Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Compare & Contrast: Both Huxley and Bernays Are Explaining the Same Thing

Edward Bernays, Freud's favorite nephew saw it clearly, already in the '20s, 30 years before Huxley. At that time, neither Bernays nor anyone else thought it was exceptional that the "best" minds would do all the thinking, and didn't regard it with anything other than calm pleasure:
"“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” 
It is interesting to consider these two leading thinkers' (Bernays and Huxley) explanations of essentially the same phenomenon: The "manufacture of the consent of the governed."

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