false needs

A Quote by Daniel Pinchbeck on daniel pinchbeck, 2012, walter benjamin, story telling, distraction, and false needs

Writing in the early decades of the twentieth century, the German Jewish critic Walter Benjamin noted that modernity was causing an emptying-out of experience, as well as destroying the aura that had previously belonged to precious artworks and natural objects, giving them their unique presence.  “Less and less frequently do we encounter people with the ability to tell a tale properly.  More and more often there is embarrassment all around when the wish to hear a story is expressed,” he wrote in his essay “The Storyteller.”  “It is as if something that seemed inalienable to us, the securest among our possessions, were taken from us:  the ability to exchange experiences.”

Modernity unleashed a succession of shock effects, changing the nature of perception, as well as the individual’s relationship to his own personal history.  “Experience has fallen in value.  And it looks as if it is continuing to fall into bottomlessness.”  The old culture of contemplation gave way to the mass absorption in distractions.  The wise counsel embodied in the storyteller’s art was supplanted by the endless parade of statistics and information in the daily newspaper.  To enter the modern world, we forfeited our capacity for intimate exchanges requiring slowness and reciprocity and the play of the imagination.  “To perceive the aura of an object we look at means to invest it with the ability to look at us in return,” Benjamin wrote.  The value of perception and the meaning of personal history were degraded and denigrated to institute a mass society focused on abstractions, impelled by a “sense of the universal equality in all things.”

Daniel Pinchbeck

Source: 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, Pages: 133

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Daniel Pinchbeck on daniel pinchbeck, 2012, groupthink, herbert marcuse, undustry, mechanization, freedom, false needs, and consumerism

Herbert Marcuse’s One Dimensional Man (1964) remains a surgical analysis  of the fundamental “irrational rationality” of our system.  He argued that industrialization and mechanization could – and logically should – have led to a reduction in labor time and the institution of a post-work and post-scarcity global society after World War II.  The alternative to a conscripted social reality would be one that gave us new freedom – freedom from work, freedom from propagandizing media, freedom to create and explore our own realities.  The response to this deep threat to the controlling apparatus was the creation of “false needs” in the consumer, the perpetuating fear of nuclear war and terrorism, and the use of the mass media to enforce consensus consciousness. ….

Marcuse wrote:  “Perhaps an accident may alter the situation, but unless the recognition of what is being done and what is being prevented subverts the consciousness and the behavior of man, not even a catastrophe will bring about the change.” …

As a German philosopher writing in the aftermath of the Nazi regime, Marcuse understood the sleep inducing force of indoctrination, its power to make people forget and forfeit their own real interests.  “The fact that the vast majority of the population accepts, and is made to accept, this society does not render it less irrational and less reprehensible,” he wrote.  “The distinction between true and false consciousness, real and immediate interest still is meaningful.”

Daniel Pinchbeck

Source: 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, Pages: 73-4

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Daniel Pinchbeck on daniel pinchbeck, 2012, arundhati roy, groupthink, false needs, priorities, and apathy

From a shamanic perspective, the psychic blockade that prevents otherwise intelligent adults from considering the future of our world – our obvious lack of future, if we continue on our present path – reveals an occult dimension.  It is like a programming error written into the software designed for the modern mind, which has endless energy to expend on the trivial and treacly, sports statistic or shoe sale, but no time to spare for the torments of the Third World, for the mass extinction of species to perpetuate a way of life without a future, for the imminent exhaustion of fossil fuel reserves, or for the fine print of the Patriot Act.  This psychic blockade is reinforced by a vast propaganda machine spewing out crude as well as sophisticated distractions, encouraging individuals to see themselves as alienated spectators of their culture, rather than active participants in a planetary ecology.

“What is happening to our world is almost too colossal for human comprehension to contain.  But it is a terrible, terrible thing,” lamented Arundhati Roy, the Indian novelist – turned – activist, who documented and protested the enormous dam projects in India, orchestrated by the World Bank, displacing 30 million people from their homes, with little tangible result beyond the enrichment of multinational corporations and an increase in India’s debts.  “To contemplate its girth and circumference, to attempt to define it, to try and fight it all at once, is impossible.  The only way to combat it is by fighting specific wars in specific ways.”   But among the people I knew in New York, there was little contemplation of the situation, and no courage, anger, desire, or will to fight against it.

Daniel Pinchbeck

Source: 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, Pages: 76

Contributed by: HeyOK

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