Last night, I experienced the closest thing to the Enlightenment's Parisian-salons, where philosophy and politics were discussed in order to hypothesize about a greater future. Normally, when discussing politics or the philosophy behind it, I find myself talking in circles about what we ought to do, of course drawing from Marx, Nietzsche and JJ Rousseau. The Three Kings.
Then, like a slap in the face, I realized that those kings wrote in a different age with different problems, with different ways of fixing them. Today, we live in a time that was unforseen: the virtual age of the internet.
More and more, people are able to educate themselves through this forum. They are able to search out information, ideas, discussion groups, hilarious YouTube videos and relevant blogs. The potential for intellectual growth is astounding. However, we must be aware of the potential consequences.
The Industrial Revolution was supposed to open doors for the people (according to Marx). It was supposed to leave menial labour up the machines so that people would have more free-time to do whatever truly made them happy. Art, writing, riding, hilarious YouTube videos, there is a market for it all.
Nevertheless, as forseen by Marx, the IR enslaved the working-class because of the increased interest in consumption. Instead of machines freeing the worker, they compelled the worker to create more in less time to feed hungry consumers. Instead of the machine releasing man from obligation, it incorporated him, made them into cogs of the wheel.
The virtual revolution is no different.
In a discussion last night, I realized that revolution means to start at one point, typically a low-point, commence a change, rotate, pivot and come full circle, back to the low-point. What we need to learn from all of history's revolutions is the need to change, to move forward, to evolve. We can do this by taking ideas of great philosophers, from Kings and common folk, changing them, adapting them to fit our environment. The only way we can do this is through free-speech, liberdad de expresion, through discussion and critical analysis of opinions and ideas. We need to synthesize thoughts and create relative theories of our own.
Hopefully, the people, especially in Canada, will see the need to step away from the hindrance of censorship. No good can come of the State telling you what to say or what to think. How could our thoughts ever evolve if they are not subjected to criticism and discussion?
That is what the internet should provide: a forum to discuss and criticize Ideas. We do not have to revolve into darkness, reading online gossip magazines or corporate-bought media, whose only job is to spread fear of Swine Flu or market-crashes.
These things, this spreading of fear, endenture man as the worker, makes him think that the only reason to live is just to coast through life, to follow the straight path of complacency.
The inernet has that potential to tear man's soul away from him. However, it also has to potential to show him the light, change him, and allow him to evolve.