After all, everything must pass through the senses, and life, whatever its complexity, remains always primarily a feeling.
George Santayana - The Life of Reason (1905/1906)
When Johannes Gutenberg introduced printing with movable type he let a hugely influential genie out of an ancient bottle. The elites have been trying to put it back ever since, but they are not succeeding. If anything they appear to have given up an unequal struggle.
The genie Gutenberg released may be called many things, but we may as well call it the Genie because in some ways it resembles the personification of a force of nature. What is it though, this Genie, this universal force pervading the human condition?
The Genie is merely the laws of human behaviour. Stimulus, response, reinforcement and the path of least effort. In particular the Genie reflects the power of reward over punishment. Punishment triggers escape behaviour, reward doesn’t and therein lies a significant clue to the human condition. With steady inevitability, rewarded behaviour becomes the path of least resistance for everyone - the leaders and the led. Thus reward extends its power and influence while punishment fades into the history of failed systems.
In the end and in the long run we get what we want and nothing the elite classes do will stop that inexorable force for change. To promote reward as the prime motive of human behaviour the Genie requires everyone to have money in their pocket. It requires everyone to work, spend and enjoy themselves without too much introspection.
Which is why the Genie is so vulgar, so fond of fun, entertainment and good living in the shallowest sense. Which is also why bread and circuses work and why elites are in the end forced to offer more and better bread and circuses rather than the lash.
This is also why political correctness is so shallow and so strangely vulgar in its prim righteousness. Political correctness is primarily a punishment strategy with few rewards apart from the thin and vulgar satisfactions of virtue signalling. It doesn’t work though. Priggishness never works – normal folk just snigger behind its back.
All this is not meant to suggest that the Genie is opposed to cultural pursuits, but culture must have as wide an appeal as possible and must involve money because money is essential to rewarding behaviour. Cultural pursuits must not too be intellectual or exclusive, not too deep, not to difficult, not too challenging. We follow the path of least effort.
There have been numerous disasters for the Genie, but it is patient, willing to learn in its slow but steady conquest of the human condition. Sadly the Genie is not your friend. It is not the friend of anyone and neither is it liberating in any deeper sense than the freedom to be rewarded for as little as possible - the path of least effort.