Friday, December 29, 2006

Trapped in the past

Spending my Christmas break in the company of dome fairly ordinary thinkers was a bit of an eye opener. It meant enduring frequent lectures comprised of half baked, at best, ideas; gleaned largely from TV entertainment programs masquerading as information.

Having also been subjected to those commercial news presentations which I normally avoid, I could sort of understand how shallow thinking and blind acceptance is encouraged.

Now that might be fine for the masses, but the easy acceptance of pre-made concepts really carries right through society.

Here we are in the 21st century, the age of technology, and we are still harking back to philosophical and economic concepts spawned in the 18th century and earlier. The imperatives of that age were vastly different, except the major imperative of course; greed.

The crucible for our current ‘thinking’ was the transition from rural feudalism to urban industrialism. Out of that came the familiar terms of conservative, liberal and by way of the French, left and right wing.

The question is; do these antiquated ideas and labels have any place in solving the problems of our modern society? Or are they just convenient and lazy approaches to our thinking and expression of politics?

I’ve noted before the erroneous use of the term liberal in the US. Erroneous in the historical meaning of the term, suggesting a ‘bleeding heart’ social view as opposed the less forgiving views of the right.

It seems to me, the reality is that these labels and ideas don’t solve anything and do little to really address the issues our societies now face.

Those issues are way beyond 18th century society, encompassing as they do; globalisation, information technology and the increasing environmental degradation wrought by our modern demands.

Surely it is incumbent on our social and political thinkers to actually address the issues relevant to the era rather than to simply hide behind outmoded definitions and solutions. Hanging on to failed and discredited notions means we will continue to limp from one mess to the next; continue destructive economic boom and bust, simply allow those hungry for power to ride rough shod over the rest of society.

But if those things are going to happen at least define them properly. If greed is to be exulted then give it an honest recognition. If we are to persist with faux democracy because the people cannot be trusted to decide, then come clean and label it as something less than democracy.

Better still would be to strive for some kind of achievable social and economic equity. But that will not happen until definitions, labels and solutions are developed to deal with the world as it exists today.

I might expand some of thoughts over the next few blogs – look closer at some of the issues and dynamics involved.

4 comments:

abi said...

Labels are essential to making black seem white. The republicans in the US know this very well, and they have been expert in using labels as tools to shape and mold public opinion to their liking.

And we let them to it because we so don't want "to deal with the world as it exists today." Too painful. So much easier to live in fantasyland.

reality-based educator said...

Good points, both of you.

I wish I felt optimistic about the future, but I sense we are getting dumber as a people, not smarter.

Cartledge said...

My Christmas experience in the brain dead burbs says you are right. I'm really starting to wonder about even the faux democracy we have, in the hands of idiots.
But there must be intelligence out there somewhere!

reality-based educator said...

Maybe, but it sure isn't in the news media, the government, or business. All we have there is short-sighted, arrogant morons who sell out long-term well-being for short-term profit.