The severely repressed and censored information flow structures of the Egyptian autocracy were–amongst other factors–a large contributor to the intense swelling and eventual organization of its citizens [to protest in disgust, its country’s misuse of power]. Today, we have learned that public isn’t simply defined by what one knows, but rather that it is a meta-concept (Zeynep Tufekci) consisting of knowing what others know, one knows and so on. Overcoming pluralistic ignorance, or in other words, overcoming thinking that one is perpetually in the minority, seems to start with distribution and the rearrangement of receiving networks. Yet, this claim some how comes off vague largely because of its specificities. At what weight of severity do such distributive techniques become powerful and actually effective? Is it with time and thus accumulation that allow for collective empowerment, criticality and awareness?
I would like to think, perhaps naively, that the organization of information and its subsequent dispersal–this only effective alongside leaking/intervening/subverting this information into specific channels and outlets–is enough to shift individual perception and henceforth introduce potentiality. We need propaganda and ideology, but a kind that is undeclared from the premise, a formation without an immediate graspable structure.
The, Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, was a large, voluminous, series of French encyclopedia’s edited by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert published between 1751 and 1772. The Encyclopédie was made up of hundreds of contributors, including scientists, philosophers, scholars, craftsman, etc. and as one can only imagine, its contents were disparate and its contributors largely politically un-unified. Regardless, in an attempt to encompass and archive the world’s knowledge, the Encyclopédie was meant to be dispersed and read in order to educate the individual (in the process freeing her logic from the church). Yet, while many of its contributors remained disinterested in reforming France and a great deal never actually read the immense volumes, the Encyclopédie played an integral precursory role in the French Revolution: its symbolic value represented changing paradigms.