Sunday, 23 October 2005

Propaganda Is The Opiate Of The Masses - Ben Mack

Ben Mack lays the smackdown - this is excellent, & I only present a snippet:
Distinguishing propaganda from marketing is like holding a distinction between drugs and alcohol, it’s a semantic distinction. There are billions of dollars to be lost if alcohol is lumped in with drugs, and there are trillions of dollars to be lost if Corporatocracy is held accountable for crimes against humanity.

Semantics is the heart of marketing. While semantics is the analyses of change in meaning, marketing is about controlling the change.

Meaning is not limited to words, but words are a common way we discuss meaning. Wittgenstein asserts he can only know things for which he has a word:

“The limits of my language are the limits of my mind. All I know is what I have words for.” Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosopher (1889 – 1951)

But, it works the other way, too. Having two words can blind people from seeing that separate labels represent the same idea. Distinguishing drugs and alcohol is an obvious example. A subtle example can be found in mathematics: elliptic curves and modular forms. Having two separate labels so blinded the mathematical community that the original conjecture by Taniyama and Shimura was universally ridiculed by the their professional community, compelling Taniyama to commit suicide. Why do I bring this up? Because, math is supposed to be immune to psychological tricks and politicking. Because, suicide is only a particular of the stakes of this discussion. Genocide is the real stake of this of this game.

Propaganda is the feel-good pill of fascism. That’s my modern interpretation of: “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” Propaganda is what facilitates fascist citizens to believe they’re supporting what’s good and right. The keystone of manufacturing these beliefs is in controlling meaning. Words become the crux of this control.

“The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.” Philip K. Dick, Novelist (1928-1982)
he comes full circle down near the end - really you ought to just read the whole damn thing, but don't miss this: (In other words, Listen Up, Ultraculture:)
Saying propaganda is inherently wrong is a damned perspective, a perspective that things are inherently good or evil. This perspective reinforces the nature of propaganda. Propaganda was created as a cost-effective tool to spread righteousness.

Propaganda is a weapon in the war for reality.

Propaganda is a tool. Holding propaganda as inherently evil is like saying that TNT is evil. They are both strong forces. They can be used constructive or destructively. The good/evil perspective is more static than how I see the universe. And, I’m also not sure that dangerous things are always bad. I’m glad propaganda was employed to defeat Hitler. Marketing has emerged as a legitimate face of perception study and the study of effectiveness, a socially acceptable way to understand magic theory. These techniques and discussions would have had us all murdered 200 years ago.
(hint: Ben Mack appears to be a pen name for Art Reid, the author of poker without cards)

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