Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hat tip to the inimitable Mick Farren at Doc. 40. I find capitalist newspapers pretty transparent. I avoid capitalist television and even radio. They throw lies at you so fast that it's hard to stay ahead of them. Puh-leeez don't fall for the PBS/NPR scam. Sometimes I think they're the worst of the bunch.

Jacques Ellul was a pretty smart fellow, and he had quite a lot to say about propaganda:

"The orchestration of press, radio and television to create a continuous, lasting and total environment renders the influence of propaganda virtually unnoticed precisely because it creates a constant environment."

You've got to step out of that environment to even notice it. Yep. He also had something useful to say about learning to think for yourself:

"The intellectual who wants to do her work properly must today go back to the starting point: the woman whom she knows, and first of all to herself. It is at that level, and at no other, that she ought to begin to think about the world situation. "

He wasn't talking about rugged individualism by the way. He was talking about being true to yourself as a first step towards being honest with anyone else. I just thought I better mention that, because,

1.) I'm not the brightest bulb on the tree and I had to think about it for a minute.

2.) Some of the most thoroughly propagandized people I know think that they're rugged individualists. You know, racists who claim they're not afraid to stand up against "politically correct bullies", Woman haters who, "... at least have a sense of humor", those kind of rugged individualists.

The other thing is that rugged individualism is just another of The World's many traps. The way of the world is the heart breaking battle of all against all, wherein every asshole thinks that he is utterly unique in hating all of the other assholes. You want to fly in the face of consensus? Try loving your neighbor. He's just like you, no wonder you hate him so much. Or as Comrade Ellul once said,

"The Holy Spirit alone can do this, the Holy Spirit alone can establish this link with one's neighbor. "

Hate and fear are natural. I'm not talking about something unnatural I'm talking about something supernatural.

I'm aware of the fact that I look a fuckin' fool, even to some of my dearest friends. Oh well.

Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Minds, by Jacques Ellul


Hagar's Daughter said...

Hi Jon,
You said: "Hate and fear are natural. I'm not talking about something unnatural I'm talking about something supernatural."

It takes supernatural intervention to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and to pray for those who want to misuse and mistreat us. I believe that is why we cannot continue to bash other faith traditions outside of Christianity in this land of the free and home of the brave. We cannot do it because those faiths point toward the same thing.

Many times we think we have the best answer or solution, but instead we are causing more problems by trying to make everyone the same. All are created equal does not mean that all are created the same - we all like the same things, share the same beliefs, hold the same philosophy, or subscribe to the same ideology.

It seems that we have replaced the supernatural with the American flag. Even to have faith in one's country is a supernatural thing.

Jon said...

Who's that little Evangelical hippie character? Clairborne? I can't remember his name, but he wrote a pretty good book called "Christ for President". Does that ring any bells? Anyhow, he's actually been reaching conservative Evangelicals with the message that we can't place faith in politics, politicians, government, military power or anything else of this world. Kind of shocking, but in a good way, to see pictures of this little guy with dreadlocks, leading a mega church congregation in a prayer asking to take militarism and the Republican party off the altar and put Christ back.

I do very little proselytizing and not much talking about religion. I've always believed that my religious beliefs placed me, not you, under certain obligations.

The point of faith, for me, is to conduct myself in accordance with my faith, not to tell you how to act.

As you said, "Many times we think we have the best answer, but instead we are causing more problems.." I don't know whether it's grace or just old age, but I don't care that much about being "right" anymore. I'm often pleasantly surprised to be wrong. I mean, I'm still such a dark and cynical character, but these days it's a relief to find that dark and cynical just won't git it in some situations.

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