The Rise of ‘Phono Sapiens’ and the End of Logic

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Digitization and social networks are depriving the human being of his condition of being ‘analog’. We are gradually evolving from homo sapiens to phono sapiens.

One of the most generalized sensations of the return of this summer is that, despite all the noise that they have given us with apocalyptic news, day by day and week by week, suddenly things are not so bad. 

Even in something as sensitive as investment portfolios, the surprise in September is that the falls are much more moderate than the story that has been widely imposed could predict.

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To deepen the analysis of this inconsistency around this phono sapiens issue, it is convenient to apply the old formula of ‘Cui prodest’ to determine what interests may be behind this way of facing reality. There have always been more or fewer problems, but it was not usual for everyone to inexorably point to the end of humanity, or the world as we know it.

My first suspects are politicians, especially those who are governing in each of their countries. The reason is that the pandemic allowed them to discover the advantages of the ‘State of Exception as a way of exercising their authority without giving explanations and without having to assume the responsibilities that are normally assumed in a democracy. 

smartphone and functioning human being

Homo – Phono Sapiens

Even, as Carl Schmitt already anticipated, if the threat is great enough, one could even aspire to perpetuate in office for the benefit of a childish and defenseless citizenry that urgently needs the appearance of a messiah or a benefactor.

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The media and currents of public opinion (what happens on social networks) are accomplices or, at least, necessary collaborators. Here, probably, we lack the motive or the reason why both reasoning and language always have to take us to the edge of the abyss. 

I do not think it can be economic or related to self-interest, as in the case of the previous ones, but rather that we find other objectives more related to identities, the inclusion or exclusion of groups, or, more simply, the mere affirmation of identities.

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The risk we face is that this film that we are watching every day without the slightest critical opposition is not innocuous and if it is permanently installed, its effects can be much worse than those threats with which they do not stop intimidating us. 

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In fact, only these brief lines could be considered ‘deniers’ and, therefore, be excluded in many forums where it would be interesting to at least incorporate the exercise of doubt.

It confronts us with the real question that we must ask ourselves: are we losing our minds or are we simply changing our minds?

For Wittgenstein, it was not possible to speak of an action that was illogical for the one acting and, on the other hand, Mises considered his critics pejoratively as ‘palynologists’ when they alluded to the existence of different logical principles depending on the country, the cultures or historical experiences.

Already Rousseau, when he tried to explain the origin of inequality, in his second speech referred as one of the causes to the attitude of the Caribbean indigenous, for whom it was perfectly rational to sell his cotton bed every morning, even though he later had to beg to get another every night.

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In theory, civilization, science, and the establishment of such prosaic ends as progress led us to incorporate another rational type that has resulted in the highest level of (global) well-being in all of history, but what we are seeing is that this it will not continue to produce by itself.

phono sapiens article

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The new dogmas around phono sapiens, such as climate change, identities, or the immorality of capitalism, about which, like new and intolerant religions, one cannot even discuss without assuming the risk of being excluded or digitally crucified, clearly lead us to new rationality. 

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Even as the Korean philosopher Byung-Chul Han warns us in his latest book, the third nature that digitization and social networks have incorporated into us is depriving human beings of their condition of being ‘analog’, and this would be turning us into that new species, the ‘Phono Sapiens’, which could be able to give up the future.

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Fortunately, pushed to the limit of suicide, some societies, as Chilean society has recently shown, are capable of reacting and opposing that which has lost the direction of progress and general well-being, but it is very sad and disappointing to have to accept all the deterioration prior to that limit situation.

Are phono sapiens functioning human beings?

To finish and to turn this brief comment into an undignified subversive approach, I want to introduce for reflection and as an example a highly topical issue, but at the same time so taboo, that it has not yet been worthy of the slightest debate. 

It has to do with gas and with the restrictions to which it seems that we are going to see ourselves doomed. We accept blackmail and the consequences of a possible supply crisis, while in our subsoil it seems that through ‘ fracking ‘, which is the way of extracting a good part of the gas we consume, we have reserves to be self-sufficient in a good number of years.

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Since the logic that in the past our politicians have applied to this issue is very similar to the one that the Caribbean Indian who criticized Rousseau applied to his bed in the morning, the question that I propose to discuss is not whether or not we should use our own reserves of gas, but what is the reason why there cannot be a serious debate with an adequate level of information and participation of citizens who we presume to be adults.

Tags: Phono Sapiens , How smart are Phono Sapiens?

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