I wrote what follows almost nine years ago and the reason for the reposting of it (with some alterations and additions) is to examine what may have changed. Springing to mind some monumental changes in society would include a rise in feminism and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, while in government there certainly has been a bold display of narcissism and authoritarianism. Some questions we should consider are: Has the government gotten better or worse in these past nine years? Have we become a better nation, more caring? I care about how we are governed. The word ‘manipulated’ is used repeatably in my text to empathise how I think we are governed, so read on, and please make a contribution in the comments section.
Purposeful manipulative social change without a common good caveat is a form of social evil.
It seems to me that in my lifetime, a lot of things have changed. But then change is one of those constant certainties of life. However, I am greatly concerned by how manipulated we have allowed ourselves to become.
Let me canvas some of the manipulated changes we have experienced and make some observations.
Of course, one’s age might bring a different perspective to how we view manipulated change. Obviously, if you are very young, you will have nothing to compare what follows with anything you have experienced. In other words, your “now” might be your norm.
For example, I happen to believe we are, as a society, more manipulated now than I can ever remember. You can see it everywhere – Murdoch’s manipulation by virtue of extreme media ownership.
Political manipulation by institutions, lobbyists and corporations more powerful than government. The manipulation by television stations would have you believe that mediocrity is excellence. And you can include religious faiths that manipulate children with warped theology based on very little evidence.
Manipulation by the blatant falseness of advertising is another means of persuading you to think the way you are directed. If you think about your everyday life, you cannot avoid the fact that many of the things you do are manipulated to influence your decision-making processes. Blatantly so. This was brought to our attention in the book by Vance Packard, Hidden Persuaders, in which he revealed the length advertisers go manipulate you. First published in 1957, “it remains one of the best books around for demystifying the deliberately mysterious arts of advertising.”
I have been retired now for some time, and I have had time to think. In fact, if I had my time over, I would not be the slave to the work ethic I had. Thinking can be impaired by too much work. We spend so much time at it that we have lost the art of thoughtful observation and creativity.
Our spending is even manipulated by the need to have more of the ‘unnecessaries‘ of life, and we have become confused with what we want instead of what we need.
Of course, we are manipulated into believing we need things because it creates jobs. Spend up big this Christmas. We are even told that things that are bad for us we are entitled to.
I’m thinking salt, fat and sugar that is causing a worldwide epidemic of obesity and, in the future, might take half the nation’s income to pay the health bill. We have more leisure, but less fun, more kinds of food, but less nutrition.
And it’s conservatives who say it’s the individual’s right to free choice even if it goes against the common good. In reality, it is the government that has the power to change things. Not the people.
So we end up spending more but enjoying life less. But we still need the money, of course. We have been manipulated into thinking we need another car, or a bigger house because ‘Bill and Mary’ have one. But it will take two wages to pay for it. Who cares that it will mean a smaller family and less family time?
Increasingly our possessions multiply enormously. We are told that this creates jobs, and if you want to be seen to be successful, you will need a boat and a holiday house.
Nothing is repaired anymore. Replacing things will also create more jobs. We have become a replacement society. But at the same time, our appreciation of the value of our possessions has declined. We have become so manipulated by ‘Affluenza’ that we have forgotten what frugality means.
We are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying simplicity. A consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having stuff and has failed to teach us that doing things is more pleasurable than possessing things.
Our kids have been manipulated into thinking that six hours on ‘Fortnite‘ is more pleasurable than sleep. So ingrained into our teenager’s minds has gaming become our kids are losing touch with life’s realities.
So successful has manipulation become by government, corporations, and the advertising industry that we now confuse the cost of living with the cost of lifestyle.
Continued Sunday with… “You are being manipulated because purposeful social change without a common good caveat is a form of social evil.”
My thought for the day
Never confuse what you want with what you need.
The ability of thinking human beings to blindly embrace what they are being told without referring to evaluation and the consideration of reason never ceases to amaze me. It is tantamount to the rejection of rational explanation.
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