Freedom of access to information is sometimes almost as overwhelming as the censorship, limitations to expression or deformation and silencing by the powers that be to which we are accustomed. Or the power of certain media. When I say, “almost as overwhelming”, you probably already know why. And if you do not know, I’ll explain.
I use this paradoxical and ironic comparison to highlight, almost in passing, the oppressive monstrosity of certain media (word whose literal meaning is in this case most appropriate), but above all to open this article which is not exactly about that. Although partly it is.
The barrage of information that inundates us daily comes from multiple sources. Issued visually from giant screens in public places, medium size or less in our homes, in our tiny pockets, rumours spread loudly through meeting places, in the privacy of our cars and even in our remote solitude through ingenious portable devices; transmitted as bombastic headlines from electronic text bands on public transport, on newspaper front pages increasingly full of advertising and lacking in daily reality, through the fleeting chance remark from a neighbour or to accompany our daily walk through the virtual world of our shared home, the Internet, information follows us everywhere, chasing us, bombarding us, intimidating us.
It does not take a sociologist to understand why many people quickly, in spite of being objectively increasingly informed, prefer a monastic retreat from their surroundings in a quasi disinterest, taking refuge in the role of one who does not know or does not respond. Or does respond, but with the intimate feeling of not knowing. What happens is simply that the saturation produced by tons of simultaneous data induces an instinctive block. And then, though hundreds of messages insist, the receiver focuses on the minutiae of daily life with the illusion that the situation will go away. Until the situation returns to capture them.
Thus we need to sort out all this information. Let’s try.
I proceed in two columns listing some opposing news, some that seem to me to collaborate with the advancement of humanity and others that are firmly committed to its decline.
We include in the first column: the Argentine Government highlights the speculative action of monopoly groups in the country. Mandela gives a part of his personal estate to his party, the African National Congress, to be used primarily to promote the principles and policies of reconciliation among South Africans. Advancing regional integration in Latin America and the Caribbean. FEMEN activists protest against religious law on abortion in Spain. Denouncing the increase in expenditure produced by the proximity of the World Cup, residents of Rio de Janeiro create a new currency, the “Surreal”. President Abbas states that a future Palestinian state will not have an army. Japanese scientists create stem cells by bathing them in acid. In Switzerland and other countries people demand a Universal Basic Income for all citizens. The Latin American and Caribbean leaders summit, CELAC II, proclaims the region as a zone of peace. Peace talks between FARC and the Colombian government resume. MEPs propose Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize. Protests in various cities against TTIP agreement driven by corporate interests.
I list now in my second column: Teen opens fire at a school in Moscow. Riots due to religious radicalisation in a Mombasa mosque. Joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea threaten the peace in the Asian region. Iran plans to build its own fighter jets, training aircraft and smart bombs to replace its current arsenal of French manufacture. The IMF asks Spain to reduce salaries even further. Government denounces Western countries interference in the Ukrainian conflict. U.S. reiterates its threats to attack Syria hindering peace negotiations. Homosexual preferences are still seen as illness or deviation in China. Repression of protesters against evictions in Spain.
All this is happening and more. I’ve ordered things a little, with my humanist sensibility, which resists, as I note with satisfaction, the passage of time and changing circumstances. But how to understand, how to pass from a messy cluster of images and still photos to a consistent mosaic to orient me and indicate what is really happening?
They are all intentions, I say. They are all intentions, I repeat, and suddenly the world comes alive and explained. Some push up and forward. There are others, however, which are bent on restricting, blocking this evolutionary thrust, striving to destroy and appropriate the whole to feed individual vanities. Conflicting intentions, face to face in their mismatch.
And between these generic poles of duality – actually multifaceted but reduced by me to their essential characteristics – live the great rest of humankind, forever pulled apart inside by circumstances that seem to dominate.
They are intentions, once again resonates within me. Intentions also from those who seem not to have them. Intentions that appear blurred by complicit silence, in helplessness or self-induced, in the apparent impotence of despair.
They are intentions, again, beyond what appears to be imposed as a lack of freedom to decide, as pressure from the social environment, such as lack of tools to enforce what is right, facing the violence which denies intention in everyone.
They are intentions, I proclaim. And it is always necessary to recognise intentions in oneself and in others, affirm and validate them. Then we shall be open to a new existence and the balance will shift towards the column of freedom to be filled and the other, the one of violence, will slowly disappear.
Then we would have found our own humanity. We would have found the intention. And if we find others who also find theirs, then we would be dealing with a meeting of intentions, in the highest sense of the word.