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What is it about the American people that makes them so easy to control?   Dictators have failed over and over again to accomplish such control elsewhere yet it happens here with an invisible oligarchy behind it.  The staging is ironic!  We have a two party system that gives an illusion of choice based on a bunch of clowns threatening to pass all sorts of vile, restricting laws and then the "good guys" whose sole purpose often seems to be the protection of the invisible oligarchy.  The voter is given this scenario to provide "choice"?  Had the system been contrived by an evil genius one might understand better.  As it stands it just seems to happen.  From a systems theory point of view it is an example of a self organizing system that is very stable.  Nothing seems to be able to challenge it successfully.  The clowns stand in line to threaten all sorts of dire things if elected and the good guys point fingers at them and say "vote for us or you will get this"!  Read on for more ideas about this system we support.

Cognitive neuroscience is a relatively new area in the hundreds of years science has been working to understand human behavior.  Even newer is the whole area of brain plasticity.  As a neurophysiologist I was taught about areas of the brain and their "jobs".   Lately, complexity science has paired up with rehabilitation experts and demonstrated conclusively that that picture is false.  The brain never stops rewiring itself and this has been exploited to restore function lost through stroke, injury, or other damage.  It also has begun to show promise with autism and other mental handicaps.  That's the good news.  The bad news is a bit harder to swallow, especially if you are one of the victims.

The rewiring and wiring, for that matter, of of our brains is also going on when we least expect it.  You've got it!  Sitting and watching Tee Vee.  Here's just one of many sources, chosen more or less at random, that discusses the matter:6 Shocking Ways TV Rewires Your BrainHere's their list you can go to the link for details or google the subject.  There is a lot out here and it is consistant, on the whole, with the work mentioned above:

The average American watches more than four hours of television per day (five times the amount dedicated to socialization!). It makes sense that it would change us, the same as doing anything for four hours a day changes you. Yet, it's surprisingly hard to get people to accept this.
But the science is pretty much overwhelming. Enough television rewires your brain in a bunch of unexpected ways. For instance ...

It Changes You, Even if You're Too Young to Know What You're Watching

Yes, TV Lowers Your Attention Span

It Alters Your Dreams

It Cures Loneliness

It Makes You Fat

It Makes You Violent

 These ideas are not exhaustive but certainly give a basis for understanding why American politics and the media that portrays it to the people are the way they are.

Let's take one very potent example.  I was teaching a high school algebra class on September 11, 2001.  In the middle of class the TV monitors went on and we witnesses airplanes crashing into the twin towers and the aftermath.  I can still see it.  The American public was exposed to these images over and over agin and were programmed for the application of the politics of fear that followed.  I am not a TV watcher and it still lives on in my brain.

The willingness, no actually need,  to be entertained overpowers the need for information. The media thrive on this.  Faux News is the prime example.  I watch with amusement as everyone devours the psuedodrama of the republican primary race.  I know that no matter who wins the pseudodrama we will be exposed to during the campaign will take predictable form.  The politics of fear and the framing we have endured every election will be rewarmed and served as new

But then we are to work and finance our salvation, right?  The man who led us down the garden path four years ago will be recast as a newly imaged savior from "THEM"!  And the people will remain under the  control of the invisible oligarchy.  And the system will grind on.  Is this a great country or what?

Originally posted to don mikulecky on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 11:15 AM PST.

Also republished by Anti-Capitalist Chat and Systems Thinking.

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The politics of fear

6%1 votes
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 11:15:45 AM PST

  •  Don't Forget the Data. Garbage In, Garbage Out. (3+ / 0-)

    You say "nothing" seems to change the system but there haven't been inputs, to the mainstream people, that would motivate change away from the course we've been on.

    The information sphere is the most completely captured element of the system because the Bill of Rights ceded it very literally to corporations (well to businesses) and forbade any regulation or imposition on their behavior from day 1. As a result we've had media defrauding us into thrown elections and trials, launching wars and wreaking economic havoc on segments or most of the people, for all our history.

    If we can doubt the entire system overall why can't we suspect that the one component of it that everyone needs every day to participate in it in any way might have shortcomings?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 12:03:22 PM PST

  •  America is the biggest core nation (3+ / 0-)

    and for the longest time America's consciousness was conditioned by a "frontier" -- if you can't get it here steal it from one of the natives -- and by slavery -- be thankful you live better than they do.  Our nation's history makes us who we are, to a certain extent.

    “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” -- Jimi Hendrix

    by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 12:16:14 PM PST

  •  Edward Bernays shows how in Propaganda (1928) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, Larsstephens
    http://www.historyisaweapon.com/...
    Propaganda (1928) by Edward Bernays

    CHAPTER I ORGANIZING CHAOS

    THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.
    ...
    CHAPTER II  THE NEW PROPAGANDA

    IN the days when kings were kings, Louis XIV made his modest remark, "L'Etat c'est moi." He was nearly right.

    But times have changed. The steam engine, the multiple press, and the public school, that trio of the industrial revolution, have taken the power away from kings and given it to the people. The people actually gained power which the king lost For economic power tends to draw after it political power; and the history of the industrial revolution shows how that power passed from the king and the aristocracy to the bourgeoisie. Universal suffrage and universal schooling reinforced this tendency, and at last even the bourgeoisie stood in fear of the common people. For the masses promised to become king.

    To-day, however, a reaction has set in. The minority has discovered a powerful help in influencing majorities. It has been found possible so to mold the mind of the masses that they will throw their newly gained strength in the desired direction. In the present structure of society, this practice is inevitable. Whatever of social importance is done to-day, whether in politics, finance, manufacture, agriculture, charity, education, or other fields, must be done with the help of propaganda. Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government.

    Universal literacy was supposed to educate the common man to control his environment. Once he could read and write he would have a mind fit to rule. So ran the democratic doctrine. But instead of a mind, universal literacy has given him rubber stamps, rubber stamps inked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published scientific data, with the trivialities of the tabloids and the platitudes of history, but quite innocent of original thought. Each man's rubber stamps are the duplicates of millions of others, so that when those millions are exposed to the same stimuli, all receive identical imprints. It may seem an exaggeration to say that the American public gets most of its ideas in this wholesale fashion. The mechanism by which ideas are disseminated on a large scale is propaganda, in the broad sense of an organized effort to spread a particular belief or doctrine.

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