The older generation takes a strange pleasure in reiterating comments about the absence of responsibility, the lack of focus and the indulgence of young people, using these arguments as a means of excusing the bleak future that their children and grandchildren face. Those arguments are rarely original, but rather they are force-fed to baby boomers by the media as a means of relieving them of all responsibility and of distracting them from the true causes of the tragic shifts that they observe obliquely.
It is assumed that for reasons unknown, somehow, young people are less capable, less attentive, less motivated and less concerned with planning for their careers and their futures. This argument makes the previous generation feel somehow more worthy and superior and that is precisely the hook that is lodged in the sweet treat.
Nowhere in the discussion about the challenges youth face is any mention made of how corporations have targeted them and exploited them, from cradle on, or of how the fundamental structure of government has shifted since the end of the Cold War so that it no longer plays the role of defending or of protecting the citizen, the child, against the vultures and jackals of the corporate world, but rather serves as a marionette with a smiling face through which arguments to justify the dictatorship of finance are promulgated and made to seem scientific, authoritative, and even ethical to the public.
To be sure, the breakdown of a sense of community, of the concepts of personal responsibility and of ethical commitment among youth is a sad reality. It is accompanied by isolation, loneliness, and uncertainty about the future that undermines all aspects of life.
But the problems that our children face are not brought on by themselves, but rather the result of a brutal assault on their childhood by corporations that seek to dominate their values and their thinking from the cradle on so that they are unable to think for themselves, unable to create their own communities, or their own lives, and dependent on content, and on relations, supplied by those corporations, and the investment banks that lurk behind them.
When our children should be playing outside, catching frogs in the woods, building forts out of tree branches, or helping their parents to plant lettuce and carrots—and thereby understand the relationship between humans, water, soil and nature, they are encouraged, compelled, to get all information from the television or internet which is dominated by these multinational corporations, organizations that see our children not as future citizens, or as the building blocks for a constitutional democracy, but as consumers to be mined and manipulated so as to increase profits.
When our children should gain wisdom and insight from their own experiences, from their interactions with friends and teachers, and should learn first from their parents and grandparents, uncles, aunts and neighbors, they are forced to watch television, to surf the internet and to play various video games from an increasingly young age. Their parents are told that exposure to technology will make their children competitive and modern—it is a sickening lie.
The purpose of getting children connected with images presented by television, movies and the internet from an early age is addict them to a consumption economy, to reduce their ability to think for themselves, and to encourage superficial thinking dominated by excitement and quick action that destroys their capacity to understand complex issues, and their ability to concentrate.
The bombarding of our children with commercial images that suggest how they should behave, and what is of value, is a direct assault on the Constitution because it intentionally undermines the capacity of the individual to be a citizen. That is to say that the advertising and public relations employed in the commercial media and entertainment is illegal.
Also, the assault on our children through the commercial media cannot be detached from pornography. Even in the most innocent cartoons, corporations insidiously insert messages suggesting that we should evaluate others in terms of how they please us, that humans are commodities and that we must market ourselves, and our sexuality, in order to be successful.
This subtle attack on the core values in children feeds into real pornography, starting with boys. Corporations plant sick images of violence and humiliation of women in the minds of young boys in an attempt to addict them to a false, violent and perverse sexuality which can only be purchased, and that is incompatible with love for women.
If boys have their sexuality torn away from love, and attached to competition and narcissism, girls will be the clear victims. Whether they end up with boys who can no longer express affection, or are compelled to behave like the women in pornographic movies so that they can get attention, girls are sacrificed to profit in this debased culture.
This whole process of degrading and destroying our children must stop now.
We must understand that the commercial advertising with which our children are bombarded is not primarily aimed at selling products. The primary agenda of what had degenerated into brainwashing and propaganda is to inculcate in them a passive, dependent, reactive and flippant attitude that will render them incapable of thinking for themselves, of searching for solutions on their own. They are indoctrinated to turn to the media, controlled by corporations, for solutions to every aspect of their personal lives.
It is a scientific fact that the use of social media and internet surfing remaps the connections between brain cells, training the individual to favor short-term stimulation, constant changes, and exciting and stimulating scenes.
As a result of such behavior modification, the capacity of the individual to read and comprehend long and complex texts, to understand multidimensional problems in the economy and society, and to engage others in meaningful dialog is destroyed. A few years soaking in the narcissistic consumer culture forced on youth produces people incapable of anything other than working to feed themselves and releasing accumulated stress by indulging in self-centered video games, pornography, food consumption, or action films.
For those marinated in this consumption culture, what does not appear on TV, or on the internet, seems unreal, insubstantial. By contrast, the falsehoods propagated through commercial media are assumed to be real, more substantial than the reality that surrounds them.
When this political crisis, this social disaster, is brought up in polite conversation, the knee-jerk response is that we must make our messages brief and dumb them down so that youth will listen. No one in the room suggests that we need to create a culture so as to protect our youth from this war, to allow them to focus, to concentrate, to read and digest books, to enjoy art and music, and to create it themselves.
Children assaulted by the commercial media from infancy have no chance to preserve their own liberty. They are not permitted to develop their own metaphysical compass. No moral or scientific forces exist for them other than what can be seen, and especially can be seen in the commercial media.
Many are left incapable of evaluating the impact of forces that are not explicitly visible. They do not even realize that the smartphone that they hold in their hand does not belong to them at all, but is constantly updated and changed so as to manipulate them by multinational corporations pursuing agendas about which they understand little.
The commercial media, advertisers and entertainment moguls have intentionally created a culture of forgetfulness. We are trained by the media to forget what happened yesterday, to lack any historical perspective on politics, culture, society and technology. But if we cannot remember our past, other than the slick images fed to us by the media, then we cannot establish our own interpretations, and democracy becomes impossible.
So also, we forget what happens to the plastic that we dispose of. We forget what the implications for the world of foreign wars are. We forget what will happen to future generations if we continue to destroy the ecosystem in the pursuit of a narcissistic consumption culture.
The commercial media also wants to crush our imaginations, our creativity.
Of course commercials suggest that somehow using your Iphone will make you more creative, more innovative. A closer look reveals that what is called “innovative” and “imaginative” is the manipulation of images and symbols supplied by the multinational corporation. There is no freedom and no autonomy to be found anywhere in that world.
Imagination means also the ability to imagine things that are not visible. That is a skill that the corporations wish to crush. They do not want us to be able to imagine the hidden powers that shape our world for profit. They do not want children to have the imagination to see how the cynical players on Wall Street and Madison Avenue set out to destroy their minds, how the brutal road ahead is decided for them by invisible powers.
The Constitution defends freedom of speech for the citizen. It does not grant corporations the right to brainwash and destroy the minds of citizens from childhood, rendering them incapable of making their own decisions.
As long as this criminal operation is tolerated, we will have no democracy and no government. This criminal operation must end now and the kings of advertising and public relations must face jail terms for their criminal actions against our youth, their use of technology and marketing to enable the “rape of the mind.”
Corporations, banks and the advertising and public relations firms that they fund are destroying our minds, and our ability to perceive reality. Because they attack stealthily the means by which we perceive, we are unaware of the tremendous damage that they do. Just as the brain does not feel pain, so also our schemata for perception of the world are blind to how they are undermined by false narratives and stimulation aimed at behavior modification.
Nothing less than a revolution can end this war on our children, this extermination campaign against our future.
Emanuel Pastreich served as the president of the Asia Institute, a think tank with offices in Washington DC, Seoul, Tokyo and Hanoi. Pastreich also serves as director general of the Institute for Future Urban Environments. Pastreich declared his candidacy for president of the United States as an independent in February, 2020.
Copyright © Emanuel Pastreich, Global Research