For thousands of years “control” of humans, both at the micro individual and macro collective level, was obvious and institutionalized. It was the way the world worked, with pharaohs, chiefs, kings and queens, along with their sycophant and supporting courts, wielding power and control at the top. Arrayed along the bottom were the slaves, serfs and peons of various rank and stature, while scattered about the thin middle were the skilled tradesmen, shopkeepers and professionals such as they were.
It was the most effective social order of all millennium; a control system based upon claimed mutual benefit through the collective sharing of resources and defense, though never fairly or just. With disease, pestilence, hunger and death always lurking around the corner, it just made good sense to gather in groups and subsist as best we could. The pecking order quickly sorted out, with sociopaths and ruthless killers quickly rising to the top.
Of course, things are very different these days ... right?
No one likes to think/believe/know theyíre being controlled; therefore the tendency is to practice partial/full proactive/reactive denial of any and all evidence of overt and covert control and influence. Itís an ego thing mostly, and those who wish to control understand very well the art of leveraging a personís ego against him or her “self”.
While at times the blatant and blunt use of force to control is deemed necessary and has distinct and powerful benefits for those who wield the control (and severe detriments for those being controlled) for the most part modern societies are much more productive, compliant and malleable when the illusion of freedom is heavily promoted and widely believed to exist.
We will all pretty much agree to anything so long as we choose to believe itís our idea, intent or choice. In fact, the entire plot of the movie “Inception” is about manipulating someone to act against their own best interest by convincing them to do so is their own personally conceived idea. The art of the control con is to manipulate information, beliefs, circumstances and ego in such a way the target never is (fully) aware of the external influences.
We expend a great deal of energy believing what we want to believe. And ultimately we want to believe what we have been taught to believe. The key to control is to insert external sources of “belief” into our subconscious mind in such a way we believe them to be organic and natural, springing from us and no one else.
A lifetime of continuous conditioning, of artificial foreign meme insemination, has so completely distorted our critical thinking capacity we no longer know which components of our “self” are organic and which are foreign. And for the vast majority, we no longer really care. This process of subversion and assimilation is insidious and presented as culturally normal, a perfectly natural extension of technologyís ever expanding quest to improve and enhance our freedom and way of life.
Thatís the official story anyway and theyíre sticking to it.
This really isnít that hard to accomplish if 1) you control (via taxes, subsidies and mandated curriculum) the education system; 2) the society is continuously conditioned and indoctrinated into a unifying and benevolent creation myth which includes righteous superiority memes and rewards for submissive compliance (aka the carrot) while 3) significant resources are devoted to overt and covert authoritarian control structures (aka the stick) all in the name of supporting and protecting items 1+2.
We are constantly informed “it” (the police, military, CIA, FBI, DOJ and NSA etc.) is there to protect and to serve, when in fact its primary purpose is to control the population while protecting the wealthy and powerful from the unwashed via a stacked deck and a two tiered “justice” system. The so-called first world of the “West” exhibits all the characteristics of a banana republic, only without the bananas.
Well, at least not as many bananas.
Does any of this sound familiar? Because thatís the essence of effective control, where selective and psychologically comforting concealment sanitizes the manipulation in such a way it appears acceptable if not actually desirable.
Regardless of whether or not we believe the founding myths of the United States of America, and anyone who has read enough non-Empire sanctioned alternative history understands they are mostly myths peppered with slices of truth here and there, the lack of urgent concern “We the People” possess regarding the ever increasing corporate and governmental intrusions into our lives is simply astounding. Of course, most of these intrusions are partially shielded from view, carefully folded into what we have been conditioned to believe is perfectly normal and natural, such as death and taxes.
Speaking of taxes, the Tax Foundation declared April 19th 2018 as Tax Freedom Day, that point when our too-obvious-to-hide tax obligations are satisfied and we are now supposedly free to pay ourselves. Thatís 109 days into the year, or 29.9% of our gross earnings.
But wait ... thereís more; a lot more in fact.
Everything in the article and list linked here describes 97 mostly obscured or hidden taxes, a few of which may not directly apply to each and every reader. But the vast majority of them most assuredly do, especially many of the fees (a tax by any other name) often hidden inside the bills and invoices we pay as a matter of course or necessity.
While we are somewhat aware of many of these fees and taxes, even if on a subconscious level, seeing them listed in one place brings home the magnitude of the financial burden we all shoulder, however unevenly and unfair it may be.
I suspect you and I could add a few more to the list if we cared to think about it. But thatís the point ... we donít care to think about it because we have been repeatedly told itís all just the cost of living in a modern convenience filled world. When forced to confront the barely concealed threat of force that will be applied if we donít fully comply, for many ignorance is bliss and apathy is a solution.
I have read what I consider to be conservative estimates of the total tax and fee burden for the average American middle class worker to be well over 50% of gross taxable income. Think about that for a moment. The myth of the Boston Tea Party was of a violent and destructive reaction to a 6% tax imposed by the British on tea imported into America. This tax was claimed to be the spark that ignited popular uproar over the supposedly heavy tax burden (without legislative representation) imposed by the British homeland.
Nothing Iíve read on the subject indicates to me the total tax burden “suffered” by the colonists came anywhere near approaching 50%. In fact, the worst case scenario I could find was less than 10%. People were more upset with the manner in which Imperial edicts were imposed and less so what was imposed. The King of England was not kind, or clever, enough to attempt to conceal his impositions. Then again, he was the King so ...
Regardless of whether the so-called Tea Party was a grass roots public uprising or a carefully staged provocation by those attempting to foment revolution, one must ask at what point will modern Americans revolt if they already shoulder a 50%+ tax/fee burden with nary a cry of complaint? The fact so many taxes and fees are hidden from view or charged/deducted without our consent is control by any another name.
Daniel Webster once said, “The power to tax is the power to destroy.” If I can destroy something I exercise de facto control over that thing or entity. The promoted illusion is we freely “elect” our “public servants”, who then create laws that impose taxes on us for the benefit of the many and for the greater good. For those who believe the above to be true and how the thoroughly corrupted process actually works, I have a bridge for sale at a bargain basement price. Iíll even throw in the toll booths at no extra charge and you can keep the tolls.
Do we have a deal?
Then there is the whole police/surveillance state initiative which, for the most part, we have welcomed into our lives with open arms in the name of “freedom”, safety and security. The Edward Snowden revelations exposed secret government and private contractor programs (which were never factually denied, nor revoked, by any involved party) which are still reading and storing our “metadata” including emails, phone conversations, financial transactions, shopping purchases etc.
The fact this explosive information doesnít elicit much more than one or two concerned conversations over the office water cooler, let alone nothing more than meek bluster from the compliant and subservient mainstream media, means we have crossed the Rubicon and there is no turning back. War is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength. Get with the programming.
For better or worse, we are all now headed down the slippery slope of totalitarianism and appeasement. Half of the country is being incited into a frenzy about how Trump is Hitler incarnate and the ultimate evil doer, while the other half is promised Trump is the only person capable of draining the DC swamp. What isnít discussed is the obvious fact the so called “deep state” has exposed itself as powerful puppeteers working behind the curtain to influence and manipulate public perception and awareness.
Because the deep state has expertly cast itself as righteous defenders of truth, justice and freedom for all, one side applauds its appearance while the other side curses it. But few actually question the long carefully hidden, but now very public, appearance of an extrajudicial “authority” completely beyond the reach and control of established leadership and which supersedes the constitutional powers established in the three separate branches of government.
It appears former President George W. Bush was correct; the constitution is just a piece of paper after all.
Consider that for a while my friends. What was once, just a few short years ago, considered a nonsensical conspiracy theory about dark agents of nefarious powers extending their grasping tentacles into political, economic and corporate power is now not only an established fact, but for some a welcome presence. If this isnít stark evidence of prior cognitive conditioning to pave the way for a now-in-your-face American coup by the controlling elite, I donít know what is.
And yet the band strikes up another lively tune as the ship of state slowly sinks beneath the waves. No wonder (legal) chill pill sales are at an all time high and (illegal) drug deaths shoot for the moon. I could go on down the list of endless incursions into the lives and private dealings of “We the People”, but to do so would simply be more ranting on my part.
When I speak of concealment I do not suggest for a moment all this and more is nearly impossible to find. On the contrary, one need only throw open a few curtains to discover the truth. The vast majority of it is hidden right out in the open and in plain sight, and relies on our willingness (one might even say eagerness) to participate in the farce by not calling a spade a spade.
Truth will set us free, but only if we diligently practice it at home and within. To call out others for lying while participating in self deceit is the ultimate act of hypocrisy. And as Iíve discussed previously, Iím not speaking of small social lies we may tell each other such as “So glad to see you”, but rather the deep and fundamental lies we tell ourselves in order to maintain prior programming while promoting newly gestated ones.
And many of those fundamental lies, half truths and myths were taught to us as children and then maintained and supported through our teens and adult years by external forces who wish to control us through lies of commission and omission. This is achieved primarily through the constant barrage of mainstream media and its so-called “expert” talking heads and meme sprayers.
You know youíve reached the bottom of the monkey media barrel when you witness one reporter “interviewing” another “expert” reporter who is mostly repeating verbatim the talking points and memes promoted by the propagandists, sycophants and apologists of the wealthy and powerful. This isnít a vast conspiracy by each and every reporter, but rather everyone knowing exactly where their bread is buttered. Either keep to the Empireís propaganda themes with only minor deviations, or find yourself on dead end beats and nowhere assignments ... if you can find work at all.
It only takes one or two people in key positions in each “news” organization to make sure the proper ideology is adhered to. One can discuss, even criticize, the effects of Empire and its socioeconomic system. But one must never seriously question or challenge the system itself. It really is that simple.
For example, the economic and social strain caused by endless foreign wars (all undeclared) is a perfectly acceptable subject to discuss. But to question the right of Empire to intrude into other countryís domestic affairs, right up to and including bombing/invading, is verboten on anything other than a superficial level.
After all, they hate us for our freedom. Of course weíre going to shove it down their throats. Itís the very least a loving and benevolent “We the People” can do to ... err ... for all those filthy barbarians. Now whatís on TV sweet pea?
We all participate in selective “truth” assimilation through the strategic use of cognitive blinders and denial; mostly, but not exclusively, on a subconscious level. For those of us who believe what we wish to believe, and this applies to everyone to one degree or another, the biggest impediment to a clearer understanding and awareness of the socioeconomic conditions of our cognitive capture is our deeply embedded prior conditioning and our intense desire to sustain that conditioning, which we righteously rename “belief” to sanitize and legitimize its use.
To achieve a personal reformation, we must travel deep within to closely and repeatedly examine everything about our “selves” and the foundational beliefs that make up our “self”. This, for the most part, is a painful and gut wrenching process which, if truth be told, has no clearly identifiable end point. While many of the highest, and most difficult, hurdles are overcome relatively early in our self examination, there is no enlightenment switch one can flip and be done with. Itís a difficult life journey, not a comfortable vacation destination.
For this reason alone Mrs. Cog and I hold little realistic hope for a mass awareness to sweep the country or the world any time soon. At least not until many of us are forced, compelled may be a better word, to fundamentally reassess our existence in the present dystopian reality. As long as those entities and individuals who exert control tell us what they deem we should want to hear, and then tell us precisely what we were just informed we want to hear, there is essentially zero chance for radical change to take hold.
This is why Mrs. Cog and I continue to execute a strategic withdrawal from the insanity to the best of our ability. It is quite clear to us the Imperial control technique of divide and conquer has been unleashed domestically with nearly the same intensity reserved for foreign interventions. The only thing missing at this point is the random bombing and shelling of “innocent” civilians.
Alas, in my opinion this will begin soon enough, most likely via false flag operations designed to cast blame on any organized resistance in order to implement even more draconian controls and surveillance. For those readers who think they would never do that, they clearly are not students of (world) history. “They” do “that” all the time, including right here in the good old US of A. 9/11 was a textbook example of the brutal application of this technique, as was Waco, Oklahoma City and others.
We as individuals and as a culture are regressing, not progressing, which (of course) is contrary to what every “authority” we are conditioned to listen to, respect and obey is telling us. And when a captured mind is repeatedly assured it is not captured and the goodies continue to be delivered, there really isnít much incentive to walk away from the buffet when everyone else is still feasting.
But the party wonít last. It never does. Infinite growth of anything doesnít square in a finite world. This is not to say I predict collapse, at least not yet. Empires do not dissolve in a monumental and spectacular explosion. Rather they crumble in stages, sometimes in quick and sickening declines and other times in a slower and more methodical dismantling. When the barbarians finally storm the gate, all remaining wealth has long since been looted from within.
Cultural insanity must run its course. Individuals who form the groups will flee awareness of themselves until they can flee no more. Only then can reformation and restoration begin.
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”
— Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming already in progress.
This article was originally published on December 17, 2018,
on the Patreon blog of Cognitive Dissonance at www.patreon.com/CognitiveDissonance.
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