On the Unknown, Fear, and Irrationality

There were two social critics or – philosophers – after World War two by the names of Adorno and Horkheimer.  They published a piece called, “The Dialectic of Enlightenment.”  In the piece they wrote about how we as humans naturally fear things that are unknown – and out of that fear, we act in irrational ways.

Out of the events that have scattered their way like shattered mirror pieces across the world’s floor, we can see much irrationality coming from the voices of many government officials, state legislatures, magistrate officials, common citizens – and even children.  To put Adorno and Horkheimer’s theory to practice, we should examine some of the major irrational acts that have occurred in the past week.  We could take measure of the past month, but I feel that as time progresses, the events surrounding Julian Assange have become more pronounced as of this past week.

We have seen an “anonymous” group of people attacking major companies such as Mastercard and Visa via cyber attacks using a Ddos program called LOIC.

We have seen retired military personnel on public television calling out for the death of Assange over “gossip.”

We have seen protesters arrested over freedom of speech.

The list goes on and on.

If Adorno and Horkheimer are right, then perhaps it can indeed be applied to this ordeal happening with Assange.

People fear Assange because he holds “unknown” information.  And again – there we have that pesky “unknown.”  Assange operates on the unknown so it’s clear as to why people fear him – and act in irrational ways toward him.

Assange keeps his life strictly private – which is another unknown and while releasing the cables, made his location unknown to the world as well.  He bred fear in a people – and with that fear came numerous irrational acts.

I feel that there will continue to be unknowns – such as his release – the US and their pending prosecution attempts.  The unknown of the next cable that will be released tomorrow – and every day for the next several days – months – years.  The unknown of what is going to be exposed – what the governments have done to a people behind their back.  The unknown of what Corporations have done behind citizens backs.  This is indeed not something to be happy about – but perhaps the world needs some time to think…and move away from being so irrational about the exposure.

We have right now – the unknown of what is going to happen next – and whether or not Julian does know what he is doing or not – and we also have the unknown of whether or not all of our efforts here to support him will be worthwhile.

In the end, we must ask ourselves – even if it is found that our heroine is a bad guy or even if he’s the world’s worst person, should it ever come to that – is it honest of ourselves to judge a character and a deed on the same merit?  Think about that…and then answer – in a “known” sense.

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