Despite this cultural acceptance, there are still many people of all walks of life, race and gender, who believe that they are not good enough because of their physical appearance. This has less to do with the color of your skin and more to do with the shape of your body. For example, how many of you have felt ashamed of yourselves when you have compared your bodies to the airbrushed perfection of supermodels in magazines, TV commercials, and online advertising? How many of you have ever felt fat-shamed, if only on a subliminal level? This is due to the programming of mass media.
Whether you know it or not, this is a conscious effort by corporations to motivate consumers to purchase their products and services. It is another way in which you have been disempowered through shame. When comparing yourself to these ideal images, how can you measure up? It’s an unfeasible goal that keeps you buying products that you have been programmed to believe will help you achieve that impossible goal.
In the early 20th Century, Edward Bernays, the nephew of the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, pioneered the public relations industry in the United States, using his uncle’s psychology to create what have become known as advertising campaigns. These were designed to motivate consumers to buy products, which up until then, were not considered essential. It became the seed of the whole ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality.
This was achieved through cleverly crafted ad campaigns and celebrity endorsements. They included, influencing women to start smoking cigarettes, promoting bacon and eggs as a healthy breakfast, and convincing the American public that water fluoridation was safe and beneficial. They accomplished the latter for the Aluminum Company of America, by using recommendations from the American Dental Association. Remember “4 out of 5 dentists recommend Crest toothpaste”? That was a direct result of Bernays’ advertising techniques. It is not surprising to discover that Proctor and Gamble, who sells Crest, was one of Bernays’ major clients.
Did you ever question these publicity claims when you saw them on TV or read them in the newspaper? It was much like fake news is today. In fact, can you believe anything you read or watch to be true? Should you? In this light, it is important to question all the secondhand beliefs you currently subscribe to and see if they are true. In fact, please don’t believe the words that you are reading right now unless they resonate with your own deep inner truth.
The reason I cite Edward Bernays, is that this epidemic of unworthiness, born of this shame-based culture, is not only a psychological issue, but is also a financial and political one. It was not by accident. It was completely intentional.
Bernays may have become the creator of Madison Avenue advertising, wielding great power and influence for his clients, but only after he served under Hitler and the Nazi Regime in Germany, during the Second World War. Once he transferred to the United States, Bernays and his colleagues, working for huge corporations with vested interests, created media to instill in potential American consumers, a sense of lack in their self-image. Its purpose was to create the need to purchase products that promised to fill that lack. This gave way to a nation of consumers who feel unworthy, in other words, are easier to control.
To quote Bernays’ seminal book Propaganda, published in 1928: “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it…We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of…Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country…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 who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
Bernays worked for these powerful people. He knew who he was talking about. And these influential people knew it was easier to control the masses when the masses surrender their power willingly. The media, filled with fake news and entertaining distractions has the power to influence people to do that. That is why the mass media is exclusively owned by the oligarchy of multi-national corporations and billionaires. They know that whoever controls the media controls the world. Whether it be TV, movies, radio, newspapers or more recently social media.
Social media seems to have become the most powerful, because people willingly give up their autonomy, including their privacy, to enjoy the benefits of 21st century technology. You only have to look at people’s obsessive engagement with their smart phones to wonder if the cons of technology out-way the pros.
Yes, we can now communicate face to face on Face-Time or Zoom, despite our physical distance, as was predicted in science fiction TV shows like “Star Trek” years ago. But in the end, is it worth it? For it seems that when we are in close proximity with each other, everyone’s faces are often buried in their phones, distracted by the latest Instagram post or immersed in an online video game. People across the globe no longer relate socially to each other the way they used to. Is this really what technological progress looks like? I have witnessed whole families at dinner in North America, lovers on a date in Europe, even monks at a temple in the Far East, sitting with each other, completely preoccupied by their smart phones, to the point of ignoring one another. Subways in every nation are filled with passengers, looking down at the phones, instead of at each other and the life around them.
No one has been spared. People just don’t seem to relate to each other as much anymore. The technological revolution is here in full force, and humanity needs to come to terms with the costs, as well as the benefits. It could be a dream come true or our worst nightmare.
And now, with laws in place such as social distancing and stay at home orders, in response to the threat of corona viruses, people are forced to rely on the technology of Face Time or Zoom calls, in order to relate to each other. This is alienating humans even further. If we are not careful, before you know it, Virtual Reality will replace this physical reality, and we will never leave home or our computer terminal.
The youth are especially susceptible to this high-tech programming, via social media. For example, is it healthy for young people to spend a majority of their day with their eyes glued to their cell phone, tablet or computer screens, missing out on their own life as it passes them by?
The matrix of online media not only programs them to think a certain way, like religion and education has done in the past, but it also can trigger their existing unworthiness programs. They may experience FOMO (fear of missing out), as they scroll down their friend’s social media timelines, feeling like they don’t have the kind of joyful life that they observe others do. This can be a source of depression and emotional suffering for them. Online peer pressure and the need to fit in, coerces them to confirm to society’s standards, even if it means betraying their own truth.
Is this a conscious effort to disempower the masses, so that they will be more governable? If it is, we must protect our youth from those influences, along with everyone else. This is an opportunity to encourage them to stop looking outside themselves for happiness and to look within.
Edward Bernays, took his uncle’s ideas from psycho-analysis and single-handedly instilled in the public’s mind the need to have more than is actually needed to thrive. Through psychological concepts he motivated the consumer to buy certain products an effort to find what he presented as happiness. He manipulated them like a rat in a maze, in a scientific experiment.
Bernays literally began the advertising ploy of associating a particular product with images of happiness, to sell a product. For instance, it’s due to his influence that a TV commercial presents what appears to be a happy family (portrayed by actors) eating McDonald’s or drinking Coca-Cola. The fact that the food or beverage may not be considered good nutrition for the body does not come into play here. It is the sub-conscious association with the product and their potential for personal happiness that motivates consumers to buy the product. This in turn helps make the companies that sell those products into multi-billion dollar corporations.
Recently advertising has evolved even further, through social media. By using personal data from online activity, companies such as Facebook and Google collect it and in some cases, sell that data to other companies. They use the information based on users’ personal data and online activity to target users with advertisements using algorithms.
The government can use this to track people, with other technologies, like facial recognition, drones and virus tracing. This invasion of privacy, which is literally spying on people, is eerily similar to George Orwell’s prophetic novel, 1984, which predicted that “Big Brother is watching you.” RFID microchips will be the next step in this governmental monitoring technology. This would connect every human to a 5G or higher type grid, an evolution of the current smart phone network, which already can track you. As technology becomes more advanced, it could become an increasingly, more powerful tool to control the masses. It is important that we learn to use technology from a Heart-Centered orientation so that technology does not use us. It is vital that we as a human race wake up to who we truly are before it is too late.
About the Author
Prasad Paul Duffy is a spiritual teacher and visionary in the human potential movement. He is the author of the books YOU ARE LOVE and DANCING AS THE INFINITE, and is the founder of THE SOURCE SPIRITUAL CENTER in Los Angeles. For further into please visit www.prasadpaulduffy.com
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