The censorship of knowledge is, at the same time, a characteristic of modern societies and a way of inhibiting rational social action.
The conviction that we have never had a society so intelligent, so well-formed based on knowledge and evidence, so transparent, comes up against the reality of the leadership of ignorance and contempt for knowledge. Knowledge which despite the censorship exists and is produced, about pandemics or global warming, for instance.
Science, in fact, has proved to be a machine for producing new knowledge, compared to other forms of knowledge. To the point that (almost) all knowledge claims to be part of science, including the humanities or social sciences. But science policies are censorship. They present themselves in such a way that to the eyes of the people and also of the scientists they appear as strategies of development of the knowledge.
The utilitarian view of science policy is censorship in many ways. It is anti-theoretical, that is, it separates theory from pragmatic mental models and experimental ways of doing science, as any Taylor analysis does with any type of work, in order to ensure that science obeys the interests of the dominant classes, serves the funders’ interests. Who are the funders? Above all, they are warlike institutions. For this reason, the best-kept secrets of utilitarian science are war crimes organized by military powers, authorized by the authorities of countries that wage war, such as those concerning the side effects of using nuclear weapons or, simply, disasters civilian nuclear.
The life of scientists, as of schools, is constrained by the abstraction of theories – such as mathematics and other pragmatic mental models that support theoretical reasoning. Only special spirits can live in the world of abstraction, unrelated to life. They are said to be intelligent. They are perfect for developing utilitarian science. They do what they have to do without understanding or being interested in their practical consequences. They abandon this subject, within the framework of a division of scientific and technological work, to those who do apply sciences. The radical separation of experience and theory in science is reproduced in schools. Students live disconnected from practical life. Disconnected from scientists and the exploration of the Earth and its human resources. They are limited to being taught by professional teachers, that is, those who have never left schools, disconnected themselves, for professional reasons, from economic and social life. They are encouraged to face the “economic jungle.” They receive the knowledge and authorization to use social stigmas as instruments to fight every one against everyone for survival and individual dignity.
Shameful struggles, which we have learned to “not take home”, so as not to contaminate family life, the personal refuge of privacy. Privacy to which we are entitled as a way to survive explorer and exploited human resources´ lifestyle. Here too, however, the theory of a loving family interested in procreating and expanding love for new generations is confronted with practices: the epidemic of endless violence, not recognized or officially declared, covered up by the right to privacy, often confused with the property right.
Property rights work in the jungle that is economic life: the Earth, instead of being conceived as the unique medium where life arose, of which humanity is an expression, serves as a monopoly board, so that the last of the competitors, the last of the emperors, have full ownership, unrestricted rights, as God would have in the believers’ idea.
The right to privacy in the family has been used as the property right of the dominant person in relation to other people in the household. Of course, there are sex effects, as the counts of victims of domestic violence easily show. But the central problem, the Marxists argue, is the relations of production: the historical adoption of the exploitative mode of production of the Earth and its human resources for the accumulation of value, of wealth, of symbols of power – like money – in few hands.
There are feminists who have studied the way campaigns against witches and magic, and the patriarchal organizations, such as the Church, served to diminish the social status that was that of women in the Middle Ages, with the powers of caregivers. What is certain is that the recent women’s liberation movements show everyone the oppression in which women have lived for centuries. The normalization of the denunciations of women’s movements also shows the social inertia in becoming aware, in the sense of acting in conformity, in relation to oppressive practices. For example, the “Me Too” movement no longer refers to the denunciation of how oppressive policies to criminalize the voluntary termination of pregnancy, as in the 1970s.
Forty years later, it was no longer powerful women who went public to challenge criminal authorities by publicly declaring they had committed a crime: an abortion. This time it was well-known women from the liberal north American film industry who recognized the existence of an environment of sexual abuse in which many of them were victims of rape without having the chance to complain from the perpetrators, powerful men. Again, the criminal authorities were called, but this time to be the ones to take care of the aggressors, due to the public scandal generated by the mass presentation of women, leaning on each other.
The most powerful women claim rights for themselves, such as those to take positions on government and corporations to which they did not usually have access. But people with less power continue to live under the same general regime, under the mode of production which exploits the Earth and its human resources, and which reverberates to the family’s privacy a concept of full ownership of the dominant in relation to the dominated.
It was also women’s movements, more attentive to the problems of caring for people, who denounced the last of human cowardice inspired by the idea of property: the sexual abuse of children. The denunciations adopted a mixed strategy of mass denunciation and criminalization complaint, within the criminal systems. The evolution of successive scandals has shown that there is an intimate relationship between the modern institutionalized childcare organizations – including those of religious inspiration – and sexual abuse practices. A relationship that caused and causes a reform in the Catholic Church whose results are still expected. Institutional cause that, however, must be multiplied to help to explain family experiences. Most sexual abuse occurs in families that care for abused children.
The fact that girls are the most numerous victims does not invalidate the masses of boys who are victims of such practices. The sex difference cannot be understood as an essentialist explanation. In the same way that the mode of production, although it is discriminatory, elitist and concealing, as are the abusive practices mentioned, does not provide for the need for such violence.
The capitalist mode of production foresees the need to create a reserve proletarian army and a system of control of surplus workers, so that the risks of impotence in the face of misery, dishonor and hunger, experienced by so many, do not influence the productive labor. But why would the production mode claim the rape of women, children and other people, such as LGBTI, migrants, refugees, precarious workers, within their families?
Modern societies separate macro society, that of production, and micro-society, that of everyday life alternating between work, family, and the rest. The first of these imagined societies, that are watertight among themselves – in a job endured at the service of elites and carried out by the social sciences – is the kingdom of power. The power that fades in micro-society: it turns into violence.
The study of power is done by economics or political science. Anthropology and sociology could study violence. But they have not done so. They prefer to copy the practices of their colleagues most appreciated by the elites. They focus their attention on the issues of remaining powers – such as the power of culture and symbols or the power of statistics and institutions – and avoid entering into the studies of care and its influence in the production of deteriorated identities.
It is not only violence, women’s movements – that created their own discipline, feminism – or children’s lives that the social sciences discard from the scope of their studies, obsessed with the best evaluation of elites, such as those imposed by dominant scientific policies. They discard the study of the realities themselves, as there are no micro or macro realities: realities exist at all levels of analysis at the same time. The exclusive separation of levels of analysis is an exercise of censorship taught and self-administered in the social sciences, to expel from knowledge core what is its hardcore.
We are now able to suggest to the reader a simple exercise, hoping one can demonstrate what has just been said:
Please watch the advertisement from this video and highlight the fundamental knowledge about our society that it shows. What evidence does the reported experience represent?
(to be continued …)