Cogito, ergo sum (I am thinking, therefore I exist) René Descartes
This website began as a pet project to provide access to resources on my personal network; and in the process of doing so, it has grown and taken on a life of its own. Maintaining the site has evolved to the point where a considerable amount of time is now required to the upkeep of the site’s contents since it was not originally intended to be dynamic in structure.
Currently, the internet or the Web can be seen to represent a wide open forum for those seeking to address issues that may have pertinence or relevance to individuals and social groups that can be situated along any point of the social or political spectrums. Perception, it appears, is everything – to everyone.
The explosive growth of the World Wide Web is, in some respects, akin to having access cable television or tuning in to satellite tv channels. In the end, it boils down to one essential component: global communication at your fingertips, commercial vested-interests aside. Continued growth of the internet (WWW), as consensus continues to develop, is analogous to the advent of the Guttenberg printing press in the 15th century (1436) by Johann Gutenberg. The invention of moveable type and the printing press represent major developments in writing, recording and distribution of cultural literature. Its widespread adoption and uses have contributed to the eventual decline, not demise, of the Oral Tradition or method of recording and disseminating information across all succeeding societies or cultures that followed its invention.
Terms and concepts such as Mass Media, Mass Communication, Mass Production or Mass Consumption have become entrenched in the consciousness and lexicons of 21st century citizens. Yet, very few spare much thought to the fact that at a no-so-distant point in human history such ideas and notions would have involved or encompassed, at most, a few hundred or thousand individuals out of millions of citizens.
In addition, existing written records were possible only through the time-consuming and tedious process of handwriting or transcribing everything that was considered culturally important or significant. And, in all instances, those engaged in or dedicated to such tasks – monks, for example – represented an even smaller group of individuals who were capable of performing the enormous tasks of importing and translating oral sources of information, painstakingly transcribing these into written records. Any duplication of completed works for ‘mass distribution’ circulated among a readership that consisted of royalty, religious leaders, nobility, aristocrats and the educated. Not coincidentally but, rather, consequentially, the scope of the readership and print circulation represented some aspect of the governing or ruling political powerbases of the times.
Speculating, it can be suggested that within any social and political structure that’s dependent upon the delivery and validity of information that is first filtered through the lens of one particular group of ‘advisors’ and then disseminated for public consumption among the members of the political leadership will, in time, tip the balance of power in favour of those tasked with gathering and disseminating that information.
It’s not mere coincidence that communists, Stalinists, Maoists, Theocrats and other forms of tyrants and dictators always seek to control the forms and means of communications in attempts to secure their rule or seat of power. (This is not to infer that this does not apply to democracies – State Secret Acts and legislations are the balms that soothe the masses). Among them all there is a recognition or acceptance of the maxim – The Pen’s Mightier Than The Sword; to have control over the source and the means to collaborative and public opposition is but another means of solidifying political power.
Social revolutions may (at times) begin at the grassroots of the social spectrum but it takes someone with a comprehensive understanding of the existing power structure to galvanise, radicalise the social discontent that culminates in fundamental political upheavals, revolutions and evolution. There’s never been any social model in which the governors or rulers are so perfectly happy, satisfied or secure in their position that any simmering disaffection of the ruled can be dismissed or ignored as being of little or no consequence to the stability or sustainability of society’s existing social or political systems.
It’s often said that men are social and political animals. Assuming that this is correct, then all human social groupings and associations are political activities where the primary objective of the process or method employed aim at obtaining or maintaining support for a public opinion or common action.
While utopia’s an intellectual pipedream, an academic exercise, democracy (a dog’s breakfast of ideas and opinions) appears to be better suited for the free circulation of ideas and opinions in the social and public spheres of civil society. Communism or socialism, as ideologies and in comparison, seem to be half-baked ideas from which tyrannies or dictatorships germinate. Both provide the masses with very limited options; and as such, wide acceptance as social models is often found lacking among those who are oppressed by the ideologues.