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Registered: 06/17/05
Posts: 3859
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
Re:When did america become untethered from reality?
Friday, November 17 2017 @ 05:03 PM CST

Quote by: Daugrin
Quote by: particledots

The answer to you poser depends on the rigor of the pursuit of truth the searcher is willing to endure. Cultural delusion in America, as a tool of governance is present as far back as the Wilson admin... I hope the following helps...

For the contemporary audience? Ernie Johnson, 64-66, is the first public entertainer to openly struggle against delusion on American television. Johnson's audience was small. Hunter S.Thompson's '67 Hell's Angels book was national, by the time Thompson published his following piece on the Kentucky Derby he literally became The Great Gonzo. Fear and Loathing soon railed against delusion.

Anti-delusionists need a name drop: Nietzsche? Artaud? Camus? Picasso? Salinger? Hemingway? Steinbeck? Certain films featuring Bogart? During the many war years the US govt kept dissent at a minimum and delusion high, usually by brute force.

For example, George Patton led US Army troops destroyed encampments WW1 vets had made in Washington DC during national protests of pension issues, casualties and riots followed, there is no memory of this event in mass consciousness. Sadly, the worker's movement, civil and spiritual rights struggles experienced outcomes with poor mass memory.

Move into the mid 50s, delusion is epidemic in the media due to the cold war, it becomes difficult to figure out what is dissent and what is co-opted dissent. The rulers got smarter? How can we, today, tell the difference? Here is my suggestion; find out if specific clothes were worn which made the dissent authentic. For example: in the 50s Elvis the phenom, Link Ray and most pulp fiction were delusion. Making illegal liquor, homeopathic medicine and science fiction was real dissent.


Yes - the Bonus Army attack was the work of Patton, McArthur and Eisenhower. Eisenhower allegedly protested the use of US Military against Vets, but went along. His coining the words "military industrial complex" seemed to reflect his concern about the abuses of the Dept. of Defense.

I'd like to add to your anti-delusionists of list - US only: Comedy - Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Richard Pryor...Music - Woody Guthrie, Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez...Literature - Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey, Norman Mailer...Film - Sidney Lumet, Sam Peckinpah, John Cassavetes...

The list goes on, and soon a whole genre of counter cultural entertainment evolved in Europe and the US, until it might be said, it became the dominant culture. So co-opted - there has been great cognitive dissonance between the culture at large, and the keepers of power. With the divide growing wider - how does a TV series like "House of Cards" or a film like "Michael Clayton" penetrate the bubble and do more than entertain?

It's better to regret something you have done, than something you haven't done.
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Registered: 05/31/04
Posts: 581
Location: N/A
Re:When did america become untethered from reality?
Saturday, November 18 2017 @ 04:20 PM CST

Wow, this gets so intellectually deep that you need two shovels if not a bulldozer to get through it. First off I knew it was the hippies all along. If you grew up in the Louisiana that I did in the 50's and 60's , you would want to be untethered from that reality also. What was reality? Real racism of the most sordid and violent type. Not the fake pc type of today. The Vietnam war in all it's glory hanging over your head like a nightmare that had come to earth. A repressive school system that insisted you look, breathe and act the exact same way that they did.

And then above it all . . . the assassinations. JFK, RFK, King, Malcom X etc. This was reality? Man you can have it. Give me my Sci/Fi and Fantasy novels. Then later, let my love of music and search for happiness bring me to grow my hair long, smoke weed, read the banned books. I never even knew this Essalen thing existed. Never been to California, never wanted to. I was still a southern boy and gloried in the parts of the culture that were good and despised the rest.

You know when all is said and done, all of this baloney is fried and ready to give you cancer, it all comes down to one thing. Who gets to define reality and how to you go about that? I can agree with a lot of what the author says is not reality and some of it seems to be his personal lens that he looks at the world with. That's the thing you see. The author wants reality to be black and white and have one face. He doesn't want there to be any dissension, any discussion that might make a "fact" umm, . . . not so factual?

And you know being a southern boy and growing up in this environment I have had to learn an important thing. How to get along with people who hold very different viewpoints from your own. How to get past the surface things and find the very real things that all of us human beings hold in common. Facts can be researched, new discoveries can change those, people can be educated, taught to read, given tools. Let each find his "reality". If you disagree with another, discuss it in a civilized manner and keep emotion out of it. And last but not least accept that sometimes there are not enough facts to end all arguments.
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Registered: 03/20/08
Posts: 1616
Location: , Sweden
Re:When did america become untethered from reality?
Sunday, November 19 2017 @ 05:06 AM CST

Hi folks Wink

I Almost Always Try to Think Positive Thoughts.
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Registered: 08/29/11
Posts: 848
Location: Chattanooga, TN United States
Re:When did america become untethered from reality?
Tuesday, November 21 2017 @ 01:58 PM CST

Another pragmatic thing to keep in mind is propaganda.   If you don’t think it’s out there, even today, then you are just not paying attention.   In fact I would say that it is more prevalent today, in the “age of the Internet” that was supposed to do away with such things.   Or maybe the Internet made it easier for us to detect it.   (Or, has it??)

There is also the fundamental notion of crowd psychology.   The concept of “other.”   The present dynamic that wants to build a New Berlin Wall Border Wall with Mexico, and that wants you to classify every person around you as being “Red shirt” or “Blue shirt” and to actually believe that their thoughts – if other than yours – are both simple-minded (yours, of course, are very sophisticated ...) are both simple-minded and potentially hostile.   “Brother against brother” and all of that . . .

The darkest but also perhaps the most-potent master of propaganda was, of course, Joseph Goebbels, but Herman Goering could not be far behind.   Most importantly, both of these men were bluntly candid in their expert descriptions of how propaganda actually works.   The Nazi regime that they helped to bring to power among the German people is a bloody testament to how right they were.   Times may have changed since then, and technology most-certainly has, but the human motivations have not and never will.

We must therefore be always aware that we are surrounded by people who very-insidiously strive to manipulate how we think, and how we behave, especially as a group.   I would encourage everyone to self-study these two very-grim yet very-human topics.   “Forewarned is forearmed.”
Forum Full Member

Registered: 08/29/11
Posts: 848
Location: Chattanooga, TN United States
Re:When did america become untethered from reality?
Tuesday, November 21 2017 @ 02:06 PM CST

One other thought:

A very fundamental tool in the propagandist’s arsenal is the logical fallacy known as Begging the Question.

The example that I was taught in school goes like this:
“Have you stopped beating your wife?”

But here, actually, is another:
“When did America become untethered from reality?”

Think about it.   In both statements, the argument presumes the validity of a premise – that you are beating your wife, or that America has become untethered – and you are tempted to “reply in kind.”   That is to say, in a context which likewise presumes (or accepts) that the premise is true.   Any response that you might make, including “no comment,” thereby becomes delicious fodder for sound-bites that certainly will be used against you.