Thursday, January 07, 2010

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Trinity: I know why you're here, Neo. I know what you've been doing... why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why night after night, you sit by your computer. You're looking for him. I know because I was once looking for the same thing. And when he found me, he told me I wasn't really looking for him. I was looking for an answer. It's the question that drives us, Neo. It's the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did.
Neo: What is the Matrix?
Trinity: The answer is out there, Neo, and it's looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.

I quote this after chancing upon the Shadow Elite, a book that describes those who "really" run the world and the impact they are having on civilization. Chilling, non-conspiratorial and succinct, Janine R. Wedel's writing reminds me of The Matrix, something evanescent, mysterious and subtlety powerful.

"In today's messy world, trust is elusive. People we once held up as experts for their credentials can no longer be trusted to be impartial. Many public figures and "experts" of all stripes -- left, right, or center -- perform overlapping roles without fully disclosing them. While they purport to operate in the public interest, these "flexians" structure their roles and involvements to serve their own agendas. Their true loyalties and agendas are not fully revealed or easily detected. Practicing what has been called an "evolving door," they move beyond the revolving door of the past.

These players are a logical product of the way that governing and society have been reconstituted in recent decades (eased by such trends as the explosion of consulting and other private entities performing government functions, the boom of government advisory boards, the global fragmentation of authority wrought by the end of the Cold War, and the embrace of what Stephen Colbert has dubbed "truthiness"). Meanwhile, other parts of society and culture, like our
monitoring and accountability systems, have not kept up. Thus, while ostensibly serving the public interest, these players can also serve their own. And how would we even know?"

In many ways, this disconnect between "governance" and power reminds me of the lack of understanding most people have about tech and the net, two constructs changing society in ways which extend beyond our ability to fully comprehend, much less manage at a meaningful level. While reading this important book, I realize just how vitally important freedom of information truly is and how the lack of same is allowing the "select few" to "manage" the world without our consent, something very disturbing to say the least. To remain uninformed and passive no longer works as we move beyond the world of the 'aughts.

"Civilization in its present form hasn't got long." - James Lovelock
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