You are what you eat, especially when it comes to what you read, watch and listen to.
Certain foods we eat, not because they are good for us, or because they taste genuinely good, but because they are quick, easy, requiring no thought. Mostly, they are crammed with salt, fat, sugar and artificial flavourings that present our brain with sensations of unnatural levels of nutrition.
These foods flood our brains with chemicals that reward us for the successful hunt. Eating this food is habit-forming. Wealthy and powerful groups in society have a strong interest in your forming these habits, and aggressively advertise unhealthy junk food. Making money of you is easiest when you are unconscious of what you are eating, this is self-evident.
Tired workers eat junk food, but it does not contain everything they need, does not energise them. Children fed on junk food may never develop a taste for real, honest food. We simply consume it, alienated from its origins, which are inseparable from its substance. This is as true for ideologies as it is for food.
If you aren’t careful, ever more of your life becomes sapped of creativity. Food, and ideas, become stripped of awareness, pre-packaged for mindless consumption.
Both nutritional and intellectual junk food are created for profit in a capitalist society. Again, the origins are inseperable from the content.
You are what you eat. If you choose to eat a mass-produced, flavourless meal functionally identical to everyone else, you are that much closer to expunging yourself of individuality, meaningful agency, a life of your own distinct from others.
It is commonly conceived that society exists to serve humans, but this is only true insofar that an animal exists to serve the cells of its body. Society is an engine made of human beings. Sometimes, we can exert our will over it with the power of our ideas, but we are also dominated by it.
If humans sleepwalk through their lives, society manipulates them like the dishonest servant of an oblivious master.
Minds are impressionable, particularly at a young age. It is profitable to mould them in certain ways, particularly by encouraging them to think in shallow ways. By fostering materialism, society creates people who are eager to spend money often, working constantly and borrowing extravagantly to fund it. All of these activities help to generate profits, which is ultimately the driving aim of capitalist society.
It is not surprising that society fosters ideas in people to support its survival. In fact it seems inevitable that the most enduring patterns of society will be those that inculcate useful attitudes in their constituents. Society exists primarily in those attitudes and beliefs, and the behaviours they produce.
The attitudes and behaviours that society inculcates, as often as not serve society, not you.
This is similar to the way your body encourages actions that serve, not you, but the blind interests of your genetic code. For instance, eating loads of fat-filled, sugar-rich food. Blissfully unaware of the recently understood dangers of obesity, your body sticks to its ice age attitude to food.
I address you, the thinking, feeling being that is reading this, because I want you to think about how many of your behaviours serve to make you happy, and how many exist to preserve the society or biology you exist within.
Media has an agenda, just as the fast food industry has an agenda. I’m not trying to promote conspiracy theories; I’m not saying fast food is filled with mind control agents, or that the media is part of a conspiracy to brainwash you.
I’m simply saying that the narrative produced by the media is organically linked to the means of society’s reproduction. By a process of evolution analagous to natural selection, societies that survive tend to systematically produce ideas that aid their survival.
For instance, myths about the ruler being an infallible being, or even a God, are often found in autocratic societies. The reason why is obvious — it helps autocratic patterns of society resist change.
Our society’s myths are less obviously false, from our perspective. They are hidden to us because they don’t need to be made explicit, instead they are present in the framing of ideas.
These myths revolve around consumption and work in a capitalist society. What is possible, what is desirable, what is important, what can be changed, these are understood through the lens of atomic individuals.
Unhappy at work? Change yourself, because your workplace isn’t yours to change. Even better, buy something that will change you. Feel unhappy in your own skin? Keep looking at images showing unattainable beauty standards. Coincidentally, these images are also marketing beauty products and fashion accessories, so buy those while you’re at it!
We are constantly subjected to media we do not have the conscious intention to consume, namely advertisement. And the message hidden in advertisement is that buying products is the key to happiness.
To be continued