Propaganda: In what way are you controlled?
Propaganda: And in what way are you controlled?
by Peter Farley
Notes from the most dangerous book around. We can all find ourselves somewhere in these words:
Jacques Ellul: Propaganda: The Formation of Men?s Attitudes 1965 Alfred Knopf
(with greatest appreciation to Professor Frank Thayer for his introduction of this book to his students)
P6: Propaganda ceases when simple dialogue begins (Stop people talking by keeping them entertained) . . the individual never is considered as an individual, but always in terms of what he has in common with others . . .Emotionalism, impulsiveness, excess, etc. - all these characteristics of the individual caught up in a mass are well known and very helpful to propaganda (Peer pressure? when you feel safe in a crowd/follow the sheep and the leaders/the Nazis)
P7,8 (TV NEWS) . .The current flows through the canvasser (who is not a person speaking in his own name with his own arguments, but one segment of an administration, an organization, a collective movement); . . it must give the impression of being personal, for we must never forget that the mass is composed of individuals, and is in fact nothing but assembled individuals. . .in a group . . they pretend all the more to be ?strong individuals.? . . all modern propaganda profits from the structure of the mass, but exploits the individual?s need for self-affirmation . . jointly, simultaneously? . . this is the situation of the ?lonely crowd.?
P9 *** . . the most favorable moment to seize a man and influence him is when he is alone in the mass . .?
. . it (propaganda) can have practically no effect on individuals before that group has been fragmented (keep the races warring, the sexes fighting, the TV viewers segmented . . using all the media)
11 . . the opposing faction must become negligible, or in any case cease to be vocal.?
12 . . information itself becomes propaganda, or rather, wherever propaganda appears, there follows an inextricable confusion between propaganda and information. Amusements, distractions, or games can be instruments of propaganda . .?
13 Finally, propaganda will take over literature (present and past) and history, which must be rewritten according to propaganda?s needs.
15: Direct propaganda, aimed at modifying opinions and attitudes, must be preceded by propaganda that is sociological in character, slow, general, seeking to create a climate, an atmosphere of favorable preliminary attitudes.? (Such as that about UFOs - built up over 50 years ready for manipulation either way after the climate has been established)
17 Propaganda must be continuous and lasting-continuous in that it must not leave any gaps, but must fill the citizen?s whole day and all his days (THE TRUMAN SHOW); lasting that it must function over a very long period of time.? . .
18: Continuous propaganda exceeds the individual?s capacities for attention or adaptation and thus his capabilities of resistance. ( ALL DAY -in everything)
20: . .all great modern practitioners of propaganda have rigorously tied together psychological and physical action as inseparable elements.?
21 . . propaganda seeks to point out courses of action desirable in themselves, such as helpful reforms. Propaganda then becomes this mixture of the actual satisfaction given to the people by the reforms and subsequent exploitation of that satisfaction (Help cure disease such as cancer; Immunize!!)
22 . .all propaganda that makes false promises turns against the propagandist.?
23 The manipulation of symbols is necessary for three reasons. First of all, it persuades the individual to enter the framework of an organization. Second, it furnishes him with reasons, justifications, motivations for action. Third, it obtains his total allegiance. . . All this is the result of psychological influence, which cannot attain great results alone, but which can attempt anything when combined with organization.?
25: The aim of modern propaganda is no longer to modify ideas, but to provoke action. It is no longer to change adherence to a doctrine, but to make the individual cling irrationally to a process of action . .only action is of concern to modern propaganda, for its aim is to precipitate and individual?s action, with maximum effectiveness and economy.?
26: opinion leaves the individual a mere spectator who may eventually, but not necessarily, resort to action. Therefore, the idea of participation is much stronger.?
27: Passive participation . . to be effective, propaganda must completely short-circuit all thought and decision. It must operate on the individual at a level of the unconscious. He must not know that he is being shaped by outside forces (And people will get very mad if you suggest they are being influenced by outside forces!!)
31 Pre-propaganda: It proceeds by psychological manipulations, by character modifications, by the creation of feelings or stereotypes useful when the time comes. It must be continuous, slow, imperceptible. (The New World Order -accept the fact, save us from the aliens, from the Russkies, from the Chinese) . .The two great routes that this sub-propaganda takes are the conditioned reflex and the myth. Propaganda tries first of all to create conditioned reflexes in the individual by training him so that certain words, signs, or symbols, even certain persons or facts, provoke unfailing reactions (liberal, Communist, the cross, victim, tragedy). . . By ?myth? we mean all-encompassing, activating image: a sort of vision of desirable objectives that have lost their material, practical character and have become strongly colored, overwhelming, all-encompassing, and which displace from the conscious all that is not related to it. Such an image pushes a man to action precisely because it includes all that he feels is good, just, and true. . .32 Only when conditioned reflexes have been created in a man and he lives in a collective myth can he be readily mobilized. ( the whole myth of the world -the Matrix)) . . the myth and the reflex must be continually rejuvenated and revived or they will atrophy.?
38 . . Propaganda must not involve itself with what is best in man-the highest goals humanity sets for itself, its noblest and most precious feelings. Propaganda does not aim to elevate man, but to make him serve. It must therefore utilize the most common feelings, the most widespread ideas, the crudest patterns, and in doing so place itself on a very low level with regard to what it wants man to do and to what end (the lowest common denominator?Sex used in advertising -sex in everything). Hate, hunger, and pride make better levers of propaganda than do love and impartiality.
39 These common presuppositions of bourgeois and proletarian are that man?s aim in life is happiness, that man is naturally good, that history develops in endless progress (we?re always getting better), and that everything is matter. . . two great fundamental myths on which all other myths rest are Science and History. And based on them are the collective myths that are man?s principal orientations: the myth of Work, the myth of Happiness . . , the myth of Nation, the myth of Youth, the myth of the Hero. (And now the myth of Family)
Propaganda is forced to build on these presuppositions and to express these myths, for without them nobody would listen to it.? . . it must evoke the future, the tomorrows that beckon, precisely because such visions impel the individual to act. . .propaganda will turn a normal feeling of patriotism into a raging nationalism. It not only reflects myths and presuppositions, it hardens them, sharpens them, inverts them with the power of shock and action.
41 . . A person listens to a particular propaganda because it reflects his deepest unconscious convictions without expressing them directly. Similarly, because of the myth of progress, it is much easier to sell a man an electric razor than a straight-edged one.
43. Propaganda in its explicit form must relate solely to what is timely. . .Between news that can be utilized by propaganda and fundamental currents of society the same relationship exists as between waves and the sea. (Sex in the presidency and in society) . . propaganda can succeed only when man feels challenged. It can have no influence when the individual is stabilized. . .?
45 . . . the public is prodigiously sensitive to current news. Its attention is focused immediately on any spectacular event that fits in with its myths. (OJ Simpson and the focus on other personalities, sex in the presidency)
46 . .part of the power of propaganda is due to its use of the mass media, but this power will be dissipated if propaganda relies on operational words that have lost their force. (collaborator, Bolshevik, fascist, integration, peace) . . We already have mentioned man?s inability to consider several facts or events simultaneously and to make a synthesis of them in order to face or oppose them. One thought drives away another, old facts are chased by new ones. Under these conditions there can be no thought. . .in fact modern man does not think about current problems; he feels them. He reacts, but he does not understand them any more than he takes responsibility for them. He is even less capable of spotting any inconsistency between successive facts; man?s capacity to forget is unlimited.
49 the Undecided - constitute the most fertile public for the propagandist. . . Propaganda can only play on individuals more or less intensely involved in social currents.?
53 The truth that pays off is in the realm of facts. The necessary falsehoods, which also pay off, are in the realm of intentions and interpretations. . . most of the time the fact is presented in such a fashion that the listener or reader cannot really understand it or draw any conclusions from it. . .One states (facts or statistics) without indicating how it is calculated (or any extrapolations thereof.) . . and innuendo can also work the best when derived from accurate facts.
63 Advertising as the spreading of a certain style of life can be said to be included in such propaganda.
82 . . . a lack of contact between groups . . .a member of a small group must not belong to other groups in which he would be subjected to other influences; that would give him a chance to find himself again, and with it, the strength to resist. . (Wards in the Mormon Church)
86 . . what remains with the individual affected by this propaganda is a perfectly irrational picture, a purely emotional feeling, a myth. . . for the individual will never begin to act on the basis of facts . . what makes him act is the emotional pressure, the vision of a future (visualization of a picture carefully built up by the propagandee), the myth.
87 . . A surfeit of data, far from permitting people to make judgments and form opinions, prevents them from doing so and actually paralyzes them.
95 For propaganda to be truly effective psychologically and sociologically, a combination of demographic phenomena is required. The first is population density, with a high frequency of diversified human contacts, exchanges of opinions and experiences, and with primary importance placed on the feeling of togetherness. The second is urban concentration, which, resulting from the fusion between mass and crowd, gives the mass its psychological and sociological character.
96 . .propaganda addresses itself to the individual but acts on the mass . .(CROWD EFFECT)
101 Public opinion always rests on problems that do not correspond to reality.
103 . .Only through concentration of a large number of media can one attain a true orchestration, a continuity, and an application of scientific methods of influencing individuals. A state monopoly, or a private monopoly, is equally effective.
104 . . newspapers . . for the reader buys a paper he likes, a paper in which he finds his own ideas and opinions well reflected.
111 The more an individual participates in the society in which he lives, the more he will cling to stereotyped symbols expressing collective notions about the past and the future of his group. . . the educated man does not believe in propaganda; he shrugs and is convinced that propaganda has no effect on him . . a high intelligence, a broad culture, a constant exercise of the critical faculties, and full and objective information are still the best weapons against propaganda. (And also the first targets of those trying to take over!)
112 In reality, to distinguish between propaganda and information is impossible.
126 Only one solution is possible: as the government cannot follow opinion, opinion must follow the government. . .
128 In the United States, the government almost always conducts its foreign policies on its own initiative, but where the public is interested in a particular question, it can only proceed with the apparent support of a substantial majority of the people.?
129 A government does not feel legitimate and cannot claim to be so unless it rests on this sovereignty of the people, unless it can prove that it expresses the will of the people . .Because of this mythical belief in the sovereignty of the people, all dictators try to demonstrate that they are the expression of the people?s sovereignty. . . . .Therefore, we can hardly complain when modern dictators talk about the sovereignty of the people. . . Castro called the whole population to sit in judgement of the former regime . . He tied the people to his government by the strangest of bonds: the ritual crime. . . governmental propaganda suggests that public opinion demand this or that decision . .?
140 The majority prefers expressing stupidities to not expressing any opinion (Jay Leno?s questions to the public proves this one) . . work has assumed an all-pervading role in modern life. Never have men worked so much as in our society. . . only the working hours have (seemed to) decreased . . the intensity . . make it weigh much more heavily on men today than on men in the past. . . Such dedication to work does not happen by itself o spontaneously. Its creation is properly the task of propaganda . .?.
143 Only propaganda can put man into a state of nervous endurance that will permit him to face the tension of war.
147 News loses its frightening character when it offers information for which the listener already has a ready explanation in his mind, or for which he can easily find one. (Thus the emphasis placed in news on the ?tragedy? the ?senseless killing? the seemingly unexplainable actions of people.)
149 Propaganda is a true remedy for loneliness.
153 Anxiety is perhaps the most widespread psychological trait in our society. . . .the propagandist must try to find the optimal degree of anxiety and tension.
180 . .propaganda seeks to induce action, adherence, and participation-with as little thought as possible.
196 . . The propagandist is not, and cannot be, ?a believer.?
206 Problems are made simple. Goebbels wrote,? By simplifying the thoughts of the masses and reducing them to primitive patterns, propaganda was able to present the complex process of political and economic life in the simplest terms . . . W e have taken matters previously available only to experts and a small number of specialists, and have carried them into the street and hammered them into the brain of the little man.?