A new version of this title is now part of my new book, 'The Secular Fundamentalist'.
Fascism and Communism have disappeared, but the quiet revolutionaries, the ones who never advertised themselves as such, now dominate the globe. Unlike their predecessors, they do not have to be authoritarian, nor bludgeon us with ‘political’ slogans. You do not even have to believe in them. It is enough that you swim in their waters. Opposition is free to speak in marginalised tongues. Bright optimism is the official language, for in dreamland, the horizons of possibility are endless.
These revolutionary princes are not a class, clique or party. They are not necessarily uniformly ideologically self conscious or culturally separated from the rest of society. Their power is not just administered through a linear and sequential hierarchy, but a laterally expanding multi-level web of institutions and significant individuals. While power is substantially concentrated in their hands and those of their corporate courtiers and imagineers (dream manufacturers and propagandists), meaningful participatory involvement permeates the whole of society, almost seamlessly. Their capacity to dominate is through their ability to continually expand the productive and technological inventory, not merely into the market place, but into the imagination and fantasies of their customers.
Idearchy is a system of social domination that works through the manipulation and shaping of the aspirations and thoughts of mass populations. While it has been in process of assembly since the First World War, its full potential is being realised in the electronic revolution. It is able to present itself as an overwhelming given. Almost all dialogue is now contained within its ‘walls’. Negativity hardly ever reaches political awareness, because the system of domination no longer works at that level. Critical defences against it have crumbled, as much as anything because the idearchs no longer require the kind of overt state intervention that would alert the now well articulated traditional political responses to totalitarianism. Instead, these responses have been displaced and internalised into forms of psycho and socio-pathology, such as depression, stress disorder, personality dysfunction and behavioural perversion, which can be contained inside therapeutic and criminal frameworks.
I am the maker of dreams and the seeder of thoughts.
In me are the power and the profit.
Their habits are but the sum of my old campaigns.
Through me you will reach the visions of your customers.
I cannot be denied, for I pass beneath all understanding.
I am the omnipresent silent partner.
I am the shape of ambition,
The evocation of desire,
The imagined worlds of all.
There is no escape except in me.
I am the hope and the despair,
The answer to prayers for upgrades ever after.
They who believe in me shall be saved by products
And my enemies shall be frustrated for ever.
“We deliver audiences to the producers of goods and services, just as surely as slavers delivered human cargo to New World planters. However, the Negro slaves had no illusions about what such a journey would mean for them.
The modern slave, on the other hand, is immersed in anaesthetising product and service solutions that allow us to painlessly extract all the economic value they have to offer, both now in terms of available income and the future, in terms of debt. While there are post-operative side effects, the technology of extraction is so effective we can gain many multiples of the value extracted compared with any other method of exploitation. Best of all, the victims have no idea of the extent of what has happened to them. ”
“So, when you finish your accounting/marketing degrees, you expect to be on a very high salary in quite a short period in the workforce. Mind you, working seventy to eighty hours a week is by my reckoning two jobs, which means that you will be living the life of a galley slave; only you will be expending psychological sweat, sitting on padded benches and administering the lash to yourself! And there won’t be nearly as many layoff days when the wind is at your back!
As with traditional slaves, the needs of your family will be set well below the requirements of your master. However, you will have to be much luckier or cleverer than they ever had to be to keep it united with you. Under this regime, your health will deteriorate more quickly than that of the oarsman. By the time you reach forty you will be fifteen to twenty kilograms overweight, suffering from high blood pressure, clogged arteries, multiple stress-induced disorders and type two diabetes. At a similar point in his life, the galley slave would be sold into the easier employ of a domestic servant, but you will be kept going by increasingly onerous and invasive medical intervention and experiment, and the relentless internalised voices of your corporate world.
Of course, like your slave predecessor could, you might eventually be able to buy your freedom, if you are very careful and smart. However, just like them, you will likely drown your sorrows and your already slim prospects for liberty in kemical komforters, disastrously expensive serial marriages and trinkets. And even if freed, just like your forerunners, you will always be in your old master’s debt, even if not in his direct control.
In biblical times, no matter how much power their master had given them, high functioning slaves were constantly reminded of their status. In some cases, even slave officials as exalted as imperial viziers were obliged to keep golden manacles above their beds, just in case they ever forgot. The modern slaves have never had to remember because they’ve never had to be told. Their master no longer has a human face, almost everyone is a slave and those who aren’t are too marginal to matter.”