The Funny Thing Is
It was, to me, a stunning insight, and one I got to share in "real time," thanks to the internet. Thanks to the writer's intelligent and sensitive insights, I saw Irish history through her eyes, and understood for once what had been going on in a part of the world I realized I only knew through my American perspective.
No more, though.
This article on "Big Data" and what it calls "Dataism" makes several cultural errors, starting with the idea that religion explained it all to us until Rousseau came along. I'm not going to argue against the broad brush assumptions (it's a magazine article, not a scholarly treatise), I only want to point out the people in Asia and Africa and the Pacific Islands (i.e., non-Europeans or their cultural descendants) would look at that summation of human history and say: "Huh?"
It's the sort of inverse of the old joke about the Lone Ranger and Tonto, the one that ends with "What you mean 'we,' white man?"
Not to mention, as one commenter does (and it is worth quoting):
But there are around 1 billion people in the world who don't have access to electricity.The French created the philosophy of structuralism to try to undo some of the cultural chauvinism of their own efforts at anthropology (where cultures were inevitably "graded" on a Western scale of values, and usually weighed and found wanting). Deconstructionism came along to challenge some of the assumptions still inherent in structuralism that still skewed the view toward the preferences of those doing the evaluating (i.e., the ones with the power). Niebuhr caught on to this problem of power as well, analyzing it from what seemed old fashioned notions of evil and human fallibility, i.e., "original sin."
There are another several billion who don't have access to computers.
Doubtless this will change over time--but partly because these people are increasingly moving to rich countries to get at least a few crumbs from the tables of the rich world.
Even in the era of "Big Data" and the "global village," it seems clear we're going to continue to make the same fundamental errors again and again.