When a system enters into the final stage of its deterioration – whether that is an institutional system, a state, an empire, or the human body – all the important information flows that support coherent communication breakdown. In this final stage, if this situation is not corrected the system will collapse and die.
It has become obvious to nearly everyone that we have reached this stage on the planet and in our democratic institutions. We see how the absolute dysfunction of the global information architecture — represented in the intersection of mainstream media outlets, social technology platforms and giant digital aggregators — is generating widespread apathy, despair, insanity and madness at a scale that is terrifying.
And we are right to be terrified, because this situation is paralyzing us from taking the action required to solve global and local challenges. While liberals fight conservatives and conservatives fight liberals we lose precious time.
While progressives fight government, the corporations and the super-rich we drown in despair. While philanthropists, fueled by their own certainty and wealth, fight for justice or equality or for some poor hamlet in Africa we become apathetic and distracted from the real source of the problem. And while the president fights everyone and everyone fights the president, the collective goes mad.
In the background, however, the game of hoarding resources and not redistributing them accelerates; absorbing the sum total of our collective actions and commitments into a singular unacceptable future. There is only one way to avoid this fate; uncover the source of the disease and cure it by mobilizing solutions.
We are about to break down for you the source of this disease of information that is accelerating us to ecological and institutional collapse because once you see it, you will be free to act and build something else.
The Collapse of Democratic Institutions
Industrial civilization is in the throes of a great disruption, a systemic transition which could either lead to regression, crisis and collapse; or a new way of working and living, a new mode of prosperity, a new narrative of success.
The global media industrial complex is not equipped to address this great disruption to civilization-as-we-know-it. To the contrary, it is literally incapable of meaningfully processing information in such a way that it produces, for a significant percentage of the human population, real actionable knowledge which can render humanity capable of transitioning successfully into the new era.
The global media industrial complex today compounds the problems we are facing.
It does this by providing, despite appearances, no knowledge at all. The prevailing model of media is to monopolize and manipulate information flows to produce beliefs and emotions that will allow giant aggregators to maximize ‘clicks’, to maximize advertising revenues, to maximize profits — for a few.
So rather than creating knowledge, the global media industrial complex is designed to generate competing, polarized narrativesaround which different audiences coalesce into irreconcilable segregated communities; it reinforces beliefs without teaching critical thinking; it blunts an attitude of openness while promoting a banal left-right dichotomy that fuels a global culture of mindless consumerism.
This prevailing media structure constrains the public’s capacity to make intelligent decisions. And that allows global ecological, energy, economic, social and other challenges to accelerate, while we argue amongst ourselves about ideology.
The consequence is that information flows are inexorably linked to dominant processes of profit-maximization for a tiny minority; so much so, that people’s relationship to information is managed as a control mechanism over attention and ideological persuasion.