“…Most unsettling of all is this: the content of television is not a vision but a manufactured data stream that can be sanitized to “protect” or impose cultural values. Thus we are confronted with an addictive and all-pervasive drug that delivers an experience whose message is whatever those who deal the drug wish it to be. Could anything provide a more fertile ground for fostering fascism and totalitarianism than this? In the United States, there are many more televisions than households, the average television set is on six hours a day, and the average person watches more than five hours a day— nearly one-third their waking time. Aware as we all are of these simple facts, we seem unable to react to their implications. Serious study of the effects of television on health and culture has only begun recently. Yet no drug in history has so quickly or completely isolated the entire culture of its users from contact with reality.
And no drug in history has so completely succeeded in remaking in its own image the values of the culture that it has infected. Television is by nature the dominator drug par excellence. Control of content, uniformity of content, repeatability of content make it inevitably a tool of coersion, brainwashing, and manipulation. Television induces a trance state in the viewer that is the necessary precondition for brainwashing. As with all other drugs and technologies, television’s basic character cannot be changed; television is no more reformable than is the technology that produces automatic assault rifles.
Television came along at precisely the right time from the point of view of the dominator elite. The nearly one hundred and fifty years of synthetic drug epidemics that began in 1806 had led to disgust at the spectacle of human degradation and spiritual cannibalism that institutional marketing of drugs created. In the same way that slavery eventually, when no longer convenient, became odious in the eyes of the very institutions that had created it, the abuse of drugs eventually triggered a backlash against this particular form of piratical capitalism. Hard drugs were made illegal. Of course underground markets then flourished. But drugs as stated instruments of national policy had been discred ited. There would continue to be opium wars, instances of governments coercing other governments and peoples to produce or buy drugs— but in the future these wars would be dirty and secret, they would be “covert.”
As the intelligence agencies that arose in the wake of World War II moved to take up their “deep cover” positions as the masterminds of the international narcotics cartels, the popular mind was turning on to television. Flattening, editing, and simplifying, television did its job and created a postwar American culture of the Ken-and-Barbie variety. The children of Ken and Barbie briefly broke out of the television intoxication in the mid-sixties through the use of hallucinogens. “Oops,” responded the dominators, and they quickly made psychedelics illegal and halted all research. A double dose of TV therapy plus cocaine was ordered up for the errant hippies, and they were quickly cured and turned into consumption-oriented yuppies.
Only a recalcitrant few escaped this leveling of values.” Nearly everyone learned to love Big Brother. And these few who don’t are still clucked over by the dominator culture each time it compulsively scratches in the barnyard dust of its puzzlement over “what happened in the Sixties.”..”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods.
Read the whole book here.