Wednesday, April 23

Depression, Disney and Mind-Control Capitalism

A recent study I just spotted here points to the fact that fairness is an inherent value in human beings. The deep, reptilian reward centers of our brains respond to an equitable resolution to division of resources.

This led me to wonder how, on a macro scale, this property of our evolution has been impacted by modern society. Developments in the past 30 years have done away with what's fondly looked upon by history as the shared burden, and shared glory of the rise of American society. It's also been said that we've been living in the rise of an economic system that could be described as Gotcha Capitalism, whereby the standard mode of operation is for every societal exchange be designed to screw you, the individual, as much as possible.

Take, for example, the everyday banking institution. By definition a bank profits from the interest charged on loans made upon what is essentially imaginary sums of money. This power to create and then profit from the medium of exchange which ordinary individuals must labor to attain is essentially unfair, and the basis by which our capitalist society maintains it's control over allocation of resources.

Why don't we take a look at something a bit closer to my personal experience, and that of many millions of entertainment consumers around the globe. A visit to a Walt Disney Co. theme park (I was once a costumed character performer at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL). The family-friendly atmosphere is painstakingly detailed, saturated and embellished to extract the largest sum of money per square foot as possible. This ethos did not always rule the Magic Kingdom, which is why comparisons between the ever evolving park maps tend to reveal ballooning numbers of ticky-tacky gift-shops, as well as a growth in the sophistication of retail placement and design. These sophisticated techniques, including store design, product placement, color, sound and even smell are engineered to throw your animal instincts off - essentially to overcome the pangs of unfairness you'll inherently feel when you pick up a $.02 pencil made in a Chinese sweatshop and check out the $12.99 sticker price.

This same pattern of manufacturing desires and overcoming the rational thought process in the minds of those exposed to this mass-market macro-psychology has been replicated across the spectrum of American consumer culture. From our weekly grocery trips to our political arenas, the power of persuasion continually fools our minds into making decisions which directly contradict our personal interests. Many Bush voters from the lower 98% of the economic stratosphere shot themselves in the foot, voting against their economic interests and even dooming many of their sons and daughters to violent deaths and danger in a war built upon egregious lies. What could cause someone to sacrifice their interests, even their own flesh and blood? A strong appeal to their fear, boosted by the repetition of a thousand talking heads in various, but interconnected news media, could distract a normally rational person the same way brightly colored stores scented like fresh-baked cookies would in the purchase of our $.02 pencil.

These distractions are what modern consumer culture relies upon, the system upon which they thrive could rightly be termed Mind-Control Capitalism- whereby the concentration of knowledge about human behavior and physiology allows for organizations and individuals to control, through the application of the social and physical sciences, the behaviors of individuals.

Getting back to the study about fairness, and it's effects on society at large, when entire generations are raised in this state of deception, a state where major organizations vie for a chance to deceive them into certain actions, the egalitarian fairness that seems to be hardwired into our brains' pleasure sensors no longer activates. We may have been driven to become a nation, and quickly a world, of clinically depressed beings, suffering because of the blunting of a hardwired desire to be fair to one another...

1 comment:

Chox said...

fucking and your big words