Propaganda, Mind Control & Entertainment
Huxley admits that political and commercial entities had developed new techniques for manipulating the thoughts of the public “in the interest of some minority“(4).
He writes about two basic types of propaganda, propaganda that appeals to the rational side of man, using “logical arguments” based on the best evidence–and propaganda that appeals to the passions (31, 32), which presents “false”, distorted or “incomplete” information along with “repetition of catchwords”. Other techniques include the denunciation of “scapegoats”, and “associating” low emotions with high ideals so that “atrocities” are committed in the “name of God”(32).
Huxley quotes Thomas Jefferson saying that a nation can’t be both ignorant and free, and that we depend on a free press (33), but Jefferson also said that nothing in the newspapers could be believed even back then (34).
Huxley states that there used to be many local newspapers and journals in which “thousands of country editors expressed thousands of opinions. Somewhere or other almost anybody could get almost anything printed.” But he says that all the small publications have disappeared (34), and the media is “controlled by members of the Power Elite” (34).
He also observes that the media is mostly concerned with the “unreal” and the “irrelevant”. The media feeds our “almost infinite appetite for distractions” (35).
This has become worse and worse. The thought struck me suddenly a few years back that I could spend the rest of my life reading every science fiction novel (for example) in the bookstore. And what was to stop me from doing that? There’s something wrong. We’re letting other people rule over us and make all the important decisions while we are entertaining ourselves. Hours of television. Hours of Internet. Hours of video games. Hours of fantasy role games. Hours of music created by other people. No limit. Who created this type of world?
It would be interesting to pursue this topic further and collect the evidence that this is intentionally designed. How and why does government regulate broadcasting, cable and telecommunications? How and why does it subsidize the arts, film, TV and music production?
But you really won’t be able to question your reality with the comforting, lying television turned on. Based on my experience anyway, if you leave it turned on and you keep paying for cable or satellite channels, you and others around you will never “wake up” from your hypnosis.
so Huxley explains that we are living in a society of “non-stop distraction” with radio, TV and movies. The forms of entertainment in Brave New World included “feelies” (movies with a sense of touch), actual religious orgies, and “centrifugal bumble-puppy” (35). And I don’t remember “centrifugal bumble-puppy” being in the novel, but whatever it is, it makes me think of amusement park rides.
The purpose is to prevent
“people from paying too much attention to the realities of the social and political situation” (35).
He compares entertainment to religion. Both, he says, are distractions if lived in too constantly, and both can become the “opium of the people” (p. 35).
He states that those who spend their time in the “irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist” those who manipulate society (36).
Modern dictators use propaganda that relies on “repetition” of slogans, “suppression” of facts, and “rationalization” of aroused “passions” which are then put to use to serve the State (36).
Rational information is drowned out by irrelevant nonsense (36).
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