Without the Internet, our forebearers were not able to see the world as such, as one. At the same time, the Internet has multiplied the influence of propaganda on the story of reality we tell ourselves and our children. All of our stories are partly true, partly not.
It does not take much consideration to become convinced of the precarious nature of our lives today. We are swamped from one dimension to another and sometimes wonder if training our transitioning aptitude is the only goal in life. If we believe what life is telling us, that would be true. But maybe there is something beyond that. Something akin to waking up in the morning and feeling quiet and clear-headed.
This chapter wants to provide something better than a brief overview of historical propaganda examples, for example through Edward Bernays’ books. Instead it focuses on getting the reader to establish the connection between his sense-making and his world, a world that is undoubtedly filled to the brim with propaganda.
A day in the life
Even after researching extensively on a terrorist assault such as the one committed in January 2015 in Paris by supposed Muslim fundamentalists, one is flooded by ideas of secret governance, freemasonry, ancient technology, US secret agencies, nanotechnology and MKUltra, to name but a few usual suspects. One thing to keep in mind is the deeply political nature of all of these topics, and it would surely seem for a regular user (that is, non-expert) that the web was invented to discuss and propagate political agenda’s. An expert, however, who refuses to leave his zone of comfort, will use the web in an entirely different, perhaps even a-political way.
Since the early 2000s it has become increasingly clear that political activists now have a real voice and can rally others to participate and thus emancipate. Joining the fight has never been more liberating and limiting at the same time. Around 2015, however, we can begin to see the web as a silted stream of information. Gatekeepers are regaining power, there are no more significant, non-government uprisings. The world population saw each other briefly in each others webs, which were then quickly flooded with heavy sand.
The only way out of this, it would seem, is a complete negation by the world population of what the web has become, a machine for getting you to think about what they want you to think about. In that sense, the character of the Internet has indeed become an extension of the earlier established characters of newspapers, radio and TV. The step that is needed would be to not used the web for our political ends, to use different means for this.
It is incredibly radical, and surely impossible for most people, but if we still want to get away from a religious, hyperreal perception of the political realm (‘they’ are making us ‘believe’ that…) we are to steer away from these propaganda-saturated channels. We are left to make contact ourselves and our neightbors within reach. This would include not bothering about news and journalism (except maybe local news), as well as to radically become an expert in the field(s) of whatever interests you, or whatever is your job or purpose. Following this denial of the political Internet realm, the right quests for a calmer and more clear-headed society would be:
the quest for reflection (aka science):
- how can we engage in strategic warfare when our existence takes place in the emptiness inside the machine, which is unanticipated by such warfare.
the quest for cosmopolitanism (aka networks and friends):
- how is an ethics possible that integrates our respect and understanding (empathy, compassion, etc.) for fellow beings, for animals, plants and rocks, and for a cosmic higher self?
the quest for the hyper-real (aka religion):
- how can we recognize that our position within the system is inevitable, thereby overriding the self?
the quest for presence (aka family):
- how can we see that such a position enables us to embrace our own delusion as a ‘bias’ towards reality, thereby rediscovering the mind itself?
the quest for Do-It-Yourself (aka economy):
- how can we be self-inventive, that is not only reproducing the environment of systems that surrounds
us, but simultaneously creating systems of production ourselves
the quest for the bodymind (aka law):
- how can we see the mind not as mirror but as active force co-creating with reality?
the quest for freedom (aka art):
- how do we see that taking responsibility for a digitally divided, unequal world can produce an essentially
different mode of it?
And because the battle is lost in the political realm, the quest to be disregarded would be:
the quest for participation/emancipation:
- how can we create systems while being sufficiently elaborate and aware of how we continuously end up reproducing the set of norms, beliefs and values of a dominant power structure?
Even though all of these quests were formulated (in book I of the BlankMediation Series) with the utmost abstraction in mind, they can function as a thread that takes us on the right journey through life.