It feels to me that everything in our culture is wrong, everything is sick, misguided, lacking empathy and devoid of wisdom. But I know this 'everything' of mine is also misguided. Because we need to find the openings that already exist, so there is something to build from. Nothing starts from absolute scratch. And there are good moments everywhere and in (almost) everything
Yesterday I was reading a newspaper and thought: if newspapers are filled with lies, half-truths, tepid spectacle and propaganda, it would simply be better not to have them. If by some act of magic all the newspapers disappeared tomorrow, what would it be like? Since this is an impossible, hypothetical situation: let's say there would still be information available on the internet. But what kind of information? Is there any way one could say it might be better or worse?
The strange thing is not that the newspapers reflect the interests of their corporate owners, but that there would be any reason to believe it might be otherwise. I have never much believed in objectivity, journalistic or otherwise. I think objectivity is the perfect cover for propaganda. It is a way of saying: my position is in fact not my position at all, rather it is an objective truth. I believe that admitting to ones subjective biases (while at the same time questioning them) brings us much closer to reality. All thinking is autobiographical.
When I write these things it is always at the back of my mind that I have no high horse to ride forward on. I am afraid of people and too much want to be famous (like many artists and writers, I suppose.) Even though all my small experiences of success so far have only (or mainly) made me miserable. And I am so full of doubts sometimes it is like I barely exist. But we cannot fight injustice with doubts. As a mode of thinking doubt can be rich, but as a weapon it is weak.
Objectivity is of course connected to the paradigm of the scientific method. But this seemingly obvious connection sidesteps the fact that science is also full of doubt. About doubting received wisdoms and wanting to test them through experiment. When something is described as a scientific fact we think we can rely on it with some certainty, but it is perfectly possible that some new scientific fact might sweep it away tomorrow. Scientific facts are also achieved by reducing the number of parameters one takes into consideration. The oil makes the car go fast, but the oil also causes pollution. The scientists working on making the car go faster must focus their energy on only one of these facts. (Unlike the scientists one lab over developing hybrid vehicles.) The newspaper gives us (often incomplete or out-of-context) information, but it also shapes our subjectivity, our understanding of the world. And in this, by it's very nature, it must be narrow. In cannot shape our subjectivity in an open, full, curiosity-enriching manner. Newspapers are simply not built like that, nor to they set themselves such goals.
Can we imagine a different model? That the word 'news' might represent something completely different than it does today? Here is a fictional scenario: in ever neighborhood their would be three people elected by the community whose full time job it would be to know what's going on in the world. They would also assign certain local people the task of researching specific questions or issues. They would be in regular communication with others who do a similar job around the world. Once a week the neighborhood gathers and hears a presentation of the news. Then everyone can ask questions and discuss.
Because the other thing I constantly wonder is why we need to hear these things every day? It seems once a week, or even once a month, would be more than sufficient.