Cliché = ground minus figure
Archetype = figure minus ground
"Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do."
"I think the subject which will be of most importance politically is
mass psychology.... Its importance has been enormously increased by the
growth of modern methods of propaganda. Of these the most influential is
what is called 'education.' Religion plays a part, though a
diminishing one; the press, the cinema, and the radio play an increasing part....
It may be hoped that in time anybody will be able to persuade anybody
of anything if he can catch the patient young and is provided by the
State with money and equipment."
"Although this science will be diligently studied, it will be rigidly
confined to the governing class. The populace will not be allowed to
know how its convictions were generated. When the technique has been
perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a
generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of
armies or policemen."
- Bertrand Russell, "The Impact of Science on Society", 1953
"Scientific societies are as yet in their infancy. . . . It is to be
expected that advances in physiology and psychology will give governments
much more control over individual mentality than they now have even in
totalitarian countries. Fitche laid it down that education should aim
at destroying free will, so that, after pupils have left school, they
shall be incapable, throughout the rest of their lives, of thinking or
acting otherwise than as their schoolmasters would have wished."
"Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age,
to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the
authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers
that be will become psychologically impossible."
"Gradually, by selective breeding, the congenital differences between
rulers and ruled will increase until they become almost different
species. A revolt of the plebs would become as unthinkable as an organized
insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton."
- Bertrand Russell, "The Impact of Science on Society", 1953, pg 49-50
"In like manner, the scientific rulers will provide one kind of
education for ordinary men and women, and another for those who are to become
holders of scientific power. Ordinary men and women will be expected to
be docile, industrious, punctual, thoughtless, and contented. Of these
qualities, probably contentment will be considered the most important.
In order to produce it, all the researches of psycho-analysis,
behaviourism, and biochemistry will be brought into play.... All the boys and
girls will learn from an early age to be what is called 'co-operative,'
i.e., to do exactly what everybody is doing. Initiative will be
discouraged in these children, and insubordination, without being punished,
will be scientifically trained out of them."
"Except for the one matter of loyalty to the World State and to their
own order, members of the governing class will be encouraged to be
adventurous and full of initiative...."
"On those rare occasions, when a boy or girl who has passed the age at
which it is usual to determine social status shows such marked ability
as to seem the intellectual equal of the rulers, a difficult situation
will arise, requiring serious consideration. If the youth is content to
abandon his previous associates and to throw in his lot
whole-heartedly with the rulers, he may, after suitable tests, be promoted, but if he
shows any regrettable solidarity with his previous associates, the
rulers will reluctantly conclude that there is nothing to be done with him
except to send him to the lethal chamber before his ill-disciplined
intelligence has had time to spread revolt. This will be a painful duty
to the rulers, but I think they will not shrink from performing it."
- Bertrand Russell, "The Scientific Outlook", 1931
What's New with My Subject?
For millions of years to evolve has meant to adapt to the environment. The rule of the dinosaurs lasted nearly 150 million years, while humans have only been here 200,000. In that relatively short time both the environment and ourselves have changed markedly and will continue to do so.
For humans, survival has meant living by our wits. Even newer in evolutionary time is the electronic environment which leads us inevitably into an era where the human race is a mix of natural, transhuman (Homo Mutans) and posthumans (Homo Lumen), enhanced with exponentially changing technology.
Using our wits to enhance our quality of life is natural for us, with both soft and hard technologies. Religions no longer hold a monopoly on mind-altering techniques. The generic aspects of self-regulation, healing, creativity have been synthesized and extracted from their superstitious, pre-scientific contexts.
In the past religions imposed pre-baked mythic structures on the beliefs of their cultures. Before that, shamans held sway over the deeper layers of the human psyche. This was the original form of mind control, often enhanced with psychoactive drugs which alter and condition experiences and behavior by reinforcing cultural beliefs. The modern world has its own drugs, pharmaceutical and electronic which modulate the pain/pleasure spectrum, reinforcing their desirability.
Now we are learning the nature and process of creativity for ourselves and applying it to ourselves. Throughout our history and prehistory, someone has manipulated the minds, emotions and physical health of others. This doesn't mean religion is obsolete, but it has a shadow side in which it competes ruthlessly as a cultural meme for your energy and attention. Like cults, religions aggresively seek to control all aspects of life through needs for belonging.
Perhaps an even greater threat comes from militarily applied technology, and the seemingly more benign though pernicious influence of new media, which has become the fundamental electronic ground of our experience, mimicing a virtual voluntary ESP.
Dr. Nick Begich http://earthpulse.com highlights the post-postmodern technological dilemma:
"From the invention of the wheel to where we are right now technology will double every ten months. At this rate of change there is little time to consider the consequences, much less create solutions, for what we are facing in the future. These new technologies will either free us to our individual higher potentials, as created human beings, or enslave us to the devices of the elite and corporately corrupt governments around the world. In true democracies and democratic republics the average person controls the destiny of nations. In the 21st Century it is technologies that define the strength and power of nations."