Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fish Out of Water - Why We Need Political Meta-Discussion NOW

"One thing about which fish know exactly nothing, is water" Marshall McLuhan

As an analogy for us, in today's world, this is not exactly correct in that we know that there is something wrong with the water.  There is, as Jimmy Carter described, a feeling of malaise and that assessment may be the only thing we can agree on.

So the fish is us, and the water is our collective means for solving problems ie. politics.  So how does a fish find out about water ?  It could evolve to be able to leave the water, or - more easily - it could ask a fish that thinks about things.

 Philosophers are these types of fish:

Michael Warner in his essays 'publics and counterpublics' states that "A public is the social space created by the reflexive circulation of discourse".  He builds on the work of Jurgen Habermas, bringing it into the digital age.  Things that work against creating a public are desituated individuals (individuals who are situated outside the domain of the problem being discussed) and the ascension of the trivial.

I would add that the complexity of our engagements to the world make the discourse difficult to manage.   How can so many disparate groups of people think that they are not being heard ?

The time has come for us to use personalized digital media as a platform to start a meta-discussion so we can replace our failing media institutions with a new, realigned discourse.  The next time you comment on a political issue on facebook, or elsewhere, take the time to add how this issue has arrived in the public sphere - who is commenting on it, how it's being processed, and think a little more like a fish out of water.

1 comment:

  1. Meta Comment on Climate Change here: