Guest post by Niklas Stephenson, a German/American activist and blogger.
The trajectory leading us to our current state entails portions of failed communication or communication stylized for the wrong intentions on a massive scale. The rise of social media platforms and the dependency upon these have given a shaky ground for dangerous ideology to develop and grow if vile, inhumane opinions are not challenged. In times where communication becomes limited to a necessity to reach means we cannot begin to question the effects and causes of systemic mechanisms and political action.
Our communication lacks depth, because the time for purposeful social communication is eroding. The means to survive and provide in the 21st Century is a struggle void of love and empathy and stealing our time, due to our situation in the modern extremism of profit and means of production. We work harder for less today [in terms of means to provide, as costs of living go up massively but wages stagnate] than we did perhaps before the oil crisis in the 1970’s which enabled the paradigm to turn towards Neoliberalism, because the old order could not provide explanations for this crisis. We lack time to question our surrounding environment and we lack the muse to question critically outside of given contexts – it is dry, theoretical and a long journey to understanding. Shui and Blankenburg have often questioned how we are supposed to oppose the system when we receive everything from it: our thought, action, behavior, norms.
Love and empathy are important in communication because it lays the groundwork for understanding others and our surroundings. Void of these we think in individualist terms easily manipulated by ideology. It causes our communication to take place in a superficial state making it nearly impossible to transfer vital information. The mass apparatus of social media and entertainment flood our senses with disinformation – discrepancies to human nature. Waves of poison are thrown at the people: materialism, consumerism, jealousy, competition.
Who will question the Status Quo if it is omnipresent in emotion, character, society and interpersonal exchange? Who will know alternatives to the Status Quo?
The answer can only be those that we raise to question it. We have to start with our children. Raise them void of authoritarian measures, teach them to think critically, to more or less be a guide to their own understanding of the world and to teach them how to use, question and understand new media [no dependency on it to acquire knowledge, for example] – the natural establishment of human character will take care of developing a solid ground for empathy and love – possibly enabling communication based above the lowest superficial step. We have to protect them from the poisons spewing from all channels into their Lebenswelt. Essentially the young will teach the old as society changes and the environment is shaped by the young analog to their manifested and self gained ideals. Parallel to that we have to find means to enable those capable to teach others without the barriers of legitimization handed down by the institutions of education controlled by the state whose interests are per usual not ours.
“The Revolution will not be televised” wasn’t just an empty, hip phrase. It is a statement with depth that requires empathy towards who said it to understand the rationale behind it.
The revolution is social and mental – break the chains of mental entrapment of systemically accepted ideology. Individualism or isolation is prone for exploitation – we are social animals and we seek social contact. But we are also tired and seek easy solutions – that has to change.