Monday, July 18, 2011

Great assumptions: Indirect propaganda

Andrew D Atkin

From looking at some popular science and other magazines, I have noticed they are already taking the position that the Anthropogenic Global Warming scare is totally real, and the science is conclusive. They make this assertion not by stating it outright, but by simply writing 'secondary' articles based on this assumption. They talk as though problematic AGW is a given as they discuss developing technologies to deal with its effects, etc, while paying no credence to the debate supporting it all.

Now this is interesting. Because regardless of what the truth relating to the AGW scare may be, if you have the media all calmly talking about it as though the science is in and the debate is over, then the public will, over time, not even question the assumption, and instead it will just become "common knowledge" that carbon emissions are a bad thing and must be averted. Most critically, people will form that assumption without any thought or knowledge relating to the science at all. This dynamic applies to the extreme for when people are born into this form of propaganda. Extremely challengeable assertions can so easily reach 'common knowledge' status, naturally sucked-up by the public like osmosis.

So with this kind of (indirect) propaganda you can win a debate without even having it. Indeed, you can get to the point where people look at you like you're a freak for even suggesting something as "bizarre" as the idea that we shouldn't worry about carbon emissions. And again, they may adopt that view without an ounce of personal understanding backing up their [socially reinforced] assumptions.

Do we have a clear example of this kind of misplaced propaganda today? By god do we what! Schooling. I have long noticed that pretty much every discussion on education that exists in the mainstream media has, since virtually forever, reinforced the assumption that child development should be institutionalised. We preach it everyday, directly and indirectly, but without ever really thinking about it. Have you ever looked into the science and history behind what we call education, and the facts associated with non-institutional child development? Of course you probably haven't. If you did you would quickly realise that we are having the wrong conversations, and those wrong conversations keep you locked-in to the wrong foundation assumptions. The debate that we never even had was won by default.

--Tip! The most potent propaganda never looks like what it is.*

The more our minds are tuned into the media, the more we become conditioned to those indirectly suggested assumptions. We form opinions that we don't even realise are not our own.
To a degree this is understandable in that some things must be assumed, so we can get on with our lives and function. But what is not acceptable (or dignified) is actively turning our backs on direct invitations to review those embedded assumptions, like they should be treated as sacred cows.

Well, at the least, don't laugh a controversial view off the stage just because the government told you to do so. Because if you're going to do that, then you might as well wear a t-shirt that says: "My mind is your b**ch".


*If propaganda looked like what it is, then it would trigger your critical mind both into the picture and on-topic, and that's exactly what a propagandist wants to avoid. Propaganda is about changing (or establishing) views beneath critical thought - not with it.

Further, this is closely related to hypnosis. Hypnosis works by suppressing activity within the front-left cortex so as to, basically, let the individual believe in their [externally directed] dream. It's the left-frontal area of the brain that tells you when you're in a fantasy. When it's off-line you simply don't even question what you subjectively experience as real. Again, just like when you believe that your dream is real while you are sleeping.


Addition 6-8-11: The great political assumption?

One of the most fundamental assumptions in modern politics, and this applies to New Zealand especially, is the assumption that we have no "shadow government" behind our government. And you had better sign up to this assumption if you want to get your editorial printed in the NZ Herald (and elsewhere) because otherwise you are a conspiracy theorist, and in turn your credibility is custard. Right? Obviously, yes.

The effect? Political movements that don't make sense are rationalised to the public on the premise of selfish political motivations, ideological thinking, or corporate backing etc. (If there's no higher-level governance then what else could the drivers be - right?). And all these rationalisations of which are based on that premise work to reinforce that great central assumption: There is no functional government behind our government.

But again, if there is in fact a functional government behind our government, then all those editorials will only be protecting it, not holding it to account. Because the idea that there even might be a shadow government is then assumed to be ridiculous, by default, due to that non-stop presentation of "secondary" propaganda.

Note: I am not saying that there is a government behind our government in this article as such. I am saying that we can see how the assumption that there isn't one is, incidentally or not, relentlessly reinforced as all conversation and thinking is based on this presumption.

It's interesting how cultures can potentially breed their own great delusions once and if they get on the wrong track. All you need to do is quietly isolate the rouge points of view, and the propaganda train will come to be automatic and self-reinforcing.


  1. Interesting article. Sometimes I wonder if I am being brainwashed myself.

  2. Thanks Aikin,

    I think 'brainwashing' is a rather crudely applied term. Truth is we are all vulnerable to being misinformed because we all have to take some things on faith. The trick is I believe to not forget the fact of it so we can hopefully keep an open mind and grow.

    You might find my bit on "Cults and mind-control" of interest too. It's at the bottom of the "How to rule the world" post: