It occurs to me that the way we communicate these days may be effecting the way we think. Complex, elaborate ideas often need large chunks of text to explain them, but these days we often try to get ideas across in 140 characters or less. Might this be having an effect on the way we understand the world? Are abstracted, simplified ideas giving rise to the current surge in reactionary politics? It's perhaps telling that Trump communicates to us most via twitter; his micro-rants are almost designed to provoke maximum controversy. When Marx explained his thinking on capitalism, he did it over several long volumes: it takes time to explain why one reaches the conclusions one does. Today, however, we are just given 'the bottom line'' as it were - no explanation, no reasoning; just a sentence or headline.
The result is a lot of misunderstanding, a lot of anger. People don't understand the complexities of the world; they don't even bother to try to understand it. They just get fleeting summaries, and are asked to form opinions on precious little background. Is it any wonder that we understand the world so poorly, and are getting so angry? My theory is - based only on a few observations, mind you - is that Twitter etc is actually affecting the way we think. We know that the form of a message effects how one perceives it's content, so this might explain quite a bit. Twitter maximises impact while minimising understanding, bringing about a state of affairs where we all react through our guts. It effects the way we think: thought becomes a matter of quickly-made gut reactions rather than reasoned responses come upon through thorough reflection, so we now jump to conclusions, deciding on a position without considering the alternatives.
If more time was taken to read around a subject, I doubt we would be in the mess we currently find ourselves in. Take the referendum, for instance: if we had all taken the time to learn about the EU, the benefits it gave us, the rights it ensured, I have no doubt we would have voted Remain by a landslide. Instead, the decision was made based on reactionary tabloid headlines, tweets, and a bullshit slogan on the side of a bus. The result is the outists won. If people had been given more information, they would no doubt have seen through the lies. But they didn't: they just went by the short, staccato sentences one finds in the Sun or Daily Mail, and now we're all screwed.
I might not be right. This is, after all, only a fleeting observation. Yet it seems to me that there could be a lot of truth to it. In these rushed days, it seems like nobody has any time to understand anything, so we just go by punchlines and short sentences. Unfortunately, this makes us all the more easy to manipulate.
[Edited 09/02/2017 at 12:41:39 - added a bit]