We live in a world where third world bush person in Africa who has a web enabled cell phone has more access to information than the president of the United States had 20 years ago.
In the past people relied on the big institutions, those with the biggest names, the biggest reputations and the most social and economic power to be the genesis of new ideas.
This institutional power continues to be protected and enhanced by “group think” and the vast number of followers and constituents that these various power houses form the fundamentals of thought.
…access to new ideas, and new knowledge is readily available to the masses. NOW IS THAT TIME!
Let’s suppose you had startling research that challenged the American Heart Association’s low fat diet. How would a small organization (with less social power) be able to advance personal health with the weight of all those cardiologists behind the AHA?
It could only happen if the masses could access that info without it being disseminated through the usually institutional channels.
It’s the same in medicine. Try advancing medical care with a new way of thinking about health. Rather than focus on the sick, alternative health focuses on staying healthy. At first, it was the laughing stock, now it’s a viable alternative in most aspects of health care.
It’s the same in education. Try getting your smaller socialogical study recognized if it didn’t come from the Big Institution. Well, now it can thanks to the internet and its distribution channels.
It’s the same in business too. Now small business is comprising more and more of American employment.
Yes, it’s even happening in one of the biggest institutions: The Church. There is a huge wave of people all over the planet who have grown tired of the typical delivery system and have realized that they can relate to God in different ways without being sucked into unnecessary process, or pretense. People prefer a body without walls, and that has the power to change the world, not just throw stones at it.
Modern people are right to question fundamentalism in all of its forms. While I would never say that the institutions are completely wrong, as many people find a sense of comfort and true benefit from their contributions in the world. An organizing a lot of people requires process and systems. but their size doesn’t mean the possess all the truth, and technology means they can no longer possess all the knowledge.
My point here is that fundamentalism by its nature strives to protect what it is. While it may want to find progress, it’s bias is to be regressive and protect the status quo because it’s survival requires it to maintain institutional power and all the economic engines that are a part of it.
We are in an age of new ideas and new knowlege. Some of it is probably worthless but some of it is revolutionary. Access to information will change so many things in the comming years. Wisdom will be required to sort it out, but the balance of power and how information is disseminated is in a revolution, and that is a very good thing.
There are many examples of businesses and institutions that are now relics. Churches in Europe, the classified ads in the news paper, and VCR’s all had their day of influence, but progress has replaced them. While there will alway be people who use phones with cords attached to them, the field of harvest has left them behind.
Let’s make sure we ride the wave as it comes rather than become a museum piece.