Can millions of young fans be wrong when they declare that the Jonas Brothers are the greatest music group in the history of the universe?
Of course they can. But they won’t believe you.
Why? Because they have received instantaneous affirmation of their belief, and can do so anytime their faith might be swayed.
Not by music experts, writers, community leaders – but affirmation online by millions of other fans, most of whom they don’t know, nor ever will.
Not terribly important in human history (for anybody but the Jonas Brothers and their benefactors), except when you translate the same human reality to other realms and endeavours: politics, science, religion.
Was 9/11 an inside job? Is global warming a serious, human caused phenomenon? Did Jesus get married and Father several children?
The new answer to all these questions and more is: Whatever you’d like to believe. Any answer you’d like, you can virtually guarantee instant affirmation.
The culture of affirmation used to be described to us by our leaders, media, politicians and opinion-leaders as the social domain of the strange and the perverse: racists, conspiracy-theorists, child-molestors, UFO abductees, etc.
The Internet has changed all that.
What are the consequences of mass affirmation, and how do we evolve as a society from here?
Perhaps we will transcend, as humans often do, into a new, more educated, media-savvy and otherwise street-smart society.
Or, perhaps we’ll devolve into a society of affirmed self-righteousness, until it ultimately descends into societal collapse, or human extinction.
It’s food for thought.
Next time an otherwise intelligent person comes to you with some crazy idea, as seen on the Internet, send them this article, and have them answer the question.
In the meantime, go Jonas Brothers – the greatest musicians ever!!
1 thought on “The Affirmation Society in the Information Age”
We were already a society of affirmed self-righteousness, and the only thing that can change that is a questioning attitude. What the Internet exposes in these early days is that other views are not only possible, but widely held in forms you couldn’t even have imagined without seeing them.
Sturgeon’s law applies – most of them are crap – and eventually you become personally more able to filter for positions that are reasonable to you. The result is real strength in your beliefs, instead of copied beliefs that merely affirm the opinions of leaders, media representatives and politicians.
You’re either affirming something or being affirmed, all the time – usually both. The important contribution of lowered barriers to communication is to speed the death of ideas that don’t scale to larger societies. But you have to discover them first, in all their weird and wonderful permutations.
Thanks for the weird idea. 😉
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