"When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals.
We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of the highest virtues"

( JM Keynes, "Economic Possibilities for our Granchildren" 1930 )

Thursday, December 9, 2010

On Wikileaks and Beyond

To be honest, the Wikileaks revelations are not such a big deal. Here and there you can find some interesting detail, but as far I as I´ve noticed, there are not really amazing revelations, just a lot of personal observations and a lot of gossip, although I do really hope that no one will get physically hurt from the information revealed. Thus and besides the legal aspects, why there is so much anger with the filtrations? I will try to answer that question with a small personal anecdote.

A few years ago a friend of mine gave me a valuable advice to avoid the common and quite unpleasant anxiety before any important meeting or interview:“ Remember, if you want to stay calm , try to imagine the interviewer in the rest room...” . I replied to my friend that pornography or sexual kinky preferences are not among my favorites hobbies ..... : “Hey, just imagine a human being ...alone, disarmed from all the status symbols, naked and fragile like you and me. That´s the main point of the “therapy”... ”. Since I had no choice, I made use of that advice which eventually helped me to stay calm, though the job finally went to someone with less imagination.... How this little story is related to the last weeks 250,000 documents Wikileaks filtrations?

Human beings cannot be dominated by brute and naked power alone, so any regime or command relation relies upon a “soft” power multipliers which includes myths, legends, etc. all of them normally well hidden behind the veil of ignorance. That dominance tool depends on the level of ignorance or consciousness of their subject. The humanization of the powerful guys, as I did in my job interview, isolates the genuine base of dominance relation ( interviewer vs. Job seeker) but also brings the relation to the human arena, with its constraints, needs and weaknesses.

Thus, the subversive ingredient of Wikileaks is the opportunity to watch, almost in real time how the real game of Power is played behind the veil of the Myth . The documents tell us the degree of the nakedness of the King, as the wide public becomes aware that behind the big phrases, the military parades, the closed summits, the expensive suits or PR campaigns there are just normal and rather petty human beings that apparently (!) do not deserve sooo much respect. No, they don´t...

It is not a coincidence that political power for the major part of the history was closely related to religion and Myths. Great Conquerors, Big Kings, City Founders were generally part of a Divine genealogy. The most remote version is the ruler himself as Divinity, a version somehow softened later when the rulers were nominated by the clergy or were themselves the head of the religious clergy. The myth, the close tie between the human being and the upper spheres was always there and even in Modern time we can find a softened version ( augmented by TV and the other mass media).

So, the service Wikileaks offered goes beyond the information itself , it adds to the understanding that the big fish are very human, even a bit stinking .... So we, the normal guys should develop a critic attitude toward Living Legends and their spoke persons.