Monday, October 7, 2013

114. Remedies?

 In the preceding four items in this blog, inspired by the work of Baudrillard, I paraded a few complaints about present society. Can I also offer any remedies? I indicated a few but here I will expand on them and give a survey.

Against loss of contact with reality, in hyperreality, we can go against mere opinion, emotion, hype and ecstasy and persist in demanding arguments and facts, even if, admittedly, facts are never ‘rock bottom’ objective, never identical to reality, and are mentally and socially construed. At least they entail a commitment to grasp reality, even if that is imperfect. The imperfection of our grasp entails the need for debate, for a contrast between what you and I think we grasp. And we can step out of the virtuality of games and make-believe, to combine experience with entertainment, action with simulation, face with console.

Against loss of individual identity, in hyperidentity, we can maintain variety, utilize and revitalize cognitive distance, and insist on room for one’s own interpretation, one’s own path in the construction of the self, even if that construction is social and we need others to loosen ourselves from our prejudice. We can try to use social networks to make new connections rather than consolidate existing ones. We can resist the regimentation of ideology embedded in institutions by bringing it to light, applying the x-ray of analysis.

Against closed groups or communities we can resist myopia, intolerance, nationalism, chauvinism, and insist on their opening up, on outside connections, and on turnover of membership. This applies to boards of directors and supervisors, committees, organizations, positions, jobs, etc. Democracy is never perfect, is often a myth, but it does yield turnover of power due to elections.

Against loss of responsibility we can stop hiding the inability to exercise responsibility as a result of system tragedy, unmask and demystify managerial fables of control, accept that not all uncertainty can or should be eliminated, leave room for error, and seek new forms of control. Here I refer to item 75 in this blog, on horizontal control. The crux of that is that those controlled help to inform the control over them, with the reward of less control if they do so honestly.  

Against system tragedy due to complexity of social systems, we can reduce complexity by decentralization, with a large degree of local autonomy, in localized government and smaller, more independent organizations, collaborating rather than concentrating in mergers or  acquisitions. This is a classic solution: decompose. Another solution is to reduce strong ties, by reducing rules, untightening control. Here again I refer to horizontal control.

On a deeper level, underlying all this is the issue of universals that I discussed repeatedly in this blog. We should surrender claims of closed, complete and universal ideas and rules, applying everywhere and always, to recognize variety and contingency of circumstance, and the flux involved in life and society, the changes that cannot be foreseen and planned for. In short: imperfection on the move.