We are Ruled by Images

Our modern society is all about marketing. Everyone is competing to be the best, to sell their product to the highest number of people. Anyone who knows anything about marketing knows that selling product is about selling an image, the product itself doesn’t have to be too good. What’s important is people believe it is. Look at Apple/iMac, boring new Hollywood movies or pop music. They are bland and uninteresting, but the add campaign is not. With the power of hype millions of people are convinced give away their money and brain power to indulge in platitudinous past times.

This practice of selling a certain image is not limited only to corporations making money. It is used in everything. It is the basis of our whole society. Political, religious and scientific institutions sell the image of what is the truth and how we should live our lives. Society sells you various ways to keep you entertained. Some like to go clubbing, others prefer computer games, sports or reading books. To each his own. However the image you have bought is not that you prefer coke over tea, or Iron Maiden over James Blunt. The image you bought is the thought you need to find something to entertain yourself. Most people have little original in them. They are a composite homunculus of various products stapled together. Artificial concepts glued together. Sometimes the end result is appealing, and the person seems interesting, yet in the end they are a product of the products he has sold himself to.

I can’t say if I’m much different. I’ve bought so many ideas too ranging from The Simpsons and Star Trek to David Icke and Tao te Ching. At least I can say, or rather I know, that I try to look for the real me underneath the sales pitch.

An example of how people act and how to train yourself not to buy into all of the crap coming your way. A lot of people like looking at the image they like. Whether it’s Gangnam Style, their favourite pop idol or Obama having a speech. Somehow in the course of their lives the image had crept into them that this image is something that is good for them. They pursue the image with the hope of receiving something good, but the promise is never specific. Obama may make a specific promise with his words, he may not keep it or keep it, but for the consumer who buys into it, the good thing is that Obama keeps making promises. That is what they actually enjoy. They don’t want anything concrete. They want a pretty picture, keep looking at it, but never get close, because deep down even they know it is impossible. You can not touch the pretty girl in the picture as she is not real. However in the tortured delusion of the consumer there can be the image that the girl is his. In his dreams he can do whatever he wants. If the girl was real and he could touch her, he could have her, he wouldn’t have her, since even the deluded consumer knows that reality with the girl can never match the image in his head. Perfection can only exist in the delusions of men, and to make it real would shatter the perfection. The consumer can control the image, the girl, the promises of Obama or whatever he likes, but to face the real girl or to find out what Obama really stands for terrifies him, as he would no longer be in control. It’s all about fear, as usual.

There is no difference whether the image you prefer is one of altruistic desire for justice and freedom, pursuit of personal pleasure or spiritual awakening. The canvas is still the same with only a different picture projected onto it.

To free yourself of images you simply have to ask “so what?”. For example, Korean girl groups and many other carefully constructed images look appealing to me. Seeing pretty girls, whether on TV or in real life, sometimes stops my thinking process. Within a second or so various sentiments flood into me. Such as “I want her”, “I want her but she’s too pretty to like me”, “I want her but she’s just superficial pop star and I wouldn’t really like being with her, yet I want her” and so on. That is how many of the advertising has been designed to make you feel, appeal to your self doubt and leave you wanting more. Then I ask myself, so what? So what if the girls are pretty? There’s no denying it that, I’m a guy and the girls are pretty so naturally I’m interested (even though of course why these girls look pretty to me and not those girls is also an image). What should I do then? It’s just images dancing on a screen, is there anything I want to do to the screen? I can’t fuck the screen. So why should I be that interested? Moreover I know that they have been selected to sing and dance precisely because they are pretty. Possibly had had plastic surgery, photoshop, whatever. I don’t like their music. So what? What’s the big idea? No need to get too excited nor to feel disgusted by them. Just sounds and images coming into your field of perception.

Same goes for Obama, and other “false prophets”. You may like his words and his demeanor, but what are the fruits he is bearing. Do his actions match his words? The difference between Girl’s Generation and Obama is that the former preys on your natural desires and insticts and the latter on your moral and ideological sensibilities. So the method of dispelling the image is slightly different, yet the phenomenon is much the same. What reason is there to like or dislike Gangnam Style? It’s video and a song about a chubby guy dancing. I very much dislike the hype machinery constructed around Gangnam Style, but I don’t hate the song. It’s not as bad as various other hit songs I’ve been forced to endure over the years. They are only images. No reason to get worked up over them, either hating or loving them. To sort of borrow Icke, look for the projector.

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