The efficacy of democracy has always been suspect, especially by those who had envisioned a republic from the very beginning. For a truly enlightened and engaged electorate could threaten the entrenched hierarchy of power and wealth as well as the conditions of inequity and inequality that sustain it. Instead, our baser instincts are appealed to, and everything known and understood about human behavior is used against us. We are conditioned to judge our lives by a quantitative metric.
The term technocracy arose from an early twentieth century movement that coincided with the modern age against the backdrop of the 1927 dystopian masterpiece, Metropolis. Its objective was to infuse the scientific method into the process of shaping socio-political and economic policy and trajectory. Whatever traction it might have had was lost to the Great Depression, subsequent Prohibition, and the urgency of the New Deal. Around the time the digital revolution and the promise of global interconnectivity was enveloping us, the term technocracy inexplicably fell out of common usage. But however this omnipresence is referred to, it has indeed connected us to our online wants but disconnected us from our real world needs.
Where once, the cold steel of an “iron fist” was required to force society into submission, we now have the perpetual distraction of a ubiquitous “velvet glove”.
Our addiction to information, devoid of wisdom, has blinded us to the futility of our mass consumption and rendered us existentially impoverished and unempowered. The puppet masters have us exactly where they want us — seeing only our “selfie” reflections in our personal devices.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the most distracted of them all?