Prefer the government of experts

An online poll at the request of VRT NWS and De Standaard showed that 60% of Flemish people would like to replace democracy with technocracy – a form of government in which decisions are made by experts rather than democratically elected politicians. Moreover, 35% would also like a strong leader who “don’t have to worry about parliament and elections”. A survey is just a survey, of course. In the same study, 81% of people…

from one online survey At the request of VRT NWS and De Standaard, 60% of Flemings appear to be in favor of replacing democracy with technocracy – a form of government in which decisions are made by experts rather than democratically elected politicians. Moreover, 35% would also like a strong leader who “don’t have to worry about parliament and elections”.

A survey is just a survey, of course. In the same poll, 81% of people also said they swear by a democratic system. These conflicting results could indicate anything. That survey should not be taken lightly. Or this man does not always know what he wants.

In any case, I suppose the VRT is not surprised that the population wants technocracy. Haven’t they done exactly this in the last three years, creating a public radio station in which politicians have been put on the benches of community schools as children and “experts” as teachers at the front of the class?

Let me add right away: I’m not surprised the VRT chose this approach. And it certainly does not go with that part of the population. Within the dominant view of man and the world, this choice is not only logical, but a moral obligation.

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being

The materialistic worldview views the universe and everything within it as a great machine that can be understood rationally in its essence. Then it makes perfect sense to let the experts — the people with a lot of logical knowledge about the machine — make the decisions. On what basis would you allow a democratically elected politician to make decisions when the machine breaks down, for example during pandemics and climate crises? This isn’t just stupid, it’s criminal.

Technocracy is the inevitable result of a worldview that believes that the essence of life is rationally understood. So the question arises: is this really the case? I see some frowning: How do facts and things behave other than rationally? Science’s success proves it, right? It depends on how you look at the science.

Science, on the one hand, is an impressive accumulation of rational knowledge. She gave us high speed internet and nuclear bombs. But on the other hand, it is also a practice that shows us like no other that the essence of life is always subject to rational understanding and control. to flee. The behavior of elementary matter particles, for example, is completely absurd from the point of view of “common sense”. The Nobel Prize-winning physicist Niels Bohr put it in the winged words: “When it comes to atoms, language can only be used as poetry.”

The theory of complex, dynamic systems shows us this much more clearly: every complex, dynamic system—and this is true of most phenomena in nature—behaviors in the end, literally, like an irrational number. It can act chaotically at any time and then become completely rationally unpredictable.

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Therefore, rational knowledge is always and eternal, incomplete and in motion. What is scientifically correct today will become obsolete tomorrow. And in its march forward, science does not even follow a straight line. It spins around the object you’re trying to grab, swinging in an unexpected way.

The compass of rational knowledge

Tomorrow’s scientific knowledge may say the opposite of current scientific knowledge. According to Niels Bohr – I’ll let him speak again – this has been a feature of every advanced theory: it ends in paradoxes. Therefore, sailing on the compass of rational knowledge is like sailing on a compass that points north today and south tomorrow.

Science is undoubtedly one of the greatest products of humanity and we must walk the path of rational analysis to the end again and again. But rational knowledge is not the end of the journey. Nor can it be a guideline for life. Technocratic thought is naive in this regard.

So what could be the guiding principle? The beginning of the answer has already been given by great scientists. To put it in the words of René Thom, mathematician and founder of systems theory, if you study something rationally long enough, you develop the ability to ‘get yourself under its skin’. You have a certain feeling for it, in the same way that a student of crafts or arts suddenly has a feeling for his trade or art.

At this point, rational technical knowledge takes a quantum leap and becomes a form of technology fact which the ancient Greeks referred to by the term be. Rational knowledge always knows from the outside. On the other hand, Techné corresponds to the feeling of the interior and the essence of the object.

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Loneliness

If the thing to know is another human being, a community, or human existence itself, this intuitive knowledge ensures that people truly communicate with each other, that the leader is in contact with the people he leads, and that the human being feels the essence of his being. As such, this kind of knowledge offers a solution to the greatest ills of Enlightenment society: the loneliness and fragmentation of society, the degeneration of leadership into bureaucratic despotism without a tyrant, and the increasing meaninglessness of life experiences.

In this way we can interpret the idea of ​​technocracy both negatively and positively. In a negative sense, technocracy is a form of state based on rational technical knowledge, in a positive sense it is a society based on technology – a kind of The feeling of knowing Which rational technical knowledge is only an introduction. This last type of society may be what people are looking for if they indicate in the same survey that they want technocratic, strong and democratic leadership.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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