Some thoughts about propaganda

I did some research on the book “Propaganda”, and I managed to find an online version of Edward Bernays’ book here.

As Noam Chomsky noted, the word “propaganda” was a neutral word until it was used for less than noble purposes, such as for political motives to gain power and control.

“The term “propaganda,” incidentally, did not have negative connotations in those days. It was during the second World War that the term became taboo because it was connected with Germany, and all those bad things. But in this period, the term propaganda just meant information or something like that.”

Like what he wrote, “propaganda” was synonymous with information (and it was neither positive nor negative). I think it depends on how information is used by people – is it to gain power and control at the expense of other people’s well-being or is it to benefit people and the environment?

It seems that according to Edward Bernay’s book, he was co-operating with big corporations and politicians to manipulate the masses to buy certain products (such as tobacco cigarettes) and to “stage-manage” or orchestrate general elections respectively in the country. Perhaps this form of propaganda is not new, as I learnt that it has been used in ancient history, such as by the Pharaohs in ancient Egypt and Augustus Caesar in the Roman empire.

http://www.pbs.org/empires/egypt/newkingdom/architecture.html
“The pharaohs also controlled the news through carvings on the temple walls – an early form of propaganda. Pharaohs – particularly Hatshepsut and Ramesses II – used this power of information to its full capacity , to legitimize their own reign and to rewrite failures into glorious successes.”

http://www.students.sbc.edu/smith04/ancientrome.html
“Augustus also employed poets and other writers so that his propaganda could be more widely dispersed. Vitruvius wrote his ten-volume “On Architecture” under the patronage of Augustus. While Vitruvius wrote on technology, city planning, acoustics, and engineering as well as architecture, there are also hints of imperial propaganda in his works.”

From my knowledge, propaganda has also been used in other countries, such as communist countries, extensively for political purposes to establish their regimes. I daresay propaganda has been used in most, if not all, countries in some form or other, in varying degrees.

I can understand it is disturbing to read about how propaganda has been used by corporations and governments to pull the wool over the majority of the populations’ eyes – I feel aghast at the attempts by establishments and authorities to influence and control the masses through propaganda. It seems the future looks bleak and hopeless, and most of us appear to be helpless victims of such mass manipulation and conditionings.

On the other hand, while we can acknowledge that all of us have been conditioned in some ways through the mass media by corporations, governments, religious organisations, schools and so on as we were growing up, we can also do something about it in our own capacity. We can realise that those in the “elite” groups or the “powers that be” are not necessarily better off than the rest of us because they are caught in their own web of deceit. In actuality, we are no more a slave to the governments/corporations/religious institutions than they are a slave to their own system because as long as they continue to resort to manipulation and trickery, they will continually have to maintain the facade and circus performance by their own efforts. Besides, they are also enslaved by fear and greed (in their own self-created competitive world). All forms of manipulation to gain power and control, whether by governments, corporations, religious institutitons and so on, are motivated by fear and greed, and that itself is a mental prison. I doubt that a ruler or a leader living in that kind of environment is truly happy and at ease with himself. In comparison, those of us who live a simple and carefree lifestyle are far happier and more contented than the so-called elites. So, we are the truly free ones, not slaves. We are the “powers that be”, so to speak.

Like what this nugget says:

The wise man knows that it is better to sit on the banks of a remote mountain stream than to be emperor of the whole world.

~ Chuang Tzu ~

We can also do our part in speaking out against injustice in our own ways, such as blogging, to help spread the awareness and stop or curb the lies and injustice propagated by some big corporations, politicians and religious establishments. We can also use the same means of communications, namely the mass media (internet, videos, etc) as our own alternative media, to offer other perspectives that have not offered by the mainstream media. People such as Tobias Lars and Ralph Smart, and websites such as Natural News and Collective Evolution, are also doing a great job to help spread awareness and expand people’s thinking about issues on healthcare, society, spirituality and so on. I like what this 12-year-old girl said in her speech during the inaugural Earth Summit in 1992.

Her impassioned speech challenging the authorities to take action to protect the environment and tackle poverty is a great reminder for people around the world to realise each of us can do our part to address the environmental crises and social crises – no effort is too small because it creates ripples that spread out to the rest of the entire ocean of creation.

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. Thank you for sharing this… Peace, love, light and blessings! May we all make a difference in our world! “White Eagle”

    1. jimmytst says:

      You are welcome, “White Eagle”. Thank you too for being a blessing and light unto the world.

      1. Whitebird & Speaks With Wings says:

        🙂

  2. amunaor says:

    You might be interested in this BBC production, which delves into the insidious history of Bernay & Freud: “THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES”:

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/12/22/212041/57/454/425671

    OR HERE:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=power+of+nightmares+part+1&tbo=p&tbs=vid:1&source=vgc&aq=1&oq=Power+of+Night

    Adam Curtis exposes the public manipulation we sense but usually don’t understand. His BBC documentaries are legendary in Britain but practically unknown in the US. An American network executive who wouldn’t even let his name be used said “we would be crucified if we showed that here”. These documentaries are like a graduate course in how the American and British public has been herded like cattle since the end of World War I.

    The Power of Nightmares episode 1 is about the ideological revulsion to the consumer society created by industry and public relations. Simultaneously, Sayyid Qutb resolved to purge the Muslim world of Western consumerism while Leo Strauss resolved to make consuming Americans Crusaders for freedom around the world. Ayman Zawahiri was a student of Qutb and Paul Wolfowitz was a student of Strauss.

    The Power of Nightmares episode 2 shows Bin Laden and the Neo cons fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan and how the Soviet collapse left both without an enemy to herd their public with.

    The Power of Nightmares episode 3 shows how 911 was used to give those “with the most fear, the most power” and how the Neo cons recreated the terrorist threat.

    Peace, Best Wishes and Hope

    1. jimmytst says:

      Thank you for your suggestion. I will check out the documentary. Peace and blessings.

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