It is said that „ignorance is bliss”. It’s a well-known and controversial saying. Ignorance, by most current definitions, is a bad thing. The dictionary definition is “the condition of being uneducated, unaware, or uninformed.” But this definition covers a very wide range of conditions. Being uneducated is, admittedly, not a good thing. However, the state of being uninformed or unaware may, in some cases, be helpful towards one’s life. How so? Read on.
Throughout history stretches a long list with names of activists that were persecuted, tortured and even killed. Sometimes, their suffering or death only accelerated the changes they fought for.
But there’s an even longer (and mostly unknown) list with the names of hidden activists. Those that have treaded carefully and taken fewer risks in order to ensure their safety and thus, the longevity of their work. These are the little-known heroes that operated patiently, within the confines of a system (and often working around the system), changing it from the inside, slowly but surely (and often collaborating with the “outsiders” more than we will know in this lifetime).
What determines the success of a message? The shock and confrontation approach, or a slow and careful process of sculpting society? A sprint prodding others to act, or a marathon of implementation? The answer is: any mix of the above. That’s where an activist’s strategy comes into play. And let’s not forget that chance also plays a role.
It is agreed that life on Earth started with single cells, around 4 billion years ago. After a very, very long time, roughly 2 billion later, multicellular life appeared. This followed a catastrophic event called the Great Oxidation Event (GOE). But what was catastrophic for others was a gift for us. Without the oxygen created during the GOE, we wouldn’t have been here. Multicellular life brought a plethora of evolutionary advantages and soon enough, dominant lifeforms were born. Living longer, stronger and, most importantly, smarter.
So what does this have to do with corporations, capitalism and the stock market? As I’ll show, quite a lot. The current market ecosystem is a place where companies undergo natural selection. But unlike the past 4 billion years, the evolution of our economic organisms is supercharged, almost out of control – this, unfortunately, sometimes comes with a steep cost for our environment and current social structures.
But what if a new breed of corporation triggers a financial chain reaction (like the GOE), wiping out most of its competition? Already, a new generation of companies is starting to take shape. And, as new ways to apply technology are found, the chance of a new business model emerging is much greater. Capitalism is bound to evolve.
How to destroy democracy in 7 simple steps: 1. Employ representative democracy. 2. Own the democratic menu. 3. Control education. 4. Control the media. 5. Suppress dialogue. 6. By controlling education & the media, representative democracy should be presented just as “democracy”: this is the real democracy, there is no other. 7. Continuously spray each crop of politicians and research new spraying methods and compounds.
Oh, democracy, how proud some countries are to have you. But oh, democracy, are you really there? The vast majority of “democratic” countries in the world employ a twisted version of the original concept called “representative democracy”. That is to say, instead of direct democracy – where all citizens can directly express their opinion about each and every single thing happening in their society) – the country is run by a select group of “experts” (politicians) who are supposedly more qualified to decide regarding what’s best for their constituents.
Now-a-days, few people seem to realize that specialized ministries (education, agriculture, development) are in fact drowned by graduates of political schools and other bureaucrats that have almost no clue about the ministry they’re supposed to lead. These people are quickly transformed into puppets of corporations that gladly offer their “advice” regarding how things should be run.
My readers know all too well that I’m no fan of capitalism. Throughout the past years I’ve attacked several attributes of this economic system (consumerism, the stock market, income inequality). This year, I’m about to step it up a notch, going into how capitalism has facilitated the slow and insidious rotting of most democratic countries. I intend to write about how a broken economic system can drag down education and create immeasurable suffering on a planetary scale, most of which is hidden from sight by the mainstream media so that the machine can keep marching.
But this doesn’t mean that I lack appreciation towards the enormous benefits that have burst from the minds of countless entrepreneurs who, thanks to a free market, succeeded in advancing our culture and civilization. After all, I write these words using capitalist products!
Capitalism is just another system that evolved from others before it. Perhaps it’s not the fairest, but it’s definitely more efficient than some that existed before. The gradual development of economic systems that has given birth to capitalism also implies that capitalism will not be the last economic system. And that’s precisely why I’m writing about its flaws. It’s not because I hate it, it’s because there are things that I believe can be improved.
If one would be to chronicle the history of illegal or unfair use of economic practices, one would probably need to fill ten tomes of at least a thousand pages each. From rich to poor, almost everybody has, at least once, suffered due to our misshapen financial system.
There are many reasons for this, such as perfectly healthy and natural human greed. The problem is that greed and other evolutionary adaptations have been allowed to spiral out of control by a broken educational system. Insufficient education allows profit-seeking entities to exploit evolutionary weaknesses. They profit by making individuals invest into items and activities of no real value (no increase in happiness and no profit for the individuals or their families).
What I advocate is ethical everything. The implementation of such a system concerns the fusion between an ever-evolving ethical framework and a super-fragmented decentralized financial system. Let’s see what these terms mean.
As our civilization develops, so do our social structures and institutions. There’s daily news about all sorts of innovative ways technology is used to improve everything about our society ranging from transportation and agriculture to healthcare and education. But… what about prisons?
Oh, there’s news about prisons too: riots, overcrowding and dismal results when it comes to actually convincing criminals that it’s better to respect the rules of society. So, when do those that have the most need of a guiding light get to see some improvement in how we help them rebuild their lives?
Prisons have evolved, as illustrated by countries such as Norway. For the most part, however, detention institutions are still stuck in what will be looked at by the historians of the future as one of the longest-lasting vestiges of an unenlightened past. In a century or two, we will look at the prisons of today just like we now look at torture chambers.
Nobody can deny that we’ve entered a new era of technological progress. The so-called Digital Revolution is but the latest in a series of intellectual milestones that started with the Industrial Revolution. However, there’s something special about this era: exponential development. Our technology advances faster than ever before.
It’s not only board game players that lose to software algorithms. It’s all of us. It’s not that we’re stupid; far from that. After all, we created the software that is right now outperforming us in an ever-increasing number of areas, eliminating jobs across all industries.
But the human brain is perfectly capable of adapting to the intellectual explosion going on. The problem is that our social structures aren’t. And there’s a very simple reason behind that…
We often gasp at the amount of wealth various entrepreneurs have amassed. News about economic inequality (sometimes known as income inequality) is quite common lately, and so it should be. Slowly but surely, society’s patience is reaching the breaking point and when that happens, chaos ensues.
It is hard not to be shocked when confronted with the knowledge that the accumulated wealth of 42 individuals (no typo, it really is a two-digit number) is greater than that of the poorest half of the world’s population put together. And then there’s that already outdated statistic about the world’s top 1% owning more than the bottom X% (82% as of 2017 and growing).
Is there a reason to rage when these statistics show up? To many, the answer is an obvious “yes”. Indeed, the disparity is staggering, but fury isn’t usually the right attitude to address a problem. There are many factors that contribute to the present state of affairs and we are directly responsible for some of them. Owning up to this is the first step towards improving things.
As I’ll soon show, there are different kinds of “rich and powerful”. Some of these people are highly beneficial for the progress of our species, while others are destroying lives and wrecking our ecosystem, dragging down society by setting the wrong examples.
Computer viruses and hacking have been around since the dawn of the Internet. But while some time ago the platform was used almost exclusively by academics and the tech-savvy, the Internet is now quickly becoming one of the central technological pillars of our society. Particularly in developed countries, countless vital social systems are now connected to it, ranging from the run-of-the-mill residential heating system to critical infrastructure such as hospitals, public transport and even military.
In the same time, the skills and tools in the cyber-soldier’s arsenal have greatly increased in potency. Even more importantly, the interest and will to compromise connected systems has increased exponentially in the past decade. Some years ago, the Internet was home to mostly petty crime and the occasional larger security breach. Now-a-days, state actors such as the United States, North Korea, and pretty much all major powers and nation-states involved in military conflicts, train and make use of cyber-hacking squads.