In this age of rapidly evolving technology, dominated by computers, gadgets and the increasingly sophisticated digital infrastructure which now surrounds us, the idea that we might actually be leaving the scientific age and returning to a new dark age of ignorance and superstition might, at first, seem a bit absurd.
But before you dismiss the idea consider the fact that a true ‘scientific age’ is not actually defined by high technology at all (or even a higher technology relative to the past). What actually defines a true ‘scientific age’ are human skills, human attributes and human achievements. We’re talking about things like an adherence to logic, reason, rational principals and employing the scientific method using available evidence.
We’re talking about good old fashioned common sense and critical thinking!
And these skills can be applied (or not applied) by us in any age, regardless of the level of technology which happens to be in use at that time.
There was a time when all of the important decision making was carried out far away from the masses, behind closed doors by a small handful of wealthy elites and their minions, and we general public had to rely on the local wealthy priests and lords-of-the-manor to tell us what they were up to and what it all meant. Most of us couldn’t read, or even get access to books and we couldn’t afford to take a horse and go and spent a month or a year investigating what was going on in the world for ourselves.
Today, all of the important decision making is still carried out far away and behind closed doors by a small handful of wealthy elites and their minions (in fact power and decision making have become far more centralized). And for those of us who still get our news from the mass media we are still relying on about five sources to tell us what on earth these ‘leaders’ are up to and what their agendas are. ie the five corporations who own about 95% of all mainstream media currently.
And so for those of us who still do use mass media and officially sanctioned ‘experts’ to help us define our world view, or even to define it for us, how is this any different from the past?
How can this be thought of as ‘progress’ at all?
Clearly nothing much has changed. But the reason why it might feel like progress has been made is that this heavily controlled information is now being beamed wirelessly into our ipads, iphones, laptops etc for us to look at while effortlessly sipping a coffee on the train to work, or while out and about being a consumer at the weekend, or just lying in our own beds.
But doesn’t this just mean we are still being potentially misinformed, but now in a stupendously hi tech way!?
The fact that we are the ones pressing the buttons certainly makes us feel that we are the ones accessing information by and for ourselves, but in reality we are still just passive recipients of this mass media information which is being downloaded into the rest of society too. We’re not that unique, special or ‘in control’ at all. But these gadgets sure do flatter us into feeling that way!
In fact, could the truth be that today we’re being more heavily – and more efficiently – programmed with superstitious belief systems than at any other time in human history?!?
While there really is much to celebrate about this information age (obviously there is, it’s just not the subject of this post) and while the internet may indeed ultimately prove to have been the saviour of the human race, it is also true that the ability for a small group of media corporations to beam compelling video, audio or text directly into the eyeballs of whole populations in real time represents the potential for them to literally create a consensus reality – to ‘cast a spell’, if you like, over a whole population, and in doing so have us create whatever reality they want us to create for them. A reality, the description of which they can now programmed into whole populations instantly, convincingly and at exactly the same time.
Somehow we seem a little reluctant to associate today’s high technology with magical abilities, yet one definition of magic is (and always has been) the use of secret (or misunderstood) high technology by those ‘in the know’ to play tricks on the ignorant masses and in doing so to control their beliefs, their thoughts and their behaviour. In this sense television might arguably be regarded as the most magical device ever created. It literally has the power to put the viewer in a trance and download information and entire belief systems into the conscious and subconscious minds of the viewers. In isolation this might be regarded as casting a spell. When it’s happening to whole populations at once it is more like a mass ritual, a spell so powerful it affects a whole society – or even the entire planet.
This ability – this power – is not just limited to ‘news’ and other current affairs information. It also just as potent when used in entertainments, especially those aimed at children and young people. If this enormous power continues to be misunderstood, or go completely unnoticed, by the majority of the population then it is likely that we will indeed slip into a new dark age of superstition of pure Monty Python proportions (only not as funny).
It might be argued that we are, in fact, already living in just such a world.
A world completely dominated by artificial consensus-based realities created using high technology (technology such as the high definition plasma TV screen in your living room, or the 3G smart phone in your pocket). A world of high definition ‘spells’ being cast over whole populations. A world of spells that are more ‘real’ than the real world itself…
But, in this modern age, can we humans really still be that susceptible to such spells, superstition, subconscious programming and other such ‘hocus pocus’?
And therein lies an alarming (and potentially catastrophic) misunderstanding for all of humanity:
Carrying a laptop, iphone, ipad, smartpen etc around with you at all times and using them to bombarded yourself with vast amounts of information all day long while ‘on the go’ might make you feel like you are some kind of all knowing child of an ultra modern information age – a rational, logical, critically thinking, well informed and intellectually superior person….. but in truth you might actually be doing little more than stuffing your brain full of superstitious belief systems and living you entire life completely under ‘spells’ cast by an all powerful mediacracy.