Losing touch with reality

All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out. (I.F. Stone, In a Time of Torment, 1961-1967)

Cost of propaganda: Manufacturing propaganda on a large scale is costly. Information is replaced by propaganda and thus becomes disinformation. It is a form of economic malinvestment, resulting in economic stagnation.

Growth of propaganda: Once propaganda is used in a certain area, it keeps expanding. Related areas sooner or later also use propaganda to hide reality. Since propaganda is in general cheaper than real reforms, it becomes the preferred method of solving problems. It ends with pure propaganda in every area of society, that is controlled by government and other big organisations. The end stage is a stage of total loss of reality.

Uninformed public: Propaganda manipulates public opinion and keeps the population uninformed. People are easily led and manipulated, once they believe appealing lies. Through propaganda people remain unaware of the dark side of the society they live in. It remains invisible.

Repetition of history: Propaganda makes it impossible to correctly understand history. Both the history of other societies and civilisations and one's own civilisation becomes distorted by propaganda. Therefore one keeps repeating the same mistakes. Propaganda makes it impossible to learn from past mistakes.

False knowledge: The ubiquity of propaganda in society creates a lot of false knowledge. People believe in fantasies. These are necessary illusions or noble lies.

Ideology, disinformation and propaganda: Propaganda spreads false ideas about history and reality. These make a rational discussion difficult, often impossible. The heavy overlay of myth makes informed and rational decision-making difficult on the affected issues. Perhaps impossible. The leaders (both left and right) have discovered that they can easily and successfully lie to the people. Because the tactic works, it is used. In the end it degrades the ability of the people to see and understand the world. It makes society blind.

Stagnation: Propaganda hides the truth. The causes of many social and economic problems are hidden behind a smokescreen of propaganda. When one does not know the truth, then one cannot solve the problems. The result is political, social and economic stagnation.

Magical thinking: Every problem can be solved. Reality is no obstacle. Positive thinking is required. Popular delusions are preferred to reality. Denying evidence becomes a virtue. Religion, science and other specialisms get infected by it and loose contact with reality. Blind faith is required.

Derealization: The actually lived experience is derealized by official spin and propaganda. It is a slow form of selfdestruction in the sense that reality becomes unreal. Experience is replaced by propaganda. A form of idolatry. Leading to insecurity, stress and a kind of double bind.

Conspiracy theories: When the news provided by the media is untrustworthy, people are forced to invent there own explanations about reality. Conspiracy theories are common. They provide a simple explanation of complex situations. They give clarity and certainty to the believers. They provide the believers in them with a feeling of superiority, because they know the truth. Conspiracy theories are a form of scapegoating. They blame evil elites.

Ignorance and agnotology: Agnotology is the deliberate production of ignorance. Social construction of ignorance. Such culturally-induced ignorance is caused by media neglect, corporate or governmental secrecy and suppression, document destruction, disinformation and myriad forms of inherent or avoidable culturopolitical selectivity, inattention, and forgetfulness. This represents a hidden and repressed part of reality.

Standardisation: Succesfull propaganda through the mass media leads to a standardisation of human thought and habits. One's thoughts and habits are controlled by the center of society. A human monoculture. Conformity does the rest. Mass medias produce their own rebels, that still do not question any vital part of the establishment. It gives an illusion of diversity, while everything is uniform and homogeneous.

Fragility: The fact that propaganda is necessary for the function of the state or society, implies that without it the state, the economy and the government would be different. Hence society is not stable, it depends on hiding a part of reality. Propaganda is necessary to keep the (cornucopean) myth or ideology, on which the functioning of society depends, intact. Therefore society is fragile.

Propaganda influences political decisions: Propaganda influences policy decisions. Once propaganda has established a clear picture of reality, policy has to pretend that this picture of reality is true. This eventually results in policy decisions that have no basis in fact. Such decisions are only based on fictions established through propaganda. Economic policies, wars etc. eventually are mostly based on convenient fictions.

Propaganda shapes politicians: In a propaganda drenched society, politicians are profoundly influenced by it. It shapes their view of reality. Politicians that promise solutions for fantasy dangers conjured up by propaganda do better, than politicians that want to solve real problems that have been made invisible through propaganda. Politicians that conform best to the propaganda rise to the top. Politicians whose ideas conform more to reality are side lined. Propaganda becomes more influential than reality. Politicians depend on propaganda for survival. Propaganda results in a politics that is almost solely based on fictions.

Loss of institutional legitimacy: The increase in propaganda deligitimises the institutions of society. People might in general be unaware, but they do notice institutional malfunctions that interfere with their live. As a consequence they learn to distrust official statements. This in turn increases the need for propaganda. It results in a positive feedback loop of propaganda, institutional deligitimisation and a general distrust in the institutions of society. Moreover, why change an institution, when one can use propaganda?

Political instability: The increase of propaganda results in social and political instability. The continuing stream of propagandistic lies magnifies the distrust of the authorities. Even simple problems cannot be solved anymore, because propaganda hides the causes of the problems. People then turn to political outsiders, revolutionaries or populists. People think or hope that these outsiders do tell the truth.

War: To distract the people from the problems within society, a distraction is needed. Often a war. It makes the people feel patriotic and supportive of the government. Wars against an evil enemy unites the population. Moreover, all problems can be blamed on the enemy. The population supports wars only when they are justified and legitimate. An excuse for war is easily constructed by the authorities.

Degeneration into madness: The easiest propaganda trick is to tell the people, that they belong to a superior race, religion, political, or economic system. That it is their destiny to civilise, liberate or rule the planet. It makes people feel morally superior. It appeals to their narcissistic feelings. It results in hubris gone insane.