Why Dystopia Persist
The problem, as always, is in your mind.
As you become what you think about, as the world is what you think it is, what you see around you are the results of your previous and habitual thinking.
The entire concept of a mindset a consistent and habitual way of thinking. Taking these back to the stacked beliefs you have then enables you to change those mental habits to what you want them to be.
Then you’ll change what you are and the world around you.
All this came to me as I was watching the last two parts of Hunger Games series. I wrote that last part while playing these. But it came home the next day. I was still seeing the different episodes in my mind as I was walking pastures, checking cows and grass in the pastures.
That fictional dystopia had nothing to do with how my livestock was feeding that day, or the overcast weather from days of rain.
But it kept running through my mind.
What was happening is the normal mental digestion process. After any movie you get involved in, you’ll keep re-running parts of that movie in your mind as you cross-compare it with other data you know and understand to be true.
You are re-stacking your mindset with this new data, finding where these support your other beliefs.
The shorthand is that the emotional content of those movies has impinged on your subconscious, which is bringing all that up for your conscious mind to chew on.
The real point is that this marketing material we’ve been covering is the same techniques behind using affirmations. If you study Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, or W. Clement Stone’s works (and you’ll probably want to pick up a copy of Emil Coue’s Self-Mastery and Auto-suggestion) you’ll find that these all align with what Schwartz was describing in his Breakthrough Advertising:
“But – important as they are – desire and identification alone are never enough. By themselves, they can never produce the full reaction the copy writer must have if he is to achieve the maximum success with his product. No matter how intense the desire. no matter how demanding the need to identify, both these reactions must be fused with a third great emotional force – Belief – before they can produce the final overwhelming determinant of action – Absolute Conviction.
“It is this fusion of desire and belief – this conviction – this certainty – this feeling in the prospect of being right in his choice – of being assured of what he has been promised – that the copywriter seeks as his ultimate goal.”
And your faith is what keeps your world around you working.
You have faith in gravity, in the solidness of objects, in various social institutions (politics, religion, shopping, etc.) And these continue to work for you to that exact degree you continue your faith in them.
Also, these are why our self-imposed limits have any effect on us. For a long time, the 4-minute mile was unbreakable. Then one person did, and several followed within years. The Wrights disproved the idea that man couldn’t fly with heavy machines. And we have flight. Several persons disproved the idea of the “horseless carriage” and then Ford took the idea of moving items on an assembly line from a visit to a meat-packing plant, and we had mass-produced automobiles.
All these ideas were built on other ideas. But the emotional forces aggregated into those ideas created beliefs, and conviction of their truth created faith and permanence.
Marketing plugs into those permanent desires and ties the products they are pitching onto them, selling them to you and me as symbols which enable the roles we want to play. We collect these symbols as tools and decorations. These help us on our own journey.
They are simply things which
We can use,
Make us feel better,
Give us meaning,
Back up what we know as true, and
Inspire us to continue what we are doing.
This is how you build your world.
This is how marketers, politicians, and any cult leader will continue their control over our lives.
They sell us on a set of beliefs and get us to build conviction in their eternal truth.
FDR used to be known as one of the greatest statesmen of all time. Practically, he was one of our worst presidents, and the sole reason that presidents now have term limits (but, oddly, not Senators or Representatives.) Under his reign, we had a stagnant economy, huge continuing unemployment, and vast numbers of people getting government handouts. He didn’t simply handle the problem of bankers who stopped the money flow. Presidents who followed his policies have similarly been poor (if not awful) at their jobs and produced the same results.
All he did was to market his elitist and unproved ideas by aligning them to core desires.
If you look earlier than these crashes, you’ll see that there were excesses brought about by various oddball ideas that got government backing (or a complacent blind eye.) The stock market crash of the 1920’s prior to the Great Depression, was a financial mess that was sanctioned. The housing bubble which burst in 2008 was a bunch of politicians trying to say that people who couldn’t afford to pay for housing should be eligible for them anyway. The banks and loan companies had to absorb all this bad debt and so they spread it around with some good debt into packages they sold. The next Administration which then arrived to handle this “great” recession didn’t handle the problem, but just created more debt and government dependence. More stagnant economy, more government dependence.
There is a reason you don’t talk about politics, religion, or sex in a polite conversation. Because the underlying ideas are held as true by personal faith. They aren’t provable to everyone, and in many cases have been accepted without real testing or analysis.
And because they are never talked about, they persist.
The punchline to this is that the very few people who do keep their eyes and ears and minds receptive to new ideas can find solutions to all their problems that are (painfully) obvious. These are the “secrets hidden in plain sight.”
Those few people, the Bill Gates, the Elon Musks, the Edisons, Teslas, Bransons and Buffetts, become and achieve and aquire everything they want out of life. They become rich.
Everyone else admires them, but doesn’t try to do what they did to get rich. Some become jealous.
The punchline below that is that anyone could become and have anything and everything they could possibly want out of life. All they have to do is
to start using their eyes and ears to actually observe,
to fully analyze, test, and understand what they observe, and
to act on their inspiration.
The data you get has to align to what you understand as true in these ways:
Objective – how can you use this
Subjective – how does this make you feel
Symbolic – what does this mean to you
Holistic – how does this fit in with everything else.
Added to this is
Active – are you inspired to act constructively or destructively.
People who do this don’t suffer the mental crashes that others have. Because these are the result of your conviction being shaken. You lose faith. And your ship has no rudder, so will be blown about by the winds of life that others create.
The people who select a goal, and build a burning desire to achieve that will seldom be thrown off course by what conventional wisdom tells people to be and do and buy. There are a handful of people racing to get to the Moon again, which has never been seen before. These are private companies led by individuals. These are not government, political, or religious actions.
Conventional wisdom doesn’t get anything done. It just preserves what’s there, mostly. And a handful of people figure out how to game the system all the time. When they get too excessive, they get shut down. And they are probably the “other” 5% of the population, sitting at the bottom end of the scale with the dedicated criminals. These type of people see the rest of humanity as ripe for the picking. And “make money” by getting other people to part with theirs. These are the self-destructive, the constantly critical. Genius perhaps, but losers. Nothing these people build ever lasts, except perhaps the laws which are put in place to prevent their actions ever happening again.
The point of this long essay is this: Faith builds your world. Your conviction that things are true make things continue the way you’ve set them up. This is easily provable in our man-made culture. (Taking this to the idea of affecting physical natural world is possible, but beyond the scope of these studies or arguments either way.)
The corollary here is that what you read and watch and listen to constantly will re-stack your mindset. This is particularly true of authors. Authors read and write in a particular (or several) genres. I ran across an interview with a person who wrote dystopian-future fiction. What was remarkable was how much he considered that we were coming up to this future in our lifetime. Yet individually, a lot of the concepts he feared could be disproved. But he was filling his life up with dystopias and so his world was becoming more dystopian.
It’s interesting that the key ending for Romance novels is always happily-ever-after endings. Security for people who read romances is that their worlds may always have plot twists in them, but will always wind up just fine.
And that is what I can leave you with.
We compare our lives to those books and movies and other entertainment we consume. And these thoughts fill our lives and stack our mindsets. These build our beliefs and faith.
So in addition to your favorite genres, read some humorous books in addition to inspirational biographies from time to time, OK?
What Did We Learn From All This?
1. Marketing exists to sell you stuff.
2. The stuff you buy means something to you.
3. Marketing helps you fuel your own hero’s journey.
Entertainment is what we are here for, arguably.
This is the final installment from a newly released book, Why You Got All That Stuff – available online and in your local bookstore.
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Also published on Medium.