It runs both ways. Governments are to be feared, and governments are fearful. Let me explain.
Governments are fearsome. The hold power. They can seize things, they can incarcerate, they can execute. And they can make life difficult. The idea that justice is even-handed is perhaps a nice goal, but it is a myth. Justice is administered by humans, and humans are not even-handed, not matter what they espouse.
Governments are fearful. Like all entities, a government’s main desire is to hold onto the power they have, and increase their power. Some entities, like living things, seek to reproduce. Governments sometimes wish to reproduce themselves in other countries, but they always wish to perpetuate themselves.
Think about this: thinking is a threat.
Governments fear those who think for themselves, as those who think for themselves are seen as threats to their power.
As part of their desire for power, populations must be inculcated in the government’s way of thinking. It happens in all countries and all cultures. Do not think you are immune; intense energy is constantly being focused on you. This happens in advertising, in education, in cinema and other media, in the news, and of course in political discourse.
When we go overseas and experience another culture, we can more easily see this in operation. However, when we return home and resume our daily lives, it is often not so easy to see the same efforts aimed at us because they are in somewhat different forms, and we are used to our own culture. Maybe we are not inundated daily with admonitions on how great our country is, or why our political system is better, but we are deluged with news and headlines that have the effect of teaching and guiding us in our thinking, all towards some goal[s]. Do not think this is idle speculation, it is real.
In the U.S., for example, we are awash in financial news (how did the Dow do today?), crime news (crime news keeps us fearful and on edge), political news (what is the latest scandal?), which is the best item to buy (it keeps us in a competitive frame of mind, we fear being bested by our peers), what is the latest entertainment we should spend our time on (we don’t want to be clueless in conversations), and so on.
Taking these instances as further examples, financial news has the effect of tying us to certain financial behaviors and systems, crime news pushes us towards wanting protection and entities to safeguard us, political news is manipulative, material comparisons place us in a competitive world, entertainment news gives us a fantasy world to escape to. And so on.
I recently spent several weeks in another country. Watching mass media makes it clear what is valued and what is the official teachings. There were many resources aimed at many different age groups.
Here is a sample of signs posted near a museum aimed at youth:
Seeing such instructions as an outsider, it seems clear what the motivation is. Seeing these kinds of thing from within one’s own culture is harder because we are so used to our own culture we rarely look at it clearly or objectively; we just absorb it.
Nationalism, seemingly a positive attitude, is as corrosive as many other ism‘s. Why is it that nationalism always leads to military buildups? Why is it that nationalism always takes the form of hostility to others, both foreign as well as domestic? Why does nationalism always base itself on the denigration of others? Why does nationalism always say “We are under attack,” and “We need to become strong militarily,” and “They are out to destroy us,” and so on.
“A man who is patriotic, nationalistic, can never know what it is to be brotherly, though he may talk about it; on the contrary, his actions, economically and in every direction, are conducive to war.”— J. Krishnamurti.
Is it possible to see things are they are? Can We See Things As They Are?
Can you see what is all around us? Comment here.
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