The state-of-the-political/marketing-art is to conduct surveys to determine what people really, really want — what they feel they can’t live without – and then promise them exactly that. Frame (disguise) whatever you have for sale in terms of those most basic, deepest needs. After they’re hooked, then switch.
Here’s the upside of this dismally deceptive state-of-the-art: The empty promises are a well-researched, accurate gauge of peoples’ valid needs and deepest desires. A partial check-list includes: Change we can believe in. Hope. Accountable, transparent government. Authentic leadership. A paradigm shift. Compassion. Collaboration. Opportunity. Freedom. Justice.
But the burning question remains. How do We-the-People (whose desires are exploited by false leaders/teachers to make themselves rich and powerful), get from here to there?
How do we get from cynical promises (which self-serving, irresponsible opinion-pollsters have no intention or ability whatsoever to deliver) to the real deal?
This is a pervasive, many-faceted problem. I keep making unpleasant encounters with new variations. Two recent examples include a book on the future recommended by a LinkedIn connection who claimed it resembles mine. The second was a CEO’s LinkedIn post about Ferguson issues (which is also the focus of “Beware of Disinformation” shown below.)
Naming names would miss the point. It’s the dynamic, not particular individuals, I’m targeting. Besides of which, only counter-productive rounds of retaliatory accusations would result from being specific.
In both recent examples, dilution/co-opting of language/ideas is the constant. I’m learning that this dynamic is as pervasive in the knowledge industry — universities and publishing corporations – as it is in politics. The formula seems to be, take all the most sacred words in the language and turn them into buzz. That way, whatever you have for sale takes on the aura of the sacred. Conversely, when those with authentic ideas which could actually deliver on those deepest needs use these sacred works – people who represent a serious threat to status quo power-holders – they can’t be recognized. Because the powerful words have been co-opted, it’s next to impossible to distinguish genuine and sincere leaders from the glut of false gurus on the market.
In my two recent examples, a futurist and a CEO have poured as many as buzz words as possible into a single glass. “Positive. Change. Revolution. Collaboration. Paradigm. Unity. Equity.” Then shake, do not stir.
The futurist comes highly recommended from the small community of back-scratching, best-selling new age gurus who promote each others’ books. He spins a vague vision of “quantum interconnectedness” to predict what one reviewer calls a future of the “spiritual-Borg:” collectivists ruled by and dependent on community consensus. He takes an ancient, scriptural reference to akasha and turns even that into a glamorous but meaningless buzz word.
But there is a glimmer of hope. Every once in awhile, an authentic voice arises which stands above the rest. Someone recognizes that personal self-responsibility rather than collective action is the first line of positive action. Someone, who, like me, insists that positive change necessarily takes place one person at a time, and from the inside out.
Let me introduce you to John Williams, who posted a LinkedIn blog called “Principles We Can Take Away From Ferguson.” At last count, there were 53 views and 3 likes (one of them mine). No buzz. No empty promises. But solid, first-rate, practical recommendations.
However, in contrast, sadly but predictably, at last count the self-promoting CEO had 91,528 views and 2,278 likes (as well as very mixed-reviews). His article reads like the carefully manicured product of a focus-group process, full of empty, shop-worn buzzers – “positive” being the worst offender. All the changes he recommends depend on experts and groups conducting empty, tried-and-disproven committee efforts guaranteed to accomplish nothing much.
My take away is that the knowledge industry promotes and protects the Agents of Disinformation. It marginalizes, when it can’t entirely exclude, other voices. It feeds on the demands/expectation that we be told (whether it be true or not) only what we want to hear.
Below, in “Beware of Disinformation,” I acknowledge Edward Bernays as the inventor of public relations, known in Hitler’s time as propaganda, and today as spin. The remedy available to We-the-People is genuinely Positive Action.
To this end, let’s rename the dragon and snake described below.
Because he’s been tied in a knot, turned upside-down and headed due South, I gave the dragon the pet-name DRAG. Let’s uncoil our energies and desires, turn them right-side up and redirect them True North. Let’s put paralyzing fears and confusion behind, take heart/courage to deserve a new name, GET IT ON.
Similarly, uncoil the American Revolution’s mascot, the rattlesnake on the Tea-Party flag that warns, “Don’t Tread on Me.” I nick-named him DON’T because he resists oppression, but hasn’t as yet generated authentically positive alternatives. Let him show us his true value and take a new name: CAN DO.
Let’s breathe life into our representative mascots, allow them the full-spectrum colors of their energetic potentials, rather than letting them see (and be seen) in black and white extremes only.
BEWARE of DISINFORMATION
An entangled dragon completes the earlier picture, “Hidden Danger Eludes Us.”
This suggestive image surely has as many meaning as there are viewers. However, this time, I’ll tell you a few of the things “Drag” (my pet name for him) means to me – in this context.
In Chinese mythology, dragons represent the invisible power associated with spirit – universal intelligence, the psyche or soul. They’re somewhat similar to the coiled snake called Kundalini in the Hindu tradition. In latent form, she rests unconscious at the base of the human spine, but gradually uncoils to rise through the energy centers called chakras as human consciousness evolves.
Another close relative is the coiled red-on-black rattlesnake pictured on the yellow flag flown by colonists during the American Revolution. “Don’t” is my pet name for him, short for “DON’T TREAD ON ME.” In recent times, Don’t has been given second life by Tea Party members, sending the message that like their ancestors, they’re fed up to the boiling point of rebellion with government abuses.
However, in this particular illustration, Drag appears (to me) to be in trouble. He’s uncoiling, but he’s tied in a knot. He’s stuck. Further, he’s not rising. His head points not True North, but due South, which (to me) means BIG TROUBLE.
Here’s the segue to the earlier picture of teeter-tottering adversaries engrossed in murderous enmity, oblivious to the live grenade beneath them, threatening both with extinction – the final oblivion.
There are several different directions this can take. I’ve narrowed the choices to three. Because I’ve already written on this in Rethinking Survival, I’m just summing up major points here. In each case, ongoing Ferguson events and the escalating outpouring of opinions make my point – in spades.
1. Most of us are ignorant of the natural law encoded in the Book of Change. We are (almost as if intentionally) left in ignorance of how we tick at an energetic/emotional level. By extension, we act in ignorance of the human dynamics that drive human relationships, from families to governments and international conglomerates. For this reason, we fail even in sincere efforts to create the positive change everyone wants, many promise, but few deliver.
To me, the invisible ticking time-bomb (threatening both missile-throwing rivals without prejudice) represents volatile unconscious energies. Politicians, marketers and their handlers know how to set them off. They intentionally fuel and harness mindless animosities to enrich military armaments industries and their stockholders, to the danger (and impoverishment) of the rest of us.
2. Especially in the case of Ferguson, the volatile mistrust and empty slogan throwing are grist for escalating police-state dynamics which threaten the freedom of ALL of us. We’re pointed, goose-stepping towards the creation of another fascist state, all in the sentimental double-speak names of freedom, human rights and “justice.” Ironically, the USA is tied in knots. Bottled up long enough, the inarticulate, volatile aspirations and frustrations of the coiled rattlesnake explode, heedless of what targets they destroy –or what the long-term consequences. Oppression of an even more nightmarish form is in the works, being fueled, ironically, in the name of resisting and ending oppression.
3. A critical key is the prevailing dysfunctional empirical science paradigm to which most of pay token lip service. It disallows the existence of not only the subliminal level of emotional content that underlies rational thought and action, but also the deeper core of True North reality called conscience, or the True Self.
Without the Positive Paradigm of Change, we’re stuck, operating blindly without a complete and accurate road map. Even when we have the intuitive experience of the middle and innermost levels of the Life Wheel, we don’t have permission/confidence to know what we know.
We haven’t been educated to recognize the sleeping dragons that move us. We remain ignorant as to how to effectively harness them so they take us in the direction of the positive change we ardently desire.
Further, we don’t recognize when/how others intentionally manipulate our unconscious drives, and NOT in our best interests. We don’t have the means for protecting ourselves from manipulators and their dark intentions.
Nor is this lack of a functional, positive paradigm and its related methods/protections an accident. The information is available. But creative, useful work is systematically banned from public awareness. A positive paradigm is our best interests, but NOT in the interests of those who profit hugely from systematically manipulating the public.
I warned about Bernays and the illusion of democracy in Rethinking Survival. As yet, no one has paid attention. Why not is explained in an eloquent blog (to the same point) by Charles Cawley called “Americans: happy to be manipulated?” posted 11-25-14 on writerbeat.com. It’s but a small leap to connect the dots between dishonesty (disinformation, manipulation, culturally reinforced ignorance) and the outcomes, like Ferguson and its ripple effect in all directions.
Cawley writes, in part:
The principles of Behaviorism developed by BF Skinner and Bernays are key to the foundations of modern advertising, business practice and politics.. . Cosmetic politics have created a generation of reactive politicians who second guess what will appeal to voters and say what is needed to get people to vote for them. This can include significant dishonesty. This process is reactive and marginalizes or even excludes new ideas, policies, and creativity to provide solutions to current economic and political issues. . .
The issue of propaganda is immense and desperately needs urgent attention. However, vested interests have heavily bought into the manipulative dishonest approach to propaganda (a la Bernays and Skinner) and they are a major barrier to engaging with the future. . . . they appear to be destroying democracy. How much more serious can you get than this?
Cawley repeats my frequent warning, WAKE UP!
If we do not wake up and replace manipulation to engineer obedience with stimulation to work well events will crush us all.
It is as serious as that.. . . We have the choice to end this delusional activity ourselves or let events do it for us. The latter will be an immeasurably more costly, painful and bitter experience. This is the dark negative heart of behaviorist manipulation.
I go one step further. It’s not enough to pinpoint the dynamics of manipulators and their smoke screen of disinformation. A remedy in the form of correct and positive information – a complete and accurate reality map – is also required. False information must be rooted out; it must then be substituted with a practical, useful replacement.
In sum, we’re sitting on a time bomb and fail to recognize it. We’re distracted by dramatic, polarizing events which mask the deeper dynamics and inherent danger to us all. To repeat Einstein’s warning, “We shall require a significantly new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” I agree with Cawley. It’s that serious. Human survival is at stake.