A generation has fallen down the rabbit hole of electronic hallucinations with images often dominated by violence and pornography. The entrapment in a World of nonstop electronic sounds and images, begun with the phonograph and radio, advanced by cinema and television and perfected by video games, the Internet and hand-held devices, is making it impossible to build relationships and structures that are vital for civic engagement and resistance to corporate power.
We have been transformed into commodities.
Totalitarian societies inundate the public with a steady stream of propaganda accompanied by mindless entertainment. In Nazi Germany the state provided millions of cheap, state-subsidized radios and then dominated the airwaves with its propaganda.
Radio receivers were mounted in public locations in Stalin’s Soviet Union; and citizens, especially illiterate peasants, were required to gather to listen to the state-controlled news and the dictator’s speeches.
The corporate states we live in today are no different, although unlike past totalitarian systems it permits dissent in the form of print and does not ban fading civic and community groups. It has won the battle against literacy.
The seductiveness of the image lures the population away from the print-based World of ideas. The fascination with the image swallows the time and energy required to attend and maintain communal organizations.
The object of a totalitarian state is to keep its citizens locked within the parameters of official propaganda and permanently isolated. Propaganda and isolation make it difficult for an individual to express or carry out dissent.
Official opinions are crafted and disseminated by public relations specialists on behalf of the power elite. They are repeated endlessly over the airwaves until the public unconsciously ingests them.
The isolated public in a totalitarian Society is unable to connect its personal experience of despair, anxiety, fear, frustration and economic insecurity to the structures that create these conditions.
The isolated citizen is left feeling that his or her personal misfortune is an exception. The portrayal of Society by systems of state propaganda – content, respectful of authority, just, economically secure and free – is mistaken for reality.
Corporate propaganda has become so potent that the population has become addicted. We must leave our isolated rooms. We must shut out these images. We must connect with those around us.
It is only the communal that will save us. It is only the communal that will allow us to build a movement to resist. And it is only the communal that will sustain us through mutual aid as climate change and economic collapse increasingly dominate our future.