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December 7, 2016 / Congau

Manipulated Manipulators

Modern life is a game of manipulation. From everywhere signals are sent out aimed at influencing our behavior.

The art of advertising is the study of how to reach into the human subconsciousness and make people act contrary to their original intention. It is a respected science, taught in schools and encouraged as an occupation that is an integrated and necessary part of the social organism.

But how can it be necessary? It is contrary to the idea of the free agent which is also celebrated as an achievement of the Western world.

There is no state propaganda in the free world, we are told, only honest advertising that is paid for by private competitors who are making free use of their own money. But why think that this kind of propaganda is harmless?

Maybe it’s not so scary that they lure us into buying a brand of toothpaste that we otherwise would have avoided, but far more important life choices are also at stake. Every single instant of manipulation is a part of an overall trend that advocates a certain life style and we don’t have sufficient imagination to think that it is possible to live in another way. We are not really manipulated into choosing, but rather manipulated into thinking that we have no choice. When being overwhelmed from one side, all alternatives disappear from our view.

At least there is no conspiracy at work, for the manipulators are themselves manipulated.

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