Nothing is real
--John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band
The defining characteristic of a 'dark age' is stagnation, or lack of progress. In the medieval Dark Ages, general conditions of isolation led to lack of trade--of both goods and ideas. There were few written volumes or inventions. An intellectual darkness.
Today we have the opposite of isolation. The world has never been so connected. Yet, while much is being written, it seems that production and trade of ideas is in decline. Groupthink abounds as people plug into the echo chambers of social networks. Dominant logics shout down plausible rival hypotheses and evidence that conflicts with prevailing views.
This time around intellectual darkness seems to be falling because of too much connection rather than of too little. Theory posits that institutional pressures for isomorphic behavior increase with connectedness (Oliver, 1991).
Could conformity and compliance that flows from over connectedness be driving a different sort of intellectual darkness--one that leads to a new dark age?
Oliver, C. (1991). Strategic responses to institutional processes. Academy of Management Review, 16: 145-179.