Planet Politics

The sheer unrepentant complexity and high-dimensionality of the Global problem spaces we face as a technological civilisation imply that to ever or even just survive, the proliferation of shallow and meaningless ideological caricatures may be a necessary component into the far future of humanity. Communication mandates a certain degree of simplicity but reality itself is always far more complex and for this reason alone we are unlikely to escape the grand dumbing down of political discourse as the battle of platitudes and anachronistic ideological frameworks continues to demonstrate upon a world stage. The great tragedy here is that many (if not most) of the solutions we require to the problems we collectively face are already within our grasp but there is something intractable in a retrospectively-oriented psychology or culture which leads us all from open possibility into stagnant, suffocating orthodoxy.

So, while we all bash our heads bloody against the glass wall of orthodoxy and stupidity, always seeing those vast and open conceptual spaces of possibility and freedom that lie just beyond us, we may just have to come to terms with the fact that this barrier to our shared and successful development as a species is a necessary condition and consequence of large-scale social (and political) dynamics. The question then becomes not one of what to do about the unrelenting stupidity and belligerence of contemporary political discourse or ultimately pointless geostrategic banner-waving – it becomes one of which simplistic narratives we should share to maintain a solvent and Globally continuous civilisation. Everything on offer at the moment is fairly meaningless.

It is worth remembering that political selection contests may occasionally uncover a rare gem of true character and deep intellect but for the most part they merely reproduce the median intelligence required to most effectively play the game of an unthinking symbol-shuffling, of doing and achieving the bare minimum to avoid political insolvency without actually achieving anything significant or historically profound. In fact, the endless game of skating on the thin ice of public perception that regenerates itself in every opportunistic gesture or assertion is not so much inhibited by the requirements of such a democratic paranoia as it is utterly dependent upon it. Authoritarian states hardly fare much better – they merely displace and reconstruct this institutional self-surveillance in different ways.

My greatest fear is that the unrelenting partisan competition and meaninglessly self-validating arguments of human political theatre indicate that, while any one of us may possess intellect sufficient to successfully engaging and resolving a limited sub-set of the non-trivially complex problems we (all) face as a technological civilisation, when taken en masse there may be some necessary and irreducible ineptitude that binds us all to think in inadequately simplistic tribal narratives or village-level terms about the actual vast and hyper-inflating complexities and realities we are now dealing with. The world is a mess.

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