As much as we’re living in the age of communications and technology — and indeed, the age of communications technology — we sure as hell can’t seem to be able to either communicate or use technology properly.
Ok, this is a huge topic. Worthy of dozens, hundreds, thousands of conversations.
But a friend of mine went live with a rant on Facebook yesterday. And this short rant got me thinking, a lot, about a particular issue I see every day.
What got my brain going wasn’t necessarily the symptom or his particular bone to pick with local “representatives” (quote-unquote intentional) — it was more about that understanding, or glimpse of understanding, of the root issue(s).
Winds of change
In the simplest of terms, I think we’re at at the verge of a paradigm shift in society. A lot of what we experience today, in my opinion, is either the result or consequence of a species evolving.
”We are living through the biggest communication shift since the printing press.”
The above is a recurring sentence in Gary Vee’s keynote speeches. And he’s right.
Living through evolution is never easy. And the status quo always resists advancement, for one reason or another. (Keeping power is just one of those reasons. Often times it comes from the best of intentions, but it’s damaging all the same.)
The thing is, it’s already done. We’re past the point of no return, and this is just a shadow of the past clinging to its life.
Even if I limit the flow of this post to politics alone, I cannot avoid talking about how changing communications evolved us to the point where change is not only inevitable, but perhaps too late to happen quietly and peacefully.
The 2016 US Presidential Election served as a valuable (if increasingly painful) example of the standoff between old and new.
It feels like what we’re seeing in the US, in Canada, and everywhere else. We’re such a different society — and even species — today that the old paradigms of society and governance can no longer sustain it. It’s as if we’re witnessing is the half-life of the old guard, a last-ditch effort to preserve status quo — no matter if it goes down in an abyss.
Are we apathetic? Or are we lazy? The answer is both. And neither. Somewhere in the middle, I’d say.
The reason why we can’t solve problems is because we’re thinking in terms of old solutions.
There’s this prevailing apathy toward politics, viewing it as a lost cause, sure. But what we’ve really lost faith in is politicians using the old playbook. The root cause if inaction is not because change is impossible. It’s that we think we’ve reached the pinnacle of progress, and the problem doesn’t exist at all. We think it’s something natural.
Not making this type of distinction is what fuels the downward spiral of failures that sooner or later will result in a violent end.
It is avoidable, though. At least I like to think so. It’s such a cliché, but we need to become the change we want to see. Apathy is no longer acceptable, if we want to survive.
It starts with us
It really does. Many people give up on politics because they feel outside of any party of ideology. It never even occurs to most of them that these parties and ideologies started exactly because of others, a long-long time ago, felt the same way and acted.
I’m not saying the ‘establishment’ (however you define it, or what you use it for) isn’t rigged against the will of the individual. It always is, by definition.
But accepting it as a “lost cause” is not only a disservice but a dangerous slippery slope.
We have a problem and we need to solve it. If we have a problem with politicians, we need to change them. If we lost faith in the ability of others to execute the change we need, then do it ourselves.
Anyone can run for office. It’s setting ourselves up for failure, but it doesn’t matter. It starts with a few people failing alone until a large enough number can succeed. No change happens coming from the top, ever. It happens when the entire framework is torn down.
The definition of insanity
… is repeating the same thing over and over, expecting different results. And I just don’t understand how we cannot seem to be able to learn from our own history.
This is a horrible simplification of Aristotle, but here it is. Thousands of years ago he realized that democracy wasn’t a good form of government. Its pair, meritocracy, was the better choice.
Of course, meritocracy has its own shortcomings, but most of it comes from the abuse of the old thinking. We’ve tried it enough times to be governed based on the majority opinion. It clearly doesn’t work, or it’s a random hit-and-miss at best.
Our world, thanks to being connected and informed through communication technology, is the culmination of the most ancient behavior of relying on our tools to propel us forward.
It’s not easy or fast
Sometimes even I think I’m being naive and overly optimistic. It sometimes seems futile to even try — and then I remember: what’s the alternative?
Trying and failing is the only way we can learn and make progress. Let those who think they can try, and learn from their mistakes for when we make our attempt.
But we’ll never find solution expecting different results from the same failed things. We don’t have to choose between two wrongs, we can make an effort and try to invent a right.
Again, this is a huge topic that cannot be summed up in a string of random thoughts limited to a single topic. But it’s worth stringing these thoughts together, as they’ll connect to each other eventually.
I firmly believe that communications technology is abused because society and governance hasn’t caught up to the mindset needed to use it properly. Technology isn’t evil, nor is it good. It doesn’t make things neither better nor worse. Technology is a tool that we haven’t learned to use yet.
When we do, we’ll be able to solve our problems, including the feeling of abandonment and misrepresentation by government.
But it won’t happen by itself. Sure, this evolution happens with or without us participating. Question is, will we survive the change? I think we either take active part in it, or perish at the whim of a failing system dragging us down.
Originally published at www.dinchamion.com on April 13, 2017.