I think we risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance.”
- Rubén Blades, in a conference at Harvard University (1993)
Some of my own thoughts on the subject:
Human society is like a deep sea. Just a tiny part of it is visible on the surface. Even when it is high winds and massive waves at the top, there can be great calm all over in the deep recesses of this sea.
As in a sea the winds on the surface can go to one direction while the deep currents deep under go unhindered to another direction. They can have flown for centuries quite unshaken by the changes of the winds on the surface.
As in research of seas is done from mainly from the surface, so is the research of society. The direction of the prevailing winds is well known and often even predictable, but we still know surprisingly little of the deep currents. However, these currents do in the end keep the whole system going century after century.
These deep currents change so slowly that their changes can be passed over quite unnoticed. However, when they do break to the surface, they can have a devastating effect.
A major problem is that the deepest changes are too slow to be noticed in the endless stream of information that does drown us daily. This onslaught can make us gasp for air after a day of being bombarded by violent things that are news because they so often just are so rare, not because they would be in any way important to us personally.
In this endless bombardment, it is very difficult to pause and look around to search for the really important things. We may not even notice how the way we see other humans does change in this bombardment of meaningless violence.
This thought comes to my mind sometimes: Who benefits from the fact that we are losing our trust and faith in other humans when we are subjected to constant and endless stream of violent images. This often happens even if in our immediate neighborhood there is nothing to be really afraid of.
I do not have any answers as I am not a follower of conspiracy theories. I’m just afraid that humankind has a bad record of going carried away with the trade winds as long as the going is good. Humans can just go on forever without ever realizing what they are doing to themselves.
(This piece was refurbished on 28th of December, 2012)
"Rubén Blades Bellido de Luna (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈruβen ˈbleðz] born July 16, 1948) is a Panamanian salsa singer, songwriter, actor, Latin jazz musician, and activist. He holds a law degree from the University of Panama and a master's in international law from Harvard University. He managed to attract 18% of the vote in his attempt to win the Panamanian presidency in 1994. In September 2004, he was appointed minister of tourism by Panamanian president Martín Torrijos for a five-year term."