Contemporary societyhas deified technology in all its manifestations. This “commodification of culture” both feeds and is fed by our addicted society.Though Argüelles asserted that our first and only duty is the “development and refinement of consciousness”, living the sacred in contemporary technological civilization is often viewed as a crime, and a direct threat to the very existence of society.
Ideology is the term used to define the framework of ideas embraced by society and reinforced in individuals that determine our relationships to the “real”so as to maintain the status quo, and reproduce wealth. It also helps maintain the accumulated wealth of a dominant class that controls society as a whole.
Those who occupy power positions are always prepared to use their power to impose the traditional definition of ‘reality’ on the population, that thereinafter are recognized as the expected standards by which everyone is supposed to live. Most people develop self-images by adapting their values to their actions, which are in turn structured by society’s institutional boundaries, exerting powerful pressures on people to seek only what society is prepared to grant.
Manufacturing consent in the population creates illusions that marginalize the population into believing that they actually have some measure of choice and control, reducing them to apathy while manipulating them into“choosing” those pre-selected by the authorities. This type of coercion induces trance-like actions, leading individuals, even whole populations, to act as directed by authority figures.
In this fashion, then, the ideology of commerce eventually determines the working blueprint of ideas, values, and rules that control society itself. Any society is possible only because its citizens hold a mental image of it, and carry it around within themselves.
Such conformity can easily be co-opted by a dominant culture. Lopes once observed, “Propaganda is to democracy what violence is to totalitarianism.”It is this ideological control that leads directly to the creation of fascist business practices created and fed by the permanent war economy. These manipulative games of modern politics—propaganda, programming, brainwashing and advertising—threaten everything democracy was meant to be.
Faith in the existing system of economic distribution is surprisingly high. In every social group, economic inequality is not questioned as being unnecessary and unfair, since individuals are considered responsible for their economic position.Dissociation has become a normative characteristic of modern life, in keeping with the impact of advanced technology, rampant consumerism, and constant mobility.
Erickson and Rossi, Tart, Wolinskyand many others have spoken to the hypnotic nature of everyday life, of individuals being entrained to automatic behaviors and responses facilitated by the lack of attention to, and examination of, many commonly shared beliefs—and acting upon them without reservation.
When these cultural biases become integrated into the collective psyche of the society in such a way that they are accepted and consequently acted upon as unquestioned normative values, ideological hegemony develops. Hegemony simply means control.This is reinforced through laws, advertising, and the pervasive influence of the media (95% of which is owned by six multi-nationals), thereis no further need of further reinforcement. Group members will reproduce the ideology without thought or discrimination; and cultural elites will make disembodied business decisions based solely on the needs of the organizations they own or control. No corporation has any ethical or moral boundary. None. Their only mandate is to make money under any and all circumstances by any means possible.Once ideological hegemony is even partially achieved, there will be little or no questioning the authority or appropriateness of this tyranny.
Dr. Stefan J. Malecek
Author – Veteran – Psychologist