Sunday, October 20, 2013

Discussing Bernays, "Organizing chaos and The new propagandists"

For discussion we read a piece of writing from Edward Bernays called "Organizing chaos and The new propagandists".  In his writing, Bernays stresses to us that nearly everything we are and choose is because of a decision made by a select group of people he deems the "invisible governors". Bernays argues that our minds are shaped by the invisible influence these "men" have over our lives.

In a section of the reading, Bernays suggests that our decisions are made because of suggestions made by a select few that have been infiltrated into our minds through authority figures we follow. Thinking along those lines, what figures do you think have influence on you or fellow students at this moment in time?

Do you think your daily decisions are at all influenced by these people?

*When was the last time you bought something because of an endorsement from an influential figure?

**How you you decide on what clothes you wear, what books you read, shows you watch, beliefs you hold, food you try, and beliefs you hold?

There's kind of a negative light shone on the influence propaganda has on us. As if we are being brainwashed by an invisible force, or "invisible governors" as Bernays puts it. Can propaganda have any positive affects on society? Or should we always strive for intellectual independence?

*Do we need propaganda in out lives? Bernays suggests that propaganda is used by society to "organize chaos". Does it help to make sense out of a sea of thoughts and ideas?

In what ways do you notice society being shaped by propaganda today as compared to in the past?
-How does the change in how we consume media impact how we are fed and react to propaganda? 

*Think of Bernays' ideas in todays context.*

What we read was written in 1928. This was before television, internet, and social networking.  How do you think that the technologies we are now exposed to along with the endless flow of information are a game changer in terms of propaganda's influence on us?
-Does it intensify it?
OR allow for more independent thought and decision making?

**Bernays brings up huge variety of groups Americans belong to:

"This invisible, intertwining structure of groupings and associations is the mechanism by which democracy has organized its group mind and simplified its mass thinking."
 --Something to consider-- This got me thinking of Facebooks many groups. Do you think that it is as if "this invisible, intertwining structure of groups and associations" has become visible?

"The public relations counsel, then, is the agent who, working with modern media of communications and the group formations of society, brings an idea to the consciousness of the public."

*What new dynamics does social media add to Bernays' ideas on the importance of public relations? (Video)

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