Thursday, December 6, 2012

Citizenship: The Art of Hallucinating Properly

I see what I wanna see
The dictionary tells us that the word-group composed of "hallucinate," "hallucinating," and "hallucinations" comes from long ago: "Origin: 1595–1605; Latin hallūcinātus, past participle of ( h ) allūcināri to wander in mind."

It goes on to give some medical linkage and definition, but then gets down to the hallucinating involved with modern citizenship: "a false notion, belief, or impression; illusion; delusion" (see this and this).

The book Hallucinations tells us that the phenomenon is more common than generally believed, but it is at once clear that hallucination is an everyday common endeavor for citizens; especially when we take a quick look at our everyday common discourse which evinces many "a false notion, belief, or impression."

For example: is global warming the greatest hoax ever fostered on humanity and therefore should be ignored, or is it a great danger to civilization so we have to do something about it? Is Social Security an "entitlement" or is it an insurance policy we pay for all our working lives? Is the fiscal cliff conjured up as a political ploy, or because of it are we close to the end of America? Is government a good parent always having our best interests in mind or is it a tool of an international corporate plutocracy? Are all American wars good wars fought for the good of humankind, or are American wars clearly imperialistic militarism bullying other nations out of their resources? Is American exceptionalism real or imagined? Is every opinion fact-based and valid? Is military detention of non-military citizens now legal? Is peak oil real or fanciful? Is torture good or is it bad?

The list goes on and on, but you get the point.

Hallucination is part of modern citizenship, because both sides of those issues cannot be having utterly opposite viewpoints, seeing it one way but not the other, yet neither one is hallucinating.

Someone is hallucinating.

For the most part, as citizens we derive our social information from the corporate news media, and therefore the corporate news media is the equivalent of a hallucinogen.

The corporate news media generate hallucinations.

When we "turn on, tune in, and drop out" or tune into the McTell News trip, we are supposed to do so as good citizens so that we experience "the art of hallucinating properly."

Regular readers know that Dredd Blog has been warning for years about the damage this does (see the series Etiology of Social Dementia through Etiology of Social Dementia - 7).

Since we began that series, suicide has become the number one cause of injury death in the U.S. civilian world as well as the U.S. military world.

Major political parties are not only in the habit of embracing delusion, they even brag about it on the record:
''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
(Karl Christian Rove). That is the type of delusional hallucination that is seen as a valid opinion by those who harbor it, but if you think that is uncommon think again, at least according to one astute observer:
One of the most important comments on deceit, I think, was made by Adam Smith. He pointed out that a major goal of business is to deceive and oppress the public.

And one of the striking features of the modern period is the institutionalization of that process, so that we now have huge industries deceiving the public — and they're very conscious about it, the public relations industry. Interestingly, this developed in the freest countries — in Britain and the US — roughly around time of WWI, when it was recognized that enough freedom had been won that people could no longer be controlled by force. So modes of deception and manipulation had to be developed in order to keep them under control
(Dr. Noam Chomsky, emphasis added). The reason they do this is because you are not capable of having a sound mind without these democratic hallucinations they provide:
THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.

Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.

They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons — a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty [now 320] million — who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.
It is the purpose of this book to explain the structure of the mechanism which controls the public mind, and to tell how it is manipulated by the special pleader who seeks to create public acceptance for a particular idea or commodity. It will attempt at the same time to find the due place in the modern democratic scheme for this new propaganda and to suggest its gradually evolving code of ethics and practice.
(The Ways of Bernays, quoting U.S. propagandist Edward Bernays). Let's get out there and be good citizens.

Trip out dudes and dudettes.


  1. So is a much larger % of our culture schizophrenic? I would never want to use hallucinogens as I did back in college. However, it was not a totally negative experience. I would say it was 30-40% positive. It gave me great insights into time and it's relativity, and made me less fearful of death.

  2. "Hallucinations, strictly speaking, are perceptions that have no basis in reality, but that appear entirely realistic." Link

    Therefore, whatever causes an inaccurate perception of current or long term reality is a hallucinogen.

  3. ndspenelli,

    "So is a much larger % of our culture schizophrenic?"

    That is a technical term for a particular cognitive disability used sparingly by psychiatrists and psychoanalysts.

    Its etiology indicates it can come from microbial parasites, as well as several human-social-level sources.

    Today's post is intended to focus on social hallucinations that lie within respectable realms far short of any psychotic symptoms like schizophrenia.

    The social hallucinations of respectable people depicted by "Hallucinations in the sane" if you will.

    The propaganda of Bernays, which the NAZI warlords revered, began circa WW I in departments of the U.S. government (see The Ways of Bernays link in the post) and Exceptional American Propaganda Inspired NAZI Goebbels.

    Hallucinations caused by propaganda hallucinogens are the focus today (not drugs).

  4. Some are religiously hallucinating: Link