I only look at one side of the world, through blinds almost closed; the light is too loud.
I see children playing, serious, like only they can do.
Today I started reading the book “Hitler a biography” by Joachim Fest. I read every year a book about Hitler or one of the other villains from history. Hitler was only one man made of the same stuff as we all are, but he grabbed the whole world by the balls and shook it wildly for 5 to 6 years. One person of the billions of people living back then was singlehandedly capable of dictating his will to the world. Have you ever thought about that? That’s why I study that period in time and Hitler in specific. How is it possible that so many people got fooled by him and the events he initiated?
Today we live again in a time where science and reason are discredited by many, and lone voices like Trump in America or Putin in Russia can dictate the fate of many people. We can learn from history on an individual level, but the individual as part of a group of people is still not inoculated against the strong voice and the will of the tribe and its ring leader.
People sometimes say that individualism is one of the reasons that today’s world is in a bad state, but I don’t see it this way. Two individuals who meet each other on a lone road after a calamity will probably work together and appreciate each other company even if society demands that they should hate each other. We say things, shielded in our car or behind our screens, we usually would not say face to face. It is much harder to dislike the other if you are alone with them in a room and you don’t have to prove yourself to the others.
Individuals, real individuals, don’t have to prove themselves to anyone. We don’t live in a society full of individuals, there are some, but most follow a described path laid out by the people they identify with. Today social media guides their participants through clever algorithms in the corners they feel best at home, even if we, the naïve subjects, are not aware of that But don’t be fooled; these kinds of mechanisms were also at play when the book press was invented, and the radio’s got popular. Arena’s were created thousands of years ago so the rulers could drown out the individual and speak to the masses; Facebook or the other social media platforms are just larger arena’s, the only difference with earlier arenas is, is that everybody now has the illusion that they have a say in it, we all don’t realize that what we say in the modern arena’s is hardly heard by our neighbor, let alone the rest of the crowd, and when Trump speaks we all hold our breath to listen what he has to say.