Is the war of ideas on college campuses (and by proxy beyond) helping to build the society we truly want? Damning identity politics, only further fueled by social media and the relentless pull of ego-metrics, is slowly strangling the potential of the human individual. For the past two decades, I’ve watched the evolution of this slow perilous slip towards political correctness; an inescapable and exhausting progression towards less. And having recently been drawn down the YouTube rabbit hole, as we’re algorithmically inclined to do, I came across the following keynote delivered by Dr. Jordan Peterson at the PragerU Summit. It doesn’t take long to realize (in your feely parts) how much despair has been inflicted upon Dr. Peterson by our modern societal trajectory and the grand academy of education. His speech rings of deep distress (with optimistic glimmers) for the whole of humanity and I can’t help but assume that the systems of education, the society-shaping institution I happen to know best, lie at the heart of his message.
For those so inclined, an extended post-keynote interview can also be found here.
Fortunately, there are two sides to every coin, and as I’ve witnessed this institutional decline, I’ve simultaneously seen and directly experienced the rise of a new counteracting technological zeitgeist. The ethos of individual freedom and self-sovereignty inherent in the decentralized web and blockchains have offered a hopeful new wrinkle to this troubling puzzle we call life. While the social fabric on our educational campuses continues to degrade, an antidotal phoenix seems to be simultaneously rising from the cryptographic ashes.
Allowing an entire group to define us is dangerously tribal at best and societal suicide at worst, but the future can indeed be otherwise. As collective postmodernism rages across our campuses (again made glaringly obvious by a catalyzing 2016 moment for Dr. Peterson seen below), I seek refuge in knowing that the times, they are indeed a-changin’.
Whether it’s fair to claim that technology could offer a societal silver lining around the dark cloud of collectivism is certainly up for debate (especially given the glaring role it has played in shaping much of the trouble we now find ourselves in); however, I’m also unaware of an alternative in which to find solace, so it’s In Blockchain We (I) Trust.
In the few short years I’ve spent scrambling down the rabbit hole, I’ve only come to further appreciate the communities and projects exemplifying what this nascent tech might truly represent. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly bad actors and scams abound (as there are and always have been with anything involving wealth and power), but the universal ethos that seems to supersede and sit atop the decentralized web offers me nothing but excitement and hope for a better future. So whether it be an overhyped pipe dream or rational antidote, I find few reasons not to hope for and assume the latter. We do, after all, have history to learn from, and history tells us that group identity can, and all-too-often will, lead to atrocity (Mayans, Ottomans, Romans…take your pick). Turns out living a meaningful life becomes very challenging in the absence of hope and optimism. I suppose the choice is up to each of us, as individuals.