Controlling the message from the top down used to work very well, giving great power to tyrants who were good at message control. Times, though, have changed: the internet releases unlimited messages to flow freely outward from individuals, creating patterns of ideas, discourse, debate, and dissent.
The youth singing in the video above are indoctrinated by a song imposed upon them by Adolf Hitler — responding to ideas delivered top-down from The Furher. Today’s youth download personal preferences from thousands of songs online — listening to them individually, not singing them in groups. Against this background it is a jolt to read these words by Barack Obama from a speech yesterday:
“You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank all that high on the truth meter,” Obama said at Hampton University, Virginia.
“With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation,” Obama said.
He bemoaned the fact that “some of the craziest claims can quickly claim traction,” in the clamor of certain blogs and talk radio outlets. . . .
“Education… can fortify you, as it did earlier generations, to meet the tests of your own time,” he said.
Is Obama telling the graduates that education somehow provides the right amount of information — instead of too much? Does he say educators should decide what information ranks high on the “truth meter”? — what song kids should sing? The fact of the matter is that these questions will answer themselves, following network laws.
Information — managed by network laws — will continue to flow from many, many individual sources. Much of it will be junk; a lot of it will be untrue. But the flow will also contain the all of the kernels of accurate facts — the truth will freely flow.
Top down tyranny of thought is becoming impossible because what is accurate and true finds itself bubbling on its own the the top of the truth meter. Google proves that network laws themselves move the best stuff to the top.
One of the most fascinating aspects of upcoming elections is watching the increasingly ineffective efforts of team Obama and other politicians to control the message by sending it down from the top against the upward flow of everybody’s ideas. The same phenomenon is gaining momentum in education as top down standards and centralized curricula and textbooks lose their relevancy to kids who are learning from browsing the internet with their handheld devices.