Influencing The Outcomes
If we are observant, if we have an interest in the way outcomes are derived in our society, and we do not simply accept matters at face-value we develop an interest in the mechanics, the means by which the various features of our society become accepted, and regarded as being inevitable, natural.
Politics is regarded as being something which takes place in the buildings of government, for many people the face of politics is built from what they see in mass media each day. But politics is actually everything that happens to you, where you live, what kind of work you do, how wealthy you are, what opportunities are open to you, and what you are able to do, or not do in your life.
The original meaning of the the word “Politics” is derived from Greek, which is not surprising since we owe the ancient Greeks a huge debt for their enormous cleverness, and development of some very powerful ideas! Of, or applying to citizens, politics refers to the exercise of social power, decisions and intentions that are executed.
Politics involves every aspect of our lives, the way in which social power is applied to our everyday existence determines the actual shape of life, and of course education has become the critical means by which political power is most obviously demonstrated. If you can determine what people become aware of, and think about, you are well on the way to engineering your society into the form that best favors your own outcomes.
Because our people are immersed in the process of learning at an institution from a very early age, we can predict that they will emerge at the other end of their learning journey having been influenced in very specific ways. Certainly we can talk about ‘core skills’ here, and indicate that everyone is helped by being able to read, and perform basic calculations, but our learning experience involves much more than basic academic skills enrichment.
The location of these institutions are nothing to do with geography, or architecture, the institutional structure is provided by the accepted Curriculum which is tabled in law, and uniformly delivered across each social situation.
So, even if people decide to school their kids at home, or set up alternatives to the provided state education centers they are compelled to expose the students to this accepted, and legal framework of learning.
Of course, there is an opportunity to offer additional commentary and critique, and to encourage critical thinking in these alternative options, which is something many people find attractive.
Critical thinking skills have been valued among scholars for many centuries, the ability of an individual to discern the quality of information, to decide on a path of action based on good judgement and balanced consideration is an extremely powerful skill set!
However, the nature of Influence has to be evaluated here, we are often unaware that our thinking can be directed in ways that maybe not of our own choosing, or given a complexion from the ideas of others.
Nobody is able to produce completely original ideas, this is quite simply not possible because all of our knowledge, and all of our awareness is a composite made up from our experiences, our research, our learning, our involvement with others.
The entire body of human wisdom is historical in nature, it has an archaeology, the preceding layers and contributions of people who lived before us provide the foundations, we are so used to the idea that modern times are of our own manufacture and that we have swept away all that came before us that we can fail to understand the debt we owe to the past.
It is interesting that the truly gifted and remarkable people who have given us the most valuable insights and developments all say, without exception that they were ‘Standing on the shoulders of giants’ in one way or another!
What we have today is the opportunity to learn and develop skills which have never been accessible to people before. The scope and potential for digital media to deliver very powerful learning opportunities, for the ability to build very specific learning communities across the globe, this is unprecedented in the entire history of human learning.
If we can wake up from the commercial dream, and truly look at the internet in terms of being a massive communication resource, we will be getting closer to the possibility of re-forging our western world, wresting it from the hands of the corrupt, greedy and insane and building something we can be truly proud to belong to.
The ability to reach people, this has always been the big obstacle, the impediment that has prevented us from executing on the big ideas.
Social media, and the WWW excels in this ability to reach very specific audiences.
We know that information has always had the capacity to be weaponized, this used to be called ‘Propaganda’, the corporate press has been used for many decades as the means to promote very specific ideas and to engineer the attitudes of the public.
We now have a seemingly more egalitarian means to deliver ideas, but once again the wealthy, the socially powerful seek to dominate the mass media locations. Silicon Valley tech giants have taken the place of the mass media network owners, but essentially have betrayed the values of internet free speech, and open access.
It is down to people such as you and I, decent free thinking liberty loving people to publish online and offer each other new skills, new opportunities to progress and consider true analysis of our world.
This is why I love working in the field of digital media, of web-based education and training, it is real, it is powerful and we can build our society in new, powerful and exciting ways.