Not too long ago, the cultivation of a wholesale disjunction between one’s inner thoughts and outer presentation was broadly seen as pathological. Now, however, the ability to propagate free-floating images of the self (and with it one’s chosen causes) is now presented as proof of good sense and high intelligence.
If there is one element that is found in virtually all of the fascist movements of the 20th century it is their leaders’ rhetorical pose of being above the frequently off-putting hurly-burly of politics. But, of course, no one operating in the public arena is ever above politics, or for that matter, ideology, both of which are just two more examples of the structure-engendering cultural practices alluded to above.
The elderly were once seen as a precious resource, providing us all with much-needed wisdom and emotional ballast as we navigated life difficulties. Now, however, we lock them and their encroaching decrepitude away so that they do not impinge upon our frenzied, self-directed pep talks about the importance of staying forever young and highly productive.
Digital Brownshirts are just the most visible and forward-leaning elements of a much broader effort to install the logic of the algorithm—a providential and vertically-imposed concept of truth that vitiates traditional fact-finding and admits neither human intelligence nor scientific debate—as a cornerstone of our human interactions and cognitive processes.
It speaks to a leadership cadre that knows in its heart of hearts that it has absolutely nothing to offer us, and strongly suspects, moreover, that its present prominence and power are the product of a long-running bluff and that, like all bluffs theirs will collapse as soon as enough people of conscience and empirical rigor stop running from their own shadows.
The latest trick of the institutionalized elites in this serial game of curbing the proliferation of fresh interpretations of reality from below is to transform science, which is defined by its disdain for dogma, into a rigid canon of authoritarian prescriptions that do not admit dialogue or dissent.
In a world where, to paraphrase Zygmunt Bauman, all is liquid and most are driven by the search for fleeting sensations, and where establishing a personal hermeneutic through reading and contemplation is considered quaintly quixotic when not impossible, the mutterings of the authority figure nearby take on an enhanced attraction.