Friday, September 21, 2007

Bertrand Russell Excerpt

I just got my copy of the internationalist/globalist (Lord and Fellow of the Royal Society, among many other things.) Bertrand Russell's The Impact of Science on Society (1953, in excellent condition--one thing that was very cool was that the book still had the original receipt lying in the pages. It cost $1.04.). Since ridding our backs of the television monkey a great majority of my time, naturally, is spent reading.

So, I thought I'd begin sharing bits and pieces (and perhaps some accompanying thoughts) as I seem to be unable to blog effectively about the usual inane shit. Every time I try, all I can think about is how the time would be better spent. Thoughts that are only natural, I suppose, after realizing that you've spent much or all of your life wasting time and being compelled from all sides to engage in more of the same.

Within this large majority of time newly spent, I've been dwelling a great deal on this child that draws ever closer and the attendant slew of questions to be pondered and decisions to be made. It is perpetually sobering.

Here is the excerpt that caught my eye a few nights ago, in Chapter 1, Effects of Scientific Technique (all emphasis mine)--

"Physiology and psychology afford fields for scientific technique which still await development. Two great men, Pavlov and Freud, have laid the foundation. I do not accept the view that they are in any essential conflict, but what structure will be built on their foundation is still in doubt.

I think the subject which will be of most importance politically is mass psychology. Mass psychology is, scientifically speaking, not a very advanced study, and so far its professors have not been in universities: they have been advertisers, politicians, and, above all, dictators. This study is immensely useful to practical men, whether they wish to become rich or to acquire government. It is, of course, as a science founded upon individual psychology, but hitherto it has employed rule-of-thumb methods which were based on a kind of intuitive common sense. It's importance has been enormously increased by the growth of modern methods of propaganda. Of these, the most influential is what is called "education." Religion plays a part, though a diminishing one; the press, the cinema, and the radio play an increasing part.

What is essential in mass psychology is the art of persuasion. If you compare a speech of Hitler's with a speech of (say) Edmund Burke, you will see what strides have been made in the art since the eighteenth century. What went wrong formerly was that people had read in books that man is a rational animal, and framed their arguments on this hypothesis. We now know that limelight and a brass band do more to persuade than can be done by the most elegant train of syllogisms. It may be hoped that in time anybody will be able to persuade anyone of anything if he can catch the patient young and is provided by the State with money and equipment."

Remember, this was published in 1953. Go ahead, I'll wait while you read through it again. (Also, if one is so inclined, more can be learned about Bertrand Russell and just who he was through many of Alan Watt's podcasts).

The last highlighted section is of particular importance. Speaking of a brass bands and limelight being more effective than rationality, he "hopes" that the young can be caught and that the State will provide the money and equipment to persuade them of "anything". It gives a great window into the thinking of this man. Excepting a higher "class" of men, brought about by science or otherwise, the person that speaks in this manner views men as animals and advocates (to greater or lesser, but always some degree) their manipulation as such. The possibility is not even brought up (at least, thus far in my reading) that perhaps this propaganda in which so many of his "hopes" lie serves to further and further suppress the "rational" man. In his praising of Pavlov, it doesn't seem to dawn on his Lordship for even a moment that, while man may be animalistic at his base, he has the potential and opportunity to be otherwise, unless he doesn't, due in large part to ceaseless, all-encompassing, and ever more effective propaganda techniques coupled with high technology.

In his adherence to Darwinistic principles, he advocates the manipulation of man, "hopefully" through the influential tool of "education. " There is little humanity present in this underlying theme. Indeed some men, a great many in fact, may not be rational and may never be. But the fact that a great many more could be or would be is never discussed nor is it necessarily a worthy goal in circles of men like these.

One of my larger considerations of late has been education. My own lack of it ("it" being real education/knowledge that promotes true understanding, as opposed to being trained to follow instructions), and what it will be for the child. It should require little more than a cursory look at the state of education (and just as well to be said here, Education by the State), both its past and its present, to make any parent immediately loathe the idea of sending their child to a public school. And it may be to a slightly lesser extent, but the same goes with private schooling, as well, particularly a great many of the "Christian" schools who, like the state, blanch at the idea of teaching a child to think and rather expend all efforts teaching them to conform.

Which inevitably leads to more crucial questions. Namely, will I be able to make the unpleasant choices and deal with the inevitable consequences (which are surely becoming more dire in this system) of choosing a different direction than that laid out by the "experts" who now do all of that for us? It's not a question of desire or willingness anymore--that has been considered and the choice has been made. Rather, the question has become, will I be able to actually DO IT, not in terms of intellectual capability, but in dealing with the practicalities and externalities that will surely be brought to bear sooner or later given our seemingly unmovable societal course.

Such considerations may seem on the surface to be depressing, but further reflection gives cause for hopefulness and opportunity. I think anyone would be hard pressed to find a parent who does not wish for their child a better life than they had. Unfortunately, through all of the "education", this tends (more often than not) to mean "better" in the context of material wealth, the beginning and end of our current existence. There lies the hope and the opportunity that, saved from such wretched indoctrination, there might develop a person with real humanity and real knowledge. One who is not raised as an animal to be taught the prevailing tricks of the day, but someone who is enough of a thinking individual to know what "a better life" truly means and create it for their self.

Such a course is the only option, really. The alternative is a horror show, where they will be told what to do and they will do it because they know nothing else (just like their parents) They will be told that their life is better and they will believe it, simply because they have been told. Just like animals.