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The inspired notion of ‘aiming high’ is being replaced, rather routinely, by the stupefying credo of ‘aiming low.’ Besides other obvious evils of financialized modernity, the continuous demotion of once revered human values has become the order of the day. This strange drive of ‘aiming low’ necessarily and forcefully incorporates the generally despised traits of mediocrity and gullibility. These two ills are now cynically regarded as the defining characteristic of the modern sheeple (human mass). On the other hand, ‘aiming high’, which has always been arduous requiring hard work, patience, sacrifice and clear perspective, is relegated to the category of the untenable; since in the make-believe world of late modernity anything that is not delivered on a silver platter is considered an impossibility! See Smith’s article next column and others on page 41.
In the ever-changing systems of values, it is always the least common denominators, i.e., (lower principles) that end up setting standards. But there is a catch here: in any human collective, the lower the values the higher the instability. Something has to give! The reigning global order has devised plenty of gimmicks to instrumentalize mediocrity. The globally instituted educational systems are probably the most effective tools employed (by dominant interests) to achieve unsavory outcomes. Most of the ‘teachings’ that are going on around are used to make sure the new generation will blindly follow in the footsteps of its predecessors. Inquiring about the shortcomings of the existing order is not welcomed, however severe the deficiencies. The project of dumbing down the sheeple to a point where it can hardly tell facts from fictions has been superbly successful, thanks to standardized institutional instructions. In these institutions of learning, all efforts to unravel the hidden truth and question the received wisdom, (outside of the box) is systemically neglected. Often time independent attitude on the part of the learner invites unwanted attention and unwarranted criticism. If things really get out of hand, interrogation by the ‘thought police’ of the prevailing order might befall an independent scholar.
Moreover, ‘credentialism’, which is associated with formal learning, is another of the ploys used (by the established order) to bring mavericks to the fold. By segregating those who refused to fit, from those obedient learners, the system plays one group against the other. Those deemed useful to the system or the ‘useful idiots’, to borrow Lenin’s characterization, are promptly promoted, since they hold decorated parchments (mere pulp these days) signifying ‘success’, or more precisely servitude! In most cases, this is how mediocrity is legitimized. In societies where the tradition of independent inquiry is less robust, ‘credentialism’ is playing havoc across the board, including the spheres of political governance, enterprise management, social interactions, etc., etc. Countries like Ethiopia are classic cases. Like many places on earth, visible bias against those who are willing to question the motives and basic assumptions of the reigning global order is patently obvious!
The crown achievement of the various global entertainment industries, including spectator sports, movies, and of course fake news is, the contemptible widespread gullibility! These numerous activities are incessantly hammered into the psyche of the sheeple, to make it compliant and receptive to whatever is going to be thrown at it. These professionally designed and subtly implemented tactics have been very, very, effective, to say the least. In this regard, one should note that the multifarious arms of propaganda are no more restricted only to the ‘ministry of truth’, (official outlets of news, events, analysis, comments, etc.) Even products and services are systemically used to promote compliance, hence gullibility. The very food and beverages one consumes are habitually used to further these low level values. It is by far gullibility that drives the extreme consumptive behavior of the global sheeeple, more than anything else. See the articles on page 44 & 46. Also, we should note that the global debt system that is dangerously propelling late modernity to the precipice wouldn’t have lasted a day if the sheeple were less credulous! To a large extent, the sheeple is responsible for the destruction of the earth’s ecosystem. Its unexamined shortsighted activities are depleting the non-renewable resources of the planet, like fossil fuel, etc. The project of ‘aiming low’ has been quite successful in thwarting tendencies that aim towards sustainability, harmony and solidarity, i.e., elements of ‘high aiming’!
Here are old high aimers. ’All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.’ Noam Chomsky. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead. Good Day!