It is clear to me more than before that imagining the world as “system,” as a negative, hostile system (a symptom that is typical of schizophrenia) prevents any opposition to it except in an irrational, self-destructive raptus; whereas it is a correct principle of method to deny that what one is fighting can be a system, in order to distinguish its components, contradictions, loopholes, and to defeat it bit by bit. (Italo Calvino)
- I wish you wouldn't use that word.
- "The government is making us idiots...they want us to believe..."
- The government isn't against us?
- What we see happening is not conspiracy but "found advantage". Advertising isn't directly intended to make us idiots. It takes advantage of crowd behavior, suggests that something will make us happy that appears to have made many others happy. As a strategy for selling products, it works. The same goes for government. It doesn't conspire against the people. It simply doesn't notice them. The people have little or no influence. They are not the crowd that the government responds to.
- Like the people are manipulated by advertisers making use of crowd behavior, so the government is influenced by the crowd of - what? corporations?
- And interest groups. But with a significant difference: in the case of the people, the crowd portrayed in advertisements is fictitious. In the case of influence on the government the crowd is real.
- Both the government and the people are trying to be in with a crowd. The crowd of corporations gives money to the government. The people give money to the crowd of corporations. Which way the money goes doesn't matter?
- No, you can pay money for a possession that confirms the loss of your own individuality, or pay off government officials to give up their individuality. Though as I said, the crowd of corporations giving money to the government, being real, is more stable than the imaginary crowd of happy people in an advertisement. People pay money for objects that make them feel part of a crowd, politicians are paid money to compose a crowd. The news media sells the crowd of their audience to advertisers, and buys the cooperation of government and corporate officials for gathering news. They are paid by the crowd of advertisers, and like the public they buy into the image of a crowd the government hands over as news.
- The news media "buys" the news from the government?
- "Buys" in the sense of pays for with their independence and freedom of thinking, with uncritical acceptance of what the government delivers. As government officials buy into what the crowd of corporations and influences tells them is best.
- The news media both buys and sells crowd behavior. It looks like conspiracy, but is only...I don't really get it. Buying and selling crowd behavior isn't conspiracy?
- We are living in the times of money is everything. Everything personal in life: love, friendship, beauty, truth, good, sympathy doesn't exist. We are fascinated by money as the only thing we have in common, our only medium of communication. Buy or sell doesn't matter, only money matters. We join the crowd of people who appear in advertisements by buying a product; or as government officials are bought by corporations, giving in exchange our individuality, joining their crowd; or in the news media we do both, buy and are bought, sell images of the crowd and buy into it.
- We're paid money by the crowd in exchange for our individuality?
- Why is that hard to believe, when we voluntarily pay money to join a crowd of owners of advertised objects? Pay, or be paid, is irrelevant. If you can form a crowd, you get paid. If you can't and want to get in, you pay. No matter whether you buy or sell, when you do something for money you aren't doing it out of pleasure, love, generosity, happiness, you're not doing it for any human reason at all.*
- There is no conspiracy because there are no people.
- You got it.
* Money and crowds: money buys property, property is a warning against change of arrangement of things enforced by a threat of violence. Rules for disposition of things in the world, and violence are the two essential corrupters of individuality. See Things That Think