An idea’s value has now shifted from the old hierarchy of experts, magazine editors, newspaper editors and assorted king makers to the ability to drive traffic to the site. Traffic flow now rules the marketplace of ideas. This has had the implication of naming ideas according to the algorithms of Google and linking possibilities. What used to have a fairly mundane name is now christened with a search engine hook. Perhaps the most frightening aspect of the new age is the actual exposure of people’s thinking in the sundry forums and formats. Reading posts tends to diminish one’s estimation of the human mind.
A theory of the source of ideas has stated that ideas exist in the “ether” and that we have a psychic communication system that has human minds tuning into the “sea of ideas” that exist in the ether. We really don’t “own” ideas but merely participate in an idea’s existence either through “tuning into its reception” (getting the idea) or by transmitting it through our subconscious “idea transmision” system. It is the psychic “idea net” that rules the transmission of ideas. It has been argued that the internet is a subconscious mimicry of this system.
So where does this leave a scientist with an important idea? Embracing of new ideas is notorious for waiting for the timing to catch up with the idea. Many people did not believe that humans could fly even after seeing the films of the Wright Brothers flights. This all assumes that technology is advancing in a relatively straight line. What happens when technology is suppressed after it has been prominent? Imagine the internet disappearing and then seeing its validity questioned for years. In my lifetime, I have seen valid technology embraced by 1/3 of the population disappeared into oblivion. The consequences of which have been to no avail. Now I am left as one of the few (and perhaps in some areas the only) person left holding these important ideas. Where do I go? Do I embrace the internet?
Embracing the internet has some hard wired assumptions. Ideas are constantly in conflict and there exists a huge fight for the attention of the world. Also, there exists the huge financial implications of “validity of information”. Establishing one’s information (idea) as valid has enormous financial implications. People pay for information they deem valuable. If an idea is not really valuable, marketers continue to present it as valuable to feed their families. Most of the time the marketers can’t really discern if their ideas are really valuable or not. Most importantly, the facts are seldom pertinent to perceptions about value.
This leaves us with a huge irony. The present generation has embraced technology as a cardinal part of its identity. The assumption about technology’s value is that it uses science and by implication, reason to better the human condition. That all sounds great but what about the technology that is being suppressed by this generation? I see the underside of this generation’s inability to reason and embrace valid science. Somewhere along the line, technology and science have become separated. This leads to internet madness, social network nonsense, and the reinforcement of anti-science attitudes. The internet is often working to diminish science. A web presence can often delude the poorly educated into believing their own irrationality as valid. Most importantly, there is no existence of the limitation of one’s mind in regard to a subject. There is no understanding that one does not know everything that is available to be known. This is similar to a lay person thinking that they are reasonably entitled to firm opinions about eye surgery techniques. The internet has created the delusion that everyone is equal in matters scientific.
The tempting conclusion is to offer “rehabilitative thinking treatment” to the masses of internet users. Has the net empowered people and at the same time reinforced ignorance on a previously unimaginable scale? Information availability and knowledge are not necessarily in synchrony. It could be argued that ignorance has always been with us on a similar scale and that the net has merely served to expose it to view. I prefer this position.
An unintentional result of the internet is the reinforcement of invalid ideas that play on human frailty and fear. The formula for internet success is clear, combine a big dose of fear, anxiety, laziness and passivity with a little bit of valid reasoning. The above, coupled with a strict avoidance of facing the basic or underlying reality along with strong herding of people to your site. This has replaced the old techniques of Madison some how have come out about the same. Such is progress.
The internet is great and wonderful in many many marvelous ways. But the bottom line has pretty much stayed in the same place.