurich. ;-)
> Ushta, Dino

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