Sunday, January 27, 2013

Propaganda: How What We Choose To Be Controlled By Affects The Outcome

First, the title could be better. Now, read this short story. I wrote it so you could understand what I'm talking about when I explain what I'm talking about. Be forewarned, it's a little bit graphic. But it gets the point across.

"A perfectly calm and self righteous man is walking in the forest, alone and by himself. He's hiking in one of the most remote places in the world. Hours away from civilization, he has a two week pack on his back, complete with fold out tents, water supply, water filtration devices, food full of protein, fire-starters, an extra set of clothes... I don't know, you know what I mean, the consumerist kind of things that go with these kind of ventures. Everything he needs he's got. It seems as if he's all set for survival. Especially knowing that he's an expert on this stuff. He's walking up a boulder filled hill when he sights a boulder that looks like it has some kind of... well, something written into it. Like it is etched or something. The man is intrigued, so he gets closer to find out it is an etching of a cross. Just a cross, like a plus sign. The man hesitates to move for a minute. It looks as if he's trying to interpret the sign. All of a sudden the man takes off his backpack, removes his knife from its holder and slits his throat. The man dies there, never to see or be seen by anyone ever again..."

You might wonder why I would write such a grotesque story, that seemingly has no meaning to it. I began thinking about why and how people believe or perceive what they want within certain circumstances. For instance, if I was an artist and created a masterpiece that was rejected by the public, why did they reject it...? Did I have any say in whether it was to be rejected, or is it entirely out of my control how the public perceives my work...? Who's at fault for the meaning behind an image, the person projecting it or the person perceiving it...?

Obviously, anybody can assign any meaning to anything. Anybody can think anything about anything. However, at what point is it that the person who etched into the rock ultimately has total control over what is construed or communicated...? It all comes down to, I think, the difference between control relies on what we allow ourselves to be emotionally evoked by. That is, there are two or three modes of control in life: maintaining control over oneself by not giving control to other people, giving control to other people by not maintaining control over oneself, and getting control from other people by their subsequent dis-maintaining control of themselves, or in other words, getting control from other people by them giving it to you.

It is interesting to think about. You're probably thinking, "What does this have to do with the man slitting his throat...?" Exactly. Why did the man slit his throat over seemingly just looking at the etched cross...? Perhaps the cross had meaning that we can not comprehend. One could argue that it is a travesty for such a thing to happen and that it was entirely the man's fault for choosing to do so, even though we don't know why. However, one could also argue that the fault and culpability is on the person that etched the cross into the rock in the first place, for without the cross the man would not have killed himself...

more explanation here...

I will let you in on a secret. The man that etched the cross into the boulder was the same man that interpreted it, and died thereafter. What does that make you think...? Interesting isn't it...? Why would a man react to something so strongly that he created...? Think what you will.

Now, I will bullet point some of the stuff I've been thinking about...

1.) We cannot give anyone control over us unless we choose to be emotionally evoked by the stimuli that is presented or the image that is projected. I.E. There is no image unless we perceive there to be.

2.) We can make the argument that some emotions are evoked automatically without our control, i.e. they are biological processes. Fight or flight response is an example.

3.) If a criminal killed someone's daughter, and the parent became irate, is it the parent's choice for becoming irate, or did the criminal force the parent to become irate...? This question leads me to believe that we are the ultimate determining factor in whether we give control to other people or maintain our control. Hence, it is a choice. We choose to give control, or we choose to keep our control.

4.) In Propaganda, the difference in getting control from other people, as opposed to not making a difference at all, relies on how ignorant the host is. The more educated we become, the less control we give to other people...


Well, this wasn't very well written. But it's an idea...


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