Saturday, November 27, 2010
We've Let Corporations and Media Rob Our Souls
The most chilling accomplishment of American capitalist culture is that we have commodified our own consciousness.
At the Houston airport, where I spent two hours listening to a Christian religious fanatic tell about Obama running a worldwide child porn ring out of the White House. Entering the country shoeless through airport homeland security, holding up my pants because they don't let old men wear suspenders through security, well, I knew I was back home in the land of the free.
I am forced to talk about three things -- corporations, television and human spirituality.
World does not exist except through media. Is not a cultural history course. It is a real place with fast-developing disasters, economic and ecological collapse, cultural conditioning working against them. You are as conditioned as any trained chicken in a carnival. You have been generally indoctrinated and deeply conditioned to do -- mostly along class lines
20 percent coordinating and managing, the other 75 percent, the greater mass of working-class citizenry by the empire's approved methods, and toward the same end: Maximum profitability for a corporate-based state.
Seems so normal, psychologists have prescribed so much Prozac that it now shows up in the piss of penguins. A teacher has no objection to 20 percent of her fourth-graders being on Ritalin, in the name of "appropriate behavior," dupes or pawns of a corporate state a corporate-generated reality.
Financialization of all aspects of our culture and lives. True democracy is dead, and a corporate financial state has now arrived. An ever-merging global corporate system masquerading electronically and digitally as a nation called the United States. Or Japan
The corporation now animates us from within our very selves through management of the need hierarchy in goods and information. The American psycho-socio-medical complex, authorized to manage public consciousness. The entire pedagogy is itself immersed in a corporate financial state
This financialization of our consciousness under American-style capitalism has become all we know. We fear its loss. Hence the bailouts of the thousands of "zombie banks," dead but still walking, thanks to the people's taxpayer offerings to the money god so that banks will not die. We dare not let corporations die. Corporations feed us. They entertain us. They heal us when we are sick. Corporations feel like a friendly, benevolent entity in
American consciousness, are, of course, deathless and faceless machines and have no soul or human emotions
Makes us a corporate cult and makes corporations a fetish of our culture, like the weather -- just there. All of us live together in this corporate fetish cult. We agree upon and consent to its reality. Aztecs agreed upon Quetzalcoatl. Easter Island agreed that the great stone effigies had significance.
A population mass operating under unified corporate management machinery, most Americans believe they are unique individuals. Americans fear loss of uniqueness. Yet you and I are not unique in the least
Just because we come from the manufacturer equipped with individual consciousness, does not make us the center of any unique world, private or public, material, intellectual or spiritual.
We are all replaceable parts in the machinery of a capitalist economy. "Oh but we have unique feelings and emotions that are important," Psychologists specialize in this notion.
We are swimmers in an ancient rushing river of humanity, the child in Bangladesh, the millionaire frat boys who run our financial and governmental institutions with such adolescent carelessness. We will eventually be absorbed without leaving a trace.
We can meaningfully differentiate in the way we choose to employ our consciousness, to own our consciousness. We are either in charge of our own awareness, or we let someone else manage it. We nevertheless remain one of the most controlled peoples on the planet, especially regarding control of our consciousness, public and private. And the control is tightening. It doesn't feel like that, but therein rests the proof. Everything feels normal; everybody is doing the same things, so it must be OK. Stockholm Syndrome of the soul, the prisoner identifies with the values of his or her captors
In our case, the American corporate state and its manufactured popular culture. We feel life is normal and act accordingly, we become helpless. Learned helplessness. Americans believe there is little they can do in personally dealing with the most important moral and material crises ever faced, both in America and across the planet, beginning with ecocide, war making and the grotesque deformation of the democratic process we have settled for
Citizenship, simple consumer-group consciousness. 6 percent of the planet's population, we use 36 percent of the planet's resources, this we experience as normal and desirable, evidence of being the most-advanced nation in the world, reduced to a mere marketing demographic.
Digress outside the marketing demographic. Belize. True, it ain't Zimbabwe or the Sudan -- there are no dying people in the streets. But food security is easily the biggest problem, and growing by the day. Yet, despite much government corruption, people are still citizens, not marketing demographics
Citizens who struggle toward a just society, more progress than the United States, A level of free medical care for the poor. Maternity pay if either you or your spouse is employed. Retirement on Social Security at age 60. Worker rights, mandatory accrued severance pay, own their homes outright, entitled to a free piece of land upon which to build one. Employment is scarce, and that has a down side: Many folks waste a lot of valuable time having sex.
American and Canadian tourists drive by in their rented SUVs scared as hell of those barefooted black folks in the sand around them. A whole lot of very poor people trying to get by and make a decent society. North Americans live in a parallel universe conditioned to see everything in terms of consumer goods and "safety," as defined by police control. Outside of the parameters of the cultural hallucination they call "the First World" represents fear and psychological free fall.
Yet, America is a Second World nation
We have no universal free health care (don't kid yourself about the plan under way), no guarantee of anything really, except competitive struggle with one another for work and money and career status -- if you are one of those conditioned to think of your job and feudal debt enslavement as a "career" -- high infant-mortality rates, abysmal educational scores, poor diet, no national public transportation system, crumbling infrastructure, a collapsed economy. Even by our own definition we are a Second World nation.
But there is a shiny commercial skin that covers everything, a thin layer of glossy, throwaway technology that leads the citizenry to believe otherwise. The glossy branding of every item and experience, tangible evidence that the slick, conditioned illusion. The American Hologram. If it's bright and shiny and new, it must be better the complete opposite of tropical grunge.
So how is it that we Americans came to live in such a parallel universe? We prefer such things as Facebook, riding around the suburbs with an iPod plugged into our brain, looking for fried chicken in a Styrofoam box? Earth-destroying things over love and laughter with real people We suffer under a mass national hallucination. Now live in a culture entirely perceived inside a self-referential media hologram of a nation and world that does not exist. Our national reality is staged and held together by media, chiefly movie and television images. We live in a "theater state."
We know the world through media productions, which are edited and shaped to instruct us on how to look and behave and view the outside world. As in all staged productions and illusions, everyone we see is an actor. There are the television actors portraying what supposedly represents reality. Non-actors in Congress perform in front of the cameras as the American empire's cultural machinery weaves and spins out our cultural mythology.
Cultural myth production is an enormous industry in America. It is very similar to the national projects of pyramid building in Egypt or cathedral-building in medieval Europe. And in our obsession with violence and punishment, two characteristics of a consensual police state reality, we are certainly similar to prison-camp building in Stalinist Russia... one-fourth of all the incarcerated people on earth are in U.S. prisons -- U.S. citizens imprisoned by their own government.
The media culture's production of martyrs, good guys and bad guys, fallen heroes and concept outlaws, is not just big corporate business. It is the armature of our cultural behavior. It tells us who to fear (Middle Eastern terrorists, Mr. Chavez in Venezuela and foreign made pharmaceuticals), who to scorn (again, the same candidates, along with Britney Spears. Daily news is the modern version of Roman coliseum shows. Elections are personality combat, chariot races, not examinations of solutions being offered. None are offered. What are being offered are monkey models, mimics the behavior he sees around him. Real people or moving images of people, eye-to-brain to mimicry connection does not care. We know how to act and what things are because television and media tell us. Television is the software. Social realism for us is a television commercial for the American lifestyle: what's new to wear, what to eat, who's cool ([President Barack] Obama), what and whom to fear (that perennial evil booger, [Fidel] Castro) or who to admire (Bill Gates, pure American genius at work).
This societal media software tells us what music our digitized corporate complex is selling, but you never see images of ordinary families sitting around in the evenings making music together, because that music cannot be bought and sold and is not profitable
Managing mythology, so instead of a daily life in the flesh, we get 40-inch televisions, YouTube, cineplexes and the myths spun out by Hollywood
Now, for a national mythology to work it has to be accessible to everyone all the time, it has to be all in one bundle. In North Korea a single man, Kim. In America it is the media
Hollywood in particular accommodates imperial myths, melting-pot myths, hegemonic military masculinity myths and glamour myths. It articulates our culture's social imaginary: "the prevailing images a society needs to project about itself in order to maintain certain features of its organization." And the features of our media mythology are terrifying when you think about them. It is watching Man on Fire, with Denzel Washington's tragic pose, to protect us from The Evil. It is the absorption of that electronic mythology that allowed us to cosign the torture at Abu Ghraib. Abu Ghraib photos. Believe me; they picked the gentlest ones to release. Ray Hardy, lawyer. When the media and government people in power made that selection, they were managing your consciousness. Keeping you calmer by withholding the truth. Not upsetting little children so they will continue to quietly behave the way you want. Like children public got bored with the subject of torture. New evidence has been coming out for years short American attention span, created by our rapid-fire media, says, "Move on to the next hologram please
He result is that Americans cannot achieve the cathexis we need. Cathexis is the ground zero psychic and emotional attachment to the world that cannot be argued. It is "beyond ideological challenge, because it is called into existence affectively." Americans are conditioned to reject any affective attachment that does not have a happy ending. We remain mostly a nation of children. We never get to grow up. We tell ourselves that we are a great and compassionate people and that we are personally innocent of any of our government's horrific crimes abroad.
Guiltless as individuals. And we do remain innocent, in a sense, as long as we cannot see beyond the media hologram.
But it is a terrible kind of self-inflicted innocence that can come to no good. We are a nation of latchkey kids babysat by an electronic hallucination, the national hologram.
“Severance from the noise and electronic hallucinations of modern existence”.
They believe that this electronic hallucination of human society is the sum total of “life” and “the world”. They live according to the programming presented to them.
Most modern people are asleep... hypnotized by media. A sure way to wake up…
Into the wilderness. Unplug
Electronic hallucination and media hologram