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Over the past week several things have come together in my life to create a perfect storm of online over-posting on my part. 1) I'm sick at home with a cold giving me 24/7 access to streaming online news about the 2) Edward Snowden "leak" of NSA material, a situation that coincides directly with my PhD thesis topic that I am 3) finishing at home and submitting my first draft of on Monday.

This NSA leak is fascinating to me and relevant to everyone, really. I've been accused of not having the correct level of "outrage", but that's because I've been aware of our "surveillance state" for many years.
Outrage, in my book, is a reaction to having something unwanted done to you, in which you took no part, nor did you invite it.
I am not outraged because 1) my research shows that human beings have brought most of this on themselves (my thesis asks "why?") and 2) because my research also shows that we continuously move through what Foucault calls in French, "dispositifs" . (It helps to have lived long enough to have the ability to look back and see the actual proof of this). In other words, things will always change.
A dispositif is a combination of institutions, administrations, people, laws, art and technology that come together in our society and produce an event (or series of events) that leads to a change, and often a "righting" of the system. Put simply, it is the handle that one attaches to a machine to make it go. 3) Snowden is the catalyst to emerge from this current dispositif.
I think his methodology was not the best, but it is done. He is not a "hero", but he is a link in the chain of events that was bound to occur in this cycle of our generation. If not him, something else would have happened, it almost always does. It is not right, it is not wrong, it is as they say, what it is.
Our job now is to complain less and be outraged LESS, and instead, GET TO WORK on figuring out a better way to live in a society with war-mongering religious fanatics, huge, clueless populations, bickering branches of government, the internet and all the doors to privacy it leaves open as well as doors to information on how to kill thousands of people with home-made devices.
"Outrage" is a useless luxury in these times. What is needed are cooler heads, more transparency, and fewer glory grabbing tattle-tales. We need good laws, and we need good people, meaning we need to also work on developing our conscience as well as our judgment. (And I think this may be the outline for my thesis conclusion)
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Comment Preferences

  •  Does elitism bother you ever? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shahryar

    Not snark,just wondering if it ever crossed your mind.

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 05:29:59 PM PDT

  •  how do we get good laws about secret programs? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wayoutinthestix, TiaRachel, deep info

    if representatives of certain programs go before Congress and lie, how exactly do we achieve transparency?

    The telling phrase you use is "glory grabbing tattle-tales", as if surveillance on everyone is such a minor issue that it's beneath anyone already out of kindergarten.

    For me, an important aspect of this particular episode is that, as seen in clips recently, the candidate who said he was against this, who promised he'd end it, who called it unconstitutional, is now the President who is for it. I would think that would wake some people up.

    Or we could do as you say and just not mention it since (a la Peggy Noonan) it's uncouth and perhaps a little rude to call attention to this or any other item.

    One more thing: you say we need to work on our conscience. Who are you talking about? Do you mean those in power? Are you suggesting they'll agree with you and consider changing the way they think? Are you talking about those of us who are not in power? What the heck would that mean "work on our conscience"?

    •  Yeah. The diary is very badly written (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shahryar

      and I'd flunk the PhD if it was this badly thought out.  

      There's a great lack of clarity on the meaning of "we".  

      And the idea that "we brought this on ourselves" -- well, speak for yourself, buddy.  I didn't, and neither did a large number of people.

      •  To be fair, a diary is a very different (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shahryar

        thing from a PhD thesis and the PhD thesis hopefully makes a lot more sense.

        The basic idea that society goes through certain cycles is probably correct, and we are absolutely in a position where the current surveillance society is going to have to be broken because it's unsustainable.  

        I don't think, however, that it was inevitable that it would develop in the first place.  That was due to a lack of education, most likely; certain types of stupidity recur when people aren't taught in the right way about the last time they occured.

        And we do need outrage.  There's a lack of understanding of human psychology involved in any analysis which calls for "cooler heads" as a solution to a problem involving corrupt, criminal, broken institutions.  It's the Enlightenment error.  What we know from current psych research is that most people are emotion-driven most of the time.  That got us into the problem, but as Thomas Jefferson knew, it's also the only way to get out.

    •  'how do we get good laws" (0+ / 0-)

      Excellent question and opinions. I'll go point by point to prevent excess rambling!
      "glory -grabbing tattle-tales & kindergarten: I do believe that Snowden behaved like an immature person who had knowledge without thought. (See Hannah Arendt for concepts on "judging without thinking"- her take on Adolf Eichmann for instance, and no I am not comparing Snowden to Eichmann, I am elaborating on judging without thinking and where to find Arendt's take on this).
      Snowden's immaturity is displayed in his inability to see the bigger picture- Unlike the NSA whistleblowers (interviewed in a link I provide below) who went through the proper channels, and did NOT "flee the country" and did NOT choose a like-minded Ron Paul supporting partisan, (agenda-having) journalist like Glenn Greenwald through which to "inform the Amwerican peple", Snowden chose to do what was best for himself. NONE of these people were "rendered" or "disappeared" as Snowden in his self aggrandizement eludes to what might await him. They had balls in other words.
      Re: the president: The president, like every president, doesn't know what he or she doesn't know when they are candidates. This is why ZERO leaders are able to be the lofty unicorn of their campaigns they truly wish they could be, once they reach the horse stable of reality- Once briefed, I am sure they do what the feel is best in the circumstances. I simply cannot see Obama as an evil overlord, happy to screw over the American people.
      What Obama has been able to achieve, is to throw out the crazy illegality and draconian methods of Bush/Cheney, and at least begin to build a legal framework around this troublesome system of too much information and not nearly enough hands to deal with it.
      I'm not sure about the "not mention it" or "uncouth" statement- I don't know what that relates to- once I'm done here I'll re-read what I wrote and see if I can tease out your meaning- but I can tell you this- I LOATHE PEGGY NOONAN, and cannot abide listening to her sing-song adoration of Ronald Reagan, and her soft voiced tearing down of our sitting President.
      Our conscience: When I say "we" I mean the human race- and I am speaking of this in a somewhat "scholarly" way, meaning that as I see it- surveillance technology, digital and internet based has replaced what used to be our conscience. What I mean by this is that we rely too heavily on being tracked through data and cameras as our reason for not doing wrong or harm to one another, rather than "listening to our gut".
      We have always been an ocular-centric culture, at least in Western culture anyway, and for centuries we relied on an invisible but ubiquitous "eye of God" to protect us, watch over us and also- because it was "all-seeing"- to keep us in line. Eventually people developed that "pang of conscience" when they felt something was wrong- this pang often stopped wrong-doing. (See Jeremy Bentham's take on using the panopticon method of internalising good behaviour in prison settings, as discussed by Michel Foucault in :Discipline and Punish- the Birth of a Prison")
      My thesis suggests that after the scope of the Holocaust was realized, "WE" (people) began to formulate a notion in the back of our minds that God had been blind to the plight of the Jews and millions of others who suffered. If God could be blind, then we can no longer rely on this archetypal concept to "protect" us.
      Therefore, the reliance on technology- and the fact that man could create and build another system of "all-seeing" albeit mechanical surveillance, would produce more reliable results.
      As usual, we can never match our understanding of the consequences of technology with our ability to create it and use it.
      Therefore, "work on our conscience" means "learn to tell right from wrong by thinking about things, and participate in critical discourse- as we are attempting to do here, and rely less on cameras and technology to police our activities.

  •  Tip & Rec (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erratic

    For your first diary.  Bravo.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot

    by paulitics on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 06:38:24 PM PDT

  •  you are on track (0+ / 0-)

    and good luck with the PhD

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