Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cartoon Figures---

"What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us."

--Neil Postman;"Amusing Ourselves to Death;"1985.


We have a national spotlight, rather more like a searchlight really, it is constantly on swinging to and fro, examining, scrutinizing--a long litany of ills can be attributed to it, from 'Triumph of the Will' to the latest "Joe the plumber". It would seem that even with the best of intentions, the reduction of three dimensions to two creates a separate reality that necessarily subtracts from an essential humanity.

Broadly, the problem is not the not realbut rather the idea of an almost real; that is the spill over, the inability to distinguish between realities, that of fact, and that of illusion.

It would be necessary for this discussion to note that we are not dealing here with literature or cinema, which though pertinent to the argument in the larger sense, do not deal with the flow of information necessary to decisions which should be based on accuracy. What we receive is filtered, shaded, even suppressed, and of course manipulated to fit the needs of the searchlight which feeds on conflict. We are served personality, which is more easily digested than numbers, and drama, which is more entertaining than the gritty theory which the numbers are fed into--

Capital must create more capital; inevitably, it seems to flow inward, becoming ever more concentrated, thus the outlets for the control of information must also constrict to perpetuate and protect the system. It might be noted, that the only industry that seems immune to the boom and bust inherent in the capitalist model is the entertainment business, it has no top end, no saturation point, money can be continually pumped into it with relative security as regards the possibility of loss. It is not surprising then that actual News is on the decline; it has become irrelevant, devoid of the necessary angst, unprofitable. Unless packaged adroitly, it is a distraction from the real purpose, the manufacture of profitable personality which a potential viewer will "invest" time in.

Thus, what is said is subordinate to who says it. Who trusts the sayer, and who does not becomes that sayers demographic--the larger the demographic the more valuable the sayer: regardless of the veracity of what is said.

A person who wishes to know, rather than just be fed, must stumble through the forest blindly, hoping to fall into something of value. Opinions from one side of the aisle or the other have little validity as they reflect only the interest of the corporate entity promoting them. It is not easy to escape from Motive, be it monetary or more nakedly in the Will to Power.

The power to know is dangerous; and an actual ability to know anything in the morass of misinformation is nearly impossible; and will in the course of time become even more so, the casualty is history which can no distinguish what actually happened, from what was said to have happened.

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