Propaganda and Smallmindedness

I’m watching a particular form of propaganda being pushed in the very structures of our nation. As I watch, it’s insidious tentacles are extending and taking hold of people,

I constantly ask myself, why? Why is propaganda so much more efficient and effective when it sows division and hostility than when it tries to sow unity, togetherness and compassion?

I suppose because the promotion of unity, togetherness and compassion can never be called propaganda. These qualities transcend and refuse to be held captive in the divisive and hostile prisons of disinformation and boosterism. People who hold on to and live these qualities are profoundly disturbing people. Thank God for them.

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About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
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40 Responses to Propaganda and Smallmindedness

  1. ptero9 says:

    “I suppose because the promotion of unity, togetherness and compassion can never be called propaganda.”

    Dear Don,

    I think you nailed it! Unity, togetherness, cooperation and compassion do not seek or need power, more likely just the opposite; relinquishing of power.

    Ugh! Humans.

    xoxo,
    Debra

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  2. Hariod Brawn says:

    ‘Why is propaganda so much more efficient and effective when it sows division and hostility than when it tries to sow unity, togetherness and compassion?’

    Because fear, being tangible, palpable, is a more powerful motivating force than any abstracted and unquantifiable notion of psychological well-being, which on the whole remains intangible, it being a matter of the psyche and not of the physical senses.

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    • Don says:

      I appreciate your comment Hariod. Thank you. I agree with you, I’m sure it does have much to do with fear. Would you not say though that togetherness and compassion can be extremely tangible and profoundly felt wherever they are expressed. I suppose it is the fear that stops us from crossing the boundary in to that experience of tangibility; perhaps that’s why it remains so abstract.

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      • Hariod Brawn says:

        Hi Don,

        From my perspective, and in accord too with Buddhist psychology, I would say that feeling can be either of the physical bases, or of the mind base; though ultimately the mind/body dichotomy may be seen as false – accepted. So, psychological well-being per se remains intangible in respect to the physical bases, yet mental feelings do certainly arise with it of course. It gets a wee bit complicated though, because as soon as we reflect in ideation upon our psychological well-being, then feelings of the physical bases come into play too, though they are not directly caused by any psychical feeling.

        All best wishes, Hariod.

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      • Don says:

        Wow Hariod, I’ve got to try and wrap my mind around this.
        Thank you – very challenging. I discern a touch of dualism here though. Maybe I’m not grasping it well. πŸ™‚

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      • Another good point there, Don – it is fear that stops us.

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  3. Similar to dealing with the ego mind, Don,I simply choose to acknowledge it when it presents (though uninvited) and then consciously move on with matters that are meaningful and of value to me. I endeavor to mitigate its influence and fearful anchoring and this is how I deal with those who, sadly, opt for the opposite of what (we) know really matters. And on that intentional trajectory I will remain. Here’s to compassion and unity prevailing.

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    • Don says:

      Eric I really enjoy your honesty in your expression, “I simply choose to acknowledge it when it presents (though uninvited) and then consciously move on with matters that are meaningful and of value to me.” Not acknowledging and consciously moving on makes us so vulnerable to that negative stuff and perpetually fighting it turns us in to the very thing we’re fighting. You’re right, it is an intentional trajectory. Thank you for your comment.

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  4. creating division is fear-based and allows insecure people to be superior, if only in their own minds. It’s easier.

    Unity is harder. It calls for tolerance. It calls for open-mindedness and challenges what we believe. It calls for us to admit that someone else may have a better way. Unity is love-based.

    A lot of people choose the easier way.

    Diana xo

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    • Don says:

      I’m with you on that Diana. You put it so well. Imagine if unity and open-mindedness was as easy to practice as fear-based attitudes, and fear-based attitudes as hard to practice as open-mindedness and unity. What a world we would have. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • To which, Don, I humbly assert, it is; they are. These matters can be analyzed, debated and speculated upon – even studied extensively in various schools yet in her comment, I believe Diana has nailed it by acknowledging “choice.”

        Yes I tend to often over simplify significant issues. Because (the proverbial) we expend time, intellect and effort attempting to address the ‘why’ when we can easily choose to acknowledge said differences and then align our views and actions with what (on the surface) is a simple choice. This then yields the intentional trajectory that I mentioned.

        Tentacles will always be reaching. Yet there are countless ways in which to avoid/ignore/sever their influence.

        The “world we would have” can shift to the world we (and I) will have, via awareness and choice. Put simply, I have no time for less desirable, divisive crap. And that becomes my compass.

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  5. cindy knoke says:

    What a concise and powerful post!

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  6. Hudson Howl says:

    First thing to pop into this tiny pea brain of mine; what exactly do you mean, specifically, examples, something juicy? From where and from who? I am a little at sea on this one, I have to admit. Perhaps I need more dots to connect. When you enter into discussing propaganda there is often a whiff of the twinning together of plutocracy and hypocrisy.

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    • Don says:

      I’m afraid Hudson I live in a context where political correctness reigns supreme and you have to be extremely careful what you say. So I chose simply to express my feeling about the issue and not the issue itself. Perhaps that’s why it sounds a little vague to you. So, I’m afraid I can’t give you any more dots, my friend. Take it as it is. πŸ™‚

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  7. The same thing is happening here, Don and I sometimes despair that these peddlers of fear and hatred will win. It makes me want to huddle in my safe little burrow with those I love and not go out into that darkness of the soul.
    But if I stay in my burrow, I cannot shine any light outside, and it is shining light on the fear & hatred and showing them for what they are that may reduce their impact.
    We have to face the fear, and go out to shine that tiny light of hope and goodness.

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    • Don says:

      Thanks Linda.I really get and appreciate what you’re saying.

      “We have to face the fear, and go out to shine that tiny light of hope and goodness.”

      You see the difficulty here is that that light can very easily be interpreted as darkness. We are in the process of sacrificing truth on the altar of political correctness.

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  8. Dan Antion says:

    Very well put. It is so much easier to divide than it is to unify. Chaos is easy, it’s natural. Coming together takes work. I am thankful for the people who accept that challenge.

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    • Don says:

      Thanks Dan. Like what you say. Sometimes I wonder about those who have worked so hard and given up so much in bringing people together, and yet, the world seems to be more divided and fearful than ever.

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  9. nrhatch says:

    As a result of its inherent insecurity, Ego is easily influenced by the opinions of others ~> hence, propaganda works on those operating at the level of Ego.

    Once we perceive our connection with the source, the sense of β€œus vs. them” fades away to become a more unified β€œwe.”

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    • Don says:

      I agree with you Nancy. That inherent insecurity you describe makes us so vulnerable to the wiles of propaganda. Thank you for putting it so succinctly.

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  10. Val Boyko says:

    A concise post Don that has sparked a great discussion! Thank you.
    Fear, power, greed, and ego are a part of the human condition. Our role is to shine a light on humanity. Its a more difficult and unpopular choice …

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  11. having just spent a month in the usa and now returning to my much-quieter life in ecuador, i return with a bit of confusion.. mainly how can so many intelligent people have their heads in the sand and totally ignore world and even national events. so many are caught up in their daily lives and are not peering out into the world to see what’s happening, from weather to gmos to overdosing on sugar and fats while swallowing medications to treat diet-responsible illness to concerns about fracking (someone asked, ‘what’s fracking?’)…

    oh my, it was often painful while they texted and phoned throughout the day and night and a few times relied on the all-day news feeds that rewound after spooning the same stories again and again.

    my pulse rate doubled, no kidding, from 50-something to over 100!

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    • Don says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. You raise many issues. As you described your experience of the USA I couldn’t help but feel that you were describing my country as well, in fact many others in the world. I think simply being unconscious to everything around us is for many a very comfortable place to be and often a means of coping,albeit not a healthy one. I must confess that I sometimes retreat to that place just to cope with everything that is happening around me. πŸ™‚ Again, thank you for sharing and your visit to the blog.

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  12. tomsimard says:

    “Why is propaganda so much more efficient and effective when it sows division and hostility than when it tries to sow unity, togetherness and compassion?”

    Very good question and like everything else I imagine there aren’t any easy answers. Why I wonder is propaganda ever effective?

    Great last paragraph.

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  13. Theo Coggin says:

    You spark some interesting thoughts in this interesting post, Don, not least the one that “the promotion of unity, togetherness and compassion can never be called propaganda”. There are, in my view, at least three major institutions in society that, by their very nature, are propaganda centrist – the advertising industry, political organisations (and I include advocacy organisations too) and religious institutions. Yet each of these – think of the Christian church, for example – is dependent for their success on the promotion of unity and togetherness, and sometimes compassion, to a greater or lesser extent.

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    • Don says:

      Good insights Theo. I like the examples you have given of institutions that are propaganda centrist and the inner conflict they experience in promoting unity and togetherness yet being in some ways propagandist. The Church in South Africa is a very good example. Thoughtful comment Theo – thank you.

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  14. Mary says:

    I agree with Cindy. Your post is thought-provoking (look at the number of replies) and yet you easily get to the point of “why.”

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  15. davecenker says:

    Brilliant and thought provoking! It is a shame that sometimes it seems human nature compels individuals to focus on the negative aspects of division and hostility in order to make ourselves feel more secure and comfortable in our own state. I wonder if we were all a bit more secure with who we were if the propaganda would fade into the background?

    Wonderful post, thanks for sharing!

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  16. Kathy says:

    Wonderful input and really thought provoking discussion around your observation, Don.On Friday I will be attending the funeral of Rev Dr E D Sithole, who in my opinion was one of the profoundly disturbing people you mention whose life’s work was about unity and togetherness and compassion. I recall the turbulent 80’s on the lower South Coast of KZN, and the courage it took to remain faithful in the relationships he had formed across the colour line. It was caring for the poor and the needy that had brought people together. It was unselfish love that sustained these friendships.I remember it was at the cost of being branded a betrayer.

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    • Don says:

      Thank you for this Kathy. May I say too that you are certainly one of those people. The work you have done cannot be measured as to its contribution to unity and compassion. We celebrate E D Sithole’s work, a special man.

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  17. Kathy says:

    Thank you for the encouragement, Don.I have had wonderful mentors and you are one of them.

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  18. ladyfi says:

    Hopefully, unity and open mindedness will win.

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