Each day new reports announce the failures of our masters and commanders for what seems to be their inner sanctums, while we fight amongst ourselves. Right or left, liberal or conservative, highly educated or simply so, it doesn’t matter the walk of life, we all seem to be at a proxy war with someone, somewhere all the time. Like a fountain full of coins resting on their given sides and chinking solemnly in the transparent depths.
American politics has reached a dangerous pinnacle of hatred that teeters nervously on the brink of questionably mandated aggression. The UK’s political sphere has become bitter, jaded and drunk on power showing the sort of tunnel vision that comes with a certain level of intoxication.
At the heart of all rhetoric and bluster is the humble people, restlessly carrying out daily tasks to make life more bearable, good, bad, male, female, gay, straight, dark skin, light skin choose a sub group as you wish, but people just the same. Mass collections of individuals that harbour wide ranging passions, beliefs, personalities and agonising responsibilities.
A chronic tidal wave of psychological manipulation hits the general population on a daily basis that is so adept at forcing particular reactions, if it were a person they would be held up as a God. Supermarkets frustrate shoppers so as to increase impulse buys, advertising outlets use words that are carefully placed to make us feel inadequate, media outlets pander to populist emotion all while 30 second video clips inform us what we are missing out on with the latest TV, computer, car, phone, furniture or holiday. Once we have bought the projected object of desire we are then subjected to a more invasive manipulation that trespasses into our hearts and minds. Age is no defence to this onslaught either, all that changes is the medium through which its received and the effective relevance to life the ‘thing’ might have.
After years of conditioning to follow the will of consumerism the populations needs and desires aren’t perhaps as true as they once were, a reliance on being nudged towards what we should be lusting after this week has become deep seated within our collective psyches. Psyches that through mistakes, adversity and uncharted territory have made some of the most beautiful creations imaginable. Incredible inventions from metallic cylinders that slice through the air into the once unreachable dark void of space, to the minute controllable tubes that can navigate the tiny, evasive corridors of the human body. For better or worse this level of innovation and dogged determination to succeed has lead to a fragile collection of atoms becoming the strongest and most dominant creatures this world has known.
The wonderful things we have invented, produced, thought and done are always marred with an overwhelming ability for hate. For all our achievements we regularly take frustrating side steps because of a difficulty to open up positively when it comes to change or differences. It could be a natural, ancestral built in Homo Sapian trait the we have somehow never fully shaken off. Only unlike the coccyx bone or the ability to move our ears slightly, this has the potential for some atrocious actions that leave scars to deep to hide. It could be natures simplistic answer to the quandary of fish marrying birds but having nowhere to live. If we naturally avoid what doesn’t match then it cant ever be a problem, except that is we aren’t fish and birds. We are the same mammal with varying appearances, abilities and customs, the problem of ‘where to live’ can only come down to preferences. There is both inherent good and bad within all humans and their never ending sub categories; it is, in possibly the saddest way, one of the many things that make us all the same.
One of the other defining features of the Human race has been its ability to encounter a problem and use an apparent superior intellect to either prevent it from happening or recover from its effects, swift adaption through understanding has been the lynch pin to our forced evolutionary path.
Years of investigation, testing, collating and feeding curiosity has given a wealth of information that has improved our diverse ways of life. Data analysis has been a vital tool in this process, what good is acquiring the information if it can’t be interpreted and shaped into a usable, sometimes abstract, product. As people we have a better understanding of human nature than at any other point in history, we know what happens to make us feel good, we know the effects of colours, words, glittery surfaces, even how small something is before our finger tips cant register it anymore. This understanding has brought many positive effects to our lives, but it also has increased the power of a weapon thats immeasurably more dangerous than any mass destructive weapon ever invented.
Propaganda and mass populace manipulation. We understand that certain colours can induce fear, certain words can effect a deep cognitive process that puts people on edge or affirms a belief. Certain undermining descriptions coupled with seemingly quantifying imagery can have a profound effect on human tolerance. Telling stories about large swathes of ‘different’ people committing acts that stand outside our boundaries of what is acceptable, quickly turns good, honest people to be combative, aggressive and inward focusing. Yet more stories of a hidden will behind certain faiths that would see all humans live and follow a singular direction combine this with exaggerated figures and fear propagates until it creates a conceptual foe that is always out of reach like the ‘pot of gold at the end of a rainbow’. This triggers our natural reaction to aggressors, fundamentally it could be seen as an early stage of the “fight or flight” mechanism. Recently the wider reach this sort of mis-information is nothing short of frightening, not least because eventually it feeds itself from within. Like a fire on a hot day, a small spark and a gentle nurturing creates a challenging, unpredictable force that we are all ill equipped to handle.
As a collective we are being manipulated for the ill will of a few people. We are being shot to and fro like the steel balls of a pinball machine, never knowing which direction is next and always confused by the repetitive ‘flashes’ and ‘loud whirrings’
People who have found dark corners within echo chambers of digitised conversation are playing ‘Chinese whispers’ and with each new resonation our values erode a little bit more. Brazenly, people in positions of power are doing as they please without enough good opposition because the smoke screens they throw up smell like vanilla and we are hypnotised by the sickly sweet draw. Culminating in a society that adheres to oligarchs who would see us enact their bidding from the safety of ‘Ivory Towers’.
Tools such as psychometric data, fear, confusion, controlled aggression, rhetoric rebuttals and outright lies are being used to infiltrate our individual lives, with a view to create a malleable, unquestioning population, similar to those with devout faith in a deity or holy text. Coupling “gas lighting” with abstract objects of fear creates a system of subtle chips to what we hold dear and sporadic seismic thumps to the very walls that protect us. For a long time the people who had access to such powerful tools had some sense of morals, a low bar maybe, but there nonetheless.
The political climate has changed and the moral standing coming from people of power is questionable at best, they may seem like small trees compared to others in this particular swamp, but their roots go just as deep and their thirst is far greater.
I have no qualifications to speak of, limited prospects other than what I can carve out of this life through hard work and honesty. A combination of Mental illnesses leaves me at odds with myself and life in general. In a constant state of readiness for catastrophe that gets wearing, eventually pushing me into a deeper depression than is customary. It also makes me constantly question everything I think and feel for justification and reasoning, that means having toes dipped in opposition pools and a seat in more confirming waters. A need to entrench and counter my own thoughts and conclusions introspectively through as broader canvas as possible.