Digital Democracy, are we already there?

00 Digital Culture II

“It is just when people are all engaged in snooping on themselves and one another that they become anesthetized to the whole process. Tranquilizers and anesthetics, private and corporate, become the largest business in the world just as the world is attempting to maximize every form of alert. Sound-light shows, as new cliché, are in effect mergers, retrievers of the tribal condition. It is a state that has already overtaken private enterprise, as individual businesses form into massive conglomerates. As information itself becomes the largest business in the world, data banks know more about individual people than the people do themselves. The more the data banks record about each one of us, the less we exist.” ― Marshall McLuhan, From Cliche To Archetype[i]

This paper was inspired from a new contact on Twitter© who described in her bio her determination to make “digital democracy” happen one day! So Marcela, this paper is a “thank you contribution” for the cause, a noble cause, I too, endorse!

If you search about E-Democracy or Digital Democracy (DD)[ii] there are chances you may feel surprised by the not too many results, such is normal I would say. From the ironic point of view, are we claiming real and true e-democracy when there is so much trouble to put some real life democracy among humans and among countries, and from the less ironic point of view, e-democracy or digital democracy is (at least for me and if you agree on the first point) like a new born learning the fundamentals of life…

Of course some countries, some officials, and some organizations have started thinking out loud about this inevitable fast paced phenomenon, no wonder why this sudden interest, just imagine the power it will grant to those who will be able to put the first elements of such a foundation, they will be the leading inspiration and why not the leading “authority”. I would compare e-democracy to groups of settlers who arrive somewhere new and “claim” the territory … such is human nature I guess, taking for granted all of what exist on planet earth, the cosmos and now the e-universe! (On a another thought, I wonder what these settlers will do when they’ll e-meet the e-natives of a newly found e-democracy country)

No matter how noble and how altruistic these intentions are, we ought to remember that the real life democracy has to be a reality where people can enjoy its full benefit to their wellbeing. If e-democracy or digital democracy gets its inspiration from the actual, I would sincerely feel cautious as real democracy (demos = people – Kratia = rule) has still steps to walk in order to be stated as such.

I guess we will all agree that Digital Democracy is an inevitable happening, as it has a main goal that is to provide access to knowledge to the majority of people, it has to break the barriers between the “Know too much” and the “I need to know” cultures. We can no longer avoid skipping the sense of open sharing of knowledge richness to the entire planet, if not then what would be the purpose of using the terms ”e-democracy or DD”?

If we take a glance to democracy, although its roots come from ancient Greek culture, it has been openly known late 16th century as we all know the various milestones real democracies has strived and continue evolving since to be a certainty that people can enjoy and benefit.

I find it very normal that e-democracy could “worry” those who since the time have taken for granted the thinking trends about digital world, as it is also normal that the major challenges ill not be how to implement e-democracy but how the actual “owners” of it will have to let go and free digital space to such lifestyle!

Let us hope the lessons learned about real-life democracy will teach us what to prevent and how to benefit from a new opportunity to make things right in both realms: real life and digital!

I would like to share with you these words, I find inspirational:

Here is the crisis of the times as I see it: We talk about problems, issues, policies, but we don’t talk about what Democracy means what it bestows on us the revolutionary idea that it isn’t just about the means of governance but the means of dignifying people so they become fully free to claim their moral and political agency. (Bill Moyers)[iii].

What if? What if, for the sake of the experimentation, we add to each important word of the quote, the prefix “e-“, wouldn’t that be obvious what needs to be planned and done in our future e-life as e-citizens?

Until our next chat,

Michel – April 27, 2015

[i] Herbert Marshall McLuhan, (July 21, 1911 – December 31, 1980) was a Canadian philosopher of communication theory and a public intellectual. His work is viewed as one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory, as well as having practical applications in the advertising and television industries.

[ii] The origins of the term Democracy:
000 Democracy

Also …

E-democracy (a combination of the words electronic and democracy), or internet democracy, incorporates 21st-century information and communications technology to promote democracy. That means a form of government in which all adult citizens are presumed to be eligible to participate equally in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. E-democracy encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination.

[iii] Billy Don “Bill” Moyers (born June 5, 1934) is an American journalist and political commentator. He served as White House Press Secretary in the Johnson administration from 1965 to 1967. He also worked as a network TV news commentator for ten years. Moyers has been extensively involved with public broadcasting, producing documentaries and news journal programs. He has won numerous awards and honorary degrees for his investigative journalism and civic activities. He has become well known as a trenchant critic of the corporately structured U.S. news media.

The image is a courtesy of: Fundación Telefónica | International

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