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The Democracy...

The Democracy of Electric Action

One is reminded of the quote from John 1:1-3 in the Bible. "In the beginning was the Word." Yes, but before the "Word" there was the action of creating it.

So that old adage "Actions speak louder than words" still seems to have much truth attached to it. Especially when you consider that it also suggests "Nature has a more important voice than culture" and that "The natural actions of people speak louder than their cultural productions of words."

One might offer that this truth was easier to see in those early years when man was closer to nature, when language was young, words were few and the world still pregnant with the possibility of action.

In our present world, this old truth is difficult to see. There’s been a lot of "water under the bridge" between nature and man. The old adage seems reversed into the phrase "Words speak louder than actions." It now appears words are many (not few) while actions are few (not many).

History has been a record of words much more than actions.
Throughout history, words have been part of public performance while actions part of private habits. And even when actions are public they are basically meant to reinforce the performance of public words.

But the appearances of history can be deceiving. Just as there has always been more nature than culture in the world, there has always been more actions than words in man. This is true in maturity just as it is true in youth, whether we mean the youth or maturity of culture or the youth or maturity of individuals in culture.

Actions have never formed a language like words have. However, there are indications this is quickly changing.

Actions are now gaining a new type of language through the medium of electric technology. Ultimately, the "message" of the "medium" of electric technology might be the retrieval of the old adage that actions speak louder than words. It is about time we recognized the importance of actions against words, of context to content, of medium to message.

This may seem like a new theory to many but its certainly not new to government and the engineers of the populist marketplace. Monitoring electronic actions has been a secret agenda of Madison Avenue, Wall Street, Hollywood and Washington for many years. It is an agenda based around propaganda, persuasion and control rather than encouraging the development and expression of freedom.

It might seem like some wild, speculative theory to many. But this is so because they have hidden their actions behind the false-fronts of happy face words. As usual, words have been used to disguise actions.

Attempts by citizens to observe the electronic actions of fellow citizens for the purpose of a new democratic understanding rather than a propagandistic control have engendered claims of invasion of privacy. But one needs to ask where these claims come from and who initiates them. Do they originate with other citizens truly afraid that their privacy is invaded or are they really decoys placed by those in control to distract the citizen hunters from their hunt and refocus mass attention on words?

A few observers in the Washington of the 90s advised "Follow the money." They were usually right. Money turned out to be where the "action" was. And words? Once again, they were simply false-front distractions hiding the real action.

When will mass culture learn that modern words are more methods of disguise rather than tools for understanding? How many more politicians or postmodern French philosophers have to be exposed for this point to finally be made?

A new Democracy might flower in America when citizens recognize that electric actions offer a new form of expression from below rather than the perpetuation of control from above.

This new recognition will refocus attention from the words of Internet cyberspace to the electric actions of local place. It will view local communities more as clusters of electric actions rather than as jumbles of disconnected words.

Within these electric local clusters will be the actions of Internet hypertext clicks in the pursuance of local words, events, places, people, products and services. Also within these action clusters will be the electric actions of producing words in emails.

But the actions in front of Internet computers might ultimately be only a part of this local electric cluster of actions. There is also the activity of talking over the electricity of telephone wires or talking over the electricity of wireless telephones.

There is the activity of watching particular television programs and the activity of scanners at the supermarkets and of credit card machines in retail stores. There is really any electric activity you do that might go into a database.

The future of Democracy may be in the hands of those who are able to monitor these local electric actions, understand their collective expression and finally bring forth something or someone representative of this expression.

Leaders of the future might not be leading politicians but rather leading brands. After all, politicians already triangulate alignment with leading brands through constant polls. Why not first locate leading brands through electric actions and then find politicians to attach to them?

So far, monitoring electric actions on such a massive scale has been directed towards the goal of control rather than freedom. And the expense involved has proven only within the financial province of large media corporations and governments.

But governments and big corporations won’t preclude America’s young idealistic entrepreneurs from efforts to discover the Rosetta Stone of a new type of democracy in America. The payoff could be vast. Electric activity might really express that elusive collective unconscious zeitgeist of a particular culture at a particular moment in time. Jung based his interesting theory on the dreams and psychotic states of a few patients. What if the electric activity of a particular community might be viewed as the mind of just one patient? What if all the electric activity in America might become this one patient? Or all the electric activity in the global village?

While some build local Web sites that encourage making formal votes every two or four years, others realize that people have already voted with their electric actions. Not just once every few years but hundreds of times every day. There is the chance for those who don’t possess loud words to be heard by their actions. A first time for the politically "mute" to speak up and be heard.

We search to find the promised land of a new American democracy. But in a sense it has already been found. We need to realize this and stop to smell the "flowering" of this new electric democracy rather than be hurried along towards distraction by more and more words.

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