Saturday, January 12, 2019

Hierarchy vs Network....................

The incumbent structure is hierarchy, and it represents established and accredited authority—government first and foremost, but also corporations, universities, the whole roster of institutions from the industrial age.  Hierarchy has ruled the world since the human race attained meaningful numbers.  The industrial mind just made it bigger, steeper, and more efficient.  From the era of Rameses to that of Hosni Mubarak, it has exhibited predictable patterns of behavior:  top-down, centralizing, painfully deliberate in action, process-obsessed, mesmerized by grand strategies and five-year plans, respectful of rank and order, but contemptuous of the outsider, the amateur.

Against this citadel of the status quo, the Fifth Wave has raised the network;  that is, the public in revolt, those despised amateurs now connected to one another by means of digital devices.  Nothing within the bounds of human nature could be less like a hierarchy.  Where the latter is slow and plodding, networked action is lightning quick but unsteady in purpose.  Where hierarchy has evolved a hard exoskeleton to keep every part in place, the network is loose and pliable—it can swell into millions or dissipate in an instant.

Digital networks are egalitarian to the brink of dysfunction.  Most would rather fail in an enterprise than acknowledge rank or leaders of any sort. . . . Networks succeed when held together by a single powerful point of reference—an issue, person, or event—which acts as  a center of gravity and organizing principle for action.

Typically, this has meant being against.  If hierarchy worships the established order, the network nurtures a streak of nihilism.

-Martin Gurri,  The Revolt of the Public

No comments:

Post a Comment