Archives for posts with tag: spin doctors

For anything to become a resource, somebody has to:

a. notice it and
b. figure out that, and how, it can be used towards what that particular individual has in mind.

Until both these conditions had been met, it remains – at most, just something that is there.

The first thing any of us does when becoming conscious is to notice differences. That’s how we learn about the world.
We notice the difference between Mother and everybody else, then between Mother, Father and everybody else, between soft and hard, cold and warm, … etc. etc….

The next step is to notice the difference between ourselves and the rest of the world.

The third stage is no longer about noticing but about understanding. About putting two and two together.

Some people understand that by being different, people may complement each other. That by learning different trades, according to their talents, they may cooperate towards improving their chances of survival and their quality of life.

Other people understand that by being different, people may be made to hate and despise each-other. By concentrating the popular focus on the differences between ‘they’ and ‘the others’, the spin-doctors build up the pressure until the made-up inevitable happens.

After the ‘explosion’, the survivors have the opportunity to understand that they are not so different, after all.
That their friends and relatives have died simply because they had allowed for the differences between them to be used improperly.

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The overseers of the U.S. intelligence community have not embraced a CIA assessment that Russian cyber attacks were aimed at helping Republican President-elect Donald Trump win the 2016 election, three American officials said on Monday.

Yet
“ODNI is not arguing that the agency (CIA) is wrong, only that they can’t prove intent,” said one of the three U.S. officials. “Of course they can’t, absent agents in on the decision-making in Moscow.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose evidentiary standards require it to make cases that can stand up in court, declined to accept the CIA’s analysis – a deductive assessment of the available intelligence – for the same reason, the three officials said.”

Now, since when is anybody in this ‘line of work’ concerned with anything more than ‘a deductive assessment of the available intelligence’?

Wasn’t it the DA’s office which was interested in making the cases ‘stand in court’?

Anyway, this whole exchange sends a very clear message.

Nobody disputes the simple fact that some Russians have indeed hacked into servers which harbor information pertaining to the electoral campaign. What the various branches of the intelligent services cannot agree about is the precise intent of the hackers.

Aha.

Some people believe that “racial prejudice” is “the natural human inclination … to identity (sic) with members of one’s own tribe, race or ethnic group” and “Post-racial multiculturalism is the exact but equally extreme and insane opposite of Nazi racial ideology“.

Compare this to “Religion, which should foster sisterhood and brotherhood, which should encourage tolerance, respect, compassion, peace, reconciliation, caring and sharing, has far too frequently — perversely — done the opposite. Religion has fueled alienation and conflict and has exacerbated intolerance and injustice and oppression. Some of the ghastliest atrocities have happened and are happening in the name of religion. It need not be so if we can learn the obvious: that no religion can hope to have a monopoly on God, on goodness and virtue and truth“.

What’s going on here?

Where does all this ‘confusion’ come from?

Let me start from the ‘bottom’ of it.

“No religion can hope to have a monopoly on God, on goodness and virtue and truth”.

While I fully agree with Desmond Tutu on the gist of his words I must contradict him on something very important.

Religions cannot hope at all. About anything. Anyway you look at them. No matter which definition you use, religion – all of them – is something that people do together. A common effort.
It is the individuals who are the actual doers. Who love and hate. Or hope, in this case.
Who pretend that their religion is the only true one. Or understand, as Desmond Tutu did, that each religion is yet another manifestation of God.

“Religion has fueled alienation and conflict and has exacerbated intolerance and injustice and oppression.”

Again, it was individual ‘religious’ people who have done all of those things, not religion per se.
All sacred texts have been written by human people. I can even accept that the first manuscript of each religion was directly inspired by God. Only each of them have been copied a thousand times over. And heavily editated.
Then came the individual human people who have read those texts, interpreted them, passed them on and acted upon those interpretations. Upon their convictions, actually.

And this is how “Some of the ghastliest atrocities have happened and are happening in the name of religion”. Not because of ‘religion’ but ‘in the name of religion’.
Simply as a consequence of how certain people have chosen to interpret/use religious teachings.

And not only ‘religious’ teachings.

People are able to interpret – and use in their own (perceived) advantage, every bit of information that comes their way. And now, that we have started to understand more and more about how our brain is working, the manners in which we use that information have become more and more ‘convoluted’.

“Post-racial multiculturalism … began as an understandable overreaction to Nazi racial ideology…before being consolidated by academics into an instrument of socio-political intimidation, rewards, punishments, manipulation and control, a modern, secular replacement for the power-political role of medieval church ideology.”

So.
It was the academics/priests who have done the damage. Not their religion nor the information they had at their disposal.

But why?
How come people whose religions – all of them do this – are adamant about ‘respect your neighbor’ become involved in wars?  Sometimes even in ‘religious’ wars ….
How come academics, whose very job are to teach their students to think autonomously, use their ‘rank’ in order to subdue ‘their’ file?

Could the religious warriors have something in common with the intransigent academics?

How them sharing the unbreakable conviction that they own the truth?
Forged inside the ‘echo-chambers’ where they have grouped themselves according to their specific beliefs? (No matter whether those beliefs are of a religious or ‘rational’ nature…)

Only after I had reached this point in my discourse I was able to fully appreciate Desmond Tutu’s words: ‘Religion … should encourage tolerance, respect, compassion, peace, reconciliation, caring and sharing’.

He doesn’t say anything about giving up on your own kind.
Or about leaving your roots behind.

All he actually says is ‘Be very careful. If all of you will accept to see only the same side of things you will become a herd. And while there is indeed ‘safety in numbers’ all herd members are ultimately headed for the abattoir’.

Diversity isn’t something to be forcefully, hence falsely, celebrated. Or imposed on others.

What we need to preserve, and celebrate, is our ability to ‘walk around’ the things that we encounter. To entertain, and discuss among ourselves, different – even conflictingly different – versions of what we see around us. This ability would only enhance our chances to solve the problems we’ll certainly be faced with.

‘Culture’ is nothing but layer upon layer of place-specific information which have accumulated in time while ‘religion’ is how a certain group of people have learned, again in time, to cooperate in a certain environment.
It doesn’t matter whether that ‘environment’ has been created by a God, has evolved according to Darwin’s theory or both.
What really matters is how we react – conditioned by our cultures and by our religious upbringing – to what is happening to us. Both individually and collectively.

In this sense, each culture we manage to preserve will only add to our chances of long term survival. As long as we’ll learn to sincerely respect each-other, of course.
Again, both individually and collectively.

PS.
A comment on my FB wall, “True religion is God entering history and the lives of humans and revealing Himself. All other religions are man’s attempt to explain the world around him in terms of god or attempts to control lots of other people in the name of some god“, helped me to understand that “There is ‘religion’ – the shared attitude that helps us to cooperate, and there are religions – specific ways that individual communities have traveled in order to attain that attitude.
And something else. What if ‘God entering history’ and enough of us reaching the shared understanding that it is far better to cooperate amongst us – love thy neighbor – than to fight each-other are the same thing?
How to put this understanding into practice? In the various, and continuously changing, circumstances we have to face?

How about this being the very reason for us having so many religions/cultures?

Acuma, dupa ce ‘Cumintenia Pamantului‘ s-a dus pe apa Sambetei, aveam nevoie de alte subiecte pentru a ne certa intre noi.

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Cam așa ar putea să arate monumentul din Piața Alba Iulia din București. Captură foto de site-ul sculptorului Ioan Bolborea.

 

Teoria si practica democratiei prevad, la unison, un schimb constant de informatie intre membrii comunitatii care practica acesta metoda de gestiune a treburilor publice.

in mod absolut normal, calitatea deciziilor adoptate, dmocratic, depinde in mod esential de onestitatea cu care sunt puse ‘pe piata’ informatiile care stau la baza acestor decizii.

Putem aborda subiectul in cheie ‘umoristica’:
“Poate ai văzut zilele astea pe Facebook că a circulat un filmuleț cu o nouă construcție care ar trebui făcută în Piața Alba Iulia din Capitală și care se cheamă „Monumentul Marii Uniri”. De fapt, va fi o sferă, mai exact o semisferă înaltă de 18 metri, ornată de sus până jos cu omuleți din bronz care țin mâinile întinse și se ating ca într-un fel de horă țărănească.
N-ai înțeles genialitatea ideii și mesajul pentru posteritate al viitorului monument? E clar: ești „zero la cultură”, ca și mine de altfel, după cum mi-a spus maestrul Ioan Bolborea, autorul operei.
Și, atenție, eu nici măcar nu am îndrăznit să-i spun că nu-mi place, ci doar că, deocamdată, nu am nicio părere. Hai să-ți explic acum ce este cu Monumentul Marii Uniri și ce șanse sunt chiar să se materializeze, fix în buricul Bucureștiului. (“Tot ce trebuie să știi despre sfera-monstru de 18 metri care poate ajunge în centrul Capitalei“)

“Pro-festivista”:
“Monumentul „Marea Unire” a trecut prin diverse transformări, artistul Ioan Bolborea căutând mereu perfecţiunea. După opt ani, din momentul în care  câştigat concursul organizat la nivel naţional, de la o lucrare în linii drepte, dure, monumentul „Marea Unire” s-a transformat într-o sferă, simbolul perfecţiunii şi, acum, al uniunii.” (“Monumentul Marii Uniri, de la Bucureşti, o lucrare de care România are nevoie“)

Sau chiar “Negationist-fundamentalista”:
“Brâncuşiul de serviciu de astăzi pare a fi domnul Ioan Bolborea. Iar propagandistul asiduu al său ar fi domnul Pavel Şuşară.
În Piaţa Alba Iulia a Bucureştilor, după monstruozităţile din faţa Teatrului Naţional, se pregăteşte o altă belea.
Care se pare că-i şi gata. Doar s-o pună acolo. O să fie sacrificată şi parcarea aceea generoasă de-acolo, când se va băga acolo meteoritul ăsta în formă de cozonac, garnisit cu serii de omuleţi, veniţi parcă dintr-o invazie cosmică?” (“Brancusiul de Serviciu“)

Din fericire, si spre disperarea ‘spin-doctorilor‘ care se dau peste cap incercand sa ne abureasca, calitatea acelor decizii – care determina in mod esential calitatea vietii noastre – depinde si de grija cu care noi, cei chemati sa adoptam, prin vot, acele decizii, analizam toate aceste mesaje – aruncate ca niste petarde in spatiul public de catre ‘specialistii in comunicare’ (a.k.a spin doctors) angajati de fiecare dintre taberele ‘concurente’.

Ca spin-doctorii nu prea isi dau seama ca atunci cand ne pacalesc pe noi isi taie si ei crengile de sub picioare… e treaba lor.
Ca noi ne uitam de parca am fi hipnotizati la toate circariile astea… e treaba noastra!

Tocmai mi-am adus aminte de un banc de pe vremea cealalta.

Cica Stalin se duce in vizita la un colhoz.
Se organizeza mare adunare populara in piata satului.
Stalin le vorbeste oamenilor despre greutatile pe care trebuie sa le rabde in timpul constuctiei socialismului pentru a se putea bucura mai apoi de binefacerile viitoare a comunismului.
Lumea aplauda frenetic.
Adunarea se incheie, Stalin – inconjurat de oameni, se indreapta spre masina.
Cand tocmai se pregatea sa se urce, o babushka din multime il roaga:
‘Iosif Visarionovici, eu sunt o baba proasta. N-am prea inteles care e deosebirea intre socialism si comunism. Mai explica-ne o data, sa putem pricepe si noi, taranii!”Uite bab-o. Capitalismul e ca praful asta de pe ulita iar comunismul e precum masina asta confortabila in care urmeaza sa ma urc eu acum. Iar socialismul e cum sunt eu acum, cu un picior in praf si altul in masina. Ai priceput?’
‘Acum am priceput maica, cum sa nu pricep daca ne-ai explicat atat de limpede.
Da’ mai am o intrebare. Mult o sa mai stam noi craciti asa?’

Cam asta ma intreb si eu.

Ne mai uitam mult in gurile astora sau incepem sa ne vedem si noi de treburile noastre?

NB.
Asta nu inseamna ca ar trebui sa nu mai citim nimic sau sa nu ne mai uitam la televizor.
Ar insemna sa ne orbim singuri. Tot ce trebuie sa facem este sa fim cu adevarat atenti atunci cand ne uitam la ceva.
Si, mai ales, sa gandim cu capetele noastre. Daca mai inghitim mult, si pe nemestecate, ce tot incearca astia sa ne bage pe gat, o sa ne ‘trezim’ abia la taiere. Precum gastele indopate.

turkey-taleb

The essence of spin doctoring is to present a sequence of true facts in such a manner that will compel the audience to reach the conclusion desired by the ‘good-doctor’. The really skilled ones don’t even need to lie in order to achieve their goals. At most they ‘shave’ some of the rough edges so that the truths they choose to mention fit smoother into their narrative
In fact it doesn’t matter much whether the conclusion they mesmerize their audience into is ‘true’ or not – truth is relative, anyway. The only thing that’s important here is that ‘the’ conclusion fits the intentions of the spin doctor.
Also, it even doesn’t matter what those intentions are. Good, bad… the end is always the same.

Because of the manner in which all this works.

The principle involved here is the same as that used by the magicians who entertain the crowds of circus goers.
They first concentrate the attention of their audience to a single point and then direct it in such a way that the people are no longer able to see anything but what they are allowed to by the magician.
Or by the spin-doctor.

Unfortunately the similarities between magicians and spin-doctors end here.
While most of the circus goers have a nice experience, albeit a relatively short one, most victims of the spin-doctors have to endure long lasting trauma and/or substantial material loss.

Again, irrespective of the spin doctors’ intentions. It doesn’t matter whether the method is used by a (well wishing socialist) utopian or by a callous Nazi.  In my previous post I mentioned how ‘political hyenas’ spring up and monopolize all the situations in which their ‘dark talents’ cannot be kept in check by the rest of the society.
Here we have the explanation for why the otherwise reasonable members of the society are unable to perceive the mortal danger they find themselves in.

Because the spin doctor had skilfully overloaded their attention.
Because after living for so long ‘under the spell’, too many people have become accustomed to let others think for them and in their name.

Was that clear enough?
The spin doctor doesn’t have to be malefic in order for the tragedy to take place. It is enough that they have occupied the attention of the people and have exhausted the ability of too many of the individuals involved to think with their own heads.
In these conditions the ‘political hyenas’ will undoubtedly make their appearance and attempt to gain control over the society.

And, undoubtedly again, those attempts will be extremely detrimental for the entire society.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, in Milwaukee. (Morry Gash/AP)

“Clinton hiring consumer marketing specialists “to help imagine Hillary 5.0.” “

Genuine democracy was about open discussion about all issues of public interest. It worked because openness made it so that the truly stupid (people and ideas) were weeded out before inflicting harm on a large scale.

The problem is that openness needs mutual respect.

Only that has become a thing of the past. Nowadays, when everyone knows better, political ideas are marketed like snake oil used to be not so long ago…

“Clinton’s campaign spent $18.7 million in the second quarter, dramatically more than any other. The mid-July report said she received $815,000 worth of services from strategist Joel Benenson’s firm alone. Since then, the campaign launched a $4 million ad blitz in Iowa and New Hampshire.”

“Steve Schmidt, the Republican strategist, puts it somewhat more crudely: “Trump’s starring in a reality show of his own making, and treats every appearance like an episode,” chasing ratings in the form of fresh votes. But how do you turn appointment TV into a lasting candidacy? “You need a huge team on the ground doing the nuts-and-bolts work — collecting signatures to be on the ballot in certain states, bringing voters to the polls — and Trump is very late to the party,” says Cohn. “Most of his rivals have been at this over a year, and have those seasoned operatives locked up. And even if they’re available, is he really prepared to pay them a premium now?” ”
This third quote is from Rolling Stone’s “Trump Seriously: On the Trail With the GOP’s Tough Guy” by Bob Solotaroff.

I know some of you are quite familiar with these political realities but don’t you get goose bumps about what’s going on, at least occasionally?

How come these species of political operators are so sure about themselves being entitled to do what they are doing that they have no qualms when doing it?

Can any of these occurrences be, even remotely, associated with the concept of democracy? Or have we, all of us, demoted the whole process to just a little more than ‘mob rule’? A contest among spin doctors about who is the more competent manipulator?

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