April 8, 2009
Glissement conceptuel du “Cogito Ergo Sum” de Descartes, illustrant le vide, de et par, la pensée consumériste.
Another factor that could explain our automatic if not paralyzed thinking, is consumerism.
Mind you, consumerism is not falling from the sky. It has an history and a purpose.
Controlling the masses, crowd psychology
Consumerism was born in the 50s, and was conceived as a system by theoreticians, such as Edward Bernays. Edward Bernays was the nephew of Freud. He was a very influential advisor in the US and the father of public relations, an euphemism for crowd psychology. One may wonder if he applied his knowledge of psychoanalysis for the good of mankind. To make it short, as the result of second world war, Bernays thought the masses were irrational, dangerous and irresponsible. He felt the manipulation of public opinion was necessary. Politics was too sophisticated to be truly accessed by the masses and rather dealt with, by an elite. Instead of participating to their own destiny, the people now considered as masses, would be provided instead with a simpler goal in life, easier to control and achieve: material happiness. This system is based on the hypothesis that most human beings cannot truly participate to democracy -too thick to think- and be given an artificial drive, as a derivative, a diversion, that would benefit the oligarchy. While muting society into politically crystal dead shopping malls.
All it needed was to associate happiness to material belonging. Advertising was born.
Creating needs, soon fulfilled at the shopping malls: Freedom of choice and Happy America were born. Anything else was treason in the times of McCarthy.
From its origins, consumerism is a doctrine, turning people into masses, individuals into happiness machines, democracy into mass democracy. It deliberately and arbitrarily disqualifies citizens to be active democrats, and transforms them into politically passive consumers. It manipulates the drive for happiness and replaces it by an artificial drive, while pretending to emancipate individuals. Also, in effects, the elite further isolates itself into the role of a manipulative oligarchy engineering consent of the crowd, when the elite should always try the exact opposite: integrate people. Like any deliberate manipulation of public opinion, consumerism reinforces the sedimentation of classes, which is politically unstable.
In short, consumerism is about depoliticizing the masses, while keeping them busy. Depoliticizing society -in its widest sense- and give it a one way choice: consumerism.
At its conception, the consumerist doctrine is pure cynicism.
Mental rape, short-cutting the neocortex
Maybe, not everyone knows that the primitive areas of our brains, the reptilian brain, is responsible for arousal, sex, and basic life functions. The old-mammal brain, which learns, recalls and emotes surrounds it. The neocortex that thinks and rationalizes, sits on top.
The primitive amygdala, can react in less than 100 milliseconds, while it takes 600 milliseconds for our higher brain to process information. Sometimes seconds or more for decisions to be taken. Our primitive circuits react and decide first, then we become aware and possibly rationalize our judgments. Or think we do. As the lower brain has already taken the casting vote. Advertisers know that. Very well.
Mass consumerism over stimulates the reptilian brain on purpose -bombarding us with any form of pornography for instance. It short-cuts the neocortex on purpose and talk to our primitive instincts first while deconnecting the neocortex as long as possible. Mass consumerism’s brain implants -advertising- keep our cerebral window to the world wide opened and vulnerable to any consumerist command, and impulse. Mass consumerism is about this rape of our mental space without our consent, or us knowing.
Switching off the neocortex alarm with mental screws, such as pornographic images, or pornographic implants. In order to use and manipulate the only reptilian functions left on purpose. Like a theft.
It is more or less mental rape under hypnosis, more precisely, activating unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain.
Stimulating our reptilian brains in order to turn us into impulsive, compulsive buyers.
That is the dirty mechanics of consumerism.
Why else do you think selling yogurts or pizzas would require some much naked flesh ?
Manipulating the intrinsic right to singularity: pretending to emancipate the self, while in fact flattening desire into simple fashion artefacts.
Consumerism and its ego’s Trojan Horse, advertising, does manipulate the intrinsic right of the individual to singularity. In other words, it reads in the title, “We can all be different”, but “as long as we are consumers”, state the small prints.
Also, fashion recuperates any attempt of differentiation and flattens its political content to politically insignificant aesthetics. While producing a new wave of gadgets.
Fashion, and its artificial rhythm, optimizes consumerism.
But more importantly, fashion does not support singularity but recuperates to deny it, it digests subversion and vomit colorful stupidity instead. (Think of the myth of the Harley Davidson).
Fashion establishes commodity fetishism, and turns mass consumerism into acceptable spectacle. It hides the domination of mass consumerism, presents it in the best possible light and indisputable horizon. It turns the nightmare of alienating productivism into colorful dreams. Opium. How else could we waste our lifes in sustaining ugly supermarkets ?
Structuralist Roland Barthes had already decrypted fashion in 1957. (Mythologies)
So, there is no need to do it again here.
End of part I.