Democratization of Knowledge

“Men are defeated and dominated, though they do not know it; they fear freedom, through they believe themselves to be free. They follow general formulas and prescriptions as if by their own choice. They are directed; they do not direct themselves. Their creative power is impaired. They are objects, not Subjects.” – Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

The Internet made possible new media like WikiLeaks, which strives for transparency for those in power. Increasingly, it has become harder for governments and corporations to hide information. With its free flow in the digital sphere, those who were behind the curtain of mass media have a harder time managing perception and psychopaths can’t so easily hide their real actions anymore.

The Internet, despite all attendant issues of censorship and surveillance, brought a potential for democratization of knowledge by means of decentralization. This decentralization is an antidote to psychopathy. As more people move horizontally, the logic of control and domination made possible by hierarchy tends to dissolve.

Instant communication and peer-to-peer networks have broken down borders, allowing each individual to connect with one another. More and more people can discover their commonality rather than differences and learn about each other, not the stereotyped images and government propaganda handed to them.

There is a growing culture of the Internet that the youth of today is exposed to. On the Internet, you are not only allowed, but are encouraged to speak your mind and examine the claims of authority, which is not something that corporate culture is used to. Online publication for instance has challenged the top down model of editorial control. It especially called into question the very premise of the so-called creed of objectivity. The old-style media operates with a certain monologue, with tight editorial processes not only controlling the content, but also avoiding any meaningful feedback loops. On the other hand, with new media trends on the Internet, feedback is immediate and direct and typically available for all to see, so professionals are no longer easily insulated from reality.

People now can easily see when journalists are doing a lousy job of fact checking or presenting false information as an imposed authority, as readers can correct them in the comment section. Also, it is now very easy for anyone to publish and express their ideas on blogs and share them through social media. The top down dissemination of information has become a thing of the past.

All of this has facilitated the recovery of subjectivity, where no single idea or perspective is regarded as authority and truth rather becomes pluralistic; a process of having dialogue. People are empowered to claim their own views and begin asserting themselves as subjects who have relatively equal footing to participate in such dialogue.