You are under attack.
We all are.
This isn’t conspiracy theory.
It’s plain common sense.
Why else would political parties and corporations spend tens of millions on political and commercial advertising? Why else would the PR industry exist?
It’s an extended brain hack – and the brain they’re hacking into is yours.
Advertising, the news media, social and political commentators, television celebrities, influencers, politicians – they’re all at it. You could look on it as a kind of cognitive imperialism. If the invader wins, you become a vassal state.
But there’s an irony to all of this – because the social and political commentators, the television celebrities, the influencers and politicians, well, their brains are being hacked too.
Richard Dawkins wrote about the selfish gene, describing us as little more than carriers of – and servants to – the gene.
We’re talking about a similar mechanism here, but in the social context, with ideas rather than genes carry the algorithms which subjugate our nature and determine much of what we do. Dangerous ideas use us as hosts and as a means of transmission, attacking and subverting the integrity of our minds.
Ideas, narratives, ideologies and, more controversially, religions, use people as sock-puppets. They hijack our autonomy. They make us behave in ways which are contrary to our own interests, and, in contemporary terms, in ways which are socially divisive and eco-destructive. These malign narratives and ideas exploit their host in just the way viruses do. They are algorithms which become imprinted in our minds and which influence the way we think and the way we act.
So how do we protect ourselves?
A first and necessary step is to recognise that we’re under attack. No one ever succeeds in tackling a problem unless they accept it’s a problem. If you’ve suffered from drug dependency or alcoholism, or seen this in others, you’ll know that denial is a fundamental characteristic of the problem itself.
The second step is to act on this recognition. It’s a brain hack, pure and simple, so you need the right tools for self-defence: a cognitive firewall, antivirals for the brain.
Imperialism is rarely if ever benign. It is undertaken for a purpose – to exert or reinforce a power imbalance – the imbalance of the conqueror and the conquered. This is true whether it refers to nations, or to the imperialism of harmful narratives and ideologies. So what sort of firewall and antivirals do we need to resist dangerous narratives and ideas?
My book, Our society is sick – but here’s the cure, is a handbook for cognitive resistance, a manual for guerrilla warfare of the mind. It provides brainware for the antivirals and firewall you need.
We use antivirus software on our laptops and phones. At work firewalls protect our IT systems. It’s time to do the same for our minds.
Don’t allow yourself to be collateral damage in a Comms war it’s impossible to avoid.
Read this book.
DOWNLOAD OUR SOCIETY IS SICK – BUT HERE’S THE CURE FOR FREE FROM
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Luke Andreski is a founding member of the @EthicalRenewal and Ethical Intelligence collectives and author of Short Conversations: During the Plague (2020), Intelligent Ethics (2019) and Ethical Intelligence (2019). His new book, Short Conversations: During the Storm is out now.
You can connect with Luke on LinkedIn, https://uk.linkedin.com/in/luke-andreski-ethics, on WordPress, https://lukeandreski.wordpress.com/, or via the EthicalRenewal co-op on Twitter https://twitter.com/EthicalRenewal.
Note: This article has also appeared on Dangerous Globe – www.dangerousglobe.com