In more recent times the overall manipulation of the mass public mind has become less about overt spectacles of fear and obedience, and more about subtle forms of media propaganda.
The manufacturing of
consent 1 is endemic and has become a pervasive presence
within modern societies.
Bernays considered media propaganda essential for manipulating public opinion (read Propaganda) because society, in his regard, was composed of too many irrational elements (the people) which could be dangerous to the efficient mechanisms of power ('democracy').
Within the context of our
modern mass societies, propaganda has morphed into a mechanism for
not only engineering public opinion but also as a means for
consolidating social control.
Today, it exists as a combination of expertise and knowledge from,
... and other scientific techniques.
Almost every nation state
has made use of
a controlled mainstream media, to
various degrees, for the regulation and influence of its citizenry.
State control, acting as
a 'psychological machine', instigates specific psychological
manipulations in order to achieve desired goals within its national
borders (and often beyond).
These triggers have included 'Red' and 'Communist' during the US's 1950s McCarthyism; or 'Muslim Terrorist' during the recent media-hyped 'War on Terror'.
Targeted reactions can thus be achieved making the populace open to further manipulation in this state. This is a process of psychic re-formation that works repeatedly to soften up the people through continued and extensive exposure to particular stimuli.
These are often the
subconscious symbols we live by - artificial signifiers in order to
create a compliant society.
corporations are using the huge growth in global communications to
further shape their science of targeting human consciousness.
For example, it has been discovered that specific attractors can bypass the logical part of the brain and impact directly the emotional part. In such cases, as in the film industry, the advertisers place an award symbol (such as an Oscar or Golden Globe) which has proven to be an effective 'strong attractor' that influences the emotional part of the brain.
The philosophy here is to
adjust the level of consciousness of an advertisement in relation to
the measurable level of consciousness of the consumer. 3
In order to achieve this correct set of attractor patterns, all elements are deliberately worked on:
Interesting, symbolic strong attractors that have the most impact to persuade the audience include visuals such as smiley faces and cute animals (dogs wagging their tails and kittens purring).
In terms of voice, they include words such as,
For this reason it can be
seen how politicians use a great deal of these attractor-patterns in
their speeches and promotional material. 4
For such propaganda to be effective it cannot be too far off the truth; in other words, it must have the appearance of reality. Trade, employment, and financial figures are an example of this when the media discusses statistics as if they represented the truth.
And which members of the general public have the knowledge or the resources to check and confirm such figures?
Those people that do know are usually those that have a vested interest in maintaining the illusion, such as traders and financiers. As a norm, statistics of a negative connotation are usually drawn from the smallest possible pile.
And once a false (or 'doctored') claim is disseminated and accepted by the public, it becomes established and hard to deconstruct or invalidate (unless persuasive anti-propaganda is just as effective).
But the forms that accepted 'individualism' takes are often a sheath to hide the workings of a mass psyche. It is the 'allowed liberty' that is provided to the modern person in pursuit of material gains as long as they remain within the parameters of their established society.
Liberty, then, is an expression of mobility within a pre-described system:
Examples are the rock clichés that the mainstream media love to promote and adorn their front pages.
Notables are the raging antics of destroying hotel rooms and throwing televisions out of the window, behavior that later morphed into copycat corporate rock PR.
In essence, such 'rebels' are allowed, and even encouraged, because their antics sell records. Rebelliousness in these forms is thus another contribution to a consumerist society, albeit through a different manner.
And today there are many
forms in which individualism is allowed to manifest as long as it
plays within a pre-described system.
Yet mainstream media, if it is not government owned, is likely to be owned by a corporate conglomerate, often with high-level state relations.
An individual is generally attracted to a particular newspaper that reflects their views, beliefs, lifestyles, etc, without suspecting these are all diversified patterned behavior within the system.
The mainstream media caters for these needs by operating a variety of newspapers that support these mythical standpoints, whether they be politically left, right, left/right of centre, liberal, independent, this, that, or any other of the positions available for the 'diversity within the unity' of the mass mind.
For example, Disney (The Walt Disney Company) is the largest entertainment and media multinational in the world.
...as well as publishing, merchandising, and theatre subsidiaries.
They also own,
...as well as 11 theme
parks around the world.
Similarly, Time-Warner owns,
Viacom owns TV networks,
Likewise, Vivendi Universal owns 27% of US music sales via labels such as,
They also own,
Then there is Bertelsmann which, as a global media corporation runs,
In terms of mainstream news reporting it is always important to check the source when reading a news item, i.e. is it of an independent source or is it 'according to a government source', etc.
The mainstream media is largely fed via global news wire services, the two largest being,
This again constitutes a
centralization of news information, as well as the various
well-established political press offices. When such sources
(especially PR offices) disseminate information as 'truthful news',
it is doing nothing more than was parodied in
Orwell's 1984 as Newspeak.
As a result the viewer rarely has the chance to focus on one issue, and generally remembers very little.
Nor is there the need to remember a specific event as the next day it is likely to be replaced by the next item of news. In this way the average viewer is granted their 'nourishment' and feeling of 'open news' whilst at the same time being denied any real depth of knowledge.
In such media-saturated environments people are provided with a conversation space or talking point amongst friends and work colleagues; or as a buffer zone to cover up the embarrassment of a non-communicative family.
And if all hell breaks
loose at work, at least you have Breaking Bad or The
Walking Dead waiting for you on the home screen...!
The media of escapism allows us to live out our fantasies in what is considered a less harmful way. It provides us with an external platform on which to project our wishful desires. It is supposed to placate us, to make us forget the drudgery of our humdrum lives.
There are also those few who are motivated to mimic the acts seen in the media, whether through violence or sexual perversion.
No doubt the few who do
indulge are considered worth the trade-off against the millions who
are mollified and happily passive in front of the screen.
We have our tickets into the 'flight into unreality'.
Child researcher Joseph Chilton Pearce has published findings that indicate how television prevents the higher brain in children from developing as television engages solely with the lower brain (aka reptilian).
If the higher brain is not activated sufficiently through external stimulation - which it rarely is via child institutions - then at age 11 the brain begins to destroy many of its unused neurons.
This can lead to a permanent condition of arrested development, according to Chilton Pearce. What this points to is a serious lack of proper stimulants for many children in overly institutionalized and controlled social environments.
Also, our brains do not
fully mature until we are around age twenty-five, which explains the
early targeting of children through advertisers and conditioning
A report commissioned by the Family and Parenting Institute, published in 2012, suggested that children's brains process advergames in a different way from how they would process traditional adverts; that is, on a more subconscious and emotional level.
In this context many
children do not understand that such games are actually very
sophisticated adverts and so have no conscious 'cognitive defence'
to the food product marketing.
The Internet in particular, as well as other forms of social and community media, has spurred the growth of individuals seeking to verify information for their own selves. Independent media, such as is now coming of age via the Internet, has served to counter-neutralize some of the overwhelming persuasive power of mainstream media.
This has helped to shift some people away from the propaganda that was previously virtually unchallenged.
This bottom-up media revolution has seriously compromised the conditioning techniques used by governments and corporations alike. A major example of this citizen media revolution was seen during the Arab Spring, circa 2011, where civil resistance was effectively organized through social media networks.
There are, as would be
expected, now concerted efforts underway to censor the Internet and
other social media networks in various nation states, as well as on
a global level.
Manipulating and messing with our minds has no place in a truly democratic and egalitarian future.