Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):
The problem that underpins most other problems in modern times is that human minds are highly hackable, and that the science of hacking them at mass scale has been advancing since Bernays over a century ago. This is what keeps people consenting to the destructive and exploitative agendas of the powerful against their own interests.
The fact that our minds are being manipulated at mass scale throughout our civilization is the most significant thing happening in the world by far, but hardly anyone talks about it, because hardly anyone knows it's happening. And a lot of power rides on keeping it that way.
Step 1 is learning that minds are very hackable, and are being hacked constantly at mass scale.
Step 2 is learning that your own mind is included in this.
Step 3 is unpacking the implications of Step 2 (Step 3 never really ends).
Step 4 is helping others get to Steps 1 and 2.
It works like this:
As many people as possible are herded into two mainstream political factions who pretend to oppose each other while in reality working together to advance the interests of the powerful.
Those who can't be herded into the two mainstream factions are herded toward fake "populist" factions, who then herd them into the mainstream factions.
Those who can't be herded into either category are marginalized into invisibility.
By the time you get down to that bottom tier, their numbers are so inconsequential that you can keep them from having any impact by simply refusing them platforms on mainstream media and letting "democracy" do the rest, because you've got the majority right where you want them.
Most propaganda goes not toward the glaring, obvious lies like the Iraq invasion, but toward mundane control systems like the ideological herding funnel I just described. Really ham-fisted propaganda is the exception, not the rule in the west; the lion's share of the empire's manipulations just go toward keeping people marching to the beat of the imperial machine.
The Israel/Palestine issue isn't complicated or hard to understand, there's just a widespread assumption among mainstream westerners that it can't possibly be as simple as it looks because the mainstream information sphere is distorted to obfuscate what's obvious at first glance. At first glance it looks like a violent and abusive apartheid system with one ethnicity receiving preferential treatment over the other, but people assume it can't be that simple, mistakenly thinking that if it was that clear-cut there wouldn't be so much debate about it — with their own government supporting the apartheid side.
Mainstream westerners have been conditioned to expect that if this was really as clear-cut an issue as it appears to be, the media would be constantly talking about how evil it is and the Israeli government would be sanctioned and frequently condemned by western governments.
The problem, as is so often the case, is that mainstream westerners make the assumption that "If that's what was happening, we would have heard about it in the news." Not understanding that their "news" media is designed to advance the interests of the powerful, not to report the news.
The government surveils us more and more to make sure we're under control. Tech companies surveil us more and more to manipulate how we shop. Employers surveil us more and more to control how we work. Meanwhile every institution with power over us grows more and more secretive.
Many people, maybe even most people, are to some extent aware that our entire civilization is bullshit. Relatively few are able to describe exactly how and why it's bullshit, though, because there's so much bullshit it's hard to get a clear view of how the bullshit is happening.
It's hard to understand how and why our civilization is bullshit exactly because our civilization is bullshit. It's rife with lies, the teachers feed us lies, the algorithms feed us lies, and we're trained to look for information in areas that will turn up lies.
Finding the truth in our bullshit society is like being in a room that's rapidly filling up with actual, literal bull feces. It's splashing around, it gets in your eyes, you're struggling to keep your head above it so you can breathe — so it's hard to see where all the bullshit is being piped into the room from. Getting a lucid understanding of what's going on in the world is very much the same: you suspect you're being bullshitted, but every source that turns up when you try to learn about stuff assures you that it's all good and the world works just like you were taught in school.
In a civilization that's made of bullshit, it's rare to gain solid enough footing and high enough ground to be able to look around and clearly see how all the bullshit is happening. Everything here is geared toward preventing us from gaining that footing. It takes hard, diligent work, and more than a little luck.
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All through my life, I've had people tell me that I don't comply, that I'm not a "team player." I had a successful 7 year career as a military officer because I pretended to play the game, but I learned the second day at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy that my Myers-Briggs score would get me kicked out of the academy before I really started. I don't like things like that to control what I do or where I go, so I said the right things to the "review board" to ensure my, er, "survival."
I've had a propensity to tell the CEO's I worked for and the Boards I reported to during my ensuing 43 year career in business that, with few exceptions, THEY were the problem. Since THEY were all finance or marketing people and, therefore, wanted nothing to do with manufacturing and distribution, they let it ride...and I learned how to do this and get my way with a smile on my face.
But make no mistake: I knew I was pushing a boulder uphill. I wasn't going to be anyone's CEO unless I started my own business...which I did and built it to a nine figure international concern before I sold it in 2020.
People who go along, get along. Unfortunately, they are controlled, like most of the other worker bees who have been pushed through the American educational python to become latter-day Israelites who, instead of building pyramids for the pharaohs, build iPhones and Boeing 777s for the man.
The propaganda I have had thrown at me since that second fateful day at the Academy 54 years ago has been, for the most part, incremental and passive. But it has taken hold on so many people I used to know as singular thinkers and creative minds. Now, many of them are MAGAts and QAnons, which is hard to comprehend. While many of us have seen the wealth of the lower 95% erode consistently, some of us had the balls to do something about it. But I'll tell you what: I'm tired of fighting.
Which, I think, is the point. The empire is winning, and I can't tilt at windmills any longer, with few Sancho Panzas at my side.
We need a new system of governance and, I'm afraid, the only way we're going to get it is through anarchy.
Narrative control has been going on since at least ancient Egypt. They convinced the people their leaders were gods. This lasted for thousands of years so they must have been doing a good job. This continued to work so well that it was still being practiced in the Japan of 1945 and Indonesia of 1964. Emperor worship in Thailand goes on to this day.
I'd say the big advance came not with Bernays but with the Internet. It meant that They could get immediate and accurate feedback on which lies were working and which were not. If someone made a contribution to your campaign you could trace back their web history, see what caused it, and do it more. That made the big jump I think, a huge difference.
As for use of AI, surely this is happening now in secret. Needless to say, our opinion on this practice will not be solicited. Don't like it? Tough.