|1. Five myths that constitute the main content of the manipulation of consciousness|
Neutral myth. To achieve the greatest success, the manipulation must remain invisible. The success of manipulation is guaranteed when the manipulated believes that everything that happens is natural and inevitable. In short, manipulation requires a fake reality in which its presence will not be felt. Thus, it is important that people believe in the neutrality of their basic social institutions. They must believe that the government, the media, the education system, and science are outside conflicting social interests. The government, especially the federal government, occupies a central place in the myth of neutrality. The myth implies the honesty and impartiality of the government in general and its constituent parts: the parliament, the judicial system and presidential power. And such phenomena that appear from time to time, such as corruption, deception and fraud, are usually attributed to human weaknesses, institutions themselves are above suspicion. The fundamental strength of the entire system is ensured by the carefully thought-out work of its components.
For example, in accordance with this mythology, presidential power is outside the sphere of private interests. In order to manipulate, first of all, an illusion of impartiality of presidential power and its non-involvement in scandalous conflicts is created. The chief executive is just one of many (albeit the most important) government officials trying to present themselves as neutral, not pursuing a whole, except for general welfare, who serves everyone impartially and disinterestedly. In America, for more than half a century, all the media have unanimously created the myth of the FBI as a highly effective, law enforcement body that is far from politics. In practice, the bureau was constantly used to intimidate and curb those who are unhappy with the social structure of the country.
It is believed that the media should also be neutral. Some deviations from impartiality in the presentation of news are recognized, but the press assures us that these are nothing more than mistakes made by individuals who cannot be considered as shortcomings of generally reliable information dissemination institutions. The fact that the mass media (print, periodicals, radio and television) are almost without exception business enterprises that derive their income from trading their time or stripes does not seem to confuse the apologists of the objectivity and integrity of information services. In Nixon's time, the role of the media was often questioned, but only because they were not right enough.
Science, which today, more than any other type of mental activity, has become an integral part of the corporate economy, also claims to value neutrality. Ignoring the unambiguous nature of the sources of its financing, the direction of its research, the application of its theories and the nature of the paradigms it creates, science supports the idea of its isolation from social forces affecting all other activities of the state.
The education system from primary school to university level, according to manipulator claims, is also free from directional ideological influence. However, the result is obvious: surprisingly, what an impressive percentage of graduates at each level of education continues, despite all the hype about the counterculture, to believe in the ethics of competing business entrepreneurship and follow it.
Everywhere in the social sphere, the concepts of neutrality and objectivity are resorted to whenever it comes to characterizing value-oriented, directed activities that support the prevailing established system. The essential element of the continued functioning of the management system is the carefully cultivated myth that no private groups or views have a dominant influence on important decision-making processes in the country. Traditional economics asserts that everyone — buyers and sellers, workers and employers — are in a roughly equal position in the marketplace and decide their own destiny in an uncontrollable sphere of independent decision-making in favor of a choice. Manipulation in a market economy is a semblance of that optical illusion, which everyone fears and which everyone is trying to get rid of, but instead of fighting it, they simply try not to notice it. The same thing happens in the marketplace of ideas. Manipulators claim that there is no ideology acting as a control mechanism. There is only, they argue, the information-scientific spectrum, from which a neutral scientist, teacher, government official, or any person chooses information that is most appropriate for the model of truth that he is trying to build. At the very beginning of the period of the most acute social conflicts in the history of the United States and the strengthening of manipulative management, Daniel Bell published a book announcing the “end of ideology”.
The Myth of Media Pluralism. The idea of personal choice made in terms of cultural and informational diversity is advertised on a global scale as a characteristic feature of life in America. This view is also characteristic of the structure of the convictions of most Americans, which makes them particularly malleable with scrupulous manipulation. That is why this myth is the main myth that ensures the success of manipulation. Choice and diversity - although the concepts are different, they are still inseparable from each other; choice is really impossible without diversity. If in reality there are no objects of choice, then the choice is either meaningless or is manipulative. The choice is also manipulative when it creates the illusion that it makes sense.
This fact is difficult to verify, but there is every reason to believe that the illusion of informational choice is inherent in the United States more than in other countries. The illusion is reinforced by the intentionally supported media bureaucracy’s readiness to accept the abundance of mass media for a variety of content. It is easy to believe that a country with 0.8 thousand commercial radio stations, more than 700 commercial television stations, 1.5 thousand daily newspapers, hundreds of periodicals, the film industry producing about two hundred new feature films each year, and a private publishing industry with a capital exceeding a billion dollars, should provide its people a huge information and entertainment variety.
In practice, with the exception of a rather small select part of the population that knows what it needs and can therefore take advantage of the massive flow of information, most Americans, mostly, albeit subconsciously, fall into an information trap lacking any choice. In messages from abroad and about events inside the country or even in the local news there is practically no diversity of opinions. This is primarily due to the identity of the material and ideological interests of the owners (in this case, those who own the media), as well as the monopolistic nature of the information industry as a whole.
Information monopolies limit information choice in all areas of its activities. They offer only one version of reality - their own. Most national newspapers, magazines, and films produced by national or regional information conglomerates fall into the category of such media. The number of American cities in which there are competing newspapers, in the past significantly reduced.
Despite the competition for the audience between the three main television networks, only two conditions determine the scope of the programs they offer. Leading a lively competition for the conquest of as many viewers as possible, all television companies nevertheless offer programs similar in form and content. If ABC successfully demonstrates a series of westerns, then CBC and NBC are “competing” with it, showing at the same time modern action films (hoot-em-up). In addition, each of the three national companies is a part or is itself a huge information business enterprise with trends peculiar to all business enterprises that set a profit as their main goal. It follows that the diversity of the information and entertainment sector consists only in showing superficially different versions of the main categories of programs. For example, there are several discussion television programs that are shown late in the evening, maybe from a half-dozen episodes about private detectives, Westerns and films on the subject of law and order, there are various news commentators on all three television networks offering mostly identical information. You can turn on the radio and hear the news round-the-clock on one, up to two programs, or listen to the 40 best songs offered by the “competing” presenters of the mechanically recorded programs. Although it is not necessary that all programs, performers, commentators or informational reviews resemble competitors' programs, there is no significant qualitative difference between them. Just as “supermarkets” sell the same soap in six different packages, pharmacies offer an infinite number of aspirin tablets at different prices, so the mechanical presenters lose the same records between the performances that the various products advertise.
Semi-finished products are infinitely varied: programs in various cities and rural areas are not similar in appearance. The main centers of the metropolis have half a dozen television channels, thirty or forty radio stations, two or three newspapers and dozens of movie theaters. Areas with a smaller number of cities, as a rule, do not have such extensive information and entertainment opportunities. The more information sources, the more informational messages and irritants, obviously. But whether the information flow is plentiful, scanty - the result is usually the same. Spectacles, news, information and messages are selected from one information storeroom to “gatekeepers”, whose activities are inevitably motivated by the same commercial requirements. Style and metaphors can be different, but the essence does not change.
And yet, it is these conditions of informational pluralism, which is essentially devoid of any diversity, and make the dominant programming system of consciousness so powerful. The multichannel information flow makes one believe in the illusory concept of free information choice. At the same time, its main goal is to permanently consolidate the existing status quo. Similar drivers, coming from supposedly diverse sources, provide listeners (viewers) and readers with an idea of unmanaged, relatively free and completely natural information. How could it be otherwise with such an abundance of programs and ways to transfer them? Receiving corporate profits — the main goal of informational conglomerates — whatever decisive role it plays — remains for consumers of cultural industry images as some kind of invisible abstraction. One thing can be said with certainty: the media try not to attract the attention of the audience to the very fact of their existence and the methods of their work.
George Gerbner in his article “American American” wrote: “... the question is not whether the media are free, but who, how, with what purpose and with what consequences does the inevitable management of them take place?”
The television editor of the Veraeti program, penetrating the façade of the selection myth, poses two fundamental questions: “One of the myths about American television is based on the idea that it functions as a cultural democracy, according to which programs survive or die by the will of the majority . More precisely, mainly in the field of entertainment - this is a cultural oligarchy, managed in the general interests of advertisers. As a rule, the largest advertisers of television — manufacturers of food products, medicines, beverages, household goods, automobiles and cigarettes before 1971 — by the way, primarily sought to achieve the greatest distribution among representatives of the middle strata, so that the density of viewers became the main criterion in assessing programs. This emphasis on the popularity of programs created the appearance of their democratic selection on television. In fact, even the highly popular programs (regardless of whether the viewer suffers) disappear from the air if the audience for which they are designed is not of interest to advertisers. ”
The similarity of the fundamentals of information material and the cultural content of the programs transmitted by each individual mass media leads to the need to analyze the mass media system as a whole. The media is constantly being strengthened. Since they operate in accordance with commercial rules, rely on advertising and are closely related (both in structure and because of relations with firms ordering advertising programs) with the corporate economy, the media is an industry, not an association of independent, free existing entrepreneurs, each of which offers individual products. By necessity and in their structure, the images and messages they deliver, with rare exceptions, are created taking into account the achievement of identical goals, which, in simple terms, serve to ensure profitability, affirmation and maintenance of a consumer society based on private ownership.
Accordingly, research aimed at disclosing the influence of a single television program or film, or even a whole category of “irritants”, such as violence on television, often fails to produce any results. Who can confidently assert that violence on the television screen causes crime among young people, when propaganda of violence is characteristic of all mass media channels? How can it be considered that any one kind of program causes chauvinistic or racist behavior, when the motivators and images that evoke such feelings are followed in a continuous stream through all channels?
It is generally recognized that television is the most powerful mass media. Indeed, it is difficult to overestimate its influence as a supplier of system values. Nevertheless, television, no matter how powerful, depends on the absence of contradictory predators in other channels of the media. Each of the information channels contributes, but the result is always the same - strengthening the status quo.
From time to time, the use of repetitions and amplification by all media is recognized in a rather unusual, indirect way. For example, one of the country's most influential weekly publications, “TV Guide” (“TV Guide”), which is analyzed in more detail below, complaining about how negative ideas about the United States are created on TV screens in Western Europe, offers several instructive revelations. In an article titled “Through the Glass is Visible Badly,” Robert Muzel writes: “Earlier this year in Monaco, I spoke with Frank Shakespeare, head of the US Information Agency, about what kind of idea of the United States develops and what’s the role of the program here in Europe Reference system. It simply means that the same picture about America is perceived differently by the European and American viewers. From birth, an American consciously or unconsciously absorbs the flow of information about his country and people, and this gives him a kind of “reference system” that allows him to evaluate, say, a radical opportunist grieving his homeland. A European has no such foundation. He sees only a well-known American writer, or a public figure, or a movie star, mourning, perhaps, the alleged sunset of democracy in the United States. And he believes in it. "
The author unequivocally hints that most Americans are supplied with a reliable “reference system” imposed on them “consciously” or “subconsciously” by such sources of information as “TV Guide” and hundreds of others. Backed up in this way, the average American will accept only the information that approves the consumer society and rejects any critical material. When an American is properly “prepared”, he is then made relatively invulnerable to conflicting reports, however truthful they may be. There is no doubt that the “frame of reference” would not be so effective if the media were truly pluralistic in nature (as they claim themselves), and their messages would be truly diverse. However, thanks to the efforts of numerous, but only superficially different from each other media, the consciousness of most people since childhood has been reliably programmed.
The myth of the absence of social conflicts. The desire to focus on the shortcomings of revolutionary social movements is only one, international, aspect of the activity of manipulators by concealing from the public the reality of the existence of domination and exploitation.
Manipulators, drawing a picture of life inside the country, completely deny the existence of social conflicts. At first glance, this question seems unreal. After all, violence is the same characteristic of America as apple pie. And it is present not only in real, but also in imaginary life: in films, on television, on the radio - the daily portion of scenes of violence offered to the public is simply amazing. How does this carnival of conflicts get along with the intention of the bosses of the media to create an image of social harmony? However, this contradiction is resolved quite simply.
The national information processing apparatus considers the conflict as an exclusively individual matter to its manifestations, and to its origin. For manipulators of culture and information, the social roots of conflict simply do not exist. There are, however, "glorious little" and "gangsters", but, with the exception of such standard situations as in Westerns, considered to be a thing of the past, role identification is no longer associated with the main social categories.
Black, brown, yellow, red and other ethnic groups of America have always occupied an unseemly place in the products of the cultural industry. And yet, these are just minorities that were exploited to varying degrees by all sections of the white population. As for the main division of society - workers and business owners, then, as a rule, it has not been analyzed. All attention is paid to other problems - mainly the desire to get up the middle class, which is considered to be the majority of the population.
The reluctance to recognize and explain the deepest of all the conflict situations of the social order in the United States is by no means a new aspect of the activity of the cultural information apparatus. To this practice resorted for a long time. Genuine, recognizing this reality works are very rare in the mass information flow. In fact, the banality of programs designed, especially those relating to major social events, is explained by the institutional inability of the media to recognize and identify the foundations of social conflicts. This is not at all an oversight and not a sign of creative inability, but the result of a deliberate policy pursued by people who determine cultural policy.
The ruling elite requires the omission or distortion of social reality. True analysis and discussion of social conflict can only increase resistance to social inequality. Economically powerful groups and companies become very irritable as soon as their exploitative activities become the object of attention. The editor of the television program "Veraeti" Les Brown describes the following case. The Coca-Cola Food Company and the Florida Fruit and Wedgeble Association reacted very sharply to the documentary film Nomad, which described the nomadic fruit pickers in Florida. “It’s a miracle that the film Nomad was shot at all,” wrote Brown. NBC company received a warning demanding to abandon the demonstration program, because it was "biased". From the company required to cut some frames, and something really had to cut. In the end, after the demonstration, “Coca-Cola” gave all its advertising to CBC and NBC.
At the level of commercial programs, showing films that affect social problems causes a mass of audience anxiety, as at least researchers of the audience believe. Therefore, to ensure the largest possible audience, firms ordering advertising programs always strive to remove potentially “contradictory” material.
Of all types of entertainment and cultural products in the United States, the greatest success and support from the media has always been those films, television programs, books and public shows (for example, Disneyland) that offer more than enough violence but never affect social conflicts. As Freire points out, “concepts such as unity, organization, and struggle immediately receive the label of a dangerous one. And indeed, these concepts are dangerous to the oppressors, because their implementation is necessary for the liberation activity. ”
When in the late 60s. social conflict broke out, and protests against the war in Vietnam and demonstrations for social change took place almost every day, the media system for some time turned out to be confused. However, she quickly coped, and by the end of the decade a flood of films with “black” scripts hit the screens of the country. Imam Amiri Baraka called these films "modern toys for blacks." They fully complied with the prescription given by Jim Brown to the filmmakers: “The only approach that will justify itself is to approach the cinema as an industry, as a business. Blacks should stop shouting “black” and start shouting “business.” It is hardly necessary to explain that such products do not allow us to trace the roots of the events taking place, but only obscure their surface effects.
The myth of individualism and personal choice. The biggest success of manipulation, most evident in the example of the United States, is the successful use of the special conditions of Western development to perpetuate as the only correct definition of freedom in the language of the philosophy of individualism. This allowed the concept of individualism to perform two functions at once. It protects the right of private ownership of the means of production and at the same time acts as a custodian of individual well-being, suggesting, but rather insisting that the latter is unattainable without the existence of the first. The whole construction of manipulation is based on this foundation. What explains the power of this powerful concept?
There are enough grounds to claim that the sovereign rights of an individual are no more than a myth and that society and the individual are inseparable from each other. As Lomack and Berkovits and many others testify, "the beginnings of culture are rooted in cooperation and communication." Yet the basis of freedom, as it is understood in the West, is the availability of guaranteed individual choice. Personal choice has always stood out as something desired and provided in a large volume. The nature of the origin of this concept is not new. The identification of personal choice with human freedom developed side by side with the individualism of the seventeenth century, both phenomena being the product of the market economy that was born in that period.
For several centuries, personal property rights in alliance with technological progress increased productivity and thereby contributed to strengthening the belief in the importance of personal independence. With the growth of material well-being and free time, the idea that freedom is a purely personal concept, and individual rights above group rights, and that they serve as the basis for social organization, has gained its position. We note, however, that these conditions were not equally distributed among all classes of Western society, and in many countries of the world did not arise at all.
The success of the new class of entrepreneurs greatly strengthened confidence in the profitability and desirability of institutional change. Individual choice and individual decision making were at that time a functional activity, moreover, constructive and useful in improving productivity, production efficiency and increasing the profits of the business class. Significant evidence of economic development and rising productivity in Western Europe contributed to the rooting and prosperity of the claims of individualism, personal choice and private accumulation.
In the relatively recently populated United States, practically nothing prevented the introduction of an individualistic system of private entrepreneurship with its myths about personal choice and individual freedom. Entrepreneurship and its myth found fertile ground here. The distinction of the first and the strengthening of the second were inevitable. Today, it is obvious how far this process has gone, how easily the public accepts giant transnational private corporations as another example of individual initiative.
Private ownership in all spheres of life is considered to be completely normal. The American way of life, from the smallest details to the deepest ideas and practices, reflects an exclusively egocentric worldview, which in turn is an exact reflection of the structure of the economy itself. The American Dream includes personal transportation, a single-family home, a private business. Other institutions, such as the competing health care system, are considered common, if not normal, for a privately-owned economy.
Under these conditions, it should be expected that any changes will be carried out only through individual and private organizations. With the increasing disintegration of life in urban environments, land remains private property. When in the 60s. the space communication system was developed, offering a potential tool for international social communication, it was a private corporation, in which only the pro forma had three directors appointed publicly, its leadership was transferred.
Despite the fact that Southern California, like many American cities, is smog inhibited, the national economy still focuses on Detroit production and a happy idea of a three-car family.
Although individual freedom and personal choice remain the most powerful line of defense, the system of private property and production creates additional designs and develops methods for their distribution. These concepts either try to justify its existence and promise a great future, or distract attention from its glaring flaws and hide the existence of other starting points of social development.
The myth of the unchanging nature of man. Human aspirations can contribute to social change. When expectations are low, passivity prevails. Each person, of course, can develop their own ideas about political, social, economic reality, but the common denominator of all these ideas is the people's view of human nature. In the end, the view of human nature affects people's behavior, and not at all because they must act in a similar way, but only because they believe that they should do just that. One author writes the following about this: “... the behavior of people cannot but depend on theories that they themselves adhere to ... our idea of a person influences the behavior of people, because this determines what each of us expects from the other .. representation contributes to the formation of reality. "
It is easy to assume that in the United States the theory emphasizing the aggressive side of human behavior, the immutability of human nature, will find full approval, will take hold of many minds, will form the basis of most of the works and will be widely promoted by the media. Undoubtedly, an economy based on private property and individual hoarding, which encourages them and therefore is subject to personal and social conflicts, should be armed with a theory explaining and legitimizing its practical principles. How much calmer it is to assume that these conflict relations are inherent in human nature itself, and not imposed by social conditions! Such a worldview also gets along perfectly with the anti-ideological pose adopted by the system. It generates a “scientific” and “objective” approach to the conditions of human life, leads to an accurate measurement of all vicious aspects of human microbehavior, leaving aside more meaningful and less measurable social parameters.
For example, media bosses easily justify daily television programs that have half a dozen murders for every hour, arguing that television, they say, only gives people what they themselves want. Very badly, they shrug their shoulders that human nature requires violence and slaughter for eighteen hours every day.
The market readily accepts the works of authors explaining the aggressive and predatory nature of human nature, drawing parallels with the behavior of animals. Well, maybe they are right! Not a day goes by without each of us, directly or indirectly, encountering astounding inhuman behavior. Manipulators of consciousness may not care about inventing excuses that dull the mind and weaken the desire for social change. The cultural industry, acting in accordance with generally accepted principles of competitive struggle, concocts an infinite number of explanatory theories. The information machine will take care, strictly for reasons of benefit, so that people will have the “opportunity” to read, see and hear about the newest theory linking urban crime with the mating behavior of insectivores.
Fortune Magazine, for example, considers it a good sign that some American social scientists in their interpretations of social phenomena re-emphasize the "intractability of human nature." “The Orthodox view of the environment as the most important factor influencing the behavior of people,” writes the magazine, “allows us to come to a new conclusion regarding the role of hereditary factors: the desire to restructure society through the formation of a new person is replaced by a sensible understanding of the intractability of the foundation of human nature.”
The pure social effect of the thesis, which blames human nature for everything, is expressed in further disorientation, the complete inability not only to eliminate, but even to even reveal the true causes of evil and, as a main consequence, commitment to the existing status quo. This is a complete denial of what one author called the "human nature of human nature."
"... To believe that the aggressiveness of a person or his desire for property is characteristic of his animal nature is to mistakenly take some people for all of humanity, modern society for all possible societies, using the unprecedented metamorphosis to give the social suppression from the cause of human violence to turn into its effect. Pessimism in assessing a person serves to preserve the status quo. This is a boon for the rich, a sop for politically passive, a consolation for those who continue to enjoy the benefits of a privileged position. Pessimism is too expensive for those who are deprived of civil rights - they pay for it with their freedom ... Men and women must believe that humanity can become completely human, otherwise people will never help to find a truly human face. In other words, a sober optimistic view of human capabilities (based on the recognition of human achievements, but given its weaknesses) is a necessary prerequisite for social action, the goal of which is to turn the possible into the real. ”
It is precisely in order to prevent social action (it does not matter at all whether this task is clearly formulated or not) and so much importance is attached to any form of pessimistic assessment of human capabilities. Since we are doomed because of our heredity, little can be changed. But there are too good reasons for such an underestimation of human capabilities. An entrenched social system depends on how well it manages to maintain in the mass, especially in the minds of its “enlightened” part, doubt and uncertainty about human perspectives.
Manipulators of consciousness believe that the nature of man, like the whole world, is unchanged. Freire writes: "... the oppressors are developing a number of methods that exclude the presence of unsolved problems in the world, they depict the world as a kind of established organism, something given from above, something to which people, being just spectators, must adapt."
In this case, it is not necessary to ignore the story. On the contrary, the constant rehashing of the events of the past accompanies ranting about what changes are taking place under our noses. But all this will certainly change the physical nature - new means of transport, air-conditioning installations, space rockets, packaged food products. The manipulators of consciousness stop at these issues in detail, but diligently avoid considering changes in social relations or in institutional structures supporting the economy.
Any possible futuristic fabrications are discussed and developed in detail. And yet, those who will use these amazing programs will continue to marry, raise children in suburban homes, work for private companies, vote for the president in a two-party system and spend a significant portion of their income on defense, law, order and maintenance of the super highway. . The world, with the exception of some attractive surface change of scenery, will remain the same, the basic relations will not change, because they, like the very nature of man, are obviously permanent. As for the part of the world where far-reaching social changes have already occurred, the reports of them (if there are any at all) emphasize only shortcomings, problems and crises, for which the manipulators of consciousness within the country are happy to cling to.
If suddenly favorable messages appear, they are “balanced” by negative evaluations, restoring the “proper” and well-known picture. (On rare occasions, when films about socialist countries appeared on US television screens, the commentator cautiously helped the viewer to “correctly” interpret what they had seen.) Otherwise, this may disrupt the habitual thinking so diligently cultivated by all our information channels.
The myths we have reviewed constitute a manipulative system. Let us now briefly analyze its form.
2. Two methods that form consciousness.
Crushing as a form of communication. Myths are created in order to keep people in obedience. When they manage to quietly be introduced into the consciousness of the masses, as the cultural and information apparatus does, myths acquire tremendous power, for most people are unaware of the ongoing manipulation. A special myth transfer method makes the management procedure even more efficient. The transfer method itself adds another dimension to the mapipulation process. In essence, we are confronted with the fact that, as such, the form of communication, developed in a market economy, and in particular in the United States, personifies mind control. This is most clearly manifested in the method of disseminating information, especially widely used in the United States, a method that we call fragmentation. Using a slightly different terminology, Freyreux calls it “one of the characteristic methods of cultural repression, which, with rare exceptions, is not realized by dedicated, but naive professionals, who focus on a localized approach to problems and therefore are not able to perceive them as measurements of one common problem in general ". Fragmentation or localization is the dominant method of disseminating information in North America. When broadcasting news on radio and television, numerous unrelated messages are shot on the air like an automaton queue. Newspapers are thick (dozens of pages) collections of material, located almost Hayraffj or in accordance with the secret laws of the journalist "
Newspapers and magazines deliberately smash articles by placing the bulk of the text at the end of a number in order to force the reader to view several pages of advertising. Radio and television programs are constantly interrupted to transmit advertising. Advertising and announcements have become so firmly established in the practice of radio and television that even programs for children, which are said to be compiled for educational purposes, use an interrupted model of commercial television, although there are no weighty reasons to believe that children cannot long focus on what then one and require constant breaks. In practice, a gradual increase in the period of time when children concentrate on one thing can be a factor with which you can control the development of their mental abilities. Nevertheless, Sesame Street, a popular program for children, does not differ in style from the commercial shows for adults that hit the brains; its compilers should follow the learned model, otherwise they risk losing the children's audience brought up in commercial programs.
Fragmentation when submitting information is intensified due to the demand of the consumer economy to fill in the time of transmissions on all channels of dissemination of information with commercial messages. Calls to buy attack us from all possible directions. Subways, highways, waves of the air, mail and even the sky (drawing letters on airplanes) - everything is used as a means of ruthless advertising offensive. The complete indifference with which the advertisement relates to any political or social events, breaking into the programs regardless of what they are talking about, reduces any social phenomena to the level of meaningless incidents. Thus, advertising, in addition to its generally recognized functions of selling goods, cultivating new consumer inquiries and praising the system, provides the corporate economy with another invaluable service. Her intervention in all information and entertainment programs reduces the already low ability of the audience to critically evaluate the total nature of the event or problem being covered.
However, it would be erroneous to believe that without advertising or subject to its reduction, events would receive the kind of holistic coverage that is necessary to understand the complexity of modern social life. Achieving benefits for those who pay for it, advertising is thus the very system, and this leads inevitably to increased fragmentation in the presentation of information.
It would be naive to assume that the information apparatus — the most capable lever of state system control — will reveal the secret of the exercise of domination. Take, for example, the principle of compiling a regular television or radio program or the layout of the first page of a major daily newspaper. Common to all is the complete heterogeneity of the material supplied and the absolute denial of the relationship between the social events covered. The radio and television discussion programs are compelling examples of fragmentation as a form of presentation. The accidental appearance in a multidimensional program of polemics with the main content of this topic or people completely disperses or reduces the significance of the debate itself. Whatever is said, everything is completely dissolved in subsequent advertisements, comic stunts, intimate scenes and gossip. But that is not all. Programs of this kind are played up as examples of the goodwill of the system itself. The media and their bosses boast the frankness of the information system, which allows you to broadcast any critical material. A mass audience comes across this argument and believes that it is granted access to a free stream of opinions.
The ecological imperative of recognizing interconnection is one of the methods of science that can reasonably be applied to human relations. When the total nature of a social problem is deliberately bypassed, and fragmentary information about it is offered as reliable “information,” the results of this approach are always the same: lack of understanding, at best, ignorance, apathy and, as a rule, indifference.
The media is not alone in actively choosing the method of fragmentation. The entire cultural and educational system encourages and carries out sputtering, specialization and microscopic separation. University guides serve as evidence of the arbitrary and forcible division of courses across social subjects. Each of the disciplines defends its “purity”, and the most popular models that exclude interdisciplinary interconnection. Economics - for economists, politics - for scientists involved in political science. And although in reality these two spheres are inseparable from each other, scientifically their relationship is denied or ignored.
With the introduction of information technology in the information system, fragmentation acquires another dimension. The flow of unrelated information is accelerated to such an extent that it sometimes causes to a certain extent well-founded complaints about “information overload”. In fact, the amount of relevant information is increasing. Just as advertising interferes with concentrating and deprives the weight of interrupted information, a new and effective information processing technique allows you to fill the stream with streams of useless information, which further complicates the already hopeless search for meaning for an individual.
Immediacy of information transfer. Immediacy is not only closely related to the method of fragmentation, but is an indispensable element for its implementation. This quality contributes to the enhancement of the manipulative capabilities of the information system. The fact that information does not have any permanent structure also reduces the possibility of its understanding. And yet, promptness - reporting directly from the scene - remains one of the most important principles of American journalism. Social systems that are unable to provide immediate information are considered hopelessly backward ineffective or, much more seriously, socially criminal.
But the speed at the transfer of information can hardly be considered an advantage as such. In America, a competition-based system turns information into a commodity, and the benefit is to be the first to get and give a perishable commodity like news. The case of Jack Anderson, the famous feuilletonist, is a vivid illustration of the situation. He could not resist the temptation to make documented unconfirmed accusations against Thomas Eagleton, who in 1972 fought for the right to remain on the list of candidates for the post of vice president from the Democratic Party. Caught in the inaccuracy of information (after the maximum damage was done to Eagleton), Anderson apologized, accusing the “competition” of everything. If he didn’t come out with his messages, someone else would certainly use this material.
In the United States and other Western countries, the process of disseminating information, using modern electronic technology and driven by competition, is constantly carried out in a difficult, tense atmosphere. In cases of actual or imaginary crises, an unfavorable and completely unreasonable atmosphere of hysteria and high energy is injected. The false sense of urgency arising from the emphasis on immediacy creates a sense of the extraordinary importance of the subject of information, which dissipates just as quickly. Accordingly, the ability to differentiate information by importance is weakened. Fast-track reports of aircraft accidents and the onset of national liberation forces, embezzlement and strikes, extreme heat, etc. interfere with the preparation of estimates and judgments. In this state of affairs, the mental process of sorting, which in normal conditions contributes to the understanding of information, is not able to perform this function. The brain turns into a sieve, into which a heap of sometimes important, but mostly empty informational messages fall out every hour.
In New York, for example, tomorrow's newspapers can be bought as early as 22 hours 30 minutes. The significance of tomorrow’s newspaper lies precisely in the fact that it helps to forget all that has happened today. Having dealt with the events of today, the sources of information are switched to the filing of the next stream of unrelated messages. However, most important events ripen and make sense only after a certain time has passed. One and a half minute informational “lightning” transmitted via satellites does not contribute to an understanding of their development. The sheer concentration of attention on current events destroys the necessary connection with the past.
This is not a technique that allows and facilitates the immediate transfer of information. Such a technique exists and can play a positive role in other conditions. The subject of our concern is the existing social system, which uses the technique of fast transmission of information to disperse or deprive the meaning of information and at the same time asserts that the speed at which messages are delivered serves the cause of understanding and education.
It is easy to imagine electronic devices that will use immediacy as an additional means of deepening the meaning of the transmitted information. However, it is hard to believe that immediacy as an effective manipulative technique will not be used by manipulators of consciousness in order to prevent the masses from understanding and understanding the essence of the events.
3. Passivity is the ultimate goal of mind manipulation.
The content and form of the media - the myths and the means of their transmission - are fully based on manipulation. With the successful application of a and this, of course, it is, they inevitably lead to the passivity of the individual, to a state of inertia that prevents action. It is this state of the individual that the mass media and the entire system as a whole seek to achieve, since passivity guarantees the preservation of the status quo.
In a developed market economy, passivity has both a physical and an intellectual dimension, and both of them are skillfully exploited by the mind manipulation apparatus.
Television is only the newest and most effective means, causing a state of passivity of the individual. The statistics of time spent on television are already striking. Americans spend hundreds of millions of hours a week and billions of hours a year on TV without showing the slightest desire to go out of the living room. Yet the problem is much deeper than just the physical immobility of tens of millions of people. The reduction in mental activity is also the result of the stupefying effect of the infinite number of hours spent watching television. It is difficult to measure, but nevertheless, the pacifying effect of television on critical consciousness is of paramount importance. As Rudolf Arnheim writes, “one of the specific features of television is that we turn on the TV, and then we perceive everything that is happening on the screen, which means an extremely passive attitude on the part of the viewer. It does not matter what is shown. This may be a program in a foreign language or something else that does not represent any interest. And the irritant, to which you practically do not react, puts you to sleep. This is reminiscent of lulling, does not irritate you, does not force you to react, but simply frees you from the need to exercise at least some mental activity. Your brain works in a non-binding direction. Your feelings, which otherwise would force you to take any active actions, are completely distracted.
It is safe to say that to achieve a state of passivity, the corporate economy uses not only television. Before the advent of television, there were a lot of tools that had the same blunting effect on consciousness. Radio, cinema, mass entertainment sports and a large number of longer or less significant shows have weakened and continue to weaken the ability of people to counteract.
Although the majority of such entertainment does not require participation from you, at least in the physical sense, but there are nothing in the mainstream entertainment arts - radio, television, cinema - that could take you out of your mental stupor. Of course, occasionally there are programs that awaken the mind and concentrate on problems of great importance. But these exceptions can not hide the main thing. The goal of radio and television programs and films in a commercial society is not to awaken, but to put anxiety over the social and economic reality.
Moreover, decisive measures are being taken to ensure that the exceptions remain as such, Fred Friendly talks about his experience working in CBS in the 1950s, when he and Edward R. Morrow shot their critical documentaries. Smozers and Brazer also very soon discovered how short they were being dragged when they tried to afford a few insignificant attacks against the establishment in their program. Their program was immediately banned.
In technical terms, information technology has the spread of passivity. How to easily turn the switch, get on the couch and allow the images to freely penetrate into the brain. When the property of communication technology is supported by socially prepared programs that deliberately pursue such a paralyzing effect, the result is usually astounding. One of the reviewers wrote in the heyday of the American newsreel of the 1930s that “the American newsreel tells the audience about football matches, floods, beauty in bathing suits and celebrities. The viewer of the 30s. he learns much more about John Dillinger or Miss America than about a metalworkers strike or a Spanish civil war. ”
Such a combination of programs lacking the vital content and communication equipment that is passive to them is the instrument of the modern apparatus for manipulating consciousness. Efforts are needed to overcome or at least create a counterbalance to this system that causes passivity. A creative approach could foster participation in the awakening of consciousness, but the corporate economy cannot be expected to stimulate such efforts. In any case, the first, modest task should be the comprehension of the manipulative function of information tools in all its manifestations.