It has troubled me this week as the world looks back into its continued slow motion walk into the train-wreck of the real possibility of 'manufacturing' it's consent for another World War. That in this the 21st century, a time of dawning future expectations; that the savior of this limply launched technological age through all the developments of : the computer since the 1960s, the STAR TREK tri-corders for every women, child, and man with all the figgits, gadgets, and Gidgets that that endless information industry keeps beating us onto our beaches with. The California Beaches of media/Hollywood videos, links, and twitters. And all that world of teenage 'culture' of deifying Vampires and zombies, in all the trilogies and Saga's ; the product world of the 21st century Disney corporation. Such that the over all end result is now becoming the ultimate degradation of the human race into World War Three. Making all this technology utterly inane and pointless. Mankind hasn't achieved anything through all this higher transmitting of all the information our small minds can conceive. Not wanting to sound too pessimistic but I won't even attempt to say what this logical reasoning makes of the Human Race, even theoretically.
Oh boy! How the technological world has got off on a pathetic bugle honking! The 20th century began with the gratuitous BANG of World Wars then ended with a Whimper (of lies and vice). The 21st century has begun with a Whimper surrounded by trumpets of "shock & awe" or is it just more lies and vice? We have emptiness and loss inside and pomp and circumstance to keep us moving on our conveyor belts of industry, and all promoted with technology. One of the greatest lessons we need to pound home from the 20th century is lack of 'SUBSTANCE' can never become sold-out to hot wind and kool-Ad-Men (can that cable show really be popular?). An elephant isn't pink because the man on T. V. shows you a picture of a pink elephant.
"The secret of the Demagogue is to make himself as stupid
as his audience so that they believe they are as clever as he"
- Karl Kraus -
Sound familiar, beware of the relativity caused through television transmissions Even the thought that computers and television are marvels of poorly administered uses of technology; yet marvelous regardless, shouldn't confuse the truth that they are merely mimicking out thought processes which have been around for centuries. Or , don't confuse technology for intelligence. Just because it takes great intelligence to create technology has no barring whatsoever that the uses of said technology will be put to a lot of intelligent use. Particularly when the motivation for 80 % of everything transmitted is to "get you" and sell you something you probably don't need.
The MODERN FATHER of all the secularized and Democratized transmissions of information was actually DENIS DIDEROT (1713-1784). DIDEROT became the prime editor of the enormous twenty-years project to create a MODERN ENCYCLOPEDIE along with d' Alembert, Baron d'Holbach, Friedrich Melchior Grimm and a host of every proven intellectual in PARIS or a pen written letter away. DIDEROT's ENCYCLOPEDIE was not the largest or the first, nor was it the most authoritative or even the most popular one ever devised.
Yet it became the most significant event in the entire intellectual history of the Enlightenment to address every human objective in MODERN society from politics to economics, stubbornness to heroism, and then all the revolutionary ideas which emerged in an atmosphere of growing educated 'free will' and human Liberty. For the first time ever, these ideas of human self determination could smash through the walls of the age old authorities and corruptions of the church and state, along with all the established forces in France mounted together. And with REASON as its guide Free Thought burst through to emancipate and make triumphant secular principles and private enterprize. DIDEROT's ENCYCLOPEDIE presaged not only the Revolutions of America and France but it gave us the values for the two centuries to follow.
Pierre Bayle (1647-1706) had to flee persecution in France and moved to Rotterdam. He would also create a very important and authoritative encyclopedia in 1697. Bayle ordered his alphabetically which at the time was a novelty in organization. A more serious work of referrence and scholarship. The upper and smaller part of its pages were taken up with the definitions, as the rest was given over to commentaries on the subjects outlined. Bibliographical remarks, a careful annotation of sources in the original languages; it really was designed for enquiring minds. Of the approximately two thousand articles, two-thirds were devoted to figures from the 16th and 17th centuries, many of them involved in The Reformation. Little information on geography and very little about Sciences or the Arts and Literature. Of the great Scientists only KEPLER was considered worthy of an article. But despite these impracticalities the dictionary quickly became popular for its meticulous research, its transparency, and its lucid argumentation and it went through eight French editions over fifty years. It was translated into both German and English languages.