Because I know dozens of people who own large private libraries of thousands of books they have never, and will never, read. Virtually every person I know is a functional illiterate if measured by the standard, "How many serious non-fiction books have you read since you graduated from a University?" because the answer is usually zero.
And then there is the point made by Andre Vltchek below who argues that the organs of information dissemination from schools to newspapers are so dishonest and backwards, folks might be better off "knowing" nothing at all than to learn from them. And I believe he has a point. I know this young German scholar, the son of a math professor, who has had the doors opened to the most prestigious schools on the planet, and who is just scary-smart. Unfortunately, because he accumulated all those As in neoliberal / neocon nonsense, he is also ridiculously ignorant because what he "knows" is demonstrably preposterous.
One night in the late 1990s, I found myself engaged in an utterly pointless argument with man who routinely bragged that he had graduated from Harvard as his ultimate seal of authority. He was claiming that petty morals aside, the USA military had been remarkably effective in prosecuting the war in Vietnam, and that we were mistaken as a society to not glorify those efforts. Amazingly angered, I wanted to intellectually crush the arrogant prick. And so I wheeled out the heavy artillery about Rolling Thunder, Agent Orange, the Phoenix Program, and a few more atrocities committed against the people of SE Asia until finally, his argument was reduced to, "Yeah, who cares? Who even remembers this stuff?" I responded, "Well, the victims remember—along with most of the world who understand the basics of Vietnam. But yes, I certainly understand why a Harvard guy doesn't know this stuff. Because in the expensive view of Harvard historians, the only history worth remembering is the history of important people—you know, people like the Harvard grads."
The West Spreads Intellectual Idiocyby ANDRE VLTCHEK, AUGUST 21, 2015
Could any dictator desire more? Almost the entire population of the Empire is now thinking the same way!
The populace is “educated” at schools and the universities staffed with submissive, and cowardly teachers and professors.
The populace is “informed” by hundreds of thousands of servile journalists and “analysts”. There is almost no deviation from the official narrative.
Congratulations, Western Empire! You have succeeded where others tried but failed. You have achieved almost absolute obedience and discipline, a total servility.
And more than that most of the people actually think that they are free, that they are in control. They believe that they can choose, that they can decide. They are confident that theirs is the greatest civilization ever built on Earth!
Tens of millions are lining up, voluntarily, asking to get “educated”, and eventually to get one of those official Imperial degrees. They want to be accepted, certified and praised by the rulers.
People are offering their own bowed heads to a complex and protracted act of lobotomy. In exchange for stamped pieces of papers called diplomas, men and women lose, forever, their ability to think independently, to analyze and to see the world with their own individual set of eyes. As a reward for their submissiveness, their chances to get prestigious positions in the regime’s elite corporate, academic, and other battalions, dramatically increase.
The extreme degree of compliance of the majority of men and women living in our societies makes old books like “Fahrenheit 451” and “1984” only moderately disturbing. Our reality of “2015” is much more psychedelic, bizarre and appalling… as well as shameful!
Most of the citizens are now even willing to pay for those “educational” and propaganda brain surgeries from their own (or from their family’s) pocket; they are keen to get into deep debts in order to get thoroughly programmed and indoctrinated. Several years later, when it’s all over and nothing is left of their individuality, their chests swell with pride, and they frequently cry when they receive that stamped piece of paper, which in fact means only one thing: “Passed, accepted and certified – ready to serve and to be used by the Empire and its fascist regime”.
Millions of foreigners are lining up for this lobotomy too. Those coming from the colonized and destroyed countries are often the most eager. Children of the elites are excited to receive the stamp of approval from the Empire, to be molded, to blend with the masses in Europe or North America. After “graduating” and after returning “home”, they hang their diplomas on the walls, add titles all over their name cards, increase their fees, and demand respect for their Western ways and their intellectual collaboration with the Empire. Then many of them get busy robbing and further indoctrinating their fellow-citizens on behalf of the West.
In many countries there is no reason to even leave home. Western brainwashing is readily available through countless private Christian and “international” schools, through churches, “cultural institutions”, and of course, through the “entertainment”.
Even such countries like China that can count on much greater and older cultures than that of the West, are now being dreadfully influenced by its own sons and daughters who have been programmed to believe in the greatness of the Western civilization. They were either indoctrinated at the Western “educational” facilities abroad, or by the armies of Western “educators”, “scholars” and preachers who are increasingly busy travelling and spreading their toxic gospel all over the World.
Instead of being given multifaceted and multicultural knowledge, pupils and students have been receiving precisely calculated indoctrination doses, well tested during the centuries of imperialism and colonialism. By now, the Empire knows extremely well how to manipulate human minds. Those who are raped are forced into believing that they are being made love to. Those indiscriminately robbed are taught to praise the colonial powers for building their administrative buildings and railroads and people “at home” are instructed to feel no shame for their past and present.
Instead of being encouraged to think independently, instead of being asked to revolutionize their thinking itself, the people are being tied, restrained by austere intellectual straightjackets.
Courage and independent-mindedness are systematically vilified and belittled. Rebellious souls are marked as “unemployable”, almost as antisocial.
Cowardice, submissiveness and mediocrity are promoted and marketed by the extremely complex and multi-faceted system of propaganda, advertising, “cultural and entertainment events” and media.
In a fully uniform world where even “culture” and media are serving the Empire and its neoliberal business interests, the New Men and the New Women are being shaped from intellectual clay, then put on massive pedestals: all of them tall and slim, all articulately and loudly regurgitating clichés, carefully avoiding real issues, intensively communicating with each other about nothing, while remaining shockingly ignorant about the world.
The New Humans – they are all smiling, all very cool looking. They drive the latest cars and hold modern gadgets in their hands. They are self-confident and endlessly selfish. Their buttocks are increasingly and stereotypically “perfect”.
Many of them are on sedatives, on anti-depressants or on drugs, most of them are miserable, unsure of themselves, unhappy with their jobs, miserable with their families, unable to find or keep their second halves. All this, of course, does not show! On the surface, countless Western men and women look ravishing!
The Italian and German fascists tried, desperately to create this sort of confident looking but obedient breed of super-humans.
But this Empire is succeeding! For the first time in human history there is a chance that the Robots will actually replace human beings. Not Robots manufactured from plastic and metals, but humans re-conditioned, recycled into Robots.
Italian Fascism, German Nazism, the corporatism of the United States, imperialism, racism, colonialism, exceptionalism, propaganda, advertising, “education” – they have all been expertly intertwined.
Congratulations, Empire! You are the first one who managed to standardize human beings and their thinking!
It is not easy to fight such an Empire, intellectually.
It is not just logic or philosophy that have to be confronted, to be challenged.
There are also thousands of perceptions, dogmas, codes, all of them serving the same purpose – to keep people away from reality, and from independent thinking and analyses.
Most citizens of the Western Empire are actually much more indoctrinated than the members of such groups as the Taliban or ISIL because the Empire works very hard and employs millions of professionals who create extremely effective concepts designed to control human minds: from ideologues to psychologists, propagandists, educators, artists, journalists and other highly specialized beings.
From social media to soap operas, Hollywood films, pop music and television networks, almost everything leads to the same direction – dragging people away from the basic principles of humanism. Forcing them not to think as a group of rational, caring, compassionate beings.
Reality is either trivialized, or brought to some phantasmagorical levels from where no logic can be effectively applied.
The most important course of human thought – the thinking of, the dreaming of and the designing of new, and much better and more gentle forms of human society – is totally missing from the narrative with which the men, women and children of the Empire and its colonies, are confronted on a daily basis.
The citizens of the Empire are being prevented from thinking and acting in a natural way. As a result, they are frustrated, depressed, and confused. But instead of rebelling (most of them are not capable of it, anymore), they become increasingly aggressive. While the victims of the Empire, all over the world, are being murdered, exploited and humiliated, the arrangement of the world brings actually very little joy (although many material benefits) to the citizens of the Empire – the Europeans and North Americans.
At the other “extreme”: billions of people in former colonies and in neo-colonies are also bombarded, constantly, by the same twisted, recycled and modified messages. They face a perpetual avalanche of propaganda (slightly modified for each particular region), streaming day and night from the Empire’s indoctrination outlets: be the soap operas, the lowest grade of movies and video games (the same thing, really), pop music with repetitive brain-dead lyrics, toothless decorative “art”, or the “news” broadcasts and reports carried by the mainstream press agencies. These messages are disseminated via local mass media outlets that are in turn mainly controlled by the business interests, which are determinedly collaborative with the global, Western regime.
The Empire and its arrangement of the world are outrageously racist and brutal, but most of its citizens, even its subjects in looted lands, are forced to believe that it is actually the most “tolerant” and “progressive” system on Earth.
Is there any hope that humanity will survive this mass-produced idiocy?
Yes, of course there is!
The fight is on.
It is not only Russian, Chinese and Iranian NAVY maneuvers that are now challenging Western imperialism.
It is not only the Latin Americans and South Africans who have made determined efforts to rewrite history and to arm people with knowledge, instead of diplomas.
Perhaps the greatest living European filmmaker, Emir Kusturica, recently wrote, sarcastically, that: “World War III will start with Pentagon bombing of RT”, referring to the powerful television network “Russia Today”. RT commented:
“RT is a real threat to US state propaganda as it reaches Americans “in their own homes, in perfect English, better than they use on CNN.”And that is why, according to the director, Washington could get fed up and seek to silence RT by force – much like NATO did to Serbian state TV in April 1999.
In turn, Kusturica predicts, Moscow would destroy CNN, which he considers the flag-bearer of pro-American propaganda: “CNN in direct transmissions assures that since the 1990s America has been leading humanitarian actions, and not wars, and that its military planes rain angels, not bombs!””
Although some of the greatest thinkers confronting the Empire – Saramago, Galeano and Pinter – have recently passed away, there are still many of those who are managing to escape indoctrination. Some are regrouping around new non-Western television networks like TeleSUR, RT and PressTV.
It is like Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”, all over again. Some people, stubbornly, refuse to burn their books.
Even in the West, some powerful media outlets – CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, ICH, VNN, Global Research, and others – are holding the line. They are not yet winning, far from it, but they are not dying, either!
As long as the independent thought is alive, not everything is lost.
“I rebel; therefore we exist”, wrote French philosopher Albert Camus. He also added: “The feeling of rebellion is born in oppression”.
The Empire denies that it oppresses the world. It indoctrinates both oppressors and the oppressed, re-defining, in fact “re-branding” oppression as freedom.
Those of us, who are managing to escape its indoctrination, are now rebelling. Therefore – humanity still exists.
The battlefield is becoming very well defined: it is now mainly about information, and about knowledge.
The deeds, the tricks, performed by the Empire are dirty, horrendous, but very transparent. They can be accepted or tolerated by billions only because of the constant repetition of the lies, and because of the twisted concepts hammered into the people’s brains through the “mainstream education”.
The war for survival of humanity is already being fought. It is “The Great Humanistic War” – the war over people’s brains and hearts, not over the territory. It can be also called the “information war”, a “detox” war, or a war to bring human beings back to life from their intellectual intoxication, from their slumber and servility, a war for much better world, a war that would put knowledge above diplomas and stamps, human warmth and kindness above violence and aggression, and human beings above profits and money.
The victory can only arrive accompanied with knowledge, with independent thought, with rational humanism, with compassion and solidarity, and human warmth. more