A couple of ‘raw’ assertions

Centuries of civilization have provided numerous occasions for reflection and consequential transition. In countless ways – whether through chaotic bewilderment, transformational assertions or quiet contemplation – human kind collectively came to adapt to changing conditions and social arrangements. The manifestation of human kind is a phenomenal journey.

Within the development of modern civilization a number of trials remain elusive. Among them, the question of progress. What can be considered ‘progress’ ? At this very moment, on a global scale, we can safely assume to have more people holding graduate and advanced degrees than ever before in our history. As can be debated, at the same time, due to this obsession with degree programs and certifications, we have the greatest number of people being disqualified from participation and (more importantly) from contribution to our common interests. The global, regional and local challenges seem to be too complicated and collectively supported scenarios are simply outside our reach and receive mediocre to moderately successful treatment, largely a result of pure intend and persistent determination. Why do we need so much effort to accomplish even the slightest of change? on any scale and in any place?

Across all of history, every culture is defined by shared believes and myths. From the earliest tribal communities to the first settlement and cities, up to the present day – the shared believes of a culture are driving its development and expressions. Even in the earliest of civilizations it was recognized, believe systems have a political dimension. When loyalty to the established believes is tested and corrected, the first level of docile compliance is in effect. Staying in this grand simplification of society, we can see the double edged sword of believe systems; they unify communities while at the same time force compliance to a given agenda. What will bring people from questioning the validity of a system to docile compliance and forceful defense of declared believes?

What Plato (and most likely some others) conceived as the three dimensions of the mind was later normalized by Freud and diffused through public discourse, embracing its key concepts. Before Freudian concepts pervaded common believes, the mind of men was considered largely a linear cause-effect mechanism. Since then, the mind was a continual negotiation between instinctual drives and internalized cultural custom, balanced by a correction mechanism which ultimately results in choices and activity. Besides the various practical effects this principle had on society, it was in fact the first time to have a somewhat comprehensive understanding of what ‘deeply’ motivates people. In the context of the time, political control of the masses was a concern. At the time, wealth and power were concentrated in family trusts and large corporations, laborers had little control over how, when, and for how long they held their jobs. There were numerous hostile strikes during this time; the distance between capital and labor had never seemed so great. Many of these battles were fought over such bread-and-butter issues as wages and hours, but something equally important was at stake: how much control, collectively and individually, workers would have over their lives. In this setting the concept of ‘public affairs’ was conceived and introduced. While it was actually the programmed and targeted process of propaganda, the label public affairs was crucial to disguise the deceiving nature: protecting the interests of few by presumably defending the interests of the masses. Propaganda, public affairs, public relations and advertising all work on the same notion; stimulate the instinctual desires while respecting the cultural values, minimize validation, avoid critical thinking. To this very day, the insights and finesse underpinning communication and media programming (called programming for a reason) enables the establishment to manufacture believes and consent, almost at will. What about government, political debate, NGO’s, interest groups, public dissent?

Although every culture has various forms and levels of political activity, public engagement, activism and dissent – the sentiments, values and logic are not as fine-tuned as the mainstream believes which are funded and orchestrated through commercial reciprocity. Why are the counter movements stuck in debate and idealism? Largely since most of them are perpetuating conventional thinking regarding society and cultural relations. For example, freedom: a construct we have learned to embrace and defend. What are we defending? Celebration of the individual, maximizing personal potential and relentless competition. As a result the scope of our lives has been narrowed down to financial transactions and endless obligations. Effectively our potential, all which can be achieved in a bigger scale and in collective effort, gets side-tracked through family mores, education and career planning. To get started on the quest for change, just one simple (debatable) example. For anyone who has identified similar conventions, assumptions, misperceptions and deceptions please contribute to the conversation and build a stronger counter movement on every scale and in every situation.

To be continued …