New Renaissance?

Hoe_one_cylinder_printing_press

Well I know it has been terribly long since I last wrote. Mainly this is due to the fact that I have had a lot on my mind with regards to work and life decisions. I do hope that I have made the right decision, and feel that I have, but only time will tell. Hopefully soon I can report back with all good news, but for now let’s get on with a new topic here at Reality Next.

What I would like to discuss today is something that we should all take some time to think about and perhaps – like always – bring about some positive change to the world in which we all live. I want to discuss our modern day internet and make a comparison to a very old but also revolutionary machine of its time – the printing press. The printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1439, this single invention spread literature to the masses for the first time in an efficient, durable way. Shoving Europe headlong into the original information age – the Renaissance.

Now before we get into comparing a 565 year old invention to the internet, let’s first look at what Europe was like before the invention of the printing press…

No books

Illiterate population

Oral culture

Priests would announce news at church

Villagers would listen to a travelling reader

No schools, except for elites

Feudal society

Information controlled by the church and aristocracy

Limiting access to information enabled the church and state to easily control the masses

Now, I don’t know about you? But, to me the former type of society leaves much to be desired. So how did the printing press change Europe? The printing press took to the continent like wild fire. By 1500 there were an estimated 20 million books printed on 35,000 topics. No small feat for a year 50 years of production. This then led to common people (like us of the time) having access to information. These same people began to find contradictions among texts and this began to affect peoples thinking and perception. BINGO – critical thinking began.

Once people were engaged with critical thinking traditional power structures became challenged. Scientific knowledge expanded and the church began to loose absolute authority over the masses. The printing press also inspired individualism as people began to understand that a common person could have their own opinion. Furthermore one’s ideas could be printed and shared for others to read and digest. Within a few hundred more years modern democracy was born thus paving the way for the free society we live in today.

Wonderful stuff. So fast forward a few hundred more years and where are we at?

Well the internet is as they say the information age, the digital age or new media age. Either way it is an exciting time for some and a down right scary time for many. Currently there is no censorship of the internet and that is the absolute beauty of it. The internet is a fantastic medium for many to share their uncensored message and share their observations of the world around them.

Now before the internet, before us common people had access to unlimited information it was much, much easier for the ruling class to filter and control exactly what they wanted the masses to see. After all only 6 corporations control 90% of the media in North America, and if you think they are not sending out a biased unwashed message then your programming runs very deep. So, the way I see it is the internet is the wild card in the ruling classes plan for absolute control over us, the masses. The ruling class would love to censor the internet and I am sure they have a team of shady, brainwashed minions working on it as we speak, but it hasn’t happened yet. And, if we simply use this amazing tool to inspire critical thought before it gets censored then censorship will not be effective and possibly be counter effective in controlling the masses, us.

So I urge you all to use the internet, this blessing of a tool we have been given to spark some critical thought. Obviously not everything you see, read or hear on the internet is going to be true. More likely 90% of what you see, read or hear on the internet is going to be untrue, but this message is not about truth. This message is about thinking and critical thought. Modern schools and our education system do not teach this or inspire this sort of behaviour. Now whether that is a conspiracy or simply happened by chance is for you to decide. Either way it has happened, so no matter who’s to blame, there’s no point in pointing fingers at this point.

The message I have always tried to convey here at Reality Next is simply to think about things that we are often taught not to think about. I know that I don’t always get the story right, and I understand that I may very well be wrong as often as I am right, but critical thinking is not about being right or wrong. It’s about thought.

We could very well be on the cusp of a fantastic evolution of the human mind, or we could just as easily drift  further into a life of debt slavery and serfdom. We are literally on the fence and things could go either way. And either way the internet is the wild card to the next step of our journey.

I’m going to leave you with a short (15 min) video titled How to think, not what to think.

Like always I have enjoyed writing this post as it has forced me to think about things I may have not otherwise thought about. I also hope you enjoyed reading it, and more importantly I hope it has given you something to think about.