Compassion Above and Beyond Technofascism
21 May 2014 (updated 3 June 2015)
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We should take seriously the risks of technofascism, an elitist “libertarianism” empowered by accelerating technological change and concentrated at high tech corporations. While many decry the governance challenges of our day, some give corporate governance a pass. And yet it’s not hard to find oppression wherever power is concentrated. That doesn’t mean we’re all always completely failing to use whatever power we might have in constructive ways. It just means that we can and should do better.
How do we do better? For starters, we shouldn’t assume that we, as individuals or subgroups, have or even could have all the answers for everyone. Morality begins with recognizing the diversity of desires, and from there proceeds with genuine effort toward universal reconciliation according to, between, and among those desires. This reconciliation is not the apathy or escapism of willful segregation. It’s considered engagement, even if the complexities of life require engagement at a distance along the way.
Why would we want anything else? Some suppose that the powers of technology and marketing will suffice, shaping the world into our own image, first environmentally and then communally. And yet, no matter the power we might attain, I contend we will not maintain enduring meaning and purpose in life, and we will not attain yet greater meaning and purpose in life, without preserving and expanding our relationships with each other, in all their diversity, as much in others’ images as in our own. This depends at least on a universally compatible coexistence, improves through cooperation, and flourishes at the heights of mutually-embraced creative compassion.
Personally, I’m not interested in any mere deconstruction or marginalization of present governance, whether it be corporate, political or otherwise. Rather, I’m interested in introducing new or emphasizing existing processes and tools that will enable us to do what we cannot by means of present governance alone. I’m interested in that which complements the present system, building from and beyond it; and I’m uninterested in totalitarianism in any of its forms (including epistemic or economic elites).
How can everyone help everyone relate better? For me, that’s the core question of governance. How can everyone incentivize everyone to cooperate more? How can we all contribute to cultivating broader and deeper compassion? I trust a radically compassionate global civilization will thrive, and yet even if I’m wrong then I remain uninterested in the alternatives, even if they offer cool tech or loads of money.