Saturday, October 2, 2010

Are we creating an Orwellian Corptopia?

Andrew D Atkin

A friend of mine recently applied for a job with a large company. This is what she wrote to me about her interview:

"The interview was weird. I didn't really like it. We had to talk about ourselves and then do these stupid exercises, while 3 of them sat at the back and wrote notes on us. I don't know how it went, they said they'd call by the end of the week if they wanted another interview."

What kind of a person conducts an interview like this? The answer is no person at all. This is an interview conducted by a system. The people administrating it were basically just system facilitators. At an extreme, the facilitators would exercise no personal discretion in decision-making at all. The would simply ask prescribed (from above) questions, tick the boxes, and then calculate the ticks to reach a final conclusion/decision.

So she was interviewed by a system and not a person. What's wrong with that? Nothing except that systems are 100% blind to anything other than what they are programmed to see.

Alas, it in turn takes the meaning of the term "measuring up" to a whole new level. If every job that we applied for operated on systems-criteria with no (or virtually no) human discretion, then we run the risk of every man and woman basing their entire professional development on formal qualifications/attributes only. We then become exclusively focused on "scoring points" as opposed to a more idiosyncratic or maybe "real" development. What would be the point of developing any unique "value added" ability if the all-powerful evaluation-criteria were to be blind to it?

Large organisations are generally systems-heavy with everything. So the way I see it, the more corporatised our society becomes the "dehumanised" our development will be, as our professional success or failure will be ever more exclusively based on prescription-conformity.

The truth is our society already works like this to an extraordinary level today (we are just far too use to it?). Compulsion schooling as we know it is a totalitarian system whereby the state functionally claims ownership over the child's development; and in our schools the child's focus is always to measure-up to somebody else's evaluation criteria, as opposed to education for itself.

If the world becomes completely corporatised (are we going that way?) then we can end up with little or no way out for people who try to reclaim their own development [and in part their lives] for themselves, as their entire future will be dictated by their conformity to the prescriptions - or lack of it.

This is actually the communist system*, or more specifically the fascist system (fascism is where the state and the corporates are one system: eg, the modern USA is close to it). It's a system where people have literally no choice but to conform to the corporate prescriptions to survive. And in turn this means a society of acutely penetrating top-down control. So the corporates make the hoops - you jump through them. That's your life. Period.

Furthermore what's curious is the evolution of our current band of corporatism. Like I indicated before, it is controlled by those who design the systems - virtually everyone else may become only administrators of the systems. Except at the most trivial levels human discretion may be gone, other than for those who develop the systems themselves, and for those at the very top who prescribe what those systems should achieve (your "gods").

Yep, I think we may actually be moving in the direction of an Orwellian "scientifically controlled" society (oh, don't worry about those surveillance cameras. They're the least of your intrusions).

So how far will/could it ultimately go? I would say that the more the corporates take control over "our" governments, the more our society will function like a school...where it's all about reducing ourselves to what ever's on order, as based on somebody else's systemic evaluation criteria.

Where the corporates control the state (and basically are the state) realistic alternatives would be -and to a large degree are- progressively suppressed because big businesses/government does not like competition, and will only tolerate it insofar as they must.

In a complete systems-controlled society only those at the very top would structure how we live our lives. Individual choices would be strictly prescribed - by them. It's a strange but I think very real kind of modern slavery.

The key is to protect the alternatives, and the development of the alternatives - if we can. Let REAL competition rule.

Here are some other of my posts that relate to this issue:

...And an example of a serious alternative:


*Note: In communism your job is assigned to you, so communism is a bit more extreme than what we have today. But we are certainly moving in this direction as our choices are becoming ever more strictly narrowed, and top-down prescribed. And as I expressed earlier, our educational development is mostly top-down prescribed.

Another key control feature which is now developing is lifestyle-control, via the implementation of what is called Smart Growth. If the UN has its way, then over time almost the entire world will be urbanised and living the "McLife", whether they want it or not.


Addition: 14-3-11:

I found the included movie, based on Aldous Huxley's book, Brave New World, interesting. At base, I think the society depicted in the movie could be simply described as the militarisation of civil life (minus the actual wars).

Description: Brave New World represents a totally controlled and stratified society, where people only know what they need to know, and only think what they are allowed to think. The society is peaceful because conformity is automatic; and it is automatic because the people have been subject to incredible conditioning systems from the youngest of ages. Normality has been totally redefined, and based only on what serves the society best. (Collectivism on steroids!)

With the military industrial complex and corporates taking over America (and other), is it completely unreasonable to think that our societies could be led somewhere in the direction described by Huxley's fictional book? I don't believe so. [In fact Huxley himself predicted that we may move in this direction].

About 100 years ago compulsion-schooling was imported into the western world from Prussia. The form of schooling that we have today, originally adotped from Prussia, was specifically designed for military purposes. That is, it was designed (and successfully designed) to create a society of obedient soldiers that could be controlled with ease (thanks to conditioning). You would have to say that this was (and is) a major step-1 towards the development of a Brave New World scenario. And the fact is, we have only gone forward from it - not back. How far will we eventually go?

1 comment:

  1. As regards job interviews like the one you describe, the less they talk to you, the less they have to explain. Most good well paying jobs are reserved for the “right” people. If they can not fill a position with one of their own, then they review applicants. But if they have one of their own, then they interview the applicant but without the sincere attention of considering them for employment. It is just to satisfy the token law and avoid charges of classism or nepotism.

    As for stratification in Brave New World, that is exactly what we now have. We are cogs and we must function as cogs. How dare you imagine you are something else or want to be anything else. Naughty boy! They have effectively crushed the human soul and spirit and turned us into robots. Sucks! Human nature is a real monster. Look at what some will do to others.