We have come to technology with a low level of understanding.
Social networks have us dazzled. We believe, in our narrow margin of familiarity with the world of virtual communication, in an illusion of influence towards a universe of which we do not know its magnitude, but also its profundity. In this dullness into which we have fallen – by the mere fact of having an instrument capable of connecting us to the world – we forget something as basic as the importance of direct action and, in that action, the responsibility we have towards our immediate environment.
In this way, what should represent active participation in the system of which we are a part, turns into a mock exercise of citizenship in disembodied messages, communiqués and protests from monitor to monitor, all of which die to the rhythm of new messages, new communiqués and new protests. In this incessant flow there is room for everything: from calls for action that do not take place, to the illusion of having generated some kind of reaction among those who listen to us from a distance.
In this transit from the armchair in front of the computer, we have forgotten the most important thing: and that is that these networks that fascinate us so much do not belong to us. They are systems operated from remote sites by anonymous, highly trained beings, completely divorced from our anxieties and concerns, and very aware of their power. These networks, these high-tech systems that criss-cross the virtual world, are totally beyond our reach and, for obvious reasons, beyond our ability to exert any kind of influence over them.
This does not mean turning away from this resource, which has proven its enormous usefulness. However, it is important to bear in mind that it is by no means a substitute for direct citizen exercise, on whose actions the whole workings of the political system, and hence our weak democracies, rest. Citizen presence can never be only virtual; it is not only physical, but also imposing, noisy and demanding of their rights.
The human capacity to habituate to different environments – as is the case today with technology – tends to create illusions and to lose sight of reality. It is imperative to understand the urgency of putting our feet on the ground and fighting for justice and rights from the very platform where they are violated on a daily basis. This is the strong and vital lesson from the people who, due to their condition of poverty, do not have access to this sophisticated and discriminatory resource.
The dependence created by aggressive and seductive market strategies from the world of high technology must be kept under control, because of its capacity to alienate us from our reality. Social media presence, to which we attach more importance than is appropriate, is a good form of communication, but not the magic resource to bring about structural change in political systems that have degenerated into abuse and corruption. Letting ourselves be fooled by its dubious effectiveness is a way of evading a significant amount of responsibility.
The FORCE of a conscious citizenry lies in its presence, its voice and its ability to impose its authority, as has been demonstrated throughout history. Nothing can replace the power of the masses when they assume the authority that is rightfully theirs.
Nothing can replace the power of the physical presence of a conscious citizenry.