e2 Principles – 5
To know or not to know? That is the question. Ignorance is bliss is the response most readily uttered by those opting for the latter. Besides the fact that I’m a firm believer in the adage knowledge is power, I have problems with the option to remain ‘blissfully‘ (see wilfully) ignorant. Reason being it’s a total falsehood. It assumes a state of total bliss based solely on the individual not being aware of a slither of information, although by the very fact of being alive they are consciously and subconsciously aware of millions of bits of information, a significant proportion of which they are likely to find perturbing at the very least.
The paradox arising from optional ignorance whether in pursuance of ‘bliss’ or any other state is that with the desired for state requiring a ‘conscious’ blocking of data the desired for ignorance transpires to be the exact opposite, with the weight of the known ‘unknown’ along with the reasons for not wishing to confront it weighing far more heavily on the mind of the denier than if they were to at whatever level address the topic.
In asserting this I am of course referring to information that can be considered worthy of attention. Being open to information stems from the belief and understanding of the interrelationships, analogues and overlaps between seemingly disparate, things and their impact on each other, is the critical factor underlying the accumulation and increases in overall intelligence.
The cumulative effect of increases in intelligence whether by humans or machines designed for such purposes is that a point is reached where the intelligence gatherer doesn’t need to know (every single micro data point) to be able to ‘know’, and be able to formulate as near as possibly accurate the ‘big picture’. The said ‘knowing’– where the same cumulative experiential process is applied within the human physiological arena – extends to the individual who once familiarised and having adjusted to the prevailing realities, being able to gauge the appropriate (psycho-emotional) response with incredible accuracy from states nearing subconscious.
This general intelligence where applied to situations involving multiple persons becomes all the more potent, through a phenomenon referred to as ‘the wisdom of the crowds’, where the multiple perspectives of a gathered mass brought to bare on a single point of observation or focus, results in a far greater level of accuracy in the judgement reached as to the actualities of that being observed.
The Hive Mind is another term that refers to the dynamics of group psychology. It describes how many individuals where operating within close proximity and at varying levels of interdependence tend towards a single collective modus and outlook based on the perceived terrain within which they operate and ultimately survive. The interesting thing about the Hive Mind phenomenon is how the mass though comprised from many individuals appears as a single entity to be aware of its aggregate capacity, and where mobilised in response towards any action or perceived threat exudes a self correcting quality, exerting just enough force, caution or empathy as the situation requires and likewise a re-balancing mechanism where it is in danger of moving too far out of kilter in any one direction.
The great paradox about the information age and its offspring the communication age is despite the widespread availability of the infrastructure and technologies designed for transference of the data pertaining to these dual purposes, and the high rates of adoption of them among the general population, where the policy and governance concerning the aforementioned infrastructure and its usage falls within the remit of those who are charged with setting the status quo, their objective being social control, the model deployed relies heavily on deliberate omission, misrepresentation and falsification, seeing the majority (in this great age of enlightenment) in total darkness about the true nature of world affairs and the ultimate personages and agendas that dictate the overt machinations they (the mass) believe are true representations of the geopolitical and macro economic outcomes of which they bare the burden.
What many may be persuaded is the acceptable rationale behind such actions is the intention to minimise the disruption within the wider society should the uncomfortable truths emerge and an aware fully mobilised populace in charge of their faculties take action to address matters.
Conversely the seemingly liberating technologies spawned during this ‘great age’ have in the hands of marketers and the commercially oriented been honed to possess characteristics whereby their impact on the end user (the mass populace) is to engender states of near permanent distraction to the extent that many lack the capacity for the mental fortitude required to mobilise in any meaningful way.
In the absence of any guidance regarding consumption or usage protocols, it doesn’t require too much imagination to see how the proliferation of these technologies serves the purposes of those whose ends are achieved by the fragmented attention spans of the masses. The danger for the individual in this paradigm is the perception that there is no ‘collective truth’,no wisdom of the crowd, thus making the likelihood of a miscalculated response in either direction by mis or underinformed individuals greater.
Its tempting to believe that the species memory or collective consciousness is infallible and that somehow it’s innate psychic qualities endow it with the capacity to see through the falsehoods and macro social smoke screens, but this is not the case, the media’s default mode being repetitious reinforcement, a format known to induce a slavish response in the average person within a very short period, it levies an extremely powerful hold over the minds of the many.
Thanks largely due to the world of enterprise, we have good examples of where the ethos is to share knowledge among employees and facilitate interaction and information flow between disparate parts of the organisation and their representatives. In such environments the prevailing culture results in benefits and that are so far reaching it is hard to quantify in any exact way how they positively effect the organisation, but their being an undeniable sense among company staff that they do.
Most commonly quoted is the confidence it instils in the employees, where the level of empowerment increases from the knowledge that the company’s last great commercial success was thought up and implemented by the guys one meets with in the cafe` most lunch times, and through conversations with whom the specifics of the code, customer discovery tactics and go to market strategy become widely shared and utilised across the organisation.
The most famous example of this is the so called Paypal Mafia a group of half a dozen or so former Paypal founders and employees whose luminaries include Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, each of whom on leaving Paypal post sale to eBay went on to build one or more 1$Billion companies, testament to the power and infectiousness of a creed where information and communication is prioritised.
What this points to as far as the development of enterprise culture in the wider social sphere is that it is imperative to facilitate wide scale and systemic communication, access to information and information sharing at all levels within and across all segments of the community, also to encourage active engagement in communication and information sharing so that there is a widely held awareness about the status-quo, its idiosyncrasies, strengths, flaws, capacity and the benefits accruing from it to the individual and collective.
Develop and use systems that make it convenient for community members to share and access multiple types of information. Prioritise the creation of space, platforms and occasions for face to face, interpersonal communication. Instil behavioural protocols that lead to the mass participation of community members, giving thought to how the value from doing so can be harnessed and demonstrated in a tangible and meaningful way and how community members are able to witness the impact and understand the value of what they contribute.