Who owns and wields the “truth”? Henry Kissinger – amidst the copious and voluminous totality of interesting and intriguing thoughts and insights which he has shared with the world through the course of his long and fulfilling life – made an interesting and intriguing comment about the nature of truth, by stating: “Western history and psychology have heretofore treated truth as independent of the personality and prior experience of the observer. Yet our age is on the verge of a changed conception of the nature of truth.”
Hence, the real nature of truth – which has long been alien and foreign to most Westerners – is not only manifest now, but the real nature of truth will most likely have a profound and far-reaching impact on virtually every dimension of the international system, from high-level policymaking to minor and major election campaigns as well as everything else. Thus far, the visceral response and impulse towards the truth in certain Western circles has been to censor and suppress it. But over the long run, the strategy of censorship and suppression may prove to be futile, especially in a digital and technological age.
Moreover, as a result of the environmental and social basis and foundation of change and evolution, the migration and mixture of different cultures and peoples is inevitable, and it is the mixture and migration of different cultures and peoples which arguably serves as the main impetus for the environment and the social changes which enable human change and evolution. As opposed to curtailing and stifling the mixture and migration, the aim for policymakers and leaders should be to educate and train people so that they can adjust to it.
As mentioned before, the enabler for the environmental and social changes as a result of mixture and migration and so forth is technology. In turn, technology is essentially a “double-edged sword” in the sense that it can either elevate humanity through the diffusion of culture and power or it can repress and suppress the elevation of humanity as a result of the imposition of fear and surveillance. As Byung-Chul Han argued:
“The infosphere is Janus-faced. It does give us more freedom, but at the same time it exposes us to more surveillance and control. Google presents the interconnected smart home of the future as an ‘electronic orchestra’ with the inhabitant as ‘conductor.’ In truth, however, what the authors of this digital utopia describe is a smart prison.”
“In a smart home, we are not autonomous conductors. Instead, we are conducted by various actors, even invisible actors that dictate the rhythm. We expose ourselves to a panoptical gaze. A smart bed fitted with various sensors continues the surveillance even during sleep. In the name of convenience, surveillance gradually creeps into everyday life. The informatons that free us from so much work turn out to be efficient informants that surveil and control us. In this way, we become incarcerated in the infosphere.”
Arguably, it is “brainpower” to borrow from Hannah Arendt which will perhaps determine one’s place in an emerging social hierarchy that stems from a human condition that is now defined by the infosphere. “Know thy place” becomes the established and logical norm and rule in our infosphere. But how this rule or norm is enforced and what the boundaries and parameters of enforcement is on the part of state authorities and policymakers in the international system is an issue that is still in the process of resolution.