To say that everything is connected is a banality.
However, just like every banality, this phrase covers up a superficial perspective on the problem that it attempts to express.
// banality as a protective reaction against the meaning
Total interdependence implies that not a single action occurs in isolation from everything else.
An interesting question to ask is then: “What do we legitimize with what we are doing?”
Every action happens in certain circumstances. Whatever it is that led to the conditions where the action emerges, as well as a chain of events that will follow after.
Therefore, when we perform a certain action, we reaffirm a whole web of relations that made this action possible in the first place. In other words, we legitimize the actor-network relations that make that action possible.
Reinforcing the pattern.
I buy cheap meat at a store on a regular basis =
I support a production process that treats animals as a resource and pumps them with hormones and antibiotics to ensure the highest yield possible at the lowest price.
I’m writing / reading this text on an iPhone or Macbook Pro =
I support Apple and its high profit margin, a company that buys out patents to prevent its competitors from releasing new technology on the market. I also support its price policy where it gets 30% of all transactions in the Apps store.
I’m working on my CV =
I legitimize the idea of a “career” — an idea that human life is more valuable when we can trace a specific professional path in it, which has a clear chronological pathway.
The fact that we are supporting and legitimizing something is not a negative or a positive fact per se.
The proposition here is to, rather, realize — consciously or unconsciously — this fact. And to put it into relation with our beliefs, ethics, morals, and other operational matrices in order to understand whether we want to continue doing what we are doing or not.
If there is a certain disagreement with a part of this dynamic process (maybe even intuitively), then, perhaps, it is a sign to reconsider this action and either refuse or change the way it is done and performed.
A similar approach can be taken when we design and audit any system. What does this system legitimize with what it is doing? What kind of qualities does it promote? What does it ask attention for? What kind of relationships does it encourage?
Mass games in North Korea are held for foreigners. The participating children
are treated as slaves during the preparation process and the show. Photo by Andreas Gursky.
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