So a few days ago, I was happily scrolling through YouTube with the hope of serendipitously stumbling across a funny cat video when I instead tripped pretty hard on a video by the late American Comedian, George Carlin. In it he claimed that the elite control everything including the information we get access to and that they want people who are smart enough to control the machines but not too smart enough to ask questions.
Now this was not the first time I was being bombarded by such an argument. I didn’t doubt the validity that the elite probably controlled everything but I doubted whether they could control how we think. My view was shattered when I stumbled accidentally across another YouTube video, this time by one of my favorite content creators WiseCrack, about where social media had gone wrong( I definitely recommend you checking out their YouTube videos especially their Rick n Morty reviews).
In a nutshell the video expressed the sentiment that social media had driven people into social bubbles where their views get more hard-line that’swhy news sites in America cater for different groups of people e.g. Liberals, Conservatives etc. Also another view which was definitely not new but what shocked me perhaps senseless was a rhetorical question the narrator posed: “Why think for yourself when you can have others who think just like you?”
Having experienced my fair share of agnostic and atheist WhatsApp groups, I had to ask myself; “Can I ever really claim that my world views were unique and independent or were there a group of grandpas with fedora hats meeting in secret locations, and dictating what people had to see as true, a kind of shadow government embedded in a secret society? Did Albert Einstein really exist or is he something the governments dreamt up? Or is our society just overtly obsessed with conspiracy theories and overwhelmed by the amount of information being produced everyday that it can’t distinguish between what’s real and false and has to create a secret enemy to heap their problems upon?
Well, apparently that’s a hard question to answer and binge-watching Mr. Robot probably won’t help make things any easier but the path to truth probably starts with asking who are these elite, and is there any method within the grasp of any average human being’s reach that could probably answer that question?
Understanding who the elite are and what they control all boils down to understanding what power is. Power is the ability to direct or influence people to act in a particular way. So if you had sex last night, your partner or you used their power for or against you. If against then it’s probably rape and you should consider legal action.
Anyway we all understand what power is to some degree but for one to be considered elite he or she or the organization has to wield a disproportionate amount of wealth, power or privilege. This gives the elite the ability to have access to the best of the best, I.e. if it’s an elitist university, it has the best students and remains at the top because it can provide them with scholarships, better research opportunities and its students can get the best jobs. Your parents are members of the elite if they can control who you get to marry, spend your life with or where you’ll build your house, doctor is probably a member of the elite, if she tells you that you have cancer, she’s probably going to influence your next life decisions and your lecturers and scientists are probably elite if they influence what you see as true.
Feel conned? I know we all do. But does the existence of a class of people with disproportionate amounts of wealth, power and privilege, and with the ability to control your life probably make them enemies acting against your life’s best interest and would that mean that everything spoken by Ivy League graduates must be accepted as truth? Should we follow whatever our politicians, doctors and scientists throw at us with the belief that they’re acting in our best interest?
Well the answer is quite complicated. There are things we just must learn to accept that popular opinion isn’t the best guide to truth yet can be a truth held by a majority of practicing members.
For example we know that the earth is spherical, climate change is real and vaccines have saved more lives than we can ever give them credit for, why? Because we can go back in time and look at the data. We can read tales by writers about the Black death and how it wiped out a third of the population of England, or how Pasteur vaccinated sheep against anthrax, and compare this with the reality of our current existence, even go down to the sub microscopic just to understand basic antigen antibody science and reason with the founders of such techniques.
We can look at Satellite images of earth and other heavenly bodies, test these theories ourselves, I mean earth can’t be the only flat planet yet follow the same laws of Newtonian gravitation devised by Newton not by observing earth but other planets, and climate change is real and caused by human beings else we’d not have snowflakes falling in places where they didn’t fall before and yearly temperature averages breaking records the past few decades.
The public deserves answers and the right to ask the hard questions but fighting against some things we couldn’t have enjoyed without the existence of the elite is being anti-progressive and morally wrong. But how far should we allow the elite to go? And can we ever even control them or do they control us?
Well, I won’t claim to have all the answers but that’s a question best answered by Elizabeth Holmes who created an imaginary product that could test for hundreds of diseases just by a single prick of blood. Her company, Thenaros was once valued at $10 bn and she even managed to raise $700 million in funding. The 19 year old’s con is made quite funny by the fact that she was a Stanford dropout, appeared on popular magazines such as Forbes and even spoke in major Tech events. But her house of cards was just that, a house of cards and when the cookie crumbled, those who’d glorified her were left with mouths full of so much vile.
That’s because they bought the brand, and not the product.