The world is saturated in information.
Data, words, explanations of different things, phenomena, activities, based on other words, phenomena, activities.
But to what extent is this information true or useful?
As I perused my way through the content that saturates the web today, I came across a website called WittyBunny.
This site makes different tests and quizzes that give you information about certain things.
Their ‘About Me’ section states, “Need some respite from a long day of work?
Hours of fun await you at WittyBunny, where we give you quality fun that keeps you coming back for more. We aim to provide more than just your average online quizzes.
WittyBunny wants to give you content that’s not only enjoyable, but interesting and engaging as well. Come and spend your time with us! Got a cool idea? We’d love to work with you! We’re always in search of new ideas for collaboration.”
The key words that popped out to my head were: content, enjoyable, interesting, and engaging.
But why is this all significant? Because this is information.
This is the type of material we saturate ourselves with in the world. From entertainment television to mass media, we are constantly absorbing information, material and data that is forced into the mind. This information is automatically absorbed into the brain as true facts.
This pertains to moral truths as well as scientific truths. The WittyBunny example portrays the information provided by social media. For the ignorant mind, this website houses hours of information that can be utilized by the self. For example, one of their quizzes is: “How much of a bitch are you?”
If an ignorant mind was to take this test and confirm their “bitchiness” would it not be affirmed within the mind as a moral truth? The quiz has confirmed your identity as a bitch, because there is such a quiz, there must be more people like me, thus it is okay to be a bitch.
One could imagine the thought sequence as such. If noted otherwise, if say the quiz said you were not so much of a bitch, but still one. That would also entitle you to your occasional bitchy outburst. All in all, it is taking contingent and tangible material and converting it into information.
The problem with this kinda of information is the lack of the awareness to such interactions. Obviously, the ignorant mind is unaware of the process ensuing and proceeds to become the product. Once the product is complete, it goes on to please the other consumers with its information. “Hey Bob, did you know that sometimes I’m a bitch, and it’s okay?” “Well, that’s nice, I’m also a bitch sometimes, let’s be bitches together!” And so the cycle continues.
But why could this possibly be? Why are we so used to accepting information into our minds without expanding upon this knowledge? School. Education. Whatever you want to call it, is the problem.
Not saying that having schools and such is the problem, but the method of teaching within schools is the problem. But this might have to do in fact with the current paradigm we are living in. In another post I had shown the connection between Christianity (religion in general) and Capitalism. This was to portray the strangling hold that capitalism takes on the individual mind and psyche.
Capitalism thrusts the individual into a society of guilt and promises. With this it uses the natural human occurrence of guilt feelings and turns it into a poison, a sin.
With this society it has created a system in which benefits the few at the cost of the majority. But if your ontological definition of being is selfishness, then why do other people matter? They don’t.
So now you see the problem that the education system faces today. A world thrust into a paradigm of not caring, and yet, this is what we need for education and schools to teach ‘infermation’, data and material derived from evidence and reflecting. The term ‘infermation’ is not used or even in the dictionary, but I believe it to be the perfect fit.
Edit: I recently found this post regarding “Infermation” Click Here
There must be a divide between the two terms. Information being that material which is automatically implied and Infermation being that material which is reflected upon and confirmed by evidence.
Paradigm -> Education -> Information/Infermation -> Repetition
This is the process in which I see this philosophy, however the standard paradigm of today’s society insists that we simply absorb and not think. If we think, we make life more difficult than it is, thus it is better not to think. But thinking is exactly what made your life better in the first place. Someone had to think of a moral or scientific truth, in order for you to enjoy the pleasures you have in life. Thus, we benefit off the moral truths, and in selfish ways, we manipulate infermation into information to maintain our position in society.
With the mass amount of information in the world, it is simple to see why we have so many problems. Justice is not justice, just a pseudo-justice in the guise of Lady Justice. Truth is not truth, only contingent values placed on them by an authority. Love has become so rich, that it no longer needs itself to be seen. Peace is seen as weak, as bronze, as worthless. The virtues, the moral truths of the world, are being trampled on beneath our feet.
In relation to paradigms, there are two paradigms that one may live by. The first paradigm exhibits Nietzsche’s will-to-power and over-man, while the second paradigm is derived from Martin Buber’s philosophy of I-Thou.
It is very important to note that both paradigms do not exhibit good or bad, they are by their very nature of value not existing, invaluable. Being that they cannot ontologically be good or bad, more that they affirm the good and bad values in the world.
The first paradigm is what I call the “selfish” life. The selfish life feeds off the benefits of the self. It is what motivates the individual to continue on with life. It is also what dictates that moral behavior and actions of that individual.
The selfish person works in favor of itself and not other people. The selfish person admits that the world is a world of relations connected by other people. However, this relation between people has no intrinsic value, thus is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Thus, the only important thing within this relation is the I, thus, the selfish person, becomes the happy person.
As we have seen in the world, this is a very true and active paradigm. Selfish people are happy by their very actions. However, their lives are intertwined with another paradigm. A paradigm that revolves around love and compassion, otherwise known as: care.
The second paradigm I call the “caring” life. The caring life feeds off the benefits of the other. What motivates the individual is thinking about other people. The caring person works in favor of the relations in the world that it has been involved with. The very idea of relation becomes the intrinsic value of life. In this way, it becomes the complete opposite ontic of the selfish life.
Within the selfish life, one disregards relation as being part of the ontic status of being. However, within the caring life, one affirms the relation as being the ontic status of being. Such is to say that being depends on the relations maintained within the world. That once all relations are severed, you are thrust into a selfish life that is bound to end in unhappiness.
But both paradigms are not good or bad like I mentioned earlier, more that both paradigms are available for choosing. Furthermore, they can be changed within the blink of an eye. Such is to say that at one moment, one might exhibit the caring life, then all of the sudden exhibit the selfish life. This becomes the main problem within the scope of society.
Within society, we are at all times in a constant flux of both paradigms. Of course, there are certain factors that solidify the grounds onto which paradigm may be enforced by the mind. The main factor of inhibition is that of the laws of society, or the laws of the individual mind. The laws of society and of the individual mind are not moral truths. They may try to enforce and exemplify individual moral truths, however are not moral truths. Moral truths by their very definition do not need enforcing, they come to us as universal natural truths.
The laws of society reflect our constant flux in paradigms. At one moment we might have a law exemplifying the communal aspect of society, the next might inhibit that very same aspect. But where does this fit into the scope of education?
Now that we have both paradigms explicated and founded, the next step becomes education. Once realized, the next step becomes the education of the masses to this knowledge. However, it is my hypothesis that in the turn of the enlightenment, with the amount of infermation that was provided to the individuals at the time, it was all too tempting to make money from it. Thus, the Golden Age sprung into existence and wealth became the identifying factor of greatness and achievement.
With wealth taking the main stage, knowledge no longer had its limelight. With knowledge cast to the side, the selfish paradigm was able to inhibit the caring paradigm with no force at all. No longer was it seen great to care about the relations you were in, but now it was about money and power. Thus, if you are in power and wanted to maintain power, what do you do? Find the source: Knowledge. Knowledge and education is what thrust the Golden Age into existence, therefore, if one is to maintain power, one must maintain education.
With education on the side of the selfish, the spread of information began to rise. With the advancement of technology, it was easier to spread information across the world. This brings in the word: Propaganda. Propaganda was and is used in order to maintain a certain political agenda. However, if one was to extract the political agenda from the propaganda then it would simply become information that is not to be questioned. But how is this to be done? Fill the minds of the masses with excess information, so much information, that it becomes the reality of life.
With this new reality of life, the selfish lives maintain their power, their wealth, their happiness at the expense of the masses, the people. However, the masses, thinking that their reality is only such, do not question or educate themselves against the selfish.
But what comes about from the mass inhibition of knowledge, happiness, and wealth? Protests, riots, and turf wars. Not only do these factors become idealized, but the paradigm of care becomes the overarching paradigm. When you are no longer able to help yourself, the other is the only person that can help you. Thus, the caring paradigm is exemplified as the method of salvation.
Now we begin to see the clashing of paradigms taking their toll. Let me remind you, that neither the selfish paradigm and caring paradigm or good and bad. Only until you inhibit one or the other, do you find your definition of good and bad. These paradigms simply are the case, which means that it is morally justified to be selfish, there is nothing wrong with being selfish.
There is nothing wrong with being selfish, but this does not mean that it will help you in life. There are moments in life where maintaining your relations becomes the pivotal factor in your life. This is why the problems of society become that, problems, becomes it is of two active paradigms fighting against each other, with individual minds switching from one to the other based on contingent events in reality.
And this is where we are at now in today’s reality. Stuck in the cycle process of paradigm shifts. In a constant flux of paradigm changes, from selfish to caring, from caring to selfish. Too many times does the fickle minds of individuals play an active part in the problems of society. We simply cannot choose one or the other, we must switch depending on the situations we encounter.
But to this extent, we only perpetuate the problem itself. Thus, we must choose one or the other in order to maintain clarity and peace. But what is supposed to give us the determining aspect of either or? Do I become selfish and idealize the self as the most important? Or do I become caring and idealize the other as the most important?
It is my assumption, based on our inherent relation to others, that the caring life exhibits more the characteristics of a good life, rather than that of the selfish life.
The selfish life provides us with the ability to enjoy our life on our own, however, as individuals thrust into a society (familiar or not), we must consider the other as having an active effect on our happiness. Likewise, if the other is also exhibiting the caring life, you yourself, become the object of happiness.
Furthermore, the caring life allows more of fair treatment to individuals. Equality is something that is of a funny concept. It can be seen from the negative aspect, of equalizing the playing field, bringing down the iron giant, or it can be seen from the positive aspect, of bringing up the weak, of empowering the powerless. Note, that the terms negative and positive mean their intrinsic meanings of numerate value. To equalize something negatively, actually means to negate something quantitatively in order to maintain equality. To equalize something positively, actually means to add something quantitatively in order to maintain equality.
If looked at from this aspect, equality doesn’t seem to equal at all. From this perspective, negative equality seems to exhibit the selfish life while positive equality seems to exhibit the caring life. Thus, what Nietzsche sees in the slave morality, the will to negate the powerful, is seen in light of the negative equality. What he did not take into consideration is that equality does not have to work both ways.
For Nietzsche if the powerful are taken down by the weak, it is simply the weak enforcing their will upon the powerful. However, if looked at from the paradigm of the caring life, it becomes the act of charity. The problem for Nietzsche is that he is viewing a virtue, from the paradigm of the selfish life. From the selfish life perspective, charity is outright wrong and bad. However from the caring life perspective, charity is the act of equality from the perspective of the powerful.
One might wonder than of Nietzsche’s example. If the weak end up overthrowing the powerful and setting up a system of suppression, what is to said about the “caring life” weak people who seem to be selfish?
As I mentioned earlier, reality is a flux of constant change of paradigms; And at all times we are susceptible to change based on our contingent events that happen to us. Death, life, love, etc. all play a large role within the scope of our paradigms. Our paradigm shifts are all dependent on the contingent events in our life.
Thus, the weak who in turn bring down the powerful and maintain the system are actually inhibiting the caring life and exhibiting the selfish life. The negative equalization results in a selfish desire to please the self and not the other. So we see how people who exhibit the caring life can easily fall victim to the selfish life.
What can be done with all of this then? With the spread of information and not infermation, what can be done to alleviate the battle between both paradigms? Education. It is paramount that we teach young adults and students of all ages this important ontological status of two paradigms.
The two paradigms indicate two social status that work in tandem with the other. Both are aware of the other, and work in relation to the other. Like a yin and yang of life, the balance between good and evil, if you must look at it from a spiritual point of view.
From these two ontological viewpoints we understand the value of the virtues and apply them accordingly to our everyday practice. When these two paradigms meet on the battlefield, sparks fly and the world is thrown into a hysteria of morality. Is one right and one wrong? Yes and yes. Both are right, and both are wrong. It is all dependent on what paradigm we choose at that moment in time.
This may seem nauseating at first (this is why Sartre titled his first book Nausea), but the task of phenomenology is actually quite rewarding. Not only do you see the process of conscience, you also are able to distinguish the fake ailments of individuals and society, to the real ailments of society. As I have said before, it was purposefully done, the mass spread of information, in order to blur the line between truth and reality. Thus, the ability to see through the guise of society becomes of paramount value, if not the greatest asset to the individual mind.
As Buber says, the self-illumination of the mind. We must first illuminate the darkness that covers our eyes, and to see the light that is the relations we have to all peoples. Whether we decide to actualize them or not, becomes life’s question.
“To be or not to be” the famous line uttered by the stroke of Shakespeare’s ink, comes to mind here. Though normally interpreted as, “To choose death or to choose life,” one can interpret this line as the distinction between the two paradigms. To choose the paradigm of selfishness or to choose the paradigm of caring, that is the question. If one chooses one paradigm it may ensue in death, as well as the other. So it can also be seen to fit the original explanation of the quote.
But I digress, coming back to the process of society, we come back to the subject of information and infermation. Once the paradigm has been chosen and the education done accordingly, the process of the spreading of information/infermation becomes the next task of society. Depending on which paradigm maintains the status quo, the spread of one or the other becomes known. If a selfish perspective is maintaining the status quo, the spread of information becomes warranted. However, if the caring perspective is maintaining the status quo, the spread of infermation becomes warranted. The selfish perspective wants the other to stay ignorant, while the caring perspective wants the other to become “illuminated”, in Buber’s words. Thus, the spreading of information or infermation becomes apparent.
Finally, the process is a cycle. It is on repeat and cannot be taken off repeat. Until the last individual mind dies, we will live in a cycle of these two paradigm shifts. Either at all times we adhere to the relations of others or we do not, we will always have to choose between these two processes to begin to act in life.
Once the paradigm is shifted the cycle restarts and is associated with one or the other. But by the very fickle nature of the human mind, we always have the ability to restart the cycle at any moment in time. The process of doing so is not an easy one, but is a possibility, if anything a necessity at times.
This persists with us until death parts our souls from our body and then the cycle continues with the younger generations in whatever interpretation they may hold. But in all cases, all generations will be faced with the ontological dilemma: Does one choose to be selfish in life or to be caring?
Thanks for reading.