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)