I don't know about you, but I am really tired of being slammed by non-stop advertising in and on every conceivable public media and venue in our country. It's everywhere, a pernicious and viral contaminant of civilization, highly corrosive to the individual and the collective soul. At its base is an aim to influence, nay, to control your very life and the choices you make, should you allow it. All of which is quite damaging should you be wondering who you are, or why you are here, or what the point of life is. It is always eager to answer those "big three" questions for you, but at a terrible price.
To help understand just how caustic it is, I suggest watching the 2002 four-part BBC documentary, "The Century of the Self."
You'll soon discover its genesis spawned in the 1920s and 1930s by Sigmund Freud, and its eventual implementation as a control mechanism of the masses introduced by Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays, the inventor of public relations and author of a now infamous primer on propaganda. It is all so diabolical because its premise is to manipulate you by bypassing your rational thought and burrowing down to needle your deepest psychological desires and fears. It was the advent of blitz advertising. And it launched a worrying assault on the concept of self.
And now, 80 or so years since its inception, it is easy to extrapolate how its principles have been incorporated into virtually every endeavor, from art to science to politics and religion, with the aim of mercilessly bludgeoning you into a guileless, ravenous consumer.
The Backfill Chill & Thrill
It's absolutely chilling to begin to understand the methods used by the sophisticated marketers, ministers, public relations sorcerers, corporate puppet masters and other elite, but it's thrilling too, because it pulls back the curtain of Oz and helps to shred the propaganda barrier this world puts up to prevent you from discovering yourself. Take a peek. Knowledge is freedom, or at least the beginning of it, should you decide that it's about time to find the authentic you inside.
As I look around this world, I'm beginning to see a sort of split occurring, with the followers— currently a majority— going one direction, and a smaller cohort of independents going another. In the spiritual sense, this translates as a kind of awakening. I believe this is because the so-called "handlers" cannot control the two essential qualities which are inherent to all humans, love and human goodness. Of course, this doesn't mean that they aren't constantly trying to define for you what love is, or attempting to seize on your goodness! They are obviously successful in doing so with countless individuals.
But as I am now entering my so-called "golden years," which are little more than a level at which a person teeters between wholehearted optimism and grumpy old cynicism at the state of the world, I am weighing in more and more toward optimism because I see so many young people (and even some 'tween or even up into middle and late-middle age) willing to challenge the barrier. Of course, the handlers realize this too, so are working constantly on ways to maximize the sophistication with which they seek to control these people. The predators pander to the independent's and the follower's ego alike by selling "exclusive" cars, razors, watches, beer, soda, jewelry, toiletries, bling and even patriotism, religious fervor and the inevitable right of a certain class to exercise economic and governmental hegemony over the masses. Yes, they want to recruit you, and/or to take your money to make you think you are inside the exclusive circle.
So they are always telling you either how special you are, or how special you can be if you buy their spiel. If you buy it, you will feel good about yourself, more satisfied, safer, protected, superior, happy, at least for a while. But the game is rigged so that you must go back to them again and again for a fix of satisfaction. Meanwhile, you are being led away from who you really are by seduction and / or fear.
This isn't to say the documentary is perfect. For example in Parts 3 & 4 it devotes some time discounting human attempts at finding the meaning of life through such faddish and short-lived self-help movements as the EST (Erhard Seminars Training) program in the 1970s. Indeed, the "self-help industry" has ballooned since then and today is a $10-billion juggernaut offering a tempting but mind-boggling smorgasbord of methods and practices for self exploration and improvement, many of which quickly fade into obscurity. But don't let this discourage you into thinking you can't find a way out of the merciless bludgeoning this multinational cartel inflicts on your own self image, or that you can't find yourself or some purposeful meaning in your life. There are many sound ways to proceed. (For some ideas, start with this earlier blog piece from the Thunder Valley Drums site.)
The choice is yours, of course. But if you want to resist the cabal's efforts, represented pretty well in my opinion in the left column with a few examples of political commercials, then here's a quick (though limited) list in the right column to help get you started.
A Few Examples
All videos are offered under terms of Fair Use, and are not intended to infringe any copyright or other protective statutes, nor are they offered for profit. If any copyright holder objects to this use, please notify me immediately so that I may remove the video in question. To see more such campaign commercials from 1952 - 2012, visit the site from which these were linked: http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/1964
The Action Plan
- Set and remember the goal: finding the authentic you. (Hint: Goodness)
- Begin by challenging your own beliefs. Stay vigilant. Work at it every day. Resistance to "their" seductive message is not futile!
- Hit the mute button on the remote control or device blaring commercials into your brain. In fact, try skipping all television, cell, radio and other external input devices for a week. If you do this, you'll see immediate and satisfying results to your psyche.
- Research the demographic group you're in. Here you will glimpse how the handlers know which of your buttons to push. (Some resources: One, Two, Three) Then round it out with a visit to this controversial but thought-provoking site, History Is A Weapon, where you can read Edward Bernays perfectly named book, Propaganda. Poke around some of the other articles and books offered there.
- Research the histories of the world's largest religions.
- Research the phrase "Manifest Destiny" and its implications for Native Americans and the expansion of the American frontier (AND the projection of the American ego).
- Watch the presidential debates and then go to FactCheck.org to see how political pros cater to certain demographics by pushing "fear" and "desire" buttons. (The "Century of Self" documentary does a pretty good job of showing how Bill Clinton button-pushed his way into the White House. More examples of actual political ads in the left column.)
- Seek a trusted friend to talk about your search and discoveries. Understand that this is hard work and that even the strongest seeker is going to need support along the way.
- Learn patience. Expect retrenchment at times because of your impatience and ego projection.
- Find a direct path to the Divine without need for an intermediary.
- Mark progress by the level of compassion you attain.
- Share it with others when asked. I suggest this because once you begin to make progress, others will notice and will be interested to know what you're doing and how you are doing it.
If you feel too vulnerable to proceed with this list, then by all means do not proceed. It is merely a list of suggestions.
Otherwise, good luck, my friend. You are undertaking perhaps the most valuable quest in your life.
Aho & Namaste,