Got Change For a Paradigm?

Watching a bunch of Netflix and Hulu today while on a nostalgia jag for old TV shows, I was struck by a thought that’s recurred more than once over the last few years: Someone ought to investigate how everyday human behavior has changed in response to the technological innovations we’ve seen over the past fifty years or so. I’m not talking about the very very obvious things like the savings in time we get from using email rather than the old pen-and-paper letters sent via snail mail, or the way cell phones have freed us from the physical limits of landlines, no, I’m thinking about the subtle long term effects of old memes of human culture becoming outmoded by all the fancy toys we have and what they’re capable of.

A meme, if you’re not familiar, is “a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena,” as Wikipedia so succinctly defines it. A lot of people have the mistaken idea that humans evolve noticeably over time. They don’t, simple as that. Humans today are exactly the same as they were a hundred years ago, or a thousand. The only things that do evolve are the technologies available to us, and the memes we use to pass along cultural phenomena.

It’s easier if you examine individual examples to get an idea of how insidious the changes in memes can be. To give you an idea, while watching an episode of the old Kolchak: The Night Stalker speculative fiction show from the mid-1970s (is that one from left field, or what?), the question of who one of the fathers of modern psychology was is put to a robot, who answers right away: “Wilhelm Wundt.” So, what’s the big deal? Well, Wundt is someone who I consider one of the bad guys in history, he was the psychologist who bears much of the responsibility for pushing the awful Prussian-inspired coerced public education I’ve written critically of before. His name was surely not inserted into the show’s script by chance, I think it may well have been done by someone who wanted to help cement Wundt’s name into the public’s conscience in a positive way, one tiny little trick to casually reinforce the image of public education as a good thing.

Watching other shows, I saw a lot of this sort of thing, recurring buzzwords that reinforced common ‘everybody knows that‘ concepts that have been shown to be either distortions or outright falsehoods, as pointed out by many modern revisionist historians. This sort of thing has been going on for a long time, influencing and ‘guiding’ public opinion in ways that I think have been useful to those wishing very intentionally and cynically to keep that public controlled.

I wonder, though…can those responsible for such manipulation get away with it more efficiently in today’s digitized, accelerated age by hammering viewers with those misleading concepts more frequently than ever before? Or is it just the opposite, with the wealth of information available on the internet at one’s fingers, is it more difficult for propagandists? I honestly don’t know, but I think it bears watching.

I can think of plenty of other examples of how radically some memes have changed, but I’ll leave that for another time. I feel like I got my meaning across, and I’d enjoy hearing what others have to say on the subject.

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About Glenn Horowitz

I'm a 20 year civil courier pilot, retired by multiple sclerosis. From summer of 2011 until December 2013 my efforts went mostly to my first blog, Get Glenn Mobile, to raise the funds needed to convert my Honda Element for wheelchair access and end my virtual housebound confinement. This was realized just after Christmas 2013 when I was able to acquire a superb X-WAV Element, already modified for my use. Though the original goal wasn't met, what was raised, plus my Honda, plus the proceeds of the sale from my mother's car were enough to make it happen. It's an amazing story in itself! Now, after my release from homebound prison, I can augment the journalistic work I'm doing for the American Daily Herald by getting out in public, talking with people, perhaps even getting some media attention to explain why someone as disabled as I am knows these unfunded entitlement programs like Social Security and its 'disability insurance' are bogus and do more harm than good, and in fact why the whole welfare/warfare state is contrived to keep the gravy train rolling for those who benefit while they drain our resources and eat out our substance. Why 'public education' is really public INDOCTRINATION that's become a meat grinder destroying our youth and our future. Why the fiat currency foisted on us by the Federal Reserve for a hundred years has destroyed the dollar and will without doubt cause its collapse. On and on the list goes, and I want to talk with the world about these vital matters. Please visit my new blog, 'Liberty On Wheels' at http://libertyonwheels.com/ if you're interested in learning more!

Posted on January 15, 2012, in General Stuff and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. After learning a lot of revisionist history and more about the libertarian ideology, I noticed the same thing myself: incorrect facts and things I disagreed with vehemently. Part of me believes that that’s just the way the mainstream of society thinks about these specific events, and another part of me is more skeptical like you are, that these statements are purposefully placed to reinforce these fallacies.

    If it is done purposefully, it’s hard to say who’s winning this battle. In countries like China, for example, you hear about people demanding more and more freedom as they become exposed through devices such as the Internet to liberty and equality. In the end, only time will tell.

    • Your China example’s a bit more direct an example of technological advances having a direct effect on a culture, but it’s certainly valid. The more closed a totalitarian society is, the less its rulers want any information from the outside to get through that can refute its claims of how wonderful its citizens have it, a fear that’s logical if criminal. So long as people think those in other countries have it worse than they do, they’re likelier to keep putting up with the depredations of their own jailers.

      Reminds me of a friend of mine in the mid 1980s who theorized that Soviet Russia would collapse overnight if the West sent cargo planes loaded with Sears Roebuck catalogs to drop. Seeing the vast amount of consumer goods available to average people would make the Russians realize immediately that their rulers had been lying to them. A sensible idea, though it was never tried, of course. The USSR imploded as every free marketer had predicted it finally would since totalitarian collectivist regimes can’t work. I wish a lot of the current knuckleheads in Washington would remember this…the US is leaning more and more in that direction and an economy constantly interfered with by hubris filled politicians thinking they can dictate reality works no better here than it did in Russia.

      Thanks for writing!

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