Having visited over 40 countries in my fortunate life, and lived and worked in three very different cultures, the US, Saudi Arabi and Thailand, I have noticed a bit of sadness creeping into my life about what I would call “anti-knowledge cultures”. Next spring, if all goes according to plan, I’ll be in Tokyo for most of 2011, so I thought now was a good time to reflect on a few things I have learned and observed in my last three years abroad as a US expat worker.
First of all, I don’t find myself so happy, even thought I have realized my goal and dream of working in a foreign country in SE Asia. One key reason is that I find “anti-knowledge” cultures really quite depressing, unless you are willing to just enjoy being a tourist and you shut your mind to all the mind-control and message manipulation that goes on in anti-knowledge cultures.
So, what is an “anti-knowledge culture” ?
Admittedly, I am writing this “from the hip” and intentionally not doing any research or Google searches before typing today; so I look forward to reading if my thoughts match any other person’s thoughts or ideas on this topic. I am guessing that the term “anti-knowledge culture” already exists, but I really am going into this blindly at this point, so please bare with me as I climb out on a limb.
I’m defining this “on the fly, version 0.1”.
A “anti-knowledge culture” is a cultural system, often associated with a national identity, that has a core social-engine based on the suppression of knowledge so the “power groups” (most often the social and economic elites) can maintain the status-quo and, therefore, their social and economic and power base.
Anti-knowledge behavior occurs in myriad ways in most societies and nations. However, in some societies “anti-knowledge” dominates knowledge, and the degree of domination defines the threshold, or some tipping point, that could label a society, group or nation as “anti-knowledge culture”.
For example, I have noticed that in some nations I have lived, we easily see:
- Strict media control by the government and the underlying elite.
- Criminalization of critical thinking and speech.
- An economic system based on taking advantage of the lack of local knowledge of another (for example a tourist).
- Brainwashing and mind control based on emotional belief systems, such as nationality or race, that promote unity and single-minded thinking and creating “outcasts” of those who challenge the system.
- False democratic values that only permit “democracy” as long as the people don’t actually try to change the system in a way that threatens the powerful elite that control the society.
- Failure to embrace change (or modernize) by “educating” citizens to worship legacy artifacts, such as art, history, language, and other fantasies from images of the national or social past.
This type of anti-knowledge culture seems to dominate many societies. So much so, that I often find it depressing to see the minds of so many humans literally walking around as a type of victim of life long brainwashing. In some societies, this type of anti-knowledge dominates the entire social fabric.
Will the Internet accelerate change in “anti-knowledge cultures” toward being “knowledge cultures”?
Or, it is possible that the Internet will be used to further effect anti-knowledge mind control?
Let’s explore these topics in a future post.