Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Paying To Be Lobotomized


We are awash in images, Chris Hedges writes. And that makes it easy for corporate propagandists to succeed. It's been that way for quite awhile:

The entrapment in a world of nonstop electronic sounds and images, begun with the phonograph and radio, advanced by cinema and television and perfected by video games, the Internet and hand-held devices, is making it impossible to build relationships and structures that are vital for civic engagement and resistance to corporate power.

We have become, Hannah Arendt wrote, "atomized" -- unconnected and illiterate individuals. And, as long as we are unconnected, corporate power brokers will succeed by simply numbing and dumbing down the nation's citizens:

Totalitarian societies, including our own, inundate the public with a steady stream of propaganda accompanied by mindless entertainment. They seek to destroy independent organizations. In Nazi Germany the state provided millions of cheap, state-subsidized radios and then dominated the airwaves with its propaganda. Radio receivers were mounted in public locations in Stalin’s Soviet Union; and citizens, especially illiterate peasants, were required to gather to listen to the state-controlled news and the dictator’s speeches. These totalitarian states also banned civic organizations that were not under the iron control of the party.

The corporate state is no different, although unlike past totalitarian systems it permits dissent in the form of print and does not ban fading civic and community groups. It has won the battle against literacy. The seductiveness of the image lures most Americans away from the print-based world of ideas. The fascination with the image swallows the time and energy required to attend and maintain communal organizations. If no one reads, why censor books? Let Noam Chomsky publish as much as he wants. Just keep his voice off the airwaves. If no one attends community meetings, group events or organizations, why prohibit them? Let them be held in near-empty rooms and left uncovered by the press until they are shuttered.

The object of a totalitarian state is to keep its citizens locked within the parameters of official propaganda and permanently isolated. Propaganda and isolation make it difficult for an individual to express or carry out dissent. Official opinions, little more than digestible slogans and clichés, are crafted and disseminated by public relations specialists on behalf of the power elite. They are repeated endlessly over the airwaves until the public unconsciously ingests them. And the isolated public in a totalitarian society is unable to connect its personal experience of despair, anxiety, fear, frustration and economic insecurity to the structures that create these conditions. The isolated citizen is left feeling that his or her personal misfortune is an exception. The portrayal of society by systems of state propaganda—content, respectful of authority, just, economically secure and free—is mistaken for reality.  

In Canada, all this has been accomplished with public money. We are paying to be lobotomized.


Dana said...

Being lobotomized will at least remove the sting of recognizing that we are destroying the living planet. We'll all go over the cliff with serene smiles on our faces.

I have entered here and I have followed the accompanying command as well.

Owen Gray said...

Some fools believe that, if they stop thinking, they no longer bear responsibility, Dana.

thwap said...

Here's Hedges talking with Sheldon Wolin about "Inverted Totalitarianism"

Owen Gray said...

"Genuine opposition is viewed as subversion." Precisely, thwap.

Mogs Moglio said...

I can't believe how many of the younger generation walk around with their eyes glued to their electronic 'fix' not paying attention to the world around them. Harper has no doubt read Marshall Mcluhan's 'The Medium is the Message' also 'The Medium is the Massage' hence all the Action Plan billboards plastered across Canada and his non-stop annoying ads on radio, television and newsprint. I've refused to buy one [cellphone] until recently as I am planning a trip to North-West BC - Haida Gwaii "The Galapagos of Canada" in July/August. On the road it will be strictly for emergency purposes, I haven't even taken it out of the box and I've had it over a month. All these devices program our kids as to how they should see the world and react to it never having an original thought of their own, scary. Well this is how Freddie did it in 'Nightmare on Elm Street' so that is what I'll do too. To bad we could not take over the programing and brainwashing to have them be responsible citizens to each other and the environment. Thank goodness not the whole younger generation is caught up in that web of deceit and lies promulgated by the elite and the corporate world. Like you won't be happy and will not get a girlfriend or boyfriend unless you use these products or dress like this. Oh we don't have a carbon problem which was balanced and stable for millions of years prior to the Industrial Revolution because there was a time when dinosaurs ruled millions of years ago that there was even more CO2 in the atmosphere, trust us no problem here move along nothing to see here, would you like a shiny new gas guzzling auto? Oh he's a young Muslim male he must be a terrorist and etcetera.




Owen Gray said...

They have to be able to think for themselves, Mogs, and reject all the programming. Otherwise, they'll never be responsible citizens.