Ignore the Propaganda
Propaganda is everywhere. Everywhere. We’ve long since left behind the era of objectivity. Indeed, I do not know if such an era has ever existed. Everything we see and hear is meant to persuade minds, to cloud vision, and to corral individuals into the herd of anonymity and status quo. Public school is boot camp in the army of conformity. Corporate and educational structures are based on fitting in, going along, and doing everything just well enough. Those who excel too far beyond the herd are critically deemed “extremists”, or “eccentrics.” The insults are often all it takes to hush the exceptional achiever back into the crowd, lesson learned. The laggards are brought along gently; grades are curved, expectations lowered, and so long as nobody makes too much fuss, everyone gets along just fine.
Keep calm and carry on. Glorify the state. The company. The product. The war.
“The mission”, wrote Seth Godin, is “to teach you that you’re average; That compliant work is the best way to a reliable living; That creating average stuff for average people, again and again, is a safe and easy way to get what you want…. generations of students turned into generations of cogs—factory workers in search of a sinecure. We were brainwashed into fitting in, and then discovered that the economy wanted people who stood out instead.”
Fitting in is overrated. The status quo is lifeless and demeaning. The crushing weight of compliance and mediocrity is poisoning the human soul. G.K. Chesterton said that “[w]e are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.” Nobody who has ever changed our world worried much about compliance, dress codes, or policy. Instead, they ignored the leviathan and the politicians; the preachers and the charlatans. They embraced the wide-eyed wonders of humanity with passion, wit, and relentless energy. Nothing changes from the top-down. Change—revolution—starts on the ground, in the dirt.
Resistance isn’t futile. It is imperative. Ignore the noise and the propaganda. Resist the tug and pull of compliance. Don’t simply “think different”, be different.
In many ways, we already are being different. We are, in brief glimpses, ignoring the societal urgings to blend in and to become anonymous. A cog. Faceless. Instead, we are riding our bikes, running, skiing, and otherwise moving ourselves apart from our surroundings. We are chasing excellence in a world that demands, (and despises) excellence. And so, we are needed and admired by many, but suspiciously demeaned by the guardians of Institution and Tradition.
We don’t need the state to tell us who to be. We don’t need men in suits who live in tall buildings to determine our worth. We don’t need piety to affirm our divinity.
We have mountains and deserts that ground, and elevate, us. We know light, because we have seen darkness. We taste joy, because we have endured pain.
We know truth, because we have had to confront it in its cold, stark nakedness.
Be different. Ride a bike over the mountains. Run across the desert. Climb. Descend. Explore. Escape. Let the mediocre call us names and urge us back into the herd. They will never know the thrill of freedom, and the ecstasy of excellence. But we do. We know. And so, we can ignore them with impunity. The “system”, revered by the masses, teaches us to deny the existence of dragons. But we know better. We know dragons. “Fairy tales are more than true;” wrote Chesterton, “not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
Ignore the noise. Embrace revolution.
“Make art”, advised Godin. And what is art? “Art is an original gift, a connection that changes the recipient, a human ability to make a difference.”
Ray Davis said that “[s]tatus quos are made to be broken.” I heartily agree.
Let’s go break something.
WyattMay 31, 2012
I love you
BJMay 31, 2012
“Let the mediocre call us names and urge us back into the herd. They will never know the thrill of freedom, and the ecstasy of excellence. But we do. We know. And so, we can ignore them with impunity.”
I dig it.
BurntJune 1, 2012
The perspective from inside the machine is a bit different. I don’t know anyone who likes the processes and controls, in fact, we all chafe against them. The people I’ve met on the inside are capable beings with dreams, an often they act on those dreams, using the machine as a means to an end rather than an end itself.
“Art is an original gift, a connection that changes the recipient, a human ability to make a difference.” — I’ve seen people in the machine create great art. Art that helps people. Art that lives and grows and eventually dies. They do this despite the controls and restrictions. The passion to create an explore and “know” transcends.
Now, what you’re ascribing to the machine is what I recognize as human nature. I don’t think you have to breed people to be ignorant and lazy, for a large percent it comes naturally. We build systems that mirror ourselves.
BurkeJune 3, 2012