The sign of intelligence is that you are constantly wondering. Idiots are always dead sure about every damn thing they are doing in their life.
A few weeks ago, I finished watching the TV sitcom Arrested Development, and it made me think about a lot of things. The sitcom’s name comes from a phrase that means, basically, someone who is unusually stupid or childish – stuck in an infantile state. One of the characters, played by Charlize Theron, is a fully-grown adult who behaves like a little child, due to some kind of psychological disorder. This so-called ‘arrested development’ is actually very widespread today – enormous amounts of the public are both very stupid and childish… So, to really understand some of the history of all this, I sat down to watch an episode of Adam Curtis’ documentary series, Century Of The Self.
In the first episode, Adam Curtis explains that Sigmund Freud developed theories of psychoanalysis that would become enormously influential in the development of western consumerism, public relations, and propaganda. Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, was fascinated by his uncle’s psychological theories – that people are governed by subconscious, irrational impulses and sexual instincts. He set out to apply Freud’s psychoanalysis to the mass mind, and sought to get women smoking – something that, at the time, was considered taboo. He did this by tapping into women’s subconscious desires, and getting them to see the act of smoking as a challenge to patriarchy. He believed that women would identify cigarettes as a phallic symbol, and labelled them ‘torches of freedom’. This slogan would appeal to both rational and irrational impulses, and soon led to an enormous market in female smoking. According to the documentary, Bernays always saw people in terms of thousands, never individually, and developed methods for marketing goods to the mass mind through irrational and sexual desires. He got people thinking that they would actually feel better for buying things like cars and clothes, and this become known as ‘consumptionism’, and eventually, ‘consumerism’.
Today, consumerism is rampant, with the general public being driven by Freudian hedonistic impulses to purchase all manner of trivialities. This is the manipulation and direction of what is known as the ‘pleasure principle’. Bernays actually got people purchasing clothes as a way to express their inner psychology. In the documentary, it is explained that prior to the work of Freud and Bernays, people did not generally discuss their inner feelings in public – particularly in Austrian society, where Freud worked. However, Bernays got people to purchase all kinds of clothing and trinkets to ‘express themselves’ and broadcast their inner feelings to everyone. After all, you don’t want to be a boring old fart, do you…?
This mass dedication to impressing our peers with our unrestrained, impulsive indulgences bares a striking similarity to something called ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder’. Contrary to popular belief, a certain degree of narcissism is actually healthy – in the sense of working hard to excel in something to impress others, and taking care of oneself, etc. However, narcissism becomes pathological when it unwittingly damages the self, or becomes self-destructive. Pathological narcissism is considered by some psychologists to be a form of arrested development, and I’m sure the Freudian psychology used in the TV show is no accident either.
A leading neuroscientist has actually come out suggesting that the human mind is becoming infantilised, due to the heavy use of modern social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo. Lady Greenfield of Lincoln College, Oxford, told the House of Lords a few years ago that children’s experiences on social networking sites are ‘devoid of cohesive narrative and long-term significance. As a consequence, the mid-21st century mind might almost be infantilised, characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity’. Since then, her warnings have largely been confirmed by a number of studies, which have found that our use of modern technology is actually altering and rewiring the human brain.
Don’t believe me that this is happening? Just scroll through your Facebook newsfeed and observe the amount of fully grown adults utterly obsessed with team sports. In previous centuries, men would have grown up to get involved in politics and the running of their society. However, what the historian Juvenal noticed in ancient Rome was that an infantile population sacrificed their responsibilities for ‘bread and circuses’ – mass entertainment. Today, the major issues of discussion amongst men are team sports. Literally, a childish substitute for ancient tribal warfare. They feel uncomfortable discussing anything of significance or meaning on the world stage – no geopolitics, healthcare issues, banking scams, etc. They only feel at home debating ‘who is on the sports team?’ or ‘who has the biggest beard?’. Which is not to say that no one should watch sports, at least for mild entertainment – but you’ve got to admit, sports teams and facial hair are the kind of thing adolescents argue about on a school yard.
Calling them ‘dull as dishwater’ is an injustice to dishwater worldwide
The movie Idiocracy portrayed a dumbed-down population obsessed with moronic entertainment and ‘ass’, in a satirical mockery of tabloids and celebrity culture. The film itself had the same theme as a story called The Marching Morons, in which a technocratic elite work around the clock to stop the idiot masses from destroying themselves and the world. However, the story The Marching Morons is actually a great representation of what people like Edward Bernays and Walter Lippmann believed in. Co-founder of the CFR, Walter Lippmann wrote that if people are indeed driven by irrational impulses, as Bernays had suggested, then a small elite must guide the mass human mind, or ‘bewildered herd’. Edward Bernays was fascinated by Lippmann’s ideas, and developed methods for ‘engineering consent’. These technocratic elites believed it was the ‘right’ thing to do, but actually, such a system is inherently predatory – and smacks of the kind of bigotry and prejudice inherent in any tyrannical system.
Paul Joseph Watson deconstructs the stupidity epidemic
Another component of the ‘bread and circuses’ technique used by the elite is, aside from team sports, the music industry, or at least what passes for music these days. A study by SeatSmart found that the intelligence of lyrics in hit music has been gradually declining over the past ten years – starting just above a third-grade reading level (yes, you read that right) and declining to just below a third-grade level (ouch). But, what’s that I hear you say? You don’t like hit music anyway, because you’re too cool for that mindless rubbish? Well, fear not, hipsters, the arrested development doesn’t stop with pop. Remember what I said earlier about the whole ‘expressing yourself with clothing purchases’? It was designed as a marketing ploy by Edward Bernays to sell more clothing and maintain the economic order. You might feel smug about yourself with your obscure band tees and hipster beard, but please bear in mind that you’re still a cog in a consumerist machine.
I’ve spent a considerable amount of time hanging out with these kind of people, and once they’ve spent the right amount of time obsessing over ‘Obscure Band A’, they move on to ‘Obscure Band B’. Then ‘Obscure Band A’ come back on the scene, and they follow the lead, on and on, into the obsidian depths of infinity. The global elitists are all too happy for you to sit there, with a smug sense of superiority, listening to breakdown-bands that barely anyone has heard of – it’s your outlet for aggression, your ‘Two Minutes Hate’.
It’s very cool and trendy nowadays to be into your physical health – weightlifting, jogging, aerobics, or yoga – and that’s good. But what is equally important is our mental exercise. We need to learn and grow, develop our understanding of our world, and research why we believe what we do, and who benefits from it. Questioning your reality, independently researching things on your own terms, engaging the grey matter; this is all equally as important as attending to physical health. If we don’t, we’ll have a population of super-strong idiots – brawn without brains, impressive physique with nothing up top. The real-life ‘Marching Morons’.
U CAN HAZ MY BRANE IF I HAD 1
It can be easy to get angry at the stupified masses, and get confrontational and oppositional, but this kind of interaction will get us nowhere. To those of us that are slowly emancipating ourselves from the mainstream myopia – we need to be strong and continue what we are doing, in spite of the resistance from the dumbed-down masses. Being thoughtful, tactful, and calm, are of the utmost importance in communicating to those blinded by the mass mind control. After all, you don’t want to push people further under the spell.
To those who can’t face reality, and attack those than can – grow the hell up.
Matthew Finn is a writer, researcher, and musician based in Wales, UK