Corporate Colonization and a Simmering Revolution…
The idea of cognitive dissonance is that a powerful motive to maintain cognitive consistency can give rise to irrational and sometimes maladaptive behavior. In 1957, Leon Festinger proposed this theory and,
According to Festinger, we hold many cognitions about the world and ourselves; when they clash, a discrepancy is evoked, resulting in a state of tension known as cognitive dissonance. As the experience of dissonance is unpleasant, we are motivated to reduce or eliminate it, and achieve consonance (i.e. agreement).
As Festinger argues, that motivation manifests itself in the reduction or elimination of that discrepancy. We all do this in different ways every day and it is a major reason why we gravitate toward common interests and beliefs.
So what do we make of this when it comes to figuring out the reasoning behind political beliefs? Why do people vote for something or someone that has not one of their own interests? Why in the world does anybody believe that reducing corporate tax will lead to job creation and the whole idea of “trickle-down” economics? The reason is that if you tell a big enough lie and tell it often, people will believe it. People, by and large, have a very difficult time filtering the information that they receive. This directly impacts our ability to question and think critically about issues. So when our completely consumer driven media pushes countless advertisements and promotes the corporate state we ultimately believe it and once that belief is set, we experience cognitive dissonance and have a difficult time accepting alternative viewpoints, even when those views are the truth.
A couple of months ago, Chris Hedges wrote a column titled, Colonized by Corporations, where he discusses corporate colonization and the troubled resistance to that colonization and mindset. From the column…
In Robert E. Gamer’s book “The Developing Nations” is a chapter called “Why Men Do Not Revolt.” In it Gamer notes that although the oppressed often do revolt, the object of their hostility is misplaced. They vent their fury on a political puppet, someone who masks colonial power, a despised racial or ethnic group or an apostate within their own political class. The useless battles serve as an effective mask for what Gamer calls the “patron-client” networks that are responsible for the continuity of colonial oppression. The squabbles among the oppressed, the political campaigns between candidates who each are servants of colonial power, Gamer writes, absolve the actual centers of power from addressing the conditions that cause the frustrations of the people.
We are presently experiencing this and we are focusing much of our frustration and energy toward politicians and, with this being an election year, our targets are the presidential candidates. This, I feel, is where the occupy movement got it right. Yes, there are major problems with Washington, but they truly are only servants of the corporate elite. They are bought and paid for. Occupy has targeted the source of the corruption, big business, and in particular, the banking industry.
The real threat to the corporate structure, however, lies with the intellects that have not been pulled into the corporate black hole. Hedges points out..
The real danger to the elite comes from déclassé intellectuals, those educated middle-class men and women who are barred by a calcified system from advancement. Artists without studios or theaters, teachers without classrooms, lawyers without clients, doctors without patients and journalists without newspapers descend economically. They become, as they mingle with the underclass, a bridge between the worlds of the elite and the oppressed. And they are the dynamite that triggers revolt.
They bridge the gap and even out the dissonance. It is what I appreciate so much about the vast number of bloggers out there. They are getting the word out and occupy has taken up many different shapes and forms. Again, from Hedges,
This is why the Occupy movement frightens the corporate elite. What fosters revolution is not misery, but the gap between what people expect from their lives and what is offered. This is especially acute among the educated and the talented. They feel, with much justification, that they have been denied what they deserve. They set out to rectify this injustice. And the longer the injustice festers, the more radical they become.
Revolutions do not happen overnight. They take years and they take the educating of the masses. We are in the midst of that right now. People like Hedges, Noam Chomsky and John Perkins are among those leading the way.
We must overcome the state of fear that the elite are continually trying to keep us in and learn to think for ourselves. We need to filter out the untruths that they unleash upon us. People do have the power to turn this around, but we must realize it before it is too late.