By Robert J. Burrowes
In his 1995 book The Demon-Haunted World Carl Sagan lamented as follows:
I have a foreboding of [a] time when… awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.
The dumbing down… is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media… but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance…. The plain lesson is that study and learning – not just of science, but of anything – are avoidable, even undesirable.
We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements… profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces. See The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.
While it is 25 years since these words of Sagan’s were published a year before his death, one can only lament the ongoing decline of what might simply be labeled the capacity for critical thinking, whether in relation to society and politics, or the science and technology that so concerned Sagan.
At a time in human history when so much is at stake, why is it so difficult to engage most people in anything resembling a thoughtful investigation, consideration and analysis of what is taking place? Why is it that more people do not question what they are told, what they read and what they are shown? In short, why is it that most people do not seek out the evidence for themselves rather than simply believing what is presented to them?
In one sense, the answer to this question might seem simple. People are daily bombarded with ‘information’, in various guises, and a lifetime of submissively accepting what they are told leaves few with any inclination, or energy, to question anything. But let me offer a fuller explanation given the critical importance of this issue if we are to mobilize an effective response to the challenges confronting humanity.
So first: What is propaganda? A false flag attack? Why do most people simply believe what they are told without investigating, carefully, for themselves? And why are those who challenge the elite-driven narrative often labeled ‘conspiracy theorists’ or, depending on the issue, some other pejorative such as ‘peddling debunked science’, ‘anti-vaxxer’ or ‘anti-semitic’ for example?
What is Propaganda?
Propaganda is the deliberate and systematic effort, using a variety of means, to manipulate people into believing and behaving in accordance with something that is not true. For one comprehensive explanation of how this is done, see Trust Us, We’re Experts! How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles with Your Future, a book which Robert F. Kennedy Jr. observes ‘shows how giant corporations employ sophisticated psychiatric techniques, unscrupulous public figures, junk science, tainted studies and clever PR mercenaries in a relentless effort to market products that routinely kill, maim, deform and poison consumers and our environment’. See ‘Trust Us, We’re Experts!: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles with Your Future’.
While some people argue that propaganda can be used for good, the fact is that something that is simply true should appeal to people anyway, even if it is unpleasant. This is because the truth is the only powerful place from which to start to address any circumstance, including unpleasant and difficult ones.
Propaganda is delivered by a variety of means. Aside from that issued, in various ways, by governments and corporations, propaganda is delivered by education systems as ‘knowledge’, by the corporate media as ‘news’ and by the entertainment industry as films, television programs, video games, music, literature and in other forms. But all propaganda is designed to instill and reinforce a limited set of fears, approved beliefs and endorsed behaviours so that the ‘individual’ responds submissively within the carefully managed system of elite political, social and economic control.
For example, education is designed to teach the individual a limited range of technical functions intended to help create, maintain but essentially serve the emerging technocratic tyranny (as it supersedes the existing version of industrial capitalism), make the individual a passive consumer and politically submissive, while ensuring that an intelligent mind capable of seeking out relevant evidence for themselves, critiquing society and responding powerfully does not develop. See ‘Do We Want School or Education?’
What is a False Flag Attack?
A false flag attack occurs when a government carries out a terror attack against its own population and then falsely blames an enemy to justify a political course of action, such as going to war against the country or countries it blames. While, again, those who question false flag attacks are often denounced by elite propagandists as ‘conspiracy theorists’, in fact the documentation of false flag attacks that have later been admitted is quite long. For one list, see ‘53 Admitted False Flag Attacks’. Of course, plenty of false flag attacks have not been admitted, even when the evidence is overwhelming, as in the case of 9/11 for example.
So Why Do Most People Believe Propaganda?
In an early book on propaganda written in 1928 by Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, he opened with this paragraph:
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an
important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. See Propaganda.
As Bernays makes clear from the outset, his preoccupation is the manipulation of people to do the bidding of others: clearly, a debased and cynical view of the human individual on which many of humanity’s less morally committed characters have capitalized since Bernays wrote the book.
For example, Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda from 1933 to 1945 and an avid reader of Bernays’ work, observed that ‘Propaganda works best when those who are being manipulated are confident they are acting on their own free will.’
But to understand why the approach of Bernays and his disciples such as Goebbels even works, we need to consider why it is that most people are so gullible in the first place. Why don’t more people ask deeper questions about what is taking place rather than simply accepting, without serious question, whatever is presented to them (whether by parents, teachers, religious figures, doctors, propagandists, marketing agents, governments or the corporate media)?
The fundamental problem is simply this: parents, teachers, religious figures and other significant adults in the child’s life require obedience. And obedience means that the child not only behaves as directed by the adult but also that the child believes what the adult believes. This latter point is easily overlooked but is actually the key issue. Why? Because a child who does not believe what the adult believes might think and behave in a way that scares the adult. And demanding obedience is essentially about eliminating beliefs (and their consequent behaviours) that would frighten the parent, teacher or other adult.
Parents require obedience virtually from the moment of birth, doing everything from comforting a child to stop them crying – see ‘Comforting a Baby is Violent’ – to punishing them for acting contrary to parental will once they start moving independently. Of course, once the child starts to think or believe differently, especially if this ‘difference’ is too far from a belief of the child’s parents, teachers or religious leaders (or a widely-accepted belief within their society), the child is quickly pulled back into line with some combination of inducements and/or violence. See ‘Punishment is Violent and Counterproductive’.
Despite legal conventions meaninglessly affirming versions of it – such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 18 declaring ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of thought…’ – the freedom to think for oneself is not a human right in any meaningful sense of the term and, even if it were, it would really only mean the freedom to think for oneself within certain clearly defined and narrow parameters. And only if you are an adult.
This is why, for example, a child who decides not to go to school does not emerge. Such a possibility would be frightening to virtually every parent, so no child is given that option, let alone allowed the opportunity to come up with, consider and act on that option for themself. Why? Because attendance at school, wherever it exists, is legally compulsory (meaning punishment will be inflicted for failure to comply), and only the rarest parent has the vaguest concept of freedom themselves, let alone the courage to defend their child’s freedom, including the freedom to choose how they spend the bulk of their time for the 8-13 years of ‘school age’.
Consequently, the freedom to think for oneself and act accordingly is strangled at a very young age and certainly by the time a child is compelled to attend a prison for children, also known as ‘school’. As a result the child’s concept of freedom, should they ever come across the notion, can only be a parody of the real thing. And the adult who emerges from this childhood is simply incapable of comprehending what freedom might mean for the obvious reason that to be meaningfully understood, freedom must be experienced.
Of course, is it not just parental authority and school that denies any child the experience of liberty. As Jean-Jacques Rousseau noted in his treatise The Social Contract in 1762, ‘Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains’. Every institution in society is designed to circumscribe freedom, one way or another. It is just that a childhood spent living under the control of their parents and then teachers and religious figures leaves all children devoid of the experience of freedom and so any subsequent limits are not even noticed. In fact, they are expected and ‘taken for granted’.
So with parents, teachers and religious figures endlessly inflicting ‘visible’, ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly invisible’ violence on the child in the name of ‘socialization’ (which includes requiring obedience under threat of violence for non-compliance), the child progressively and rapidly loses several innate capacities, notably including a sense of their own Self-will, the capacities to think and feel for themselves, as well as conscience. See ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’. Anything that is too far from the dominant narrative simply becomes ‘unthinkable’ because the child’s innate capacity to perceive the truth is suppressed along with other mental capacities.
But soon it is not just parents, teachers and religious leaders that are the accepted ‘authority figures’ in the child’s life. No longer able to seriously question the imperatives of parents, teachers and religious figures because they have been terrorized out of doing so, the child has also unconsciously ‘learned’ that virtually any information with which they are presented must be true, even when the source is simply a government or corporate media outlet presenting elite propaganda. For the vast bulk of adult humans, the idea of questioning a dominant narrative does not even occur to them and it is certainly not something they can do with any intelligence, persistent research effort or courage.
So just as Hitler, ably supported by his Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, was able to direct most Germans prior to and into World War II, it is quite straightforward for the global elite to be able to direct the bulk of the human population to believe, for example, that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by the ‘lone gunman’ Lee Harvey Oswald, that the ‘Gulf of Tonkin incident’ justified the United States war on Vietnam, that a ‘virus’ labeled HIV caused a ‘disease’ labeled AIDS, that the three buildings 1,2 and 7 of the World Trade Center were destroyed by two aircraft flown by novice pilots into the top stories of the Twin Towers and justified the subsequently launched US ‘War on Terror’, that a ‘virus’ labeled SARS-Cov-2 exists and causes a ‘disease’ labeled Covid-19 that has justified the destruction of everything from a range of human rights to the global economy while accelerating four distinct paths to human extinction, that we live in a democracy in which each adult has a say in how they are governed, or even that ongoing effort is being made to bring a greater degree of shared prosperity to the people of the world.
For just a taste of the extensive evidence to debunk each of these propaganda-driven delusions, see these respective analyses of what the evidence actually demonstrates: On the Trail of the Assassins: One Man’s Quest to Solve the Murder of President Kennedy, the Pentagon Papers, AIDS Inc.: Scandal of the Century, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, ‘Unmasking the Lies Around COVID-19: Facts vs Fiction of the Coronavirus Pandemic’, ‘The Elite’s COVID-19 Coup to Destroy Humanity that is also Fast-Tracking Four Paths to Human Extinction’, ‘America After the Election: A Few Hard Truths About the Things That Won’t Change’ and ‘The Federal Reserve Cartel: The Eight Families’.
In essence: my point is that is it is not the power of the propaganda, increasingly sophisticated though it has become, that makes people believe it, but a ‘socialization’ model designed to produce submissively obedient ‘individuals’ who gullibly interpret what is happening, and even their own ‘experience’, in terms of the information or scenario (that is, propaganda) with which they are presented. And because of the deeply-seated and unconscious fear of holding a divergent view, most people simply believe the widely-promulgated propaganda narrative with which they become familiar and, hence, comfortable. Moreover, those who challenge the elite-driven narrative frighten them, particularly when elite agents in government and the corporate media label them ‘conspiracy theorists’. For one explanation of why the term ‘conspiracy theorist’ emerged to denigrate those who challenge elite orthodoxy, see ‘In defence of conspiracy theories (and why the term is a misnomer)’.
And so this combination of dysfunctional parenting, education and religious exposure leaves the child devoid of their intuitive ‘truth register’ as well as the other mental faculties that would make them question explanations that obviously lack credibility while investigating and analyzing the evidence for themself. In fact, the idea of doing so never even occurs to them. Hence, a terrorized, gullible and easily manipulated individual enters adulthood. And, as the elite intends, galvanizing an effective response by such people to the truth hidden behind the propaganda is very difficult.
There is no point hoping that the global elite will discontinue their use of propaganda to shape the course of human events. This is largely because the global elite is insane. See ‘The Global Elite is Insane Revisited’. Moreover, attempts to curb the use of propaganda must inevitably run into the institutions and organizations that the elite controls. And while we can strategically resist these if we choose, the most powerful defence we have against elite propaganda is the human mind that can perceive and critique it. Hence, as a priority, I would profoundly alter our parenting model to achieve this outcome. See ‘My Promise to Children’.
If you are uncertain of your own capacity to critique propaganda, you can expand your capacity to do so by feeling the fear (to release it) that limits your mental faculties. See ‘Putting Feelings First’.
If you are interested in planning or participating in a strategy to achieve a peace, environmental or social justice outcome (particularly in relation to those issues that threaten human extinction), or to resist the elite coup currently taking place under cover of Covid-19, you can read sets of strategic goals for doing so in Campaign Strategic Aims or Coup Strategic Aims.
Moreover, if you wish to tackle the environmental threats to human existence while also strengthening your self-reliant capacity to resist the latest elite onslaught to take (much) greater control of your life, consider participating in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’. The greater your dependence on elite systems and processes of any kind, the less power you will have to resist as the noose tightens.
If you are interested in participating in the worldwide effort to resist elite and other violence, you are also welcome to sign the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’.
More simply, if you like, you might consider committing to:
The Earth Pledge
Out of love for the Earth and all of its creatures, and my respect for their needs, from this day onwards I pledge that:
- I will listen deeply to children. See ‘Nisteling: The Art of Deep Listening’.
- I will not travel by plane
- I will not travel by car
- I will not eat meat and fish
- I will only eat organically/biodynamically grown food
- I will minimize the amount of fresh water I use, including by minimizing my ownership and use of electronic devices
- I will not own or use a mobile (cell) phone
- I will not buy rainforest timber
- I will not buy or use single-use plastic, such as bags, bottles, containers, cups and straws
- I will not use banks, superannuation (pension) funds or insurance companies that provide any service to corporations involved in fossil fuels, nuclear power and/or weapons
- I will not accept employment from, or invest in, any organization that supports or participates in the exploitation of fellow human beings or profits from killing and/or destruction of the biosphere
- I will not get news from the corporate media (mainstream newspapers, television, radio, Google, Facebook, Twitter…)
- I will make the effort to learn a skill, such as food gardening or sewing, that makes me more self-reliant
- I will gently encourage my family and friends to consider signing this pledge.
The world is complex: it is difficult to understand and requires enormous effort.
Propaganda is designed to give people information that is easy to understand (and sometimes frightening) while distracting them from the truth and offering a simple ‘choice’ (or command) designed to mobilize action in support of an elite-driven narrative.
For example, by telling people they are threatened by a virus, most will be scared into focusing their attention on the ‘virus’. They will pay no attention to the many more complex and dangerous things that are taking place under cover of the ‘virus’: a technocratic/transhumanist coup that is utterly transforming the very essence of human society, economy and even the human individual. See ‘Beware the Transhumanists: How “Being Human” is being Re-engineered by the Elite’s Covid-19 Coup’ and ‘Klaus Schwab and His Great Fascist Reset’.
Only a tiny proportion of the human population has even the vaguest idea of how the world actually works. But not even a tiny proportion of these people recognize that terrorizing children into obedience is the fundamental explanation of why the world works in the way that it does.
Unless we can mobilize greater recognition of our responsibility for giving the global elite the control over us that it has, and tackle this problem at its core – by fundamentally revising existing parenting and education models so that we produce powerful individuals – it will continue to be enormously difficult to mobilize sufficient strategic response to the challenges that confront humanity.
And while we are now fast-tracking four distinct paths to human extinction, there is an urgency about our predicament that accelerates daily.
Biodata: Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ His email address is email@example.com and his website is here.