Should we die for paranoid ideologies or live with noble values?

Ever increasing terror such as the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, the barbarism of Boko Harem in Africa or the total destabilization of the Middle East make one thing obvious, namely that society is falling apart. While the triggers for all this violence are well known, the question of when and how we’ll react remains unanswered.

Not to say that I don’t support some of the reactions[1] to the Charlie Hebdo attack, but then again, what surprises me is the size of protest and the masses standing up. Increased fundamentalism has long been present and in France nobody should be surprised of such “hate actions”, not after the subject had already reached the masses with movies such as “La Haine” in 1995. Increased terrorism is likewise to other social tensions mainly the consequence of segregation and marginalization, triggered by socio-economic factors, migration, population growth and overexploitation of natural resources. An expanding dysfunctional economic system divides society more and more into largely not-self-inflicted losers on one hand, and unjustified winners on the other. And since the gap is getting bigger between the two, tensions arise.

What has long been predicted becomes now reality, namely, that fundamentalists pick some of those losers as tools for fulfilling their primitive plans. It isn’t a new concept; only that governments have done nothing to prevent it spreading all over. Similar to climate change –which has been apparent as early as the 1970s– radicalisation of religion and the manipulation of losers for religious interests have long been evident. Yet, until today both subjects have not been addressed by global regimes, regardless of them being of the biggest actual threats to society. Over the same period of time, humans have made incredible developments and innovation in other sectors such as medical science or technology. Whereas most people didn’t know what a fax was in the 1970s, today the vast majority of humans spend most of their time manipulating some smartphone.

However, technology cannot make up for never-acquired values. When Hegel[2] dreamt about a world in which people on one end of the planet would know what those at the other end did, he certainly didn’t think about tweets that inform Nepali when Bolivians go to bed. Nor did he think about a Facebook entry informing “that Becky just made poo”. Although such information is not relevant for society, it is exactly what people share and what moves the masses. The reason for it is that citizens can’t judge what is relevant and this is so, because whereas technology has improved, education has deteriorated over the past four decades.

“I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

Albert Einstein (Source)

At the beginning of the 21st century, education might be at its worst; at least when compared to what skills are really relevant given time and space. Globalization and the internationalisation of individuals requires most of all understanding of cultural and socio-economic differences, the causes of it, and how to integrate different ideas and realities into a harmonic “together”. Yet, what we are being taught is individualism, nationalistic thinking, competition and the demonization of “everything different”. International development is largely based in technological adaptation of the global South to ideas developed in the global North. The often praised technology and knowledge transfer might at best be understood as the free transport of waste and pesticides from Europe and the US to countries in the global South.

As content wouldn’t be the only issue, education also lacks institutions. Nowadays teacher are not even allowed to educate their pupils and regardless of the curricula, all they eventually do is producing losers. In addition, since most parents are way too busy reading the nonsense of their friends, they don’t educate their children either. Thankful that Pads are made in such a way that even two-years old can manipulate them, they leave their children becoming autodidacts from early age on and contribute to the kids making good prey for all those appreciating the weaknesses of today’s societies.

If we achieved similar advances in education as we did in technology, humans needn’t fear climate change or terrorism. Yet, the opposite is true. While we can manipulate a smartphone and some of us know to hack bank accounts, we are neither capable to maintain our personal integrity nor to respect privacy protection of others. The internet has become an arena for stupid individuals to exhibit themselves and for fanatics to share idiocracies. Unfortunately, an already poor journalism has contributed to the process: by showing beheadings of innocent victims or a woman in a burka firing a crossbow, CNN is the first to provide the best marketing platform for Islamic fundamentalists or any other sociophobic. Shocks create impressions, but they don’t necessarily stimulate conversations. Forty years ago, parents created impressions by walking their kids to the mountains and talking about the wildlife they spotted. Today, discourse is stimulated by kids tweeting a selfie in bikini or pinteresting their friend eating icecream at McDonalds.

Unfortunately, it’s still easier to control citizens for water bottles at airports rather than enabling them to critical thinking. Likewise, racism makes the more promising political agenda than talking about values. Einstein’s fear might have come true: we want Gbits, not noble kids. Yet, don’t get too paranoid about it: who needs values, when speed can replace foresight?

[1] Of course I don’t support all those right-wing politician and parties trying to make profit and reacting to a problem with measures that will make the problem bigger.

[2] I hope I got that one right – I’m better at remembering ideas rather than who brought them up in the first hand.

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About blaubear

Born in 1973 in a small village in rural Switzerland and into a society largely dominated by cows (not only was the human population of one-hundred-and-forty outnumbered by them, but politics driven by unreasonable subsidies for diary products) I was connected with nature from early age on. Observing nature on one hand and the deficiencies of a dysfunctional Swiss agricultural policy with farmers that had lost connection to the land that provided their income on the other, I soon started to question society and the meaning of life. Suffering also under a farcical public education I developed curiosity to discover on my own. That was how I soon learned that little of what I had been taught was true. Skepticism and interaction with people from for me new cultures fostered my interest for the world and eagerness to leave a life shaped by federalistic layman-ship. At the age of twenty-three I hit the road for the first time, an event that later translated into passion. Traveling between cultures has since become part of my life. At the age of thirty-three I finally realized my dream and did a degree in Environmental Engineering from which I graduated in 2009, only to leave Switzerland once more for my "real home" Spain. Unfortunately, the stay was a short one: a couple of months later I was offered a job in Southeast Asia, where I worked and also lived (with some interruptions, e.g. I live in Melbourne since late 2012) ever since. Having worked for a Japanese company earlier in my life, I soon felt captured again by Asian culture and thinking which makes a lovely contrast to my European heritage. My journey through different countries and cultures has taught me that regardless of how different our thinking and values are, no matter what approaches we take, we all can learn from each other. And if we are open enough to see the common instead of pointing out the differences, then we have a chance to live in harmony and peace: Life is all about integration, not exclusion! It's an old wisdom that "knowledge is power", as such I never get tired of being around new people, having interesting talks, and reading lots of good books. I hope that my blog can contribute to the conversation.
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One Response to Should we die for paranoid ideologies or live with noble values?

  1. Pingback: Internet and human rights. A fairy tale. | Ideas for a greener environment, a fairer society and a future driven by sustainability

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