…appen. Reporters tried to keep up, but it was too strange. As Max Read put it in New York Magazine, Facebook is “like a four-dimensional object, we catch slices of it when it passes through the three-dimensional world we recognize.” No one can quite wrap their heads around what this thing has become, or all the things this thing h…
Alexis C. Madrigal
This quote does the best job, I think, in showing the true extent of the changes have happened. It was really too bad that the concept of Thomas Kuhn’s paradigm shift was developed in the 1960's and then turned into a parody of itself in the early Internet Age. We screwed ourselves by assuming we knew that stuff already and then moving on. The full nature of a paradigm shift is the complete change of language and meaning. Even the people who may initially succeed because of the change don’t understand what is really happening.
The change is conceptual and perceptual. The failure of the old metaphors for explaining significant components of the universe in which we live become either inadequate or are simply replaced by new and more capable metaphors. The process that Thomas Kuhn studied, the early scientific revolution in the 17th century was best described by Alexander Koyre in a series of lecture at John Hopkins in 1959. This became his greatest work, From a Closed World to an Infinite Universe. This is the extent of the paradigm shift that we have been experiencing in its preliminary ripples over the last twenty years and decided we understood the beast. The beast is now eating us and was not what we thought at all. I would suggest that we may have a fifth and sixth dimension involved here each of which provides another view of the emerging reality. And each of those are, I would suggest, bigger and with bigger teeth and appetite than what we are struggling with now.
Back down to the reality of understanding a totally individualized media world, I think it is now naive to end with a note on the 2018 election. What election? Can anyone say that an election will actually happen and if it did it would be legitimate by any sense of that word? The democratic system of partial representation that evolved in the 18th and 19th century following the last full paradigm shift in the 17th century has failed. It is simply not compatible with the forces that can endlessly create fully personalized visions of everything we fear to trigger us to public action without a means of reversing impressions and decisions that proved to be invalid. Electing representatives to represent groups who are almost unknown to the people who individually do the electing on a schedule that was adequate for the 18th century is impossible now. We have that proof before our eyes with an insane, elected leader who was not really elected. And we have no idea what to do. Because almost everything that we knew is a lie, but we don’t know which part, and no one can define the truth because several million people’s truth was invented by trolls on 4chan and made real by some teenagers in Macedonia.
Even if Trump would allow an election, can we risk it? This is paradigm shift.