Slavery Begins with the Mind. An Essay on Propaganda.
A little history of Gurus.
Those gurus, they’re off the charts when it comes to deadly sins, for they will rob you of your most precious thing, and that’s your self possession. – A serf.
Meet Edward Bernays, considered one of the fathers of public relations, ‘public relations’ being a euphemism for ‘propaganda.’
Born in 1891 to Jewish parents, Edward Bernays was the nephew of Sigmund Freud, pioneer of psycho-analysis and the important role played by the subconscious in human behaviour. Named by Life Magazine as one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century, Bernays adopted his uncle’s ideas to develop techniques of persuasion to influence public behaviour, writing in one of his books regarding opinion moulding, or what he called engineering consent, that ‘If we understand the mechanisms and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a point and within certain limits.’ E.Bernays. ‘Propaganda.’ (1928.) Brooklyn, N.Y. P47.
Like gurus before him and gurus who came after, Bernays justified his PR activities as the noble, because ‘necessary’ lie, necessary to overcome chaos and conflict in society. In the same book, (1928) he stated:
‘The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate the unseen mechanisms of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our county… We are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society… in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.’ (1928 ) PP 9-10.
Bernays is presenting here a distorted view of democracy that subverts both its social basis in the free actions of individuals and its governance basis by way of non-arbitrary rule of law for all its citizens. And in the techniques and programs he employed, you can gauge for yourself how far from ‘noble’ were Bernays’ public relations’ practices.
When he started working for American Tobacco Company, Bernays was given the objective of increasing Lucky Strike sales among women, who for the most part had formerly avoided smoking. The first strategy was to persuade women to smoke cigarettes instead of eating. Bernays began using photographers, artists, newspapers, and magazines to promote the special beauty of thin women. Medical authorities were found to promote the choice of cigarettes over sweets. Home-makers were cautioned that keeping cigarettes on hand was a social necessity. The campaign was a success but a taboo remained on women smoking in public. Tying the smoking campaign to the women’s freedom movement Bernays organized a contingent of attractive women to smoke cigarettes, ‘torches of freedom,’ in the 1928 New York Easter Parade. The carefully scripted event was a publicity success and women across the country were soon smoking as planned.
The United Fruit Company hired Bernays in the early 1940s to increase banana sales which he did by linking them with good health and placing them in the hands of celebrities. But then he went further, orchestrating political propaganda in concert with the US government to facilitate the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Guatemala, Jacabo Guzman, who had begun land reforms including buying back land owned by the United Fruit Company. Under previous governments the U.F.C. had acquired ownership of 42% of the land and was exempt from paying taxes and duties on exports. Bernays’ campaign resulted in having Guzman replaced by someone more acceptable to the United Fruit Company.
So when you wish to make BIG changes you have to be persuasive. Here’s another guru, Plato writing his plans for the utopian Republic he hoped would replace Athenian Democracy, a Republic in which all change would be arrested. The rigid caste system that Plato designed to achieve his static society necessitated his myth or necessary ‘noble lie,’ of the metals in men, gold in an elite class who should lead, and beneath them, tiers of inferior metals with their ordained, unquestioned roles of obedience to the philosopher king. In this hierarchy, only the gold elite get education, but it is an education of received truths not to be questioned, and Plato hopes that in time even the philosopher class will come to believe his noble lie.
More dishonesty. Plato used Socrates as his sock puppet to give respectability to his totalitarian program. Socrates, advocate of the open society and critical debate, no longer around to speak for individual autonomy, becomes the mouthpiece for Plato’s authoritarian doctrines. Here, on justice and rule of law, Plato has Socrates giving a whole new meaning to words like ‘justice’ or ‘freedom’ via convoluted argument … What means justice for each citizen? Why, it’s the right to possess what is his own. And what is this right specifically? Why it’s the right, (within the imposed caste system) to attend to his own business, that is, the right of the labourer to labour, and presumably of the slave to slave. So much for justice.
Then there’s Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, propagandist for the tyrannous Prussian State of Frederic William 3rd. Unlike Plato, Hegel does not teach that the world is in flux towards historical decay but rather, the trend is towards The Idea, the powerful State of ‘now’ is progress and therefore, what prevails is ‘right.’
Hegel promotes his historicist doctrine by a dialectical method that is an assault on logic. While criticism and science proceed on the argument that contradictions are impermissible and attempts must be made to eliminate them, Hegel argues that since science progresses via contradictions, contradictions are to be welcomed and there is no need to eliminate them. What Hegel is doing is omitting part of the argument that contradictions could be said to be welcome only as a means of identifying and eliminating false arguments and theories. By eliminating the italics part of the argument, Hegel focuses on the connotation of welcome as inviting to stay as a welcome guest. By such sophistry, all criticism and argument, important in arguing our freedoms, must cease, as also attacks against Hegel’s own philosophy. And by conflating liberty with control, employing smoke and mirrors language as pseudo demonstration, therefore and therefore and therefore … to undermine human freedoms, Hegel uses a pun on liberty to show that a liberty is the same as a law, from which it follows that the more laws, the more liberty.
Propagandists past and present? There’s moah! Dr Joseph Goebells, propagandist extraordinaire of Hitler’s ‘Blood and Soil’ war machine, master of emotive slogan campaigns and imitator, or so Edward Bernays was told, of the persuasive techniques of Bernays himself. Joseph Goebells used Bernays’ book, ‘Crystallizing Public Opinion,’ as a basis of his propaganda tactics to demonize the Jewish population and carry out a genocide campaign against them. Dr Goebells, epitome of guru Dr Evil.
Today, there’s one, George Soros, who wants to do away with the nation state altogether and run a globalist state governed at a distance by unelected technocrats like himself, and by golly he’s got the money to do it, lots of dollars to fund campaigns to destroy western institutions from within. Soros’ campaigns include education ‘occupy their heads,’ training social justice warriors and a campaign to promote illegal immigrants’ right to vote. Activist bodies and groups are given grants by his ‘Open Society Foundation, ‘Open’ only in reference to untrammelled immigration, much of his funding of violent protest groups like Rise Up Org and Antifa, is more discrete but has definitely been traced to indirect and backdoor payments.
Like those other smoke and mirror gurus, Soros likes to flout the laws of logic. While Soros, in his ‘Open Society’ (2000) manifesto admits that the Enlightenment unleashed the creative energies of the human intellect to bring about achievements and living standards ‘beyond compare,’ he then dismisses these achievements ‘beyond compare,’ by arguing that in the Enlightenment ‘Reason was unequal to the task.’ As an historical illustration he cites the excesses of the French Revolution, not an applicable example as participants in the French Revolution abandoned constitutional safeguards and rational behaviour, instead responding to events by leadership fiat-decision-making and mob-rule.
A further criticism of the Enlightenment made by Soros is that rationalism produced the ‘unencumbered individual,’ a simplistic view of individuals living as though without family or local connections or any social values, and disregarding the reformist actions of many of these individuals to extend suffrage, enact factory laws, and abolish slavery, not just reformists but humanists, like John Stuart Mill, Lord Shaftsbury, and Charles Dickens. Soros equates ‘individual’ with ‘selfish,’ though no such analogy is justified, his colleges train students to be ‘encumbered’ social justice warriors. And here’s Hegelian contradiction:
‘It’s time, ‘says Soros,’ to subject reason, as construed by the Enlightenment, to the same kind of critical examination that the Enlightenment inflicted on the dominant external authorities, both divine and temporal. We have now lived in the age of reason for the past two hundred years, long enough to discover that reason has its limitations. We are ready to enter the age of fallibility.’ ( G.S. Open Society. P 125.)
What does it mean, ‘subject reason to ‘reason,’ subjecting reason to itself? And what does it mean to ‘enter the age of fallibility?’ Would not our ‘human fallibility’ require us to act by trial and error-testing, which is rational behaviour for a fallible being and also the objective basis of the scientific method?. What Soros says here is illogical, he’s putting fallibility in place of reason. By abandoning reason, where does that get us? Well it gets us just where gurus want us, amenable to propaganda slogans modelled on George Orwell’s 1984, you know, slogans involving double – think, like ‘War is Peace.’ ‘Freedom is Control.’ ‘Truth is Lies.’ Can’t have a rational populace alert to the contradictions gurus employ to get control of their minds.
So how come a procession of dastardly gurus are motivated to control the rest of us cits, and how come they so often succeed in their machinations? Seems it’s there in the wiring of the homo sapien brain. Remember this little scenario in Alfred Hitchcock’s film, ‘The Birds’?
‘Who are you, what are you?’
Who are you? Well, you have only to look at that famous image of ‘The Ascent of Man,’ to see that descended from the gods we are not. Has to be that a large measure of what we do is determined by our genetic inheritance, from lizard brain to our evolution by way of our early mammalian ancestors.
What are you? Bright side, dark side, let’s do dark side first. Says Daniel Kahneman in his book, ‘Thinking Fast and Slow,’ ‘We are machines for jumping to conclusions.’ That’s pretty much it, says Kahneman, a psychologist who turned psychology into quantitative investigation. Daniel Kahneman argues the existence in our brains of two independent systems for organizing knowledge, one he labels System One, a fight or flight survival mechanism which probably evolved with our ancestors, the lizard brain, a fast thinking system making judgements and taking action without waiting for our conscious awareness to catch up. Making use of memories and heuristics linked with strong emotions like fear and pain, though the fast thinking system worked well for fight or flight survival in a jungle, its judgements are often wrong. Our System Two is the slow process of forming judgements based on conscious thinking in the frontal cortex that checks the actions of System One and allows us to correct our mistakes.
For System One thinking, says Kahneman, the measure of success is coherence of a story, consistency, not completeness of evidence… ‘what you see is all that there is.’ To answer difficult questions there’s a grab-bag of simple heuristics we adopt to make adequate but often wrong answers to difficult questions like ‘the availability heuristic, what comes readily from memory, first in line.’ And the bad news is, as Kahneman first discovered, working with Israeli Defence Forces in the 1950’s, that your System Two thinkers are also prone to similar thinking errors and heuristics, more apologist than critical of the emotions of System One.
And something else runs counter to individual decision making regarding that early inheritance. Homo sapiens evolved as social animals in family groups and tribes that developed within a web of culture. The individuals who made those hand imprints on the walls of the Lascaux Caves were also part of a group, as we, members of tribes, associations, nations, live in societies with pressures to conform according to accepted rules and mores.
‘Nothing so outlandish,’ said rational pessimist, Michel de Montaigne, regarding tyranny of custom, ‘that cannot be demonstrated in public practise somewhere in the world.’ And those customs, from some gentle beginning, unperceived, ‘unmask a furious and tyrannical countenance, against which we have no more courage or power so much as to lift our eyes.’ Montaigne ‘Essay; Of Custom.’
Taking a walk on the bright side…
du, dudu, dudu dudu du du…
Throughout history, some cultures have emerged that are more enabling to rational thinking than others. Compare the tribal society of Sparta, where institutions were seen as god given and unalterable, to the emerging democracy of Athens, 5th century B.C. where its citizens dared to question what and how? Being a member of a maritime society is helpful, observing many cultures and recognizing that institutions are made by man and therefore may be changed. Greek tragedians, Sophocles and Euripides, writing drama about political and social problems, Greek philosophers, Socrates and Aristotle, Socrates developing critical argument, Aristotle developing tools of logic, ways of recognising and eliminating contradictions that hinder enquiry, these were major steps for human kind.
Evolutionary nature has endowed human beings with dexterous hands with opposable thumbs, big brains, language capacity beyond signalling, all of which curious humans, wanting to solve a problem have exploited to the max.
Man the debater as mentioned above, and man the builder, creator and discoverer. Builders of roads, bridges, builders of aqueducts and printing press, inventors of the wheel, paper, first harnessers of fire technology then of water and steam power. Herewith an example of deliberative thinking I like to cite, James Watt, the Scottish instrument maker, out walking in the city of Glasgow, one afternoon in 1765. For months Watt had been working on Newcomen’s steam engine trying to solve the problem of inefficiency from wasted steam:
‘I was thinking upon the engine at the time,’ he wrote later, ‘when the idea came into my mind that as steam was an elastic body it would rush into a vacuum, and if a communication were made between the cylinder and an exhausted vessel, it would rush into it and thereby be condensed without cooling the cylinder … I had not walked further than the golf-house when the whole thing was strong in my mind.’ (‘The Scottish Enlightenment.’ Arthur Herman. Chapter 12.)
Man the creator, achievements in the arts, Shakespeare exploring in iambic pentameter, possibilities of dramatic language and cognition, giving us characters thinking out loud, whether to themselves or to others, reflecting on what they themselves have said, and in the course of reflecting, becoming a different kind of character. In the visual arts, Greek, 6th to 4th century B.C. vase painters and sculptors and Renaissance artists, Leonardo and Michelangelo, exploring ways of suggesting depth of field and movement on canvas, and in stone statues, as in life, suggesting muscle and living tissue. Music composers, Mozart, Beethoven and ‘Song of Man,’ Johan Sebastian Bach, creating out of sound bits, complex orchestrations and miraculous harmonies of song.
Man the discoverer, those curious investigators of the scientific revolution, persistently seeking real answers to nature’s mysteries … Galileo, Isaac Newton, James Hutton, Charles Darwin….
Great movements in civilization by way of individual and opportunist endeavour. Opportunistism, every living thing must do it, find and explore new opportunities, new skills, new niches, live to fight another day – that’s the Darwin Award for doing it right.
Great movements in civilization but ever under attack. Enter your gurus, Gurus they just want to exploit YOU. Endless procession of shaman and kings who ruled by divine right or would rule as philosopher kings of privileged insight like your present day globalists, remake and control society to their own plan, and always an authoritative plan. Technology, internet, universal education should be enabling to open society, but as in George Orwell’s dystopian ‘1984’ they’re being used by guru groups to propagandize and enslave our minds. Herewith:
Viva la resistance!
‘Why can’t we?’ ‘The Sun Also Rises.’ Ernest Hemingway.
… Well actually we can.
So let us begin… Aristotle’s three laws of logic are your key to fight-back, and of course, shown by history, individuals from Socrates and Galileo to Darwin, a felt need to get it right as the spur to real engagement with nature, of which we are a part.
Aristotle’s Law of Identity.
First law of logic is the Law of Identity. A thing is what it is and is no other thing. As in the logic of mathematics, 1=1, does not = 2 or = 3, so in reality of nature, a thing is itself and not some other thing, A=A, can’t be B or C.
Reasoning is uniquely possible to Homo sapiens by virtue of words, our tools of cognition. A word is a symbol with a definition and that means careful definition, ‘definition,’ the set of properties or characteristics that distinguish a thing from all other things, a distinct set of implications.’
For Homo sapiens, inventers of descriptive and critical language, consciousness is identification, the quest for non- contradictory identification. Here is a comment at Science and Fiction’s blog, (16/08/18 ) ‘The main loop of a conscious entity’s running code is an incessant query: what is it? Answering that produces identity.’
What is the question?
What is the question?
Gurus need to mess this up. It’s the art of persuasion. If they’re going to convince their focus group that ‘lies are freedom’ or ‘ignorance is strength,’ they have to subvert the Law of Identity by sleight of hand, word-craft mis-definition and drum in the identity switch by forced association and oft repeated slogans…Gurus understand that habit rules.
Law of Identity.
A thing is itself, it has
its own identity, A
cannot be B or C, this
simply defies reality.
‘Nothing,’ says Edward Bernays
‘is simply what it really is,
but I, smoke and mirror-wise,
can make it seem this, that or
some other thing, by means
of a symbol – conjuring trick.
Aristotle’s Law of Contradiction.
Definitions again: ‘Truth: an idea that cannot be contradicted by any other implication within its context.’ Truth in logic, as in nature, is one of two possible states, the other possible state is false.
Reality, evolution, ideas, all have the same forms and logic is the formalization of the forms. In nature, all those living entities, including us, function in ways, natural particular to themselves, function reflects the law of causality, Darwinian cause and effect in one direction, the order is one way, following the arrow of time. Second Law of logic, regarding statements by Homo sapiens describing distinct entities and their particular functions …‘that’ necessarily follows without contradiction from ‘this.’
Gurus like Hegel welcome contradictions to pervert the second law because truth is not their object. They each have their own 1984 agenda… sell you that values’-laden fast car or diamond bracelet… or find a lucrative niche for themselves like mistletoe on a tree… or create a dystopia where they will be philosopher king. Means to these ends, reality and logic have to be reconstituted, contradictions employed, such as inverting cause and effect, cart before horse, cli-science, increasing CO2 is causing temperature rise, whereas the long record shows the opposite. Or disregard ‘cause’ altogether, logic and science can surely get along without it, despite what Feynman says about putting your theory under rigorous scrutiny. Simple correlation might do the trick, the rooster crows at sun rise. Or you can bring in those smoke and mirror words, laden entities with added entendre; fear and guilt and virtue signalling work wonders with words like ‘justice,’ equity,’ and ‘sustainability.’
Or you might try crowd- appeal, ‘all’ and ‘every’ are handy quantifications, consensus has emotional power, especially when you add argument from authority, ‘nine out of ten doctors say…’
Aristotle’s Law of Contradiction.
All contradictions welcome
in Hegel’s dialectics.
As with Humpty Dumpty, things
mean what Hegel says they mean,
more, not less; ‘tis a tricksy
balancing act involving
a number of conflicting
meanings, all held together
and at the same time. Clevah!
Aristotle’s Law of the Excluded Middle.
The Law of the Excluded Middle: a statement has to be true or it is false, it’s a binary opposition. If a statement does not evaluate to ‘true’ or ‘false,’ it is, by definition, unreasonable. Truth in logic, as in nature, is one of two possible states, the other possible state is false No other option such as ‘maybe, could be, should be. Gone are problems like the liar’s paradox, designed to confuse and weaken you, if part of a statement is untrue, the statement is false, that’s it!
And if a description can’t be substantiated, then it doesn’t exist, no such thing as an empty set. This eliminates the mysterious and the superstitious in one fell swoop. Shakespeare wasn’t wrong when he said that’ nothing can come of nothing.’ H/t King Lear, Act 1. Negation of nothing is nothing: ‘I did not destroy New York today,’ does not mean that I built anything. The negation of life is nothing The negation of death, is nothing. Life after death, well you know… Better make life count and guard your precious self possession, don’t let those gurus take it from you.
Law of the Excluded Middle.
Law of the excluded middle,
in nature, either it is or is not,
no mister in between is possible,
if it can’t be substantiated, it
doesn’t exist, there are no empty
sets nor empty suits.
Not so,’ says George Soros
following Plato and Big Bro’)
ghostly apparitions a specialty
by means of my state-of-the-art
I’ll give a local habitation and
a name to any ideal entity,
utopia on earth or divinity in
heaven, or demon manifestations
of fear and guilt, any size, as required.
Well that’s about it! Reconstituting reality requires truth as a casualty, and every guru from wa-a-ay back KNOWS the so called ‘noble’ lie is a necessity, by raison d’etat, and ‘the state is us’ and we know what is best for you and we know what is best for us.
Finis – phew