Disclaimer: This article is not for folks who shout “No! NO! I don’t wanna believe!” whenever they see words like “class interests” or “socialism” or “environment-is-not-an-externality-you-dumbass”. Or for folks who indulge themselves in business theories or neoclassical economics to understand the ‘nature’ of socioeconomic relations.
I wanna begin with PR and educational system (..again), but this time with an intention of igniting a metaphysical rebellion (..maybe). For those who landed on earth today, well you see, we have highly authoritarian institutes which dumb down the population by crushing elements of critical thinking and emphasizing on senseless competition within peers for grades or a pat on the head and by utilizing all the knowledge of behavioural sciences, they create obedient, confused, self-loathing individuals, and I hope you enjoy your stay here. Ok. Ok. Some sort of education does happen in midst of all this because the confused individuals are then required to push levers, create programs, build dams, all on direct order from the employer. And it is all very efficient I must say and important for the people in power, like Edward Bernays said,
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.”
And the six basic functions of school outlined by Inglis. Other than education system of orthodox indoctrination there are also social, political and media apparatus to limit the discussion and keep public opinion in check.
“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.” – Noam Chomsky
[Maybe some day I'll write an article without quoting either Orwell or Chomsky but today is not that day]
Alfie Kohn explains how to prevent social change:
1. Limit Your Vision – Ignoring that social structure or hierarchy has anything to do with drastic economic inequality or pollution or climate change or nuclear weapons or terrorism etc and instead believing that everything should be done on individual level.
2. Adapt – To keep the status quo intact, people should be adjusted to serve its needs. Instead of the other way round. The premise is, you should adjust to the conditions as you find without thinking about the nature of those structures.
3. Think About Yourself – You should be only concerned about your well being, groom yourself and let the rest of the world go on its way.
4. Be ‘realistic’ – “Like it or not, that’s just the way it is”. These protestation of powerlessness are very useful, every person who takes such as stance is a person rescued from social activism. And labeling people ‘Idealistic” ensures they are not taken seriously.
5. Rationalize – Proposing insignificant reforms that never come close of changing the structures themselves.
Similar to a modern day commodity these ideologies and actions are camouflaged by theological and metaphysical niceties and its presence reflects an invisible transcendence and hence you do not see the dictatorship in democracy. Illusions can be powerful, liberation can be painful, like Wachowski Brothers Matrix or like people from the Allegory of the Cave, “…most of these people are not ready to be unplugged, Neo” said Socrates. Exploiting Dunning-Kruger effect, Herd behavior or any other heuristics or cognitive biases they ‘ll deceive you, and I am not just talking about the marketing people here, the guy who wants to sell you more toothpastes, but also the people who want to sell you the idea of a new politician, who when I think about it happens to be the same people.
Even when you have escaped the Evil Demon of Descartes in this sense, you may feel powerless because of the Alfie Kohn argument or you might in the face of the facts go on acting as if there is no matrix, that the interests of the bosses are similar to that of the workers, or the representative democracy could work we just need better rules etc etc etc. Like people, for example, who acknowledge global warming is real and harmful and needs to be stopped somehow but act as if there is no global warming because:
1. They do not see the effects of global warming as they step out of there houses directly.
2. They actually cannot do anything practically alone. They need to organize.
Why did I say representative democracy fails? Read this by Iain McKay.
So, Yes, Organize! Organize fellow citizens, don’t look up to the well-to-do upper classes for support or cues, even though they too need to fight against the oppressive institutes that torment the whole of humanity and the planet at large. But their short term interests blind them. Organize! Don’t expect charity that entertains the poverty, instead eradicate the systems that generates it. Organize! For a better, just, classless society. Organize for yourself! Organize for the globe!