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Propaganda, Human Consciousness, And The Future Of Civilization (4m read)

Caitlin Johnstone, August 21, 2017

A duck floats past two fish, looks down and says “Morning boys! How’s the water?” The fish swim on for a bit, then one of them turns to the other and says, “What the fuck is water?”

Corporatist propaganda is to western civilization what water is to fish. Our culture is saturated in it; it informs so many levels of our worldview and most of us never even examine any of them. It informs all aspects of culture, from our beliefs about what’s going on in the world to our understanding of history to what issues we think we’re supposed to care about on a given day to what opinions we think we’re allowed to choose from. People think they know what’s going on in their society, why their country fought this or that war, how their nation’s government and economy operate, when really they don’t know any of those things. All their most basic assumptions about their world, their culture, and even who they are as individuals is fully pervaded by mass media propaganda narratives.

In early tribal cultures, humans depended on campfire stories passed on from one generation to the next to tell them what the world is and how to interpret their experiences in it. Now that role has fallen exclusively to a few highly consolidated corporate media conglomerates whose billionaire owners have a vested interest in maintaining the warmongering plutocratic power establishment that is loosely centralized in the United States, because in that power establishment they get to live as kings.

The “Nazis are taking over America” moral panic is the most hysterical that the people of the United States have been since the November election results rolled in. Not even at peak Russia hysteria has the general public been so emotionally invested in something so grossly unsubstantiated. Even most of the woke lefties who didn’t buy into the ridiculous Russia narrative swallowed the core message being promulgated by corporate media hook, line and sinker. Few questioned why the entire mass media had converged upon Charlottesville long before anyone died. Few bothered researching to what extent white supremacist groups were holding demonstrations and committing hate crimes throughout the entire Obama administration or asking why those lacked similar coverage. It’s been a nationwide garment-rending psychotic break from coast to coast, and very few people stopped to ask themselves where their ideas were originating from.

There has just been a solar eclipse, so maybe people being outdoors with their neighbors and coworkers looking at something together was enough of a reality check to break the spell, but if the narrative hasn’t done its job already the talking heads on TV will be pushing them back into it by the morning.

This sort of thing is happening constantly. Virtually all political perspectives in mainstream America are formed by propaganda either directly or indirectly, but if you talk about the solution to the status quo being a shift in human consciousness people get impatient and dismissive. They’ll accuse you of offering impractical airy-fairy spiritual-sounding solutions about “getting woke” that only have any relevance to a tiny fraction of the population. “We need real solutions! How do we organize? Should we start a new political party? We need a district-by-district plan!”

They’re fish in water. They don’t realize that every move they make is happening inside this ubiquitous bubble of deceit that is specifically designed to redirect energy and attention toward narratives which favor the establishment. No matter how awesome and pragmatic your idea is, they’ll always be perceived by the general public through a filter of lies which contradict it, and it will have to be actualized within a society that is fully blinkered by narratives tilted to favor the ruling class. This is why fighting the propaganda machine is the single most practical thing that we can do to create a healthy world.

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