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How to reach those who don't want to be reached?

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memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 42 weeks 4 days ago. Offline
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Simple answer is "you don't", based on the respect of their free will. You may call them ignorant, but they are people too and if they are just not interested you can't act as if you would force them to listen and converse with you on that particular topic.

What I'm talking about is, fittingly to this site, discussions about freedom with common people busy with their lives and antagonistic towards the "stuff of politics".

I've recently read the book "1984", by George Orwell and it as well as the ensuing discussion I had with Kevin Dean in IRC was mind twisting. And even as the dust in my mind settles I'm beginning to realize just how grave the reality really is in terms of how close we may be towards an Orwellian world.

I have blogged more about it here: http://www.memeverse.com/2008/01/26/orwellian-state-nah-cant-happen-oh-wait/

Sometimes I feel like everything that we perceive as good developments in the world are just a smoke screen to look at so that you don't see what is *really* going on. We see rise in user generated content, online "democracy", Freedomware, the potentially pending fall of Microsoft monopoly and even the demise of DRM. Yet the laws are still being pushed and enacted which strip away freedoms, not so much even in the name of copyright enforcement as much as in the name of war against terrorism. Draconian copyright enforcement simply fits nicely into the new climate, one more and more friendly towards the Orwellian type of controlled state.

But the sad reality is that the majority of people ARE essentially ignorant. I know, calling anyone ignorant would probably felt offensive, but from our point of view this is how we see it. So if they just aren't interested, they just don't want to talk about the decrease of their rights, they are too distracted - how do you reach them without forcing them to pay attention? How do you make them willingly take interest?

One thing that comes to my mind is to use popular culture - like music. It might be just me, but I imagine huge parties like Sensation White with a twist - instead of being all and just about creating a sensation - that they clearly and consistently propagate the awareness, the radical spirit of questioning and re-thinking of who we are, where we are going, what are our rights. I may be a crazy trance fan, but it is often trance music which boosts my enthusiasm for revolutionary thinking. It gives me that "we shall prevail" feeling, the feeling of, if we only unite under a banner of freedom promoted through culture there will be no human being in this world left indifferent towards the effective mobilization of their senses, body and spirit towards a revolutionary state.

I think culture carries within it the hidden power that is not used often enough by the resistance movements which digital freedom and freedom movements in general today really are - a resistance to the path towards a less free world to which the current powers are taking us.

It's nothing new after all. Governments have used culture for propaganda before. We didn't strike back. But with internet and digital technology in our hands I believe now we can. I guess my advice to all music makers out there would be: don't make music without a message, just something "cool" to dance to. Make it both cool AND a carrier of important messages - most fundamental of which is: WAKE UP and CARE.

But just saying one tool can be culture is still pretty general. How do we do it? What ways exist, what ways can we come up with? And are there any other ways besides culture to reach people who currently don't want to be reached? How do we approach such people without any bells and whistles, for example, in a simple friendly one on one or just group conversation? Note I'm talking about friends here whose idea of relaxation is almost regularly going out and getting drunk.

Cheers

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User offline. Last seen 7 years 16 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-02-26
I fear you end up losing

I fear you end up losing friends if you make socialising about you educating them, been there and done that. If a topic comes up I'll express my views and pose challenging questions to anti-social or laissez faire attitudes. If I chose to ditch my old friends for new ones with similar views, what would I achieve?

Interest levels tend to reflect two perceptions, is it important to me, and can I do anything about it.

So a documentary of the Sudan famine showed others suffering. Some people cared and saw it as important. Bob Geldof, Midge Ure and others did something about it with Live Aid, which gave the masses a way to do something about it, so there was an uptick in charitable donations and food aid arrived to the starving - result. Later repeats of the technique got politicians to move on debt forgiveness, with debatable results though as they attached the usual IMF/World Bank style "rape the poor nation" conditions.

Climate change is another example, in the UK and Ireland anyway, there's a steady diet of documentaries on nature and our environment. it is embedded in mass perception and politicians decisions are affected, laws have changed for the better. Stateside Al Gore and Oprah lead the charge, and it's working, Posh and Becks got a bit of the cold shoulder when they went parading about in lavish SUV's etc, contrary to the now prevalent acceptance that we ought not be so wasteful.

So back to freedom. You could have freedomCon each year, or a Freedom Pride parade. But wait, that covers so much, from freedomware to free speech, to political freedom, to economic freedom. Good for networking and learning about the issues, but what is the marginal advantage over doing these things online? Not that much I'll wager, plus there's the CO2 footprint of all those travellers.

Maybe the key to change is clearly defining a specific issue that people can relate to, and providing a definite means for people to do something about it. The GPL is a case in point, specific focus, code to use. You're example of music with a message is a specific technique that can work, it's up to the artist to focus on a message in the lyrics, and also the means to do something about it. How about a part of the new libervis being about getting that message to artists, music with meaning or something?

memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 42 weeks 4 days ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12
Actually, there is one

Actually, there is one project, so far still frozen, that we wanted to do about music, but it is more about promoting music that is licensed more liberally than promoting music with a message. However it could be a perfect platform, once developed, to run such campaigns as well. We still didn't ditch the project nor is there an intention to.. there's just no telling just yet when will I start working on it again. I'm in a process of revising a lot of things, somehow finishing the freedomware gamefest and then moving on to new things.

I suppose this really comes down to "less preaching and more doing". If someone's just not interested in what we have to say, they might just be more interested in what we have to actually offer, something that feels more tangible, fun and engaging, yet at the same time breaking the chain of ignorance.

I guess.. if people are hooked to entertainment for entertainment's sake, we need to infiltrate the world of entertainment with something that is for the sake of something bigger. They'll have fun like always.. but they'll be more and more sensible to the issue.. Hm actually I'm just rehashing what you said - these documentaries you mentioned are a good example already. Movies that have a serious message are another.

Still, people get numb, even to the culture with a message, which requires being quite inventive, always coming at it in new and interesting and refreshingly engaging ways - so they never actually get used to it and accept it as something that is like "yeah, it's a big issue bla bla bla" and still end up doing nothing about it...

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User offline. Last seen 7 years 16 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-02-26
Another view

Just some grist for the mill, an interesting outlook in a New York Times article concerning global strategic trends.

It is by no means a counterpoint to the Orwellian prognosis, but less bleak nonetheless than a lot of the doom and gloom of articles overly focussed on the USA. It's a big world.

memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 42 weeks 4 days ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12
Thanks for the link. I'm

Thanks for the link. I'm looking forward to reading it. I would love to see a less bleak yet equally believable perspective of what's coming. Smiling

About the topic.. I just had a quick thought. Reaching people who don't want to be reached? Sounds like marketing, right? Nobody asks for most of the things that are being marketed to them. They often don't even know they need them, and hence they really don't need them nor is there a basis for wanting them. But once good marketing job is done, their eyes often start to glitter and the desire is born. Interesting, these days all roads lead to good marketing. Laughing out loud I keep ending up talking about that as a solution for everything..

And is there any wonder? The formula seems simple.

We recognize a bad future made possible by human ignorance. Solution? Raising awareness?

Raising awareness through advocacy and activism? Ooookaaay, but not exactly mass-efficient. What's the next step?

Well.. this is capitalism, what do people respond to most, what made them ignorant in the first place? Oh right!!! Marketing! Un-brainwash them with brainwashing! As evil as it sounds, it may be the only efficient way of doing it. And if they end up genuinely happy with what we "sold" them, while at the same time making a world a better place, everyone wins.

Besides, if our "brainwashing" leaves their minds in a state which will now be more resilient towards further brainwashing campaigns, our brainwashing may be the last their minds will be subjected to. Eye

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memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 42 weeks 4 days ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12
I've read the NYT article

I've read the NYT article and responded with a new topic.

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