Brave & Free
"The only foolish question is the one un-asked."
I have been listening to your shows and am becoming a fan. Just finished the propaganda casts and was wondering what your thoughts might be on the difference between the propaganda of governement [sic] and the thoughts, motivations, and edicts of organized religous [sic] groups. It seems to me that much of what you where [sic] saying could be easily directed at religious groups also.
I am really enjoying your show but do not share all your views. I look forward to your response to this email and look forward to sharing more thoughts with you.
Oct 22, 2005
Thanks for your letter and question. I welcome any well supported view, whether it agrees with mine or not. Perhaps we can learn from each other.
Yes, power-seeking groups of many kinds use propaganda.
Propaganda uses emotional "hooks" to turn off our brains and get us to instead act impulsively from our gut feelings. Thus, any conclusions we reach will be ones manipulated out of us, using common human reactions to symbols, rather than through analysis of facts.
I believe it's easier to recognize propaganda with practice. You'll find it's all around us, in the form of marketing & advertising, politicial, religious and almost any group-think activity.
Some common keys to tip you off are:
1. Words or images which provoke primal fears, such as threats to our children, property or lives.
2. Building up of a far-off foreign-looking "boogieman" as an enemy. This is often someone who was built up as a "friend" not long ago, such as Saddam Hussein or Manuel Noriega. Conversely, a former enemy can instantly become a benign friend (e.g. M. Gorbachev, V. Putin or even Russia itself). Check out http://www.mikhailgorbachev.org/ if you want to see some good PR for a former evil communist dictator. Just the music is sweet enough to put you into sugar-shock!
3. Use of emotionally charged words to refer to a person or group which is supposedly a threat, or, sometimes, someone we're supposed to admire. For example, a person resisting the invasion of their country can be called a "freedom fighter" (e.g. the Contras), or, if a group is resisting "our" invasion, they are labelled "insurgents." Prisoners without the rights granted by our Constitution are labelled "detainees..." No, they're not imprisoned, they're just detained... They'll just be a little late coming home... about 20 years or so!
Note that all official media outlets use the exact same phrases to describe the people or activity. this is a good tip-off that it's propaganda you're hearing.
Similarly, a person we're supposed to venerate or emulate is given a title, such as "Honorable," "The Reverend" (note the "The"), "Master" or "Princess Di." Such titles are parroted by all "official" media. Remember, a true master would never allow himself to be called one! Royals are just parasites.
4. Building up as desirable, even necessary, an unattainable state, and continually commandeering more and more money, freedoms and resources to supposedly reach this unreachable goal. E.g. "Public Education," "The Good Life," or the "War on Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking/Poverty/Terror/Evil-of-the-Week." Note that even when selling products, these nebulous states are always just out of our reach ("Marlboro Man," "American Dream," or "Zoom-Zoom").
Once you have gone into debt to buy this gizmo, you quickly become dissatisfied with it and are pushed to shell out more dough to buy the "next generation" of it. That, of course, turns out to be just the same thing in a different package. Politicians use this technique as well!
5. Identification with a group, outside of which people are "not as good as we," someone to be suspicious of, or even to be feared. Most religions employ this, as do political parties.
My favorite was an ad for Dr. Pepper soda, which actually lured you to become "...part of the original crowd!" How could a crowd member be original?
Those are the major forms of propaganda which come to my mind. Can you think of others?
|"Propaganda has only one object - to conquer
the masses. |
Every means that furthers this aim is good; every means that hinders it is bad."
Propaganda Includes Images
Designed to Mold Your Thinking
to Elevate those in Power
and Frame Debates to Exclude the Real Issues
|Hey Daniel, |
Just stumbled onto your podcasts and so far I have enjoyed them very much. I like your perspective on life and god. I have been thinking about something for a while and it has yet to be answered by anyone although I admit I haven't looked very hard for an answer.
In order to experience happiness you must have sadness, correct? In order to experience joy you must experience sorrow. In order to really appreciate wealth you must have experienced having less. My question is this. How can "Heaven" exsist on the principal [sic] of eternal happiness?....
To become enlightened and to live life to it's fullest you must constantly learn. To me it seems like "Heaven" is the end of learning and progression.
Perhaps I am speaking of the classic version of Heaven. But all the same we are believed [sic] that there is an ending. I am not satisfied with this.
|Dear Nick, |
Thanks for your letter.
No, I don't really believe we need to experience pain or sadness to understand pleasure, joy, etc. However, experiencing the negative does most likely enable us to better savor the good things. Adam and Eve probably enjoyed Eden, but didn't really appreciate it 'til they were banished from it.
I certainly agree with your statement about the need to continually learn. It makes life much fuller. However, my image of Heaven is just a continuation of the process, which I believe, and hope, never ends!
I don't strictly believe in a "Heaven." I think there is no "there" there. Space and time are valid in our physical lives, but I believe after death we exist in a different way. I suppose there is nothing akin to pain in that state, but the robes and harps... invented by Man.
What happened? I recently found your pod cast and find it very interesting. You are an excellent discussionist. I don't necessarily agree with your bias points and assumptions, but that's because they don't align perfectly with mine. "and I'm so glad" You present an open book incite [sic] of issues and set them on the table with no excuses. I like that. (always separate facts from opinion.)
It looks to me like you have stopped your pod cast discussions. Please keep it going, you may be surprised how you're discussions might become extremely popular. There are many hungry individuals looking to hear others with open clear prospectives when it comes to our world of individuals, and politics vs right & wrong. We listen to AM radio and PBS, nightly news, only to be setup to be sold something.
Keep up the good work,
Thanks for writing.
I've been on the road for a few since October, working and learning some new skills. I've posted items such as this and other letters, but won't add new shows 'til I'm back home in another month. Whew!
I do strive to separate fact from opinion, but the lines do blur. I hope those who visit this site and listen to the podcasts realize this. In any case, I hope the site is both informative and entertaining!
At least be comforted that until my book is out, I'm not selling anything!
I recently listened to your podcast on podcast.net. The title was "Handling a Bully - A Peaceful Approach." There were a lot of really interesting points. "Put ego aside" - that was my favorite part.
You may want to check out my eBook Bullies: A Leadership Approach. My unique verbal strategies are based on the Christian principles of Servant Leadership. True leadership is only about persuasion, and therefore you don't need to be in a position of authority to apply it. In addition, you'll see many parallels between my eBook and your podcast...
I'd love to hear your thoughts, and would be grateful for feedback that I can post on my website.
www.zerobully.com [site no longer active]
"Stop being witty. Start being wise."
I've looked over your web site and really got a lot out of your book. I wish it had been available when I was a scrawny kid! (see photo below)
I hope many of my listeners will visit your site. [Note: His site is no longer active]
Thanks for writing,
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Updated May 30, 2008