Narratives Control the World
We must unlearn and relearn many narratives
Narratives are innately human and are omnipresent. We understand and relate to a captivating narrative better than raw facts or statistics. Narratives have emotional appeal and are memorable. Who doesn’t have a favorite movie that they have watched numerous times? Or, think of children who force their parents to repeat the same story thousand times. Religions are full of compelling narratives. The best public speakers and politicians have great skills at telling stories. Narratives are also how we talk with one another and even with ourselves.
Narratives are wonderful but also powerful, which means they have a dark side. Those in power control us through narratives; and we may trap ourselves in narratives. There is also immense social pressure to stick to certain narratives.
Yesterday, Edward Snowden tweeted something that distills the ugliness of narratives: “The whole system revolves around the idea that the majority can be made to believe anything, so long as it is repeated loudly and often. And it works.”
To be truly free, we must be willing to learn, unlearn and re-learn some of the narratives we believe in.
The Good, Bad and Ugly about Narratives
Narratives give us condensed wisdom that we can remember and recount. They give us guidance and rationale. After all, we don’t want to live in a world where things don’t make sense. Thus, narratives tell us why things happened and what may happen in the future.
If the economy crashes or is doing poorly, people want to know why. If the leaders of a country decide to go to war, people want an explanation about why they must fight and how they can win. This curiosity is innate for human beings — that’s why children always ask “why”, “why” for everything. Interestingly, they rarely ask, “how”!
A good narrative has an emotional appeal. It can be funny, serious or dramatic but not too intellectual. This is why everyone who hated history in high school still love historical Hollywood movies. If a narrative is trying to explain something, it should connect the dots, revealing interesting facts and relations.
Okay, that’s all good, but what’s bad about narratives?
Let’s explain that with some examples.
Ask people about why they are liberal or conservative, they will have convincing narratives about why their political ideology is right.
In polls, Democrats and Republicans (or Congress and BJP in India) are almost always on the opposite side of describing how the economy is doing… even though economic stats seem like hardcore facts that everyone can agree upon.
People who believe in climate crisis will have plenty of narratives about the terrible things that are happening to the earth.
Geopolitical expert Peter Zeihan is extremely popular and has had millions of Americans repeat his narratives about the impending collapse of China. Nobody cares that most of his narratives are exaggerations, distortions or pure fiction. (I will write an article on him).
Who is to blame for the Russia-Ukraine war? Depends on who you ask.
So, what is the narrative about narratives here? Narratives are highly subjective! They are not always factual or objective. Narratives can be twisted any way we want. And politics is nothing but narratives.
As US President JFK said, “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth that is persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”
For example, the net worth of the top 1% of Americans grew 400% between 1990 and 2014. During the same time, half of all Americans - the bottom 50% - saw their net worth grow… 0%. The Top 1% had 30x as much wealth as the bottom 50%!
Obviously, people wanted answers. The reason is, of course, the rigged and predatory economic system. However, in America, capitalism is the state religion, and Wall Street overlords are the high priests. Thus, the explanation had to be something else.
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Then came Trump with a new narrative: It’s the fault of the Mexicans and the Chinese. He promised to bring manufacturing jobs and make America great again. Trump claimed he could pay off the national debt, make amazing trade deals with foreign countries, stop illegal immigration with a big wall, and drain the swamp in Washington DC.
All these were unrealistic promises but people didn’t care. Why? It was a guilt-free and feel-good narrative.
In summary, the bad thing about narratives is it can be irrational and unscientific. In fact, in modern society, mainstream narratives are often unbalanced, deceptive and manipulative. That’s the ugly part.
Weaponization of Narratives
During the 2016 U.S. election, MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski — daughter of the guy who organized the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and later Al Qaeda in Syria — complained that Trump was trying to control what people think. In a Freudian slip, she added, “That’s our [media’s] job”!
The U.S. has become an Empire of Lies. Narratives are weaponized to manufacture consent for anything, from hot wars and sanctions to vaccines and climate change to social engineering and beyond.
And they do it by two methods: First, by having all the Western media, journalists and politicians repeat the talking points like zombie stenographers. This consistent messaging and fake consensus turn lies into truths. Second, by censoring opposing narratives on worldwide social media, which the US ultimately controls. All straight out of Hitler’s playbook:
Unfortunately, most people don’t have the time or the skills to do critical thinking. Thus, they accept the narratives spouted by the mainstream media and “experts.”
The recent furor over a Chinese “spy balloon” illustrates how easy it is to fool people and create mass hysteria. It was a simple weather balloon that was turned into a national security crisis.
By the way, if you want to know what a true spy balloon looks like, see below:
A spy balloon is designed specifically for navigation and maneuver; and it has high-tech equipment for communication and surveillance.
The US should have safely brought down the Chinese balloon for analysis, rather than shooting it down with fighter jets and missiles. Over-the-top drama. But the geopolitical opportunity to demonize China was just too good to pass.
Also, what was appalling was how accusation was followed by destruction of evidence. How clever! This was also used in Syria when the U.S. bombed a university hours before UN inspectors were set to inspect the place for alleged production of chemical weapons.
While the U.S. endlessly spreads fake news about geopolitical rivals, its own crimes are swiftly swept under the rug or dismissed as “conspiracy theories.” Legendary journalist and Pulitzer prize winner Seymour Hersh — he exposed the My Lai massacre by American soldiers in Vietnam; and the Abu Ghraib torture by US military in Iraq — has written a detailed report about how the U.S. carried out the bombing of Nord Stream pipelines. What will be the repercussions? None. Deny and move on.
By the way, the same people who blew up the Nord Stream also shot down the Malaysian airline MH17 over Ukraine in 2014.
America is an empire of lies. And if people don’t question them, the elites keep pushing the boundaries.
It’s a giant Psy Op at scale. Let’s take a look at some examples:
“We are spreading freedom and democracy in Iraq”
Why? “Because Saddam Hussein had WMD — chemical, biological and nuclear weapons”
“There are no Nazis in Ukraine”
(First photo: members of Azov battalion, the neo-Nazi and premiere fighting group in Ukraine. Middle photo: “Totenkopf” — Nazi skull and bones. Third pic: “SchutzStaffel” — symbol of SS, the paramilitary agency for security, surveillance, and terror in Nazi Germany).
“China cannot innovate. It only copies and steals IP from the US”
“Developing nations should not modernize too much, since more CO2 means higher temperature in earth, which would kill us all.” Somehow, climate change science did not work for 100 years, from 1880 to 1980. (Source: NASA)
Self-Cannibalization of America and the West
At least, in a clever imperialist nation, its own citizens will be prospering while the elites plunder other nations. However, American elites are preying upon Americans, Europeans and other “allies.”
Europeans are de-industrializing their economy, sabotaging their future, and risking a nuclear holocaust — unwittingly, of course — in order to extend the American Century.
Most people in the West see their wealth slowly drained, families destroyed, and individuals weakened mentally, physically as well as spiritually. All are done through narratives, without an “authoritarian government” forcing people. This is the ingenuity of modern evil.
The narratives about wonders of free market and small government in America have led to vast inequality and the middle class being hollowed out. More than 60% of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck.
The narratives about individual freedom in the U.S. are a hoax when you consider the immense censorship and surveillance. Also, as Twitter Files showed, U.S. government agencies like CIA, FBI, DHS and others work with social media giants to censor people and control the narratives. And, Operation Mockingbird is also still alive — meaning that U.S. media act as propaganda tools for the deep state.
The two-party system is also a fake democracy. America is a plutocracy or an oligarchy, where massive election dramas are held every four years. It’s a giant reality show but people cannot see the scam because they are trapped by narratives.
Then there are other examples:
“This is art and it won several prestigious awards"
“This is healthy”
“This is normal childhood.” (Young boy dressed as a girl; and Barbie dolls of women with beards and girls with penises).
Going with the crowd is usually a good idea, but not anymore. Mainstream narratives from the US strongly influence or even control the global media and politics. And many of the dominant narratives are factually wrong, logically inconsistent, morally despicable, or simply toxic.
Furthermore, there cannot be separation of narratives. For example, Americans cannot say, “I know Wall Street is corrupt, but I will support the war against Russia.” Outside of the U.S., people cannot say, “I don’t support America’s wars, but I trust their science and social messages.”
Why? Because everything is linked. It’s ONE system controlled by the same powerful interests. But that’s a topic for another article.
We must question and analyze the mainstream narratives… however popular they are and however long we have held them. We must unlearn and relearn.
And sometimes, we have to be like this guy:
— S.L. Kanthan