Saturday, January 7, 2017

The human species as a whole has gone into politics

From To Jerusalem and Back: A Personal Account by Saul Bellow. A great insight and then separately, some elaboration. First, from page 38.
For the first time in history, the human species as a whole has gone into politics. Everyone is in the act, and there is no telling what may come of it.
With great personal transportation, First amendment rights, and the increasingly seamless interconnectivity of technology, people with the taste for it can be always and instantly connected to, embedded in, and part of the political system in ways not conceivable in the past.

The field of political governance is not quite in my bailiwick and I am not as deeply read there as perhaps I should be. The idea though, of more people more actively engaged, has held my imagination for the past couple of years. Many networks fail to scale and morph into something new as they become larger. I have been wondering if something of that nature might be going on in the political field. As it becomes easier to acquire information and knowledge and to disintermediate established gatekeepers, does the very network nature of political governance change? I don't know but I think there is some reason to think so.

From the same source as above, but page 21:
Our media make crisis chatter out of news and fill our minds with anxious phantoms of the real thing — a summit in Helsinki, a treaty in Egypt, a constitutional crisis in India, a vote in the U.N., the financial collapse of New York. We can't avoid being politicized (a word as murky as the condition which it describes) because it is necessary after all to know what is going on. Worse yet, what is going on will not let us alone. Neither the facts nor the deformations, the insidious platitudes of the media (tormenting because the underlying realities are so large and so terrible), can be screened out.
As good a description now as it was forty years ago.

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