6 Ideas for a 21st Century Digizen

Ideas are more powerful than is commonly understood - John Maynard Keynes

Photo by kevin turcios on Unsplash

By

Basil Abia

Date Published

April 26, 2022

Category

Insight

Ideas matter. Ideas matter because they serve specific utility in galvanizing and informing human social action. Powerful ideas have the ability to reshape human civilization and galvanize these civilizations into progressive human social action; like Karl Marx’s ideas on the working day in Das Kapital directly influencing healthier work time-frames in the 19th and 20th centuries, and Adam Smith’s idea in The Wealth of Nations that self-interest and competition will result in prosperity - the foundation of modern-day capitalism. 

For the 21st century digizen, I think that there are a few ideas and idea movements that must be noted and understood. One need not obsess over them like 20th century eastern politburos, but one must ponder on them, as they have the propensity to serve immense use in influencing human civilization as we transition to the metaverse-hinged middle decades of the 21st century. I refer to a digizen as a digital citizen with an immersive experience of interactions on the internet. Politburos on the other hand are the prime decision-making organs for communist parties - they were quite popular in the 20th century. The Metaverse is an augmented iteration of the internet into a three-dimensional network of visual worlds with an emphasis on social connection. 

There are not many who are influenced by new theories after they are twenty-five or thirty years of age, so, the ideas which civil servants and politicians and even agitators apply to current events are not likely to be the newest.’ - John Maynard Keynes

These ideas aren’t relatively new as some of them have been snowballing in influence in the past century, but they are increasingly becoming important in the context of the digital times we are currently enduring. 

  1. Georgism
    Henry George came up with the idea that rents derived from the holdings of land and the natural resources drawn from it ought to have been equally shared with all members of society to grow the economy and ensure social justice. The idea in question is called Georgism. As we advance into an increasingly augmented reality & mixed-reality experience, civilization, governments, and corporations will be faced with the big question of creating non-machine wealth as workers relinquish their production functions to robots, super software, and no-code tools. An increase in social disparity will also galvanize human social action toward finding a solution. It is expected that Georgism will rise in prominence again, a century after it did so in 19th century America. 
  1. Occam’s Razor
    As Ibn Khaldun once noted, the things we do not know about are more than the things we know about - thus, for these knowledge abundant times that we live in, to be able to frame our schema to consume as much knowledge as we possibly can, brevity should be held in high regard. The idea behind Occam’s Razor is important in that it implores us to always go for the lowest-complexity explanation when faced with multiple explanations of human phenomena. This way, we are laser-focused on our collective and individual pursuits for truth in a glaring post-truth era. Adherents of the Hickam’s Dictum passionately disagree with the Occam’s Razor, it must be noted. For clarity, in the medical profession at least, the Hickam’s Dictum serves as a counterargument to the use of Occam’s Razor - it simply suggests that patients can have as many diseases as they please. 
  1. Cultural Hegemony 
    Society as we know it is dominated by a few ideas, norms, laws, and codes of living. These non-tangible things otherwise referred to as social-control structures shape the way information is consumed, disseminated, and adhered to, or at least according to what Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci came up with in the early 1900s. Because these social-control structures are created and violently maintained by the dominant class of society, whatever they may be, Gramsci decided to refer to them as Cultural Hegemony. What would the Cultural Hegemony of the MTN virtual land in the metaverse be like? What would be the norms for that virtual reality experience? 

    Attempt answering these questions and hopefully, they inspire more intellectual curiosity. 
  1. Mimetic Theory of Desire
    Rene Girard once believed that we as human beings had no idea about what we wanted, so we emulated each other. According to Girard’s idea, we want the same things as other people instead of having our own desires. This idea is the Mimetic Theory of Desire which underpins the modern advertising and sales industry - if you are deep into the Web3 economy, you will observe a similar behavioral pattern that is exploited in order to sell products or enter the market. 
  1. Long-termism
    Thinking about future generations is not only a morally imperative activity but an economically imperative one. At least this is what William MacAskill prioritized when he came up with long-termism as an idea - this is now a branch of the effective altruism idea movement globally. Existential risks like pandemics, nuclear war, and extreme climate change could adversely affect human living for future generations, thus, making human civilization as we know it become extinct, or at the very least, terminally decline. The damning prospects of these glaring risks are now motivating an idea movement like long-termism to push and galvanize human social action at scale. 
  1. Interpretive Charity 
    Interpretive charity is one of the central themes of Donald Davidson’s theory of meaning. The idea frames good communication to be built on the foundation of charitable interpretation of the persons indulging in the process (communication). Easily put, regardless of one’s thoughts on an issue or what one holds to be rational, good communication and/or healthy discourse only happens when the persons involved offer each other charitable interpretations of their perspectives. To be able to understand one’s perspective, we must deploy grace and hold in high regard what one posits. This particular idea is quite the toil to imbibe especially as strong digital communities are being built on the internet with disagreements on salient issues occurring at a higher than normal frequency. 

Conclusion

As the world continues its transition into embedded living experiences with the internet, certain ideas will gain prominence, and thus, navigating these new lived experiences would require a base understanding of these pivotal ideas. Also, as human beings, we would become a creator-consumer class that would require some of the highlighted ideas in this article to emerge as foundational frameworks for our key production functions. One will discover the synthesis of new ideas and uncover extraordinary connections between them when one cross-pollinates these ideas - this is the core utility, I think. 

A person with new ideas is crazy until their ideas succeed - Marcelo Bielsa

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Disclaimer: This information in this article is NOT investment advice. It is intended for information and entertainment purposes only.

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