Valenzuela: Eternal Darkness of the American Mind
Eternal Darkness of the American Mind
By Manuel Valenzuela, Contributing Editor AxisofLogic.com
Oct 2, 2004
The prevalent and continued decline of the Empire’s mind can be attributed to the evolving degeneration of American capitalism, through the inherent evils it espouses, its subjugation and control of human nature, and its consequences on a society entangled and indeed dependent on the very mechanisms of exploitation of self, addiction to materialism and the pandemic of greed. This latest stage of capitalism, the most sinister to arise from the realm of human conscious, has replaced once nobler, controllable, equal and just instruments. It is simply the erosion of capitalism, after having flourishing in previous stages of development, into a phase that has mutated beyond the control of humans and into a realm of damaging and malevolent repression and exploitation.
Thriving off of human nature, feeding and growing from its ability to dominate our animal instincts, our wants, needs and desires, capitalism as we know it today has become an unrelenting disease, jumping from host to host, contaminating a society that, more and more, lives in utter disconnect from a greater world community and that allows itself to be manipulated, dumbed down and owned by elite capitalists whose control over our lives grows more discernible every day. It is capitalism on steroids, a bulging muscled beast that has succeeded in mutating American society, transforming our culture to one whose assembly lines of human procreation manufacture millions of consumers, producers, worker bees, soldier ants and growing generations of unthinking automatons.
American capitalism in the first decade of the 21st century is the inevitable result of an economic form of governance whose stages have, over the last two centuries, and with exponentially-increasing dominance, power and control over our society, created a vicious cycle of evolving degeneration that today runs amok, destroying the environment and planet, human health and intelligence, individual thought and free-thinking minds, democracy and a once grand societal experiment of equality, justice and freedom. It is American capitalism, then, that now lives off of human exploitation and ignorance, breathing in and usurping our energy, exhaling poisons that blacken our eyes and minds while enveloping the Empire’s horizons with a darkness that infects us with its various forms of disease that are making our society, culture and way of life the nightmares of yesterday’s slaves and the controlled programs hardwired into tomorrow’s automatons.
The Light that brings forth Darkness
The darkness that has encircled the Empire and its people has over the last fifty years grown thanks to the continued evolution of the television monitor and the ever-expanding media tentacles of the corporate world. The TV has become the single biggest tool for the corporate beast, having morphed in the last few decades into the apparatus by which consumerism, materialism, belief in fantasy, mental manipulation, love of the almighty dollar and the virus of greed are extracted and exploited from the masses, thus enriching the corporate beast with both the treasure and the controlled, easily manipulated mind of the American populace.
As the popularity of the television media has grown over the years and with Americans watching more and more hours of the instruments of fantasy, propaganda and brainwashing fostered by the corporate Leviathan, the collective American mind has dissipated in power and intellect, over the last few decades degenerating and becoming instead a sponge readily accepting and believing anything and everything implanted into it by the monitor – the axis by which everything in our home revolves around – that now serves as its brain.
The television, that glowing light now reigning as the center of our homes, robbing us of analytical minds and healthy bodies, that invention celebrated and adored, has become the single biggest weapon the corporate capitalists have to dominate, control and program us. It lies as the great culprit in the continued regression of the American mind and erosion of intellect, the further dominance by corporations of our daily lives, the decay and festering ignorance of our youth, the indifference to world affairs and apathy to the plight of the peoples of the globe, the unconcern towards government politics, accountability and transparency, the growth of our world renowned amnesia and short-attention spans, and the increased conditioning of and appetite for violence, death and destruction.
From birth it becomes our adopted parent, our consumerist advisor and materialist shaman, guiding us with its hypnotic light through the dense fog of capitalistic indoctrination. Training us from birth how to become good parasitic consumers, bombarding our still undeveloped brains with fantasy and psychological manipulation, illuminating our virgin minds with a rapid influx of images that no incipient human mind has ever been subjected with, the television begins to distort our concept of reality, marketing fantasy and fiction, promoting and distorting human needs and wants, rewiring our fragile mind to suit the needs of the corporation and the government it owns. Almost from birth the programming making us obedient consumers trapped between the fantasy we see and the reality we experience distorts the life we live, forever to psychologically confuse the mammalian brain inside our skulls.
Indifferent to suffering, displaced from reality and sequestered from the constructs of human behavior, the innocent mind is, through television, manipulated to seek what it can never attain. The perfection of fiction, the happiness of fantasy, the allure of what will never be and the mesmerizing glow of a world beyond what humanity could ever become is nonetheless absorbed into our conscious understanding and subconscious being, haunting us seemingly from cradle to grave. Throughout our lives the belief that what we see on the screen is reachable invariably results in a reality altogether different. We entrap ourselves in a vicious cycle of a lifetime of production and consumption, as if buying and producing enough goods and services will lead to the perfection we have been conditioned to believe can be attained.
What follows over the course of one’s life, naturally, is a perceived belief in failure that the perfection we desperately seek to emulate and the fictions ingrained in our minds escaped us, thereby blaming ourselves or our loved ones for the unclimbable mountaintop whose passage no human could ever reach. The subsequent unhappiness that follows, of never reaching the beauty, wealth, happiness and perfection of the fictionally created characters we become enamored with, combine with other factors prevalent in our capitalist society to depress our emotions and feelings about ourselves and the life we lead. Even the accumulation of money, material goods and modifications of our physical selves fail to transport us into the fantasy world that invades our living rooms on a nightly basis.
In many ways, the Molotov cocktail of capitalistic unhappiness has led to the enormous growth in, demand of and addiction to pharmaceutical mind altering and hallucinatory drugs so prevalent in society today that act as conduits of escapism from the unhappy lives we portend to lead. It is these drugs, now pervasive in American society yet nonexistent for centuries and millennia before that have arisen along with the degrading stages of capitalism we now find ourselves immersed in. It is the television, along with the other tentacles of modern day capitalism, that is causing an eroded conscious of human psychology through the indoctrination of the human brain, from the time of birth, of seeking the perfection that in the human condition does not and cannot possibly exist but that thrives in the realm of television, movies and video games.
Seeking meaning and happiness through the possession of material goods and wealth, becoming insecure of our bodies and beauty by the incessant bombardment of human perfection and kneeling down to pray to the Almighty Dollar in front of its altar called the television, Americans are finding that the goals espoused by the corporate Leviathan are unattainable. When compared to the perfection we have seen on the monitor from our early age, the life we lead is boring, unexciting and imperfect. The real world thus cannot compete with the vision the corporate capitalists have marketed for us in order to manipulate buying patterns, control behaviors and expand profits margins.
The cause for concern among Americans is the effect capitalism and its tentacles, including the pervasive disease of television, is having on our psychology. The rise in pharmaceutical drugs designed for the human brain and our psychological behaviors should act as the canary sent down the mine shaft. More and more, America is a nation of pill poppers unhappy and depressed, preferring the escape of hallucination and the zombie-like behavior of anti-depressants to the realities facing us today. With 11 million children on anti-depressants and many more adults dependent on drugs, questions must begin to be raised as to the causes of such utter degeneration, the likes of which no society has ever experienced. This is but one more symptom of a disease the corrosive tumor of capitalism has engendered onto a society that offers so much wealth, freedom and materialistic bliss yet lacks enduring waves of human happiness or enlightenment.
Corporate owned television produces mind-numbing, ignorance-laden, thought-controlling, escapism-filled, fantasy-saturated and propaganda-laced programming designed for one simple reason: to hook us like fish out of water so that we are subjected to a barrage of advertisements that, it is hoped, inspire us to spend our hard earned wages on the products that best manipulate our human needs, wants, emotions and passions. Fiction-filled shows, laced in the aura of televised perfection and beauty, endeavor our minds to seek what cannot in reality exist. They are created so that addicted we become to the characters and story lines, thus becoming loyal viewers and possible prey. These programs are formulated to attract whichever demographic and target market a corporation wants as loyal consumers. The advertisements and products designed for this particular target are then plastered throughout the enormous window of opportunity, blitzkrieging our eyes and minds with a volley of images that attack our psychology, emotions, animalistic behaviors and human passions.
Methodically the attack starts in our youth as the marketing vipers seek to incarcerate us into their vast array of products from as early an age as possible. They know that once they succeed in squeezing into their grip a young child the strong possibility exists that a loyal and conditioned customer they will have for an entire lifetime. It is the undeveloped, susceptible, easily manipulated and conditioned mind, devoid of analytical thinking and human experience that the corporate marketers drool over. It is their Holy Grail, a virgin mind easily exploited and programmed, naïve to humanity and ignorant of experiences, slowly but surely becoming the mental and physical slave to those whose incessant brainwashing fills the airwaves. In the most pure and innocent among us the corporate sharks enjoy their greatest meals.
Copied from organized religion, which for centuries has perfected the formula for conditioning and brainwashing children into controlled and subservient followers of archaic myths and primitive fables, the systemic usurpation of innocent minds guarantees loyalty, lifetime consumers, unthinking individuals, psychologically fragile drones and easily controlled beings. With the twist of a marketing campaign, corporations can dictate tastes, trends, consumption patterns and the direction a society or a target market takes. Through the television, we thus become putty in the hands of those who are experts at exploiting our senses, feelings, emotions and passions.
Manipulating our minds and rewiring our thoughts, the television, nothing more than the mechanism by which the corporate world controls and dominates us, has transformed human thinking and behavior like no other instrument in our history. Our minds are being bombarded with image after image, fantasy after fantasy and manipulative emotion after manipulative emotion. Our still primitive brains have never evolved to this reality, and the damage can be seen in the rise of attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity, lack of discipline and loss of intellectual capacity in children. It can be seen in a society that has not been able to adapt and handle the blitzkrieg we see on our monitors on a daily basis and that cannot escape the conditioning and brainwashing the corporate world and our government so readily apply into our minds. The proof is all-encompassing, surrounding us like a thick fog, doing tremendous damage to the still undeveloped brains of youth, shackling and controlling almost every activity we do as adults, and haunting our daily life until death finally opens the gates of escape.
The Bubble of Ignorance
From the cradle to the grave, the television works its corporate magic, helping make America the most consumerist, materialistic, gluttonous and wasteful society to ever grace the green lands of Earth. We gorge on food, we waste like no other, consume as if our life depended on it and pollute with devastating effect. Like a plague of locusts we are devouring the natural resources of the planet, indifferent to the plight of the oceans, the forests and the other 6 billion people we share this small planet with. Our thirst for oil can only be met through war, destruction and death, our appetite for cheap products and labor enslaves billions of humans worldwide and the need to quench our addiction to material wealth is rapidly hemorrhaging an Earth ready to purge us from its surface.
We are four percent of the world’s population yet contribute 25 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. We are four percent of 6.2 billion humans yet indifferent we remain to the damage our greed unleashes onto humanity. Global warming is now the greatest threat facing mankind, yet we ignore its truths and our complicity. Our greed and voracious appetite to consume blinds us to the rape of ecosystems, the extinction of cultures, the devastation of nations and the ever-growing despair among the billions of humans not lucky to live inside the belly of the beast.
We are 290 million people, most of whom believe the lands and inhabitants of this Earth have been placed by the Almighty in their rightful position as exploitable property and servants of America, the only nation allowed to dictate its commands on all others, even when tens of millions of us have not a clue or a remote idea that an outside world of peoples and nations exists outside our borders. Even as the globe becomes a giant village, where the actions of one affect all others and the collective destiny of humanity depends on the unity of the entire spectrum of world citizens we seem to care not a trickle what occurs outside our borders nor understand the complexities of human interaction.
Through the catastrophe we have created in Iraq our ignorance and lack of knowledge can be witnessed. In our failure to learn alien cultures, religions, beliefs and societies, by failing to understand peoples beyond our shores and remaining oblivious to the hatred our policies have created our lives have been made less safe, not more, condemning us to a fear that has augmented our already paranoid schizophrenia even more. The colossal mistakes in Iraq, Vietnam, the continued support of Israeli dehumanization of the Palestinians and our continued shunning of the global community are testament to the decline of world knowledge and the exponentially-growing ignorance that only serves to endanger our lives and further alienate the billions who once admired what America once stood for.
Cocooned and protected by a bubble that insulates us from the truths and realities affecting billions living at the edge of starvation, suffering, indigence and under constant threats of disease and death, we rejoice in our own arrogance and perceived omnipotence. Unfeeling and apathetic humans we have become to a planet and its inhabitants that more and more depend on the interconnectedness of man and synergy of nations to survive from the disaster humankind always seems to unearth. Yet instead of embracing the rest of humanity we isolate ourselves from it, hiding behind our wealth, our gluttony, our arrogance, our perceived aura of superiority and our incredible and ever-growing ignorance both of ourselves and the rest of humanity.
The Black Hole of American Education
In a nation of vast wealth, tremendous resources and great diversity one would expect ignorance to be extinct, intelligence to be all-encompassing and world and human knowledge to be absolute. Instead, in America we find the opposite to be true. Our educational system, reeling from under-funding, incompetence and a crater-like hole of indifference, resembles the quality of learning one would expect in an under-developed nation in Africa, where per capita investment in education is worth $8 dollars per year. The education system has failed miserably in the last few decades to instill the knowledge in our children necessary to foster free-thinking and analytical minds capable of being privy to the past history and present course of human existence.
Today, education to the vast majority of Americans is a fiasco. Instead of liberating minds it is enslaving children, programming our young to always stay in between the lines, becoming obedient drones whose independent thoughts are superceded by the corporate and state dictates. Textbooks and curricula distort American history, brainwashing our future to a revisionist past that fails to convey the state terrorism, genocide, ethnic cleansing, enslavement, incessant war and crimes against humanity it took to secure the home of the free and the land of the brave. The whitewashing of our past crimes, and what it took to achieve our present wealth, has been erased from memory, instead giving way to the fictional romance and revisionist nostalgia of how the United States became the Empire it is today.
By failing to teach history, with its plethora of lessons and truisms for understanding who and what we are, our government is making sure that it is repeated, once again to condemn entire generations for the mistakes they will commit. For those who have no concept of humanity nor its easily decipherable nuances and behaviors that manifest themselves through the eons of human existence will only repeat the errors of times past that perpetually linger in the human condition.
By preaching and indoctrinating that our nation can do no wrong, that it epitomizes the enlightenment of human thought, that we stand on the moral high ground of human affairs and that our government seeks only the protection of freedom, liberty and democracy is to do our progeny a great disservice, for to live in delusion and fiction only assures that all that is purged from history’s texts will resurface. The naïve assumption and distorted belief in our grandeur and altruism, simply because the state makes it so, robs us of understanding of why today the world hates America.
Instead of thinking on our own, demanding answers, seeking accountability and questioning authority we acquiesce to the terrorism the state spawns around the globe, its grip and control over our lives, and the crimes against humanity committed in our name. But because we have been trained to believe in the sanctity and perceived goodness of the state, where it has our best interests at heart, where it never lies and is incapable of the worst horrors of human evil, we fail to halt the handful of miscreants that power has endowed with our collective destiny.
The economic genocide labeled ‘sanctions’ imposed on Iraq in the 1990’s that exterminated up to a million and a half human beings, 2/3 of them children, is a perfect example of the wickedness our government is capable of unleashing thanks to our silent passivity. The murder of three million Vietnamese by bombings, chemical poison and endemic disease and indigence brought on by American devastation is another poignant example.
The so called ‘war on terror’, and our indisputable belief in its valid implementation by the state, allows us to see the blind faith we place in a government that has mutated into a tool for the corporate Leviathan and the military-industrial complex. Never do we question or seek the truth to what might very well be a fiction that only serves to enrich wicked capitalists through the implementation of fear to control the populace and the introduction of perpetual war for perpetual profit.
The fictional war on terror is designed to breed insecurity and fear so that assembly lines continue spitting out profit and the corporatist ideology of total power and control arises. Enemies are thus manufactured, much like those Communist Reds we were once conditioned to hate and fear, thereby planting paranoia and schizophrenia onto a populace that blindly wraps itself around the flag every time our elected leaders press the buttons of psychological manipulation. It is because of our inability to stand up and question the state that this ‘war on terror’ charade will continue to haunt our waking conscious and devastate our exponentially-growing fragile psyches.
It is our government that is perpetuating the vicious cycle of violence and whose actions will result in real terror being imported to our cities and streets. It is our government that, through our inability to question authority, will assure that perpetual conflict never ceases and terror remains planted firmly in our minds. The eternal darkness of the American mind is therefore helping to cement fear, insecurity and psychological stresses on our present population and future progeny.
American education has and continues to create unthinking automatons trained to follow the decrees of the state and the mandates of authority. Trained to never think for themselves, children are today prepared for standardized tests while being denied important liberal arts subject matter that instill analytical thinking, creativity and inquisitive thought. Thanks to the evisceration of educational funding and the appointment of George Bush to the White House, however, millions of children are today being programmed like robots, robbing them of intellect, knowledge and the power of liberation that education engenders. This is not by coincidence, as the corporate owners of government have succeeded in creating a populace whose only function is to become the slave labor of the capitalist elite.
Millions of children, many bursting with incredible talent and ability, are being deprived of opportunity, instead destined to remain fragmented in their allotted caste, becoming the work force of the corporatist few, content to sacrifice the keys to mobility for the comfort of exploitation. With minds that do not think or question, the few controlling the reigns of our society are free to implement the tools to further empower themselves at the expense and degradation of the masses. It is when the people are ignorant to what is being done to them that the powerful have succeeded in spawning the eternal darkness of the American mind. This is our reality today.
As American as Apple Pie
Conditioned through shows, movies and all-too real video games to violence, war, death and destruction, our minds easily accept the horrors of war and human evil unleashed by the state. War and violence has become as American as apple pie, resurfacing every decade to grease up the assembly line of death and the conveyor belts of human destruction. We have become rapacious animals addicted to bombs, bullets, explosions and guns, seeing in ourselves a Rambo society needy of enemies and battles. We are a war culture, carefully cultivated by the state and the corporate world, breast-fed the sanitized and whitewashed parameters of violence. In our minds, death and destruction are but special effects, the enemy a necessary entity providing the blood and guts that grace our monitors and screens.
To us, war remains a PG-13 or R rated Hollywood produced movie or show, full of pyrotechnics and special effects, heroes and enemies, good guys and bad dudes. Yet our love for war and violence is based on the fictions and creations of Hollywood, offering us only a detached semblance of reality. This, in turn, becomes our perception of real war, death and destruction, a completely distorted view of a reality that hundreds of millions worldwide have experienced.
In America, war is a video game, a Hollywood action movie where blood and guts are spilled and the hero, usually the US, is always declared the winner. The enemy, nowadays Arab bogeymen, are ingrained into our minds as the propaganda used to condition us to the war on terror is inculcated into society. In truth, the horror of war and violence, excluding 9/11, is as alien to our lands and cities as the sheer misery befalling billions of humans living outside our shores. It is because our nation has been safe for so long that we fail to understand violence and hinder war. Europe, after centuries of war, finally understands that war and violence are not a solution to anything human or a means to a viable end.
Our answer to trouble is always in the form of a smart bomb or a guided missile or through the barrel of a gun. Yet it is brains, not brawn, that makes humans out of animals. It is our humanity, not our weaponry, that brings about solutions. It is intelligence and knowledge, not ignorance and arrogance, that creates friends and brings forth adoration. Force can never foster emulation; occupation can never win hearts and minds; guns can never birth democracy; state terrorism can never defeat the hatred and thirst for vengeance it unearths. Five beheadings of Americans can never become more barbaric than the aerial bombing of cities, where hundreds of innocents are dismembered, maimed, killed and yes, even beheaded. We do not possess the monopoly on the moral high ground, and if a few beheadings are barbaric and medieval, then what are we to call the terrorism raining down from the sky above that exterminates and maims men, women and children?
Our government is as much a terrorist as those in Beslam, Bali, New York and Madrid. It is time we stop thinking ourselves the enlightened culture we are not. It is time to stop a hypocrisy that seems to validate the atrocities we commit while castigating those made against us. Up to 30,000 Iraqis have died from our candy-like cluster bombs, guided missiles, rampaging soldiers and hollow-tipped bullets. In our name the government falsely imprisoned thousands, raped hundreds and tortured untold numbers of innocents. In our name tens of thousands have been injured and millions now suffer the effects of our occupation. Let’s stop the bull manure. Our silence makes us all complicit in the state sponsored terrorism the Bush administration and the US military have exported into Iraq. Iraqi lives are not worth less than American ones simply because they are Arab or possess darker skin or believe in a different religion. They are human, like you and me, breathing air and bleeding red, burying loved ones and living under constant fear, so stop the hypocrisy.
American society must escape the chains of bondage our minds are presently trapped in. The dungeon that is our conditioned psychology must be burned to the ground if we are to exorcise the brainwashed demons that linger in our beliefs and society. We must do this to free the young from the darkness encircling them. They are our future, and our hopes, and must not be made to suffer the pandemic presently strangulating our society. Let us not condemn another generation of Americans to the virus destroying free thought. If we do they will be made to suffer from a perpetual fear and an incessant insecurity, forever fighting, killing and dying as cannon fodder for the corporate wars for profit and power. If we fail them they will grow up lacking the freedoms and rights we once took for granted.
Into the tunnel of the surreal
American society at the beginning of the 21st century is undergoing a monumental transformation into dimensions bordering on the surreal. As capitalism exerts tremendous pressure on parents to become machine-like, efficient-seeking, Puritanical work ethic slaves of the corporate Leviathan the television has become parent, teacher, role model and best friend to America’s youth.
It is manipulating, conditioning, brainwashing and programming their minds, creating obedient drones and unthinking sloths. Attention spans are being made extinct, collective amnesia is all-encompassing and anti-depressants are replacing candy as our children’s yummy treats. Relevant news and valuable knowledge are considered boring, not fast-paced or hip enough in a society born with a remote control in hand. Reading, the great empowerer of minds, has been all but abandoned by our young generations, replaced by the video game and the television. If books bring knowledge, which enables power, then television creates ignorance, which fosters mental indigence. Parents have stopped teaching, rearing, raising, disciplining and loving. Children have stopped learning the concepts of human interaction; they are losing all semblances of empathy, discipline and knowledge. The corporation now owns our youth’s future; the state now engineers their minds.
Capitalism has eroded happiness while birthing depression. It has programmed us for its wars and crimes, making us subservient and acquiescent beings. Like a marionette it controls us, pulling all the strings to get its desired results. Into the tunnel of the surreal our society finds itself, trapped in darkness, shackled to murky walls of shame, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel yet unable to move an inch away from the corrosive grip the latter stages of capitalism have on us.
In time this economic form of governance will implode upon itself. The wickedness of its existence and the demons of human nature it resurrects make this truism an inevitability. The exploitation, subjugation, and greed it fosters will one day soon force it to collapse under its own weight. Too many people are made to suffer; too much inequality and injustice roams the planet. The symptoms of its disease are presently wreaking havoc on American society. The signs are visible to anyone who can see how fast the degeneration of America has taken place, coinciding with the enormous rise of crony capitalism that has created unsustainable levels of consumerism, materialism, waste, unhappiness, corruption and greed.
The implosion of what today we call capitalism might take ten years before it commences, perhaps fifty, yet in human history this is but a hiccup of time, a mere nanosecond in the vast history of Earth. The love of the almighty dollar and her sister greed will be the downfall of the capitalist elite and the sinister form of governance that continues to devastate American society, our Earth, its lands, air, water and inhabitants. The eternal darkness of the American mind is but one more sign of an inevitability that is beginning to creep over the horizon.
In time, it will be the masses who will one day awake, once more ready, willing and able to experience a human renaissance, standing up in the face of everything malevolent that has taken place, demanding change and an evolved form of economic governance based upon the principles of equality, justice, morality and worldwide humanity. The vicious circle of capitalism, where only the few benefit and the many are in essence enslaved cannot sustain its circular motion for very much longer. The weight of its own crimes and the decline of its historical path are cracking its foundations.
Soon, the eternal darkness of the American mind will dissipate, allowing us the freedom to once more gaze upon the horizon where we can see the magnificent sunrise that has for too long been denied but that will finally rise to show us the path to a better day.
© Copyright 2004 by AxisofLogic.com
Manuel Valenzuela, 29, is social critic and commentator, activist, writer and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel to be published in Spring of 2004. His articles appear weekly on axisoflogic.com where he is also contributing editor. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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