|Each year in August, huge rallies were held at Nuremberg. Arenas to hold 400,000 people were built. 150 search lights surrounded the main arena and were lit up vertically into the night sky. Their light could be seen over 50 miles away in what a British politician, Sir Neville Henderson, called a "cathedral of light".
The Romans had their coliseums in which men were pitted against men and beasts in one of the biggest popularity contests in history. If the crowd liked you, thumbs up - you live. If not, thumbs down - you die. The games also served a political purpose; they entertained the masses and kept them distracted from the harsh realities of their own lives, much like the role of professional sporting events in modern America.
A good example of the mob-mentality influencing the group mind is "the wave", This self-perpetuating action of follow the leader serves as viral conditioning to go along with the herd; to become part of the greater whole. Why do people do "the wave"? I'm sure there are many reasons; maybe your team just scored or prevented the other team from doing so, but mainly because everybody else is doing it. Perhaps a deeper reason could be that group actions subconsciously invoke the feeling of safety and security.
To quote from Manufactured Consent, "I suddenly asked myself at one point, why do I care if my high school team wins the football game? I mean, I don't know anybody on the team, you know. I mean, they have nothing to do with me, I mean, why I am cheering for my team? It doesn't mean any-it doesn't make sense. But the point is it does make sense: it's a way of building up irrational attitudes of submission to authority, and group cohesion behind leadership elements, in fact it's training in irrational jingoism."
An interesting portrayal of how this technique works can surprisingly be found in the ABC afterschool special coincidently entitled, The Wave, which was intended to teach kids how the Nazi regime came to power, in spite of being only 10% of the German population. (At the time this program aired, it was purported to be a true story, but later debunked as fiction.)
Television now serves as the modern day vehicle for distraction and social conditioning. More than 2,100 hours of televised sports are programmed per year by the four major networks, and cable television provides an additional 6,000 hours. ESPN, which reaches 70 percent of American homes with televisions, broadcasts more than 8,000 hours of sports each year. If Americans spent as much time learning about world affairs or our Constitution and Bill of Rights as they do passing percentages and field goal ranges, maybe more than 13% of people aged 18-24 could locate Iraq on a map.
But just when you thought that gone were the days of lions and swords, coming out tomorrow on Fox is a new reality show called "Man vs. Beast" in which, you guessed it, people will be competing with animals in front of a national audience. To set the tone, this program will have feature commentary by boxing announcer Michael Buffer. They will be dragging airplanes, running the 100 meter, and a host of other inane gladiator stunts. In the end, is there really any wonder why they call it 'programming'?
|The Stadium of the Mind
By Wade Inganamort
"The president emerged wearing a New York Fire Department windbreaker. He raised his arm and gave a thumbs-up to the crowd on the third base side of the field. Probably 15,000 fans threw their arms in the air imitating the motion. He then threw a strike from the rubber, and the stadium erupted. Watching from owner George Steinbrennerís box, Karl Rove thought, Itís like being at a Nazi rally." -- Bush at War, (p.277), by Bob Woodward
How does one rally the group mind? Hitler gave most of his speeches at night when people were tired and more suggestible.
Visit Wade's fine website at http://www.libertythink.com. Wade can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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