The Paranoid Mind and Transcendence
The story I want to contest goes like this: Facebook and Twitter just made the old virus of paranoid consciousness airborne, and opened a path to its weaponization. While the disease is not new, its epidemiology is different this time; it spreads faster than we can stop it.
However, the real culprit is not social media, not the Russians, and not the recession. The problem is much deeper; it concerns the human mind and its experiences with transcendence. I will use Boris Groys’ work to argue that this rising paranoia is an unintended consequence of secularization–first of art, and then of the entirety of public life. I will then use the work of Thomas Luckmann to argue that education may provide inoculation against paranoid thinking, but not by expanding critical thinking or other rationalist curricula. Education must learn how to organize and structure the common human experience of transcendence over the everyday world. Education must pivot toward formation and away from narrowly understood learning.