Thursday, January 5, 2017
the civil savage
The power of digital technology has spawned new forms of abuse and torture. Blogging, for instance, creates a social environment where misinformation can be spread by idiots. Tweeting does the same thing with greater speed and efficiency. Those yearning for a pre-internet age have no concept of the cruelty possible when a communication network is stripped back to the point where information can only travel as fast as any other human product.
In the good old days it was much easier to cause harm simply by ignoring people. Failing to write, failing to visit, failing to seek out alternate sources of information. Those over the horizon or in the next town had no bearing on local existence. Those who controlled media had a deeper appreciation (sometimes) of the responsibility and power they wielded. These people also suffered from the same deficits of knowledge--they had to trust travelers from antique lands, stories told by sailors of whales and nudity. People could seek legitimate comfort in ignorance.
We still do, but the ping of the smartphone promises another morsel of abundant knowledge.