social conditioning, propaganda, and programming

Submitted by celebratedrecluse in CritiqueThis

I had a moment of doubt when writing a previous entry. Are these 3 things? Or is it just rhetorical flourish? Especially cross contexts, code switching, the imposter syndrome creeps in.

No, i think actually they are distinct after all. I wanted to communicate my thinking about this.

Social conditioning is what is experienced everyday. it's your actual interactions, or lack thereof, with other real human beings. When you go to the food seller. When you grow up in an apartment. When you break up with your partner. When you take a class with a stranger. When you make, or lose, a friend. These things, however minor, might gain traumatic or otherwise influential force on any life if they are repeated sufficiently or experienced profoundly. Social conditioning is embodied.

Propaganda is a specifically linguistic thing, it is the use of language (framing, selective cherrypicking, outright lies, statements of fact, all manner of biases, and more). It's inherently linguistic because it's tied inextricably to words, there is no propaganda where there is no language. Without language, there can be no truth or falsehood in the same sense, because the symbolic world that refers to has been so stripped away at that point.

However, it's possible in a post-language world to imagine a post-linguistic, broader phenomenon. A phenomenon we already experience, in fact. Programming is broader than just linguistic. It includes images, specifically the image-based and sound-based media which saturates our consciousness because of its infinite reproducibility. It inculcates power, like propaganda and social conditioning, but unlike propaganda it can exist in a pre-or-post-language context. Unlike social conditioning, it is fundamentally disembodied and is thus distinct: it is an engagement with the symbolic world of mechanical reproduction, not the world itself.

Programming is interesting because it reveals that language may not be necessary for hierarchy or authority to reproduce itself. Its increased prominence may suggest mass society is moving towards a new relationship with language, of one kind or another.

What are holes in this framework here? Elisions or missteps?



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