Reviving the Spirit of Existential Rebellion in a World of Propaganda, Lies, and Self Deception

The self is an illusion. Freedom is an illusion. Responsibility is an illusion. Guilt is an illusion. Everything is an illusion. A kaleidoscopic mad world in which no one exists and nothing really matters. This deterministic and nihilistic message has become the main current in western cultural propaganda since the late 1960s and has reached a crescendo in the present day. It is responsible for the growth of passivity and denial that dominates contemporary public consciousness. It underlies the refusal of so many otherwise intelligent people to engage themselves in the search for truth that would lead to their joining forces with others to create a mass anti-war movement.

Ellul wrote the following in 1965 in his classic book Propaganda:

The majority prefers expressing stupidities to not expressing any opinion: this gives them the feeling of participation. For they need simple thoughts, elementary explanations, a ‘key’ that will permit them to take a position, and even ready made opinions….The man who keeps himself informed needs a framework….the more complicated the problems are, the more simple the explanations must be; the more fragmented the canvas, the simpler the pattern; the more difficult the question, the more all-embracing the solution; the more menacing the reduction of his own worth, the greater the need for boosting his ego. All this propaganda – and only propaganda – can give him.

By Edward Curtin

“Search for nothing anymore, nothing except truth.

Be very still and try to get at the truth.

And the first question to ask yourself is: 

How great a liar am I?”

– D. H. Lawrence, Search For Truth

November 07, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  Like existential freedom, honesty and truth-seeking demand a perpetually renewed commitment. No one ever fully arrives, and all of us are blown off course on the journey. Even when we think we have reached our destination, we are often startled by the enigma of arrival, and must set sail again. We are all in the same boat. The search for truth is a process, an experiment, an essay – a trying without end.

Yet surely it is not an exaggeration to say that most people are liars and self-deceivers. Honesty, while touted as a virtue, is practiced far less than it is praised. There is almost nothing that people are less honest about than their attitudes toward honesty. Few think of themselves as dishonest, and even to hint that someone is so is received as a great insult that usually elicits an angry response. So most people follow the advice of the character Jean-Baptiste Clamence from Albert Camus’ The Fall: “promise to tell the truth and then lie as best you can.” In that way you satisfy your own and others’ secret desires for deception and play-acting, and other people will love you for it.

However, it is widely accepted that political leaders and the mass media lie and dissemble regularly, which, of course, they do. That is their job in an oligarchy. Today we are subjected to almost total, unrelenting media and government propaganda. Depending on their political leanings, people direct their anger toward politicians of parties they oppose and media they believe slant their coverage to favor the opposition.

Trump is a liar. No, Obama is a liar. And Hillary Clinton. No, Fox News. Ridiculous! – it’s CNN or NBC. And so on and so forth in this theatre of the absurd that plays out within a megaplex of mainstream media (MSM) propaganda, where there are many shows but one producer, whose overall aim is to engineer the consent of all who enter while setting the different audiences against each other. It is a very successful charade that evokes name-calling from all quarters.

In other words, for many people their opponents lie, as do other people, but not them. This is as true in personal as well as public life. Here the personal and the political converge, despite protestations to the contrary.

Sartre and Bad Faith…….. 

To read further —Reviving the Spirit of Existential Rebellion in a World of Propaganda, Lies, and Self Deception

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