The Power of Analogy
God bless analogies…seriously. I mean, if it wasn’t that some themes in life are so analogous to every day objects or situations, some stuff would be so much harder to explain or get it in our heads. Well, truth be told, it is not that things are analogous per se, but it’s more like we have a magnificent pattern recognition engine between our ears. Anyway, I’m sure you get the gist of it.
I am always fascinated by how some of the best fitting analogies to how the human mind works can be found in the mainstream technology invented over the last hundred years. Like the radio tuner, the television and of course the personal computer. I used to think that creating such analogies, of something as complex and magnificent as the human mind to a personal computer or radio tuner, is a lame oversimplification but it isn’t. It’s a clever simplification and a fitting analogy to understand what would otherwise be a complicated and over-stretched concept.
An analogy I was pondering about lately is how our social conditioning and programming is very much akin to television channels or stations. There are different channels through which we are given information (or disinformation if you like), and through which we are conditioned or programmed to think, respond and behave in a certain way. Some people call this in a variety of other ways such as brainwashing, herd thinking and morality, collective trance, mass consumer consciousness, consensual reality, the hive mind, etc. There might be a common underlying theme to all of these concepts and I think it has to do with how we passively receive preset information through a given channel of communication – pretty much like watching T.V.
Metaphors of the 20th Century
The television, as a 20th century invention and probably the commonest household commodity, has in itself been seen by many as a communication medium for propaganda or mass consumerism, mediated through commercial spots and subliminal (and not so subliminal) lifestyle suggestions or behaviour influence. We have come to form (quite rightly, I must add) the stereotypical image of a family sitting in front of a T.V screen and being entranced into a certain state of consciousness, easily suggestible and subconsciously influenced by whatever is the dominant theme – violence, romance, idols, etc.
Yet apart from being a literal form of social conditioning in itself, the T.V can serve as an analogy to the idea of being programmed and influenced by society at large. The most important aspect to this analogy is the idea of channels of communication. Simply put, just like T.V channels, there are certain channels of communication in our society through which we passively receive certain type of pre-selected information (whether with an agenda or otherwise) and get this information fixed in our subconscious…a.k.a social conditioning.
The other part of the analogy is the idea of tuning in and out of a channel (if like me you remember analogue T.V, way before digital cable, satellite or internet T.V). If you want to stick to digital, then you can say ‘switch to another channel’ or ‘change the channel’. Whatever the case, the idea is quite simple – you might have your favourite channel or channels – perhaps the movie or sports channel with a light dash of news once in a while. So these favourite channels are what you habitually (and let’s face it – unconsciously) tune into to get your quick fix, entertainment or ‘education’. You are also free to change channels, or best yet, switch of the tube and get out of the room.
T.V Channel Guide
Who does the conditioning? and who runs the program? Various agents, networks and groups. You can say no one in particular and many at the same time. Our lives are run through different tracks and channels all of which contribute to our beliefs, ideas, wants, fears and perceived needs. Here are some of the most common channels of social conditioning, old and new, that we face throughout life.
The Family Pod:
Many say that it all starts here, and it most certainly does. First off, the members of the nuclear family, mummy, daddy, and siblings, will form the closest bonds and will exert the major influence to your emotional development and personality. The first 5 years of our life, even before we get in to school, are the most formative one and anything imprinted there will stay there for the rest of our lives unless we do not reprogram our subconscious to change those deep beliefs embedded in our psyche during that period. Secondly, values and habits (whether good or bad) are transmitted by parents to child in a way that no other channel does. A lot of what you do and believe (unconsciously for the biggest part) started from the programming in this channel.
Of course this is the main program. Still obligatory in most countries and it is considered by pros and armchair sociologists alike as the main institution for shaping and controlling minds and ideas. Uniformity is another main concept associated with schooling, specifically the idea that schools ‘manufacture’ citizens who think more or less in the same way. This leads to one of the biggest resource deficit on a planetary scale – good thinking.
In school we were also subjected to peer pressure apart from exams, insufferable teachers and punishments in all forms and sizes. This is where we learned the school yard politics or in other words how to survive through it with the best of our resources whether that was wit, attractiveness or personality. It has a big impact on our formative years and is definitely responsible for at least some of our programming.
The Living Room Tube:
We mentioned the T.V already. Like school, this is a biggie. It has warped minds like nothing else during the last few decades. Imagine going to a hypnotist for 4 hours a day (not sure about average numbers of T.V viewing here) but instead of being helped out of a problem he or she is implanting crap in your subconscious mind. Nice.
This is the crack or heroine for millennials. The social Media, the big F or whichever platform your peers and cohorts hang most around. It’s seriously a drug for many and I personally know people who cannot imagine their life without it. I do understand its attraction points – we are social creatures and it can give people (whether authentically or falsely) a sense of belonging to a larger group. For many though it is about approval – you know how many likes you get when wearing that new dress or posing in front of your new motorbike. It’s a sand castle build upon the drives and illusions of mass consciousness.
Of course it’s not all bad crap. There are a lot of success stories with social media in particular. For one it has continued to democratise the web and shift the centre of power from the few to the many. Just like any technology however it tends to be a reflection of the collective consciousness as a race with its good and bad.
Channel Reprogramming: Taking back control of the controls
OK so we have been subjected to this mind manipulation all of our lives. Now what? What’s the use of flipping through the channels if they are all spewing the same garbage? Actually it’s not about flipping from one channel to the other but about flipping the channels on their head. It’s about reprogramming. It’s about detuning ourselves from these channels of information as consciously as we possibly can. This is already a big shift we can make in our lives. An enormous shift, really.