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Mittwoch, 17. Juni 2020

The Quality of Leadership - 21st Century New Deal

This analysis is also published on CNN host Michael Smerconish:
http://www.smerconish.com/news/2020/6/15/the-quality-of-leadership-21st-century-new-deal


When in "The Last Days of Mankind" Karl Kraus (Austria's renowned writer and journalist) described what led to the cruelties of WW1, who would have thought of 2020?

What do we miss when it's "saving lives" vs. "saving the economy"? It's a dilemma only for those unwilling to rescue both. In Covid-19 Crisis not humankind is endangered, but humanity when a public health crisis turns into a widespread public safety crisis by irresponsible leadership destroying culture and civilization, paving the way for the rise of the strongmen.

"Saving lives is key" must implicate rescuing people financially. Anything else was inhumane. If we are serious, we must do more than applauding, but taking our governments into account to increase public health, health care personnel's salary, to avoid future pandemics. Otherwise leaders and experts rationalizing public health sector decades-long appear as first arsonists, now firemen.

Leaders and experts imposing stay-at-home orders without flanking measures by proper financial compensation only amplify cleaving society in two. While well-offs fear dying by the virus, the people primarily fear dying economically. Isn't it rich of leaders to sustain a corporation-favoring system abandoning majority population evidently?

Responsible governments must flank imposed Coronavirus measures with proper financial compensation for the people to prevent worse evils. Some pacifyingly may opine: "That's happening already." Is that so? With every passing day money isn't reaching the people sufficiently populists arise. Is this intended? Why not getting the money directly to the people, otherwise impoverishing? Why not saving everyone financially, but wasting precious time with eligibility criteria?

In the spirit of Albert Einstein's "If I were to remain silent, I'd be guilty of complicity" we must get this right, otherwise the "First Wave" was about the virus and the "Second Wave" is about widespread poverty.

Even in wealthy countries known for annually attracting millions of tourists for arts & culture, due to Coronavirus measures creatives and artists are banned from work (reopening of do-it-yourself stores while concerts, galleries, cabarets staying under tight restrictions), unemployment is skyrocketing and many businesses died economically, despite government's "what-ever-it-takes"-announcements.

So, civil society's growing concern is audible: What's left of a country's image known for arts & culture, when the cultural scene is left to die in Covid-19 Crisis? What remains of a culture without artists? Are leaders acting responsible when taking culture for granted, consuming arts while letting artists & creatives "die" considered not system-relevant?

In the spirit of American poet Robert Lowell's "The light at the end of the tunnel is just the light of an oncoming train" leaders dividing a society by "system-relevance" create a dangerous cocktail of anti-government resentment while tensions rise in society and a dark suspicion spreads on the streets: Is this all about market adjustments? In these dire times neoliberalists trigger civil society's resistance against leaders not rescuing the people. Is it a neoliberal train running over businesses, artists, creatives considered inconvenient? Is it a Darwinist train to wipe out opposition, so only the strong survive?

Now, current measures save lives physically but create a cultural wasteland of "No Culture - Nix Kultura" while expecting blind loyalty. Still many rally around the flag - what a hotbed for populism.

Aren't we supposed to know, where blind loyalty led to historically? In a society constantly alarmed of the virus spreading, another virus spreads: FEAR. People in fear are easy to control - according to the totalitarian regimes' handbook. People fearing reprisals don't criticize governments. So, arts and satire die.

Yet, there's civil society's resistance against leadership stuck in a bubble, detached from businesses & arts, and limiting human rights triggering American environmentalist Edward Abbey's: "A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government" even the "when the government fears the people there is liberty; when the people fear the government there is tyranny"-faction.

Leaders and experts indulged in numbers games, pitting culture vs. economy for public health, seemingly forget: "Recession costs lives too".

Desperate circumstances demand desperate measures, right? Aren't these days of US-wide protests desperate enough for governments to act responsible? Responsible leadership was wise to walk the talk ("what-ever-it-takes"-announcements) by introducing Universal Basic Income to sustain market liquidity plus public safety to avoid widespread "well-offs in gilded cages surrounded by impoverished masses"-reality. Furthermore UBI could mitigate losing evermore people to "conspiracy theories", "alternative facts", radicalization by feeling abandoned without prospects.

Wasn't the worldwide marathon for finding a Covid-19 vaccine to rescue mankind more efficient if flanked by UBI saving the people? Otherwise Coronavirus Crisis magnifies every country's systemic grievances and resistance against governments' efforts to restore a system serving the wealthy few only. That's why civil society took to the streets pre-Covid-19: Social injustice by accumulation of capital in the hands of the "richest 1%", accelerated by the majority population's Great Derailment by leadership saving only the "richest 1%" during 2008/2009's Great Recession - too big to fail/too big to jail.

French Premier Emmanuel Macron's extension of the state of health emergency until July 24th bought the government time, as Yellow vests movement hushed by Coronavirus measures. China even uses Coronavirus Crisis to finalize Hong Kong's annexion.

So, more than economically and medically the world in Covid-19 Crisis pays an horrendous price culturally for its leaders' ignorance and stinginess, indulged in numbers games, while blood is running in the streets.

Systemically, governments deligitimize themselves without flanking measures by direct financial payments but further ignoring dire facts on Main Street. Irresponsible leadership represents government Darwinism, shareholders and special interest groups.

Leaders communicating: "If you don't follow the orders and hunker down, it will get worse" provoke to ask: For whom it's getting worse? Definitely for those already excluded from society, pushed to the sidelines, put out of the market pre-Coronavirus by irresponsible leadership failing to prevent this malaise in the first place.

A "21st Century New Deal" is needed with responsible leadership, financial reforms and regulations to break up irresponsible multinational corporations' oligopoly.

Psychologically, when so-called developed countries' leaders talk about heading the richest countries on Earth, it's all about their Egos. How on Earth a country can be called rich, when most of its wealth is hoarded by its richest 1% while the 99% impoverish, living near or under the poverty line already? Following these bizarre logic, then most countries on Earth are to consider rich. Perhaps, that's logical to leaders and experts having replaced common sense by selected statistics, annually convening in Davos or Jackson Hole for digging a hole for us evermore. Why does media - supposedly the people's advocate (Watergate Scandal) - replicate this bizarre logic and numbers games?

If our society was a train, the privileged few at the front separated from most people in the rear wagons ablaze by the actions of irresponsible leaders boldly announcing: "To prevail, the front must be uncuppled from the rear, the people are to cooperate and sacrifice themselves for their leaders."

If that sounds dystopian, think of 2020: Leaders and experts easily able to ride out this disaster financially, hesitate to save the many in financial dire straits exploited by decades of irresponsible policies pleasing the shareholder value.

Psychologically, most people would save lives by staying at home, if having a home and staying at home didn't mean their own financial death warrant. Leaders and experts appear irresponsibly from the Otherworld: Imposing stay-at-home orders without flanking measures by sufficient financial compensation enable peopling to stay put to follow government orders.

This mentality of leaders stem from a special reality: a self-affirmative well-funded bubble reducing empathy for the misery those leaders' behavior creates, expecting those already struggling pre-Coronavirus to self-sacrifice for "higher purpose": a rescue plan for selfish leaders' luxurious lifestyle. This Crisis showcases leaders without morals demanding morals from their people.

In 2020, if humankind is to progress, not regress into dark times of history, the people deserve responsible leadership now, not self-serving leaders doing just enough to sustain their own privileged lifestyle, otherwise widespread unrests are only the beginning, followed by war used to distract from bad leadership. The last mass unemployment resulted in WW2. History rimes again, for those who can "hear". The quality of leadership depends on how leaders care for the people in times of need.

Governments imposing stay-at-home orders in a sweep, thereby taking people's livelihoods, need to compensate the people quickly. Otherwise the picture is bleak: Populists profit from leadership considered advocates of the wealthy few. For, one thing is for certain, rescuing the many would look different than what we see today.

Figures and balance sheets of neoliberalists deciding who's to live and who's to die, in a world not short of money, are not key. But the quality of leadership depends on British moral philosopher Jeremy Bentham's fundamental axiom: "the greatest happiness for the greates number" of people.

Dr. Dr. Immanuel Fruhmann
Systemic Analyst and Philosopher

Freitag, 8. Mai 2020

New World Order and the Man Behind Chinese President

This analysis is also published by CNN host Michael Smerconish:
https://www.smerconish.com/news/2020/5/8/new-world-order-and-the-man-behind-chinese-president


Amidst all these factions profiting enormously from the despair of the 99% in this Coronavirus Crisis some are obnoxiously bored while the many fight for survival. Is history repeating itself right now? US-President Harry S. Truman once said: "The only thing new is the history you do not know."

So, throughout the centuries the various Chinese Emperors were influenced in their thoughts and actions by state philosophers. Depending on the state philosophers' human quality this was a blessing or a curse for the people. Now it's President Xi Jinping, "paramount leader" since 2012, influenced by state philosopher and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences professor Zhao Tingyang (author of "Redefining a Philosophy for World Governance" pushed by his co-author French marxist Régis Debray, the philosophical mastermind behind revolutionary Che Guevara). Zhao defines a China-led New World Order diagnosing the West as caught up in the "Ego-Trap".

If you ask me "business ethics" became a travesty, all societal values rationalized to "shareholder value". Why? Western leaders, apparently disgusted by moral philosophy only following economics, accordingly underestimated state philosopher Zhao's role and influence on a centralized People's Republic of China turning more and more into a digital totalitarian state.

As a philosopher myself, blessed with ancient Chinese knowledge and dear Chinese friends, I emphasize the importance of being trained not only in one's own culture's philosophical thought and logics, but also in other cultures' philosophical thought and most importantly in ethics, sociology of knowledge and criticism of ideology. The latter Zhao Tingyang seems to discard.

Historically speaking, the West in "splendid isolation" driven by corporate greed  dangerously underestimated China decades-long. Now with the People's Republic of China's bid for power we are experiencing a globalization process finalized, a hand-over of power from the West to China towards planet domination - reminding of the collective superiority complex of Germany rising in the 1930s while the whole world was watching (appeasement policy). State philosopher Zhao pushes China as future of mankind.

So, when supposedly the West is caught up in an Ego-Trap driven by the individual mind, then China is on a governmentally-orchestrated Ego-Trip driven by the collective mind, starting long before Coronavirus occurred.

Anti-social neoliberalists and tax-evading multinational corporations exploiting this situation are bad enough, no need for economies on their knees falling pray to China cornering the market. Is the power vacuum Covid-19 creates ultimately filled with brotherly love or by China's ultimate claim to power in the race for global dominance? Recent worldwide governmental Covid-19 measures restricting Western freedoms give everyone an initial foretaste of what it is like to live under the Chinese rule.

Symptomatically for its antipathy against individualism China pushes to take over the Internet considered deficient, since too individualistic. Is the world heading for a streamlined New Internet controlled by China? It's disturbing that China is successfully winning allies for reinventing the Internet towards a China-led censored Internet called "New IP". The Internet has flaws, but good gracious a China-led Internet isn't the solution.

What exactly makes Beijing's politburo so convinced to be the next world leader? It's the state philosopher Zhao Tingyang's conviction that Christianity and individuality is the origin of all evil and disbalance in the world. Zhao considers human rights as derivate of Christianity and rejects its claim to be universal, inherent to every individual without discrimination, inalienable rights applying to everyone on this planet.

By the way, that's the main argument pushed by non-Western thinkers to delegitimize human rights and their universal claim applying to everyone on the face of this Earth. But this argument against human rights mostly non-Westerners put forward has at least one essential flaw itself. It's self-undermining by the "Genetic Fallacy" (Ernest Nagel): Basing an argument's truth claim on the origin of its claims or premises. In short: An arguments value is assessed by who said it. In other words the origin of the argument determines whether it's perceived true or false? Therefore the "Genetic Fallacy" is also called "Fallacy of Origin" or "Fallacy of Virtue".

So it's most essential to note, that the whole argument against human rights and democracy (refused for it's Western origin) is not only self-contradicting but a farce and on the same level as rejecting to use numbers because of their Arabic origin.

Of course I am fully aware of myself arguing according to my Western education and stance - sure I am, and passionately I am doing so, as most likely I would not be allowed to even write and publish this article in Mainland China. I consider myself blessed to be educated in (Austria's University of Graz, known for its Analytical Philosophy). So I am arguing from the basis of my education in Western Philosophy.

Compared to Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative ("Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law”) - providing the most freedom possible for the individual while respecting others, Chinese state philosopher Zhao Tanjing's proposed interpretation of the age-old concept of "Tianxia" (all under the heaven) seems nationalist as well as orientating on the Chinese family structure, only fueling a Chinese-led New World Order rejecting human rights and democracy as Western.

The instance that the Chinese Government has prohibited free publishing about the origins of Coronavirus without being censored by the Chinese Government before publishing makes the Chinese regime's approach neither trustworthy nor its proposed way of life simpatico. Why doesn't the Chinese Government rely on the thoughts of the Chinese philanthropist philosopher Mencius (humans are innately good) but on misanthropes like Xunzi (human nature is evil) or on Zhao Tingyang? Maybe the Chinese model contributes to an increasing number of countries and universities closing Confucius Institutes on their campuses criticized for being listening posts of the Chinese Government in foreign countries and violating Western human rights standards? Confucius would turn in his grave, if he knew what his name is used for.

If you ask me as philosopher, it's all about the balance between individuality and collectivity. In other words it's about the equilibrium of the individual mind and the collective mind, an equilibrium which is always to keep for the sake of a sustainable future of mankind.

Hence it was way to easy to wipe away Mainland China's claim as propaganda, fake news, you name it, since the long propagated neoliberalist alibi "the market will regulate itself and the 'invisible hand' - as balancing instrument - will take care of society" only unleashed neoliberalists to destroy the world and society for the last decades. Even the "Business Insider" publishes: Coronavirus didn't bring the economy down - 40 years of greed and corporate malfeasance did.

But at the same time it is also true that the pushed Chinese model with its focus on collectivity, putting the collective first, has itself not only led to a huge pollution problem in China and the world, but has also put the individual in shackles and therefore suppressed its individuality, its creativity and innovation. No wonder, that for decades Mainland China's strong suit was and still is to copy all the creativity and innovation from around the world, and especially from the West.

The Chinese model features a lack of ingenuity coming from a society holding everyone in fear, getting everyone in line and position of attention while crippling the individual in its expression and withholding the individual from expressing its voice, its creativity and its innovative powers. So we can only hope to keep our personal freedom and that the world isn't forced into complying to live according to "Tianxi" under Chinese rule.

So just in case if somebody didn't know it by now, we are in the middle of a culture war, you may name it "WW3 lite", raging between at least two war factions, one: the individual-based West and the other: the collective-based East.

If you ask me, the solution was the golden mean, the juste milieu, to take the best from both sides. But that would need the West to find back to its values - it maybe never had practically - and change from a greed-run society to a balanced capitalism (e.g. an eco-social market economy - propagated by former Austrian Vice President Josef Riegler) putting shackles on an unleashed, anti-social, selfish, ruinous and greed-run neoliberalism by respecting nature, social responsibility and humanity. And on the other hand this would also demand from the People's Republic of China to let go from its governmental-run "collective control neurosis" and to finally grant its citizens and the world personal freedoms and human rights - freedom of expression, individuality, creativity, innovative powers...

Facing the world today, US-President Benjamin Franklin occurs to me: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
It's about time for less anti-social and control addictive policies on all sides. Therefore we need to show more wisdom individually and collectively.

Dr. Dr. Immanuel Fruhmann
Systemic Analyst and Philosopher

Donnerstag, 16. April 2020

In the Fog of War - Why Coronavirus Marks a Crossroads For the World



This article is also published on:
https://www.smerconish.com/news/2020/4/15/jktcfemilf7jthlbb9smbo5bt9f1uq

"May you live in interesting times" is dramatically haunting so many people around the globe now. America and the whole world is at a crossroads and we all are in the midst of this "Fog of War" (General Carl von Clausewitz).

While the Coronavirus Crisis rages with many people being under some sort of stay-at-home order, doctors and medical personnel are fighting for saving as many lives as possible - regardless of putting their own lives on the line due to being forced to work with very limited equipment and under dire circumstances.

The narrative around the Coronavirus Crisis splits in two, one side arguing that health is key, public health, and we have to do everything to save lives and people's health - whatever it takes. The problem here is, that this argumentation line is mainly publicly pushed by those who are financially well-off, apparently not understanding what it is like to fight for one's life in financial terms.

In other words, politicians and public health experts with their legitimate focus on health and forcing people to stay-at-home, are not fighting for their lives financially themselves. That creates a detachment, a gap. It actually leads us to the flip-side of the argument, the financial narrative. Herein many people often argue that the Coronavirus is killing more people financially than physically, and if you bring the economy to a standstill, you are risking people's lives as well - financially and their health in so many ways. Bluntly put: If you are financially dead, it doesn't take much to be dead physically. This is what wealthy public health advocates often seem not to get, let alone the many people falling into a depression or even committing suicide by having to stay at home alone.

So the actual Coronavirus Crisis shows that the financial experts having ruled the world for many years so far are challenged, dethroned and toppled by the public health experts. In short we see not only a war between medical doctors and the Coronavirus but also the M.D.s (taking care of patients) waging war against the MBAs who for many years have made all efforts to rationalize and bring down the health care system we need desperately at the moment. The medical doctors and the health care personnel are therefore fighting a war on two fronts. But wait a minute. Is it that easy? I am afraid not: There are other parties participating in this war.

So it is not only a two-front war, on the one side medical doctors fighting Coronavirus, and on the other side medical doctors and public health experts fighting economic experts and business interests. No, the two sides merge in the third party, the pharmaceutical industry, having a huge financial interest in getting government contracts to find an effective Coronavirus vaccine.

So in the pharmaceutical industry, Big Pharma, health care and financial interests meet. Finding a vaccine is one thing, distribution is another. When the storm rages, those with no shelter are hit hardest. This experts often overlook. Much we hear of experts working on returning to normalcy. Which normalcy? Are those experts eagerly trying to reestablish the pre-Coronavirus normality excluding more and more people from society?

This leads me to another aspect of the story. It's the war within the war waging against the Coronavirus. Big data, as tracking and surveillance, is pushed in times of Coronavirus, officially for the good of humanity, many human rights organizations and data protection experts are alarmed by. As for the years to come tracking and surveillance of the movement patterns via algorithm-based analysis of people's mobile devices' usage give governments a big advantage in tackling with critics and being informed about possible demonstrations, before they even manifest, data which governments most likely will not resist to take advantage of.

It's no rocket science to anticipate: Even if one survives the Coronavirus itself, all those governmental counter-measures against the Coronavirus - despite the many governmental rescue programs to compensate the financial losses - will finish the job to kill the survivors economically. Therefore legions of small and medium-sized businesses will be exterminated by the Coronavirus Crisis.
So as mentioned at the very beginning, the world is at a crossroads right now.

On one path the world makes an upgrade via this Coronavirus finding itself on a new level of existence and consciousness, upgrading to a society taking care of each other but not in a way of spying on one another. On the other path the world makes a collective downgrade, with the Coronavirus Crisis only accelerating what has been driven successively by automation and digitation for decades, talking about mass layoffs now turning into the layoffs of the masses driven by those who were already big, who have been already driven by Big Tech and big corporations for many years, what in science is known as "Matthew effect of accumulated advantage" which sociologist Robert K. Merton derivated from the Matthew principle of the Gospel.

But let's not assume the worst. This time it could be a chance for humanity, a chance for humans to develop some (more) humanity - the hope of so many humanists working, advocating and preparing for the upgrade of humanity to the Bright New World for ages. But one question is haunting me constantly: If humanity is now leaping to a higher level of consciousness and existence, what happens to those who have ruled the world so far narcissistically and egotistically not having the reputation of being overly humanist? Which role in society will those anti-social figureheads in charge hitherto play then?

These challenging times can also bring to surface the dark aspects of the human psyche once again, especially by those on the top. Psychotherapists are well aware of, how hard it is to treat personality disorders which are quite widespread in society, how hard it is to change bad habits ingrained in ones own personality, especially when those suffering from these personality disorders don't suffer from it but only their environment.

Remember the old Cherokee tale of the two wolves inside everyone of us? One wolf is evil, full of anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, ego. The other wolf is good, full of joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth. Who wins? The one we feed! Just think of the current racial discrimination the Chinese minorities are facing around the globe.

Doubts about the honesty of the change management process we are going through via the various government measures are legitimate. If you ask me, it's always good to ask: Whose interests are served with such measures, who profits most from them?

If human nature takes over not in its brightest form again, then the Coronavirus Crisis heralds the start of the last phase of neoliberalist globalism, with rapidly conducted accumulation of capital flanked by digitation wiping out the bulk of small and medium-sized businesses. Then neoliberalism has finally won this war against humanity by using technology against the people, against you, me, every one.

Then it's only another stage of the war, which started long before. The instance that it's not called "physical distancing" but "social distancing" is ringing the alarm bells to many, as "social distancing" can be seen as indicator of an already anti-social neoliberalist trajectory in charge doing its utmost to compel the people not to be social, to behave socially distant to each other, and ultimately defaming the term "social" once again in effort to wipe out even the last remnants of socialty in society.

So if that's how the story goes, if that's how this Coronavirus Crisis ends up, then after the Fog of War has cleared and the dust has settled everybody can see that only a few remaining well-equipped and well-funded ruthless multinational corporations have survived the Crisis ruling the world widely unchallenged in control of the legions of indebted people without rights, unable to organize and form resistance without the corporate governments' notice.

Then Big Tech's extended crowd control via Big Data and surveillance devices handily used in everyday life unfolds its full potential. Then no longer "Cash is King" but Digital Money is King and everything connected to digitation. And when most people use surveillance gadgets (IoT), the one who opts out from using these "smart technologies" which infringe our privacy, bit by bit, byte by byte, becomes suspect in this change process of digitation towards an Orwellian totalitarian system, wherein Big Tech meets Chinese standards on all levels in this Dark New World.

Dr. Dr. Immanuel Fruhmann
Systemic Analyst and Philosopher

Sonntag, 5. April 2020

Why we are personally affected by the Coronavirus?


The whole Coronavirus Crisis shows one thing very clearly: The Coronavirus has absorbed media attention (coverage and broadcasting time) like no other issue for weeks. Gone seem to be the world's other problems, issues and figureheads. Why is that?

Little to none airtime the climate crisis gets, the burning amazon, as well as the refugee crisis, and more and more people living at or under the poverty level even inside so many countries which consider themselves developed. Gone seems the constant broadcasting about US-President Donald J. Trump, the personal nemesis of so many in media. Gone seems the irk Donald J. Trump provokes for so many in media.

All of a sudden, the world seems to have no other problem anymore except the Coronavirus, of course. Please get me right, the Coronavirus is a problem, a huge one, but it is not the only one. The Coronavirus is one of the many problems the world has. So the question is, why the Coronavirus gets so much media attention, eclipsing even US-President Donald J. Trump?

The Coronavirus Crisis makes obvious that it is a crisis the elites take care of, and that's different from so many other issues. But how so, after the same elites have crippled the health care systems through financial cuts and rationalization?

Arguably the reason for this is that so many public figures, from politicians to celebrities, themselves are infected by the Coronavirus and it's not just a problem of the middle and lower classes anymore. And other than so many regional conflicts and wars - which anti-social personalities all around the world easily can wipe away and forget about - like Yemen (The Forgotten War) -, the Coronavirus potentially affects all of us, the whole world - therefore it's called pandemic and not epidemic.

Seemingly politicians, celebrities and figureheads around the world are outraged by the Coronavirus, because it affects them personally even more than US-President Donald J. Trump and his moves and utterances. It seems as the rubber hits the road with personal experience - when you are affected personally. Apparently elites only take action when personally affected, otherwise only paying lip service - only saying they would take care of the issue but doing very little about it. Here Sir Bertrand Russell's famous philosophical distinction occurs to me between the Knowledge by Description (i.e. reading books, being informed by media) which expands one's perspective versus the Knowledge by Acquaintance (personal experience) which outweighs the former, when it comes to affection and direct action.

So apparently, if politicians were personally affected by poverty, inequality, climate change these issues were elevated to issues of national emergency as well as soon as you can say Jack Robinson.
In other words, if not only the Coronavirus but also poverty, climate change, the burning amazon, you name it, would reach and affect the elites, those were just as engaged and personally motivated to tackle these and the many other burning issues of the world as well.

Fake news vs. news aside, that's not the point in this case, because the fact that the Coronavirus absorbs the world's attention for many weeks shows the very fact that there is a connection of the elites and the media, which are broadcasting mainly about the issues relevant to elites, the rich and powerful, meaning broadcasting chiefly about elites themselves and the content relevant to them which in this case coincides with the Coronavirus also affecting the people directly.

So having in mind media science, philosophers such as Vilém Flusser, Theodor W. Adorno and Max Scheler's differentiation in communicating content ("information", "selection" and "context of use" - "how, when, where and by whom content is processed and used") this Coronavirus Crisis makes one thing more than obvious: Fake news versus news aside - supposing we get the facts via the news - it is also a fact that we only get a selection of facts.

This means, right now so many things happen in the world we never get word of by media and most-likely we never will. In other words, as news time is limited, we only get the relevant content, which is the content news stations think are relevant. This is not necessarily a problem. But the problem is, in times before the Coronavirus Crisis the bulk of the content/facts which news media presented didn't represent the problems of the people, as by most media the burning bread-and-butter issues were mostly considered irrelevant. 

The Coronavirus Crisis is making crystal clear, how little the media cover the crippled health care systems in many countries - that consider themselves developed - in which even in times before the Coronavirus Crisis many people couldn't afford to get proper medical treatment. The Coronavirus Crisis shows that for decades we lived in a careless society, in which people cared less and less for each other - starting from top-down. Now it's a wake-up call for everyone.

In short, naturally only those contents which affect the rich and powerful are most relevant to the rich and powerful. The very fact that chiefly those contents/facts affecting the rich and powerful get the lion share of the media coverage indicates that media in general are too much in liaisons with the rich and powerful, meaning many media proponents neglect most of those facts and contents which mainly affect the underprivileged in society. This makes the media appear as the accomplice of the rich and powerful.

What's relevant? What does this all mean? Relevance is a filtering mechanism also in our developed world so many consider as developed and as information society, as knowledge society, you name it. What does the Coronavirus Crisis show? Our world is a media society, in which media by putting emphasis on certain topics are creating reality (Constructivism). In simple terms, we only get word of what media filtering systems considers relevant to us. And what does this mean to us? It all depends on, where you live and in which circumstances?

In times of Coronavirus Crisis even "liberal media" considering themselves humanist and seeing all people as equal, concentrate its attention on people dying from the Coronavirus in the Western Hemisphere than elsewhere, as if one at risk in the West was more important to broadcast about than someone anywhere else dying silently and uncovered by media. So even so-called liberal media are apparently discriminating against people via selection.

Therefore in effort to be aware of and take responsibility for society I perpetually emphasize the importance for media to self-reflect in order to compensate what media accuse politicians to lack of. 

So media has to refrain from clinching with the elites, celebrities etc. and detaching with those public figures into another sphere, into a bubble of their own. This means media has to constantly abstain from being overly focused with the privileged few and with their luxury problems, in order not to reserve the limited airtime for the privileged few. Otherwise the media's filtering criterion of relevance - what's relevant? - will have a strong leaning to overly focus to cover what's relevant to the rich and powerful.

So for the sake of democracy, participation and representation of all the people, it's important not to chiefly report about the rich and powerful and what's relevant to them, but about the people and their bread-and-butter-issues, otherwise Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution comes to mind quickly and media proponents degrade to underlings, to courtiers in terms of court reporters, even in democracies.

So from media philosophy perspective it's not so much a matter of fake news vs. news and facts - that's a side story, albeit an important one - but the pinnacle question is: Which facts do we get, and in fact the facts of whom? So of course in times of crisis and in effort to show compassion and solidarity we have to remember US-President Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous statement: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!" But as the actual Coronavirus Crisis shows clearly that for decades we have had the wrong priorities and now we are all in this together, I want to recall: It's on all of us to take care that society doesn't fall apart!

Dr. Dr. Immanuel Fruhmann
Systemic Analyst and Philosopher

Montag, 23. März 2020

Why Wi-Fi? - How Healthy is Your Mobile?

This article was also published on:
smerconish.com/news/2020/3/11/why-wi-fi-how-healthy-is-your-mobile

Our globalized world urges us to be constantly connected, with those we know and with those we yet get to know, via digitation, the Internet, the Internet of Things etc., fulfilling the basic human need to "belong to a group" - related to "the fear of missing out". But who benefits most from being connected 24/7?

Much we learn about 5G, its security risks, Huawei and Chinese government's interests. Being constantly connected makes you the pure transparent citizen, some even speak of "the perfect slave" of big-tech and government knowing you inside out, about every aspect of your life - preferences, locations, behavioral patterns...


Many people seem to have already accepted this as part of the deal. But mostly under the radar has stayed a different aspect I am outlining now.

All the great technological inventions we use in everyday life - many take for granted - are the brainchild of highly-talented, often hypersensitive people (remember, only the successful are called geniuses) feeling uncomfortable in crowds, as many hypersensitive people suffer from everyday group dynamics, mass phenomena (Bruce Tuckman's stages of group development - forming > storming > norming > performing).

So what's bad about Wi-Fi? Not so fast, please! Counterquestion: Why do we need to be connected all the time? It's common knowledge that it’s unhealthy to be on the call permanently. Smartphone Addiction and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is widely known and accepted. But people with EHS (Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity) are stigmatized and marginalized, even defamed as anti-tech. How come?

Despite occasional EHS/EMF-documentaries our tech-loving and highly-power consuming world spearheaded by big-tech downplaying the fears of the people stultifies those sensitive to electromagnetic fields, since EHS is perceived as running against economic-technological interests.

It's not in big-tech's interest to respect the individual's sensitivity despite the considerable number of people suffering from EHS. Consider people developing various symptoms when exposed to radiation of electromagnetic fields intensified with every new standard - 3G to 4G to 5G.

How little we hear of the dangers of constant exposure to electromagnetic fields publicly. It's mostly downplayed, as people want to be up-to-date, not to be left behind by technological developments, and definitely not to be perceived as backward, ignorant by their social environment.

But jumping on this technology bandwagon has a flip-side, as we are surrounded by devices radiating day and night: Wi-Fi, cell towers, mobiles, tablets, cordless phones, notebooks, wireless headphones etc. The European EMF Guideline stated: "Common EHS symptoms include headaches, concentration difficulties, sleep problems, depression, a lack of energy, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms."

Despite big tech's marketing efforts to spin constant exposure to radiation as cool, hip, smart and healthy, exposing children - more vulnerable due to their dynamic developmental physiology - in elementary schools fully digitized to electromagnetic fields with Wi-Fi 24/7 as future of mankind, there are many studies published about this topic, such as the research of Austrian environmental epidemiologist Dr.med. univ. Gerd Oberfeld M.D. of the state of Salzburg, Austria, who gave many interviews making the public aware of the EHS symdrome.

So Dr. Oberfeld and his colleagues at the European Academy of Environmental Medicine recommend to reduce the exposure to radiation by electromagnetic devices to a minimum due to its carcinogen (cancer-causing) aspect.

Further studies have shown: "We hypothesize that these tumor-promoting effects may be caused by metabolic changes due to exposure. (...). Our findings may help to understand the repeatedly reported increased incidences of brain tumors in heavy users of mobile phones."

What's the point? It's not about the radiation itself but about the dose (the dose makes the poison), about the 24/7 exposure to radiation giving the body no time to regenerate. Therefore for years the Austrian Medical Chamber has published a 10-rules guideline for mobile, Wi-Fi and other electronic devices usage (in translation):
  • Limit mobile usage to a minimum! Use land lines if possible and write text messages instead of making/taking calls with mobiles. Under 16-years-old should limit the use of mobiles only to emergencies. Teenagers' physiological development is dynamic.
  • "Distance is your friend!" - Keep mobiles off the head/body. Use loudspeaker function or wired earbuds/earphones/headphones instead.
  • While using loudspeaker function or wired earbuds/earphones/headphones/headsets, keep mobiles away from the head/body! For men: Don't put mobiles near to the genitals (pockets) - infertility risk. For women: Special risk during pregnancy. Put mobiles in your bag. Individuals with electrical implants (pacemakers etc.) need to keep off from mobiles.
  • Don't make/take calls in transport (car, bus, train)! Mobiles will increase signal strength (radiation) to provide coverage in the cabin.
  • Don't text and drive, nor internet surfing, otherwise risking accidents.
  • Don't use Wi-Fi, if possible! Traditional LAN is radiating way comparably. Avoid radiating devices: Cordless phones, wireless data sticks, wireless cubes!
  • Go offline and use flight mode, when data connection is not needed, reduces radiation exposure! You don't need to be online for using camera, alarm, calculator, playing offline games or downloaded music.
  • Limit number of apps to the necessary! The less apps installed the less you are exposed to radiation. To lower your mobile's radiation level disable your apps' background activity and data connection when redundant. You still can make/take calls.
  • Avoid calls in locations with bad connection (basement, elevator etc.)! Mobiles increase signal power (radiation) to keep connection. Use wired earbuds/earphones/headphones/headsets or loudspeaker function.
  • Check SAR-ratings! The higher your mobile's SAR-value the higher its radiation, posing risks to your health.

Democratization in knowledge society aside, people still tend to only take for real what they can sense, unless it's hyped by media (corona virus). Seeing is believing, right? Consider the things you cannot see at first sight: The decades-long exposure of the public to asbestos, or the radiation of Three Mile Island (USA, 1979), Chernobyl (Soviet Union, 1986), Fukushima Dai-ichi (Japan, 2011)... catastrophes with global effects even when the news cycle moves on and people think the issue is solved - far from eye, far from heart. Sometimes science needs felt ages to deliver the proof for what common sense already knew - nicotine isn't healthy - which only the brave dared to say publicly risking to be sued to death by tobacco corporations.

In today's world topics may have changed, not the patterns: There are big tech's interests exposing us, the people, to technological experiments. Licence holders receive huge bonuses when advocating for new technologies - would they, if there was not a big amount of money in play? - while the overwhelming rest of us is nothing but exposed to these experiments.

So until the critical mass is reached many people understandably feel like guinea pigs of big-tech and their interest in profits. All I'm saying is, give health a chance: So for your health's sake, keep a critical mind, as it's better to be safe than sorry.

Dr. Dr. Immanuel Fruhmann

Systemic Analyst and Philosopher

Why We Don't Follow Science Anymore

This article was also published on:
smerconish.com/news/2020/2/4/why-we-dont-follow-science-anymore

Today many people ask: Why people don't follow science anymore? Why nowadays science is hard put to convince the people of its findings? Why more and more people don't listen to the facts anymore? Why are scientists losing their once undisputed authority? Why did facts lose their appeal?
Naturally, you can blame it all on (social) media, propaganda wars, politization and polarization of society etc. But that was too easy.

Recently I was stunned by BBC's Nobel Minds Debate, wherein invited Nobel Prize Laureates complainingly compared our times with the days of Galileo Galilei ca. 500 years ago in that sense, that then as now science has been disregarded.

You can now argue, that this comparison brought forward in this Nobel Prize Laureates debate is a really poor one, since Galileo Galilei wasn't recognized at all by then ruling elites other than today's leading scientists - Nobel Prize Laureates. But the point I want to make goes further.
I want to call your attention to ask why nowadays there is so much resentment among large parts of society against following science, even in the face of science relentlessly telling people being endangered by climate change.

Given that people were following science for long, even into war with the latest technology - as science financially in liaisons with the military always had a big stake in war games - why today people leave the flock of science believers and scientists lose their authority? When analyzing current developments, soon we get to one of the most powerful tools of democratization: social media.
Now more than ever before, via social media people are given a voice, enabled to organize themselves and group easily and quickly to challenge existing authorities.

But there is more to consider: These democratization processes are flanked by more and more people experiencing being squashed like lemons by multinational corporations whose profits skyrocket while large parts of society become impoverished and science does little against these developments.
It's hardly surprising, that people increasingly perceive scientists as underlings of multinational corporations, as agents of keeping consumerism going, continuously inventing new technology supposedly for the people while making the rich uber-rich and the majority population bleeding out financially.

Also IT-specialists have increasingly come under fire for eagerly working on firing more and more people by their inventions, since IT-specialists create algorithms making more and more jobs obsolete without creating equivalent jobs for the people whose jobs they killed, but cynically arguing: We only enable the people to feel free and follow their creativity. Creating jobs galore one cannot live on, even when working multiple low-paid jobs, is only massaging jobless figures to fool the public, eventually leading to the rise of the working poor.

This job-cutting mechanism called rationalization, streamlining under globalization is sold as "future of mankind" ignoring evermore working people dropping out of the job market, as their workforce isn't needed anymore. It doesn't take rocket science to figure out that those mechanisms - making evermore people's workforce obsolete, disadvantaging large parts of society - are a "perfect" formula for raising social tensions right up to revolution, if unaccompanied by a sufficient unconditional basic income.

In times of emancipation and democratization - rather than asking, if there is intelligent life in outer space etc. - scientists were supposed to ask these questions: Do scientists intelligently take enough action to tackle global inequality here on Earth? Does the class of scientists take enough action against the accumulation of capital, in the hands of a very few corporations battling for planet-domination, undermining democratic institutions increasingly? Does academia invent technologies creating jobs the people can live on rather than inventing technologies enabling multinational corporations to kill well-paid jobs en masse?

Today too many scientists and technicians appear negligent of the bread-and-butter issues and the hardships of the people. So many people's perception therefore is, too many scientists and technicians - once highly regarded professions - are in cahoots with big business concerns, killing jobs galore, working against the people rather than for the people being entangled in another type of war, an asymmetrical warfare, a trade war multinational corporations wage globally against the people, against civilians, in a civilization declining.

As long as science appears to be in liaisons with reckless elites rather than siding with the people, science has an image problem and the people's reluctance against blindly following science grows. People followed science for ages when perceiving science and technology as improving the people's living standards.

Scientists and technicians are supposed to improve their battered image of being stuck in their ivory towers, following their curiosity only and working on luxury problems for big business concern. As long as science appears to be taken up in complex calculations while lacking empathy for the people's concerns and forgetting about humanity and its problems, academia will lose the people's respect entirely.

All this we have to factor in when analyzing today's complex situation of science losing support of society increasingly. New devices whatsoever need to benefit the people first, only then - as side effect - it has to serve big business concern. This understanding of social responsibility on top-level has been lost by corporate governance appearing more or less moralless. Company owners shifted responsibility to "nameless shareholders" in a society with shareholder value as only value left.

Therefore the people's faith in scientific facts and in science itself wanes. Today the process, once started with automation (machine breakers), isn't about bringing relief to all households by washing machines anymore - what eliminated washers - but about pushing people out of the market by digitization threatening every profession. That creates a dangerous cocktail. Growing social inequality is an ignited stick of dynamite for any society (dynamite's inventor, Alfred Nobel).

Why is all this important? History has shown, when people were robbed of their livelihoods by certain developments, demagogues have an easy job to recruit people for their wicked ideologies promising an all-too-easy solution. So wasn't it in the self-interest of science to work for the people rather than appearing as accomplice of corporations working against the people?

Dr. Dr. Immanuel Fruhmann

Systemic Analyst and Philosopher

Sonntag, 5. Januar 2020

Colonialism reloaded and the revolutionary factor



This article was also published on:
https://asiatimes.com/2020/01/opinion/colonialism-reloaded-and-the-revolutionary-factor/

There's much talk about China's growing economic imperialism, its human rights violations and about multinational corporations' exploitation of humans and nature large-scale. But what about the West?

In the Age of Colonialism the West colonized the world, invaded countries abroad to bring "The Good Thing" by religion, to "civilize" the world while exploiting the hell out of other countries, their natural resources and people.

It's all different now. Western countries have evolved, learned from history... Really? Did they? Aren't the same underlying patterns still at work? Doesn't the West still feel superior over the world?
Take psychology/psychotherapy as analysis tool: "Feeling superior" originates from an overcompensated "inferiority complex" (coined by Alfred Adler, Austrian-physicist who participated in Sigmund Freud's "Wednesday Society"), meaning overcompensating one's own shortcomings (inferiority) to feel superior over others, which Adler called "superiority complex".

Isn't colonialism based on the collective conviction to be superior over others, in Christianity deriving from culturally-ingrained inferiority complex ("original sin") overcompensated to superiority complex?

Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya etc. have experienced Western interventionism and "nation-building" offensives lately. In the Soviet-Afghan War (1979-1989) the USSR driven by superiority complex was defeated in bringing Communism to Afghanistan. Since 2002 Western allies have Westernized Afghanistan and the region with humble outcome - “History repeats itselfthe first as tragedy, then as farce.” (Karl Marx).

Western leaders have a history of shaping the world according to their ideals to save the world, to break with age-old traditions on-site and urge all to follow Western traditions instead.
Today, the West still feels superior over the "rest of the world" (a common phrase therefore) pushing the world to comply, this time not by religion but by democratization and science, appearing as "new religion".

While Western technology is well-adopted worldwide, why democracy and Human Rights are hard put to establish?

I strongly advocate Human Rights. However, undeniably many consider Human Rights as secularized substrate of Christianity different from e.g. Sharia law. But many argue: Almost all countries committed themselves to respect the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), beyond culture.

Sure, but in many countries Human Rights are respected in name only, rejected as "Western product" dangerous to traditions on-site.

Albeit applying to everyone universally many perceive Human Rights as "Western invention" based on the Age of Enlightenment which Western thinkers - in response to the horrors of WW2 - propagated first. And that's its weakness.

Resistance against Human Rights in the world originates from Human Rights perceived as new colonialism of Western powers spreading democracy worldwide while using Human Rights as fig-leaf for reckless exploitation of the world, similar to the Chinese model which operates without democracy and Human Rights.

Despite even in Western countries Human Rights aren't well-established (e.g. integration struggles, non-ethical behavior of multinational corporations...), remember the many domestic workers tortured by Asian bosses mostly educated at high-ranked Western universities as do the world's many Western-educated brutal dictators! Western education falls short when imposed. Apparently Human Rights as relatively new concept are outweighed by deeply rooted age-old cultures, where human rights aren't culturally internalized.

Who pays the price for Western interventions? The history of Western "nation-building" and interventionism - coinciding with Western economic/strategic interests - fuels critics like Paolo Sensini: "If you don't come to Democracy, Democracy will come to you", William Blum: "Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country!", even video-games: "Embrace democracy or you will be eradicated!" (Fallout 3 - Liberty Prime).

But does "spreading democracy and human rights abroad" even achieve the desired results? "Change takes time" advocates of installing Western values worldwide utter. True, it only takes generations.
US-sociologist Robert K. Merton's Law of Unintended Consequences refers to unintended consequences of interventions. Not to meddle might be hard in the face of cruel traditions. But remember: They are "cruel" from a Western perspective.

The West's self-image "The shining city on the hill" (see puritan John Winthrop and American exceptionalism) or "the envy of the world" is revealing, appearing as overcompensation driven by knowing better, urging the world to model oneself on the West to accept Western standards and westernize by creating Western copies worldwide - propagated by Hollywood, the media. India's widespread obsession with skin-whitening or Asia's frenzy for beauty surgeries to look Western is telling volumes.

The West spearheads a global cultural standardization process via the World Wide Web as new colonialism. A standardized world mainly benefits capitalist global trade. Western leaders often steamroller the majority population on-site not being asked, if democracy is desired. Therefore Western interventionism appears as foreign countries' endeavors to exploit natural/human resources.

This two-faced global Westernization process appears self-contradictory: While Western cultural imperialists - no longer spreading Christianity as the bible is widely "outdated" in the West - urge the world to adopt Western lifestyle, democracy, Human Rights etc. Western multinational corporations exploit people and nature recklessly worldwide and deliver arms to cruel regimes violating Human Rights...

Democracy installed top-down creates only superficial results and mounting resistance, when ignoring the majority population on-site with its traditions unready for change. Take the French Revolution (1789-1799) - none other than the French themselves toppled their regime, or in the American Revolution (1775-1783) the Americans themselves threw off the British rule...

Revolutions have lasting change only by "the power within" - coming from inside out, if the majority population wants change. That's the revolutionary factor. Without that foreign powers bringing change are perceived imperialist looking for securing their interests, ignoring the on-site majority populations' reluctance against interventionism. Imagine the French's reluctance against making revolution then, if perceived as foreign powers' interference in internal affairs.

Post-WW2 Germany and Japan welcomed change over its majority population. Psychologically speaking everything, even democracy imposed provokes reactance in those affected unwilling to change, losing much by Westernization - from tribes to Internet-filtering regimes preserving authority by withholding their people from freedom of information. Western cultural-economic-military meddling worldwide triggers and fuels anti-Western sentiment, even "global terrorism".

The revolution's driving force is "the power within", the majority population on-site ready for change. Only then the time is ripe, the groundwork laid by the people themselves embracing change which therefore lasts.

Dr. Dr. Immanuel Fruhmann
Philosopher and Systemic Analyst