We’ve seen it time and time again, every time and every culture assumes villains for themselves. They come in all shapes and sizes but the tune they all play is pretty much the same. First, you cause a panic, be it intentional or it simply happened by chance. Regardless, you take some sort of event and portray it as the times to come if an action isn’t taken. Afterwards, this action will normally allow a group, with the appearance of some sort of plan, to swoop down and save the day – at the cost of fundamental rights, money, or time because after all: “desperate times call for desperate measures”, no?
In some cases this danger will be quite minuscule, or statistically improbable but nonetheless those in power (or those who want to assume power) will greatly exaggerate the risks if no action is taken. Take, for example, the witch hunt back in medieval ages. It has been calculated that around 150,000 people were processed in the existence of the Spanish Inquisition (the most brutal of them all) and in those 140 years about 2% of the people indicted were killed. As regrettable as the loss of life is, the time period isn’t quite as brutal as we first thought it was.
The same could be said in the case of terrorist activity. Now don’t get me wrong, terrorism is a real thing, it is a real danger to anyone who has the misfortune of being near an attack. Nonetheless, the dangers it poses to an average individual is virtually 0%. In fact, even if terrorists managed to pull off something like the Twin Towers each year you run a greater chance of dying in a car crash, being murdered, being burnt alive or falling from a great height and dying.
So, why is it that we are manipulated by such implausible events? Well, we can live with the dangers that average life poses because we’re used to them. However, when something new happens we lose our shit, because we simply don’t know how to react. Besides that, we also like to personify our dangers, as a result of this we have someone to blame for all our mishaps and it seems that there’s a grand chess-master which must be defeated with our collective effort. Once you give it a name, you’ve given it power because its no longer a random event but merely another event in a dastardly plan to destroy our values and culture.
In the Middle Ages it was Satan, every witch under the sun was copulating with the devil and actively taking orders from him; in the Soviet Union it was Trotsky who was behind the mishaps of the state; in Nazi Germany, they used the Jews but they personified them with the Rothschilds; and so on and so on. More recently, we have had two particular figures of note:
The first one is, of course, Saddam Hussein who was tried and killed and most famously we have Osama Bin Laden who was killed not 24 hours ago. However, this story is getting rather trite, who here hasn’t seen it before in one form or another?
I wonder; is the excitement in the USA at the moment anything similar to what the Russians felt back in May 10th 1945 – the day that Russia ran out of alcohol due to the festivities? Maybe that’s what it’s all about, we think that by eliminating the alleged grand chess-master all our problems will suddenly vanish. We think that once that final blow is struck that we will be OK.
Sadly, life is not a fantasy novel where once we beat the big bad villain we receive our happily ever after. Defeating one villain in real life only brings forth another villain, if given enough time.
So what do we do to stop this little game of manipulation society has been playing since it was started? The solution, while it may sound incredibly simple, is incredibly hard to accomplish.
To solve any problem in life you have to look at its source, otherwise you are merely addressing a symptom and are not combating the disease. Firstly, we must change how people view the world ; “the us versus them” mentality may have sufficed in a world where there was little to no connection with the neighbouring cultures but nowadays, when the world is connected in every way imaginable, it’s counter-intuitive to still possess such outdated thinking. Culture, and everything surrounding it, has bits and pieces originating from another civilization, there is no such thing as a solely nationalistic culture. Take a moment and imagine that all of a sudden all Hindu influence in your respective culture would disappear, then you’d have no numbers with which to count; now imagine that all German influence would disappear, you’d then not have the printing press and most of the world’s knowledge would be lost; imagine now that all Italian influence would disappear, then you’d lose a great many words with which to communicate; just imagine what loss there would be without all those influences in your culture, and there are as many examples as you can possibly imagine.
We are dependent on each other and the sooner we notice that fact, the less likely it will be that we blow each other up. Besides that, we also have to stop beating each other merely because we do not agree on something. Finally, we have to start thinking rationally; we shouldn’t choose a course of action merely because we feel it is the right thing to do, we have to learn to choose based on facts and evidence.
Let us not be manipulated by tyrants and liars on both ends of the political spectrum, the power is in us to act and change the course of self destruction which our species is taking. There is no guarantee that we will be here tomorrow, or the day after that. So, why should we make our experience here, on this little blue ball in the vastness of the cosmos, a torturous and unpleasant experience?
Like it? Subscribe via wordpress, RSS, or email
Comments and ratings are appreciated.