There are certain terms, which when encountered unleash a whole new paradigm. The recent experience has been with this menacing term – perception management.
Just a pause to think about this phrase yields a new dimension of sorts. It talks of managing perceptions!
Aren’t perceptions supposed to be evolved by learning, or acquired with experience? What does someone have to do with managing perceptions of another person. Ironically, this is what we are all being conditioned to, and in a subtle manner.
The grandeur of this phrase is that, the ones managing the perceptions are in essence the ones trying to benefit out of the contortions they would perpetrate. For instance the rich, or the ruling class are managing (read contorting) the perceptions of the masses.
Now that I have used the term ‘rich and ruling class’, a natural sort of anti-left sentiments might creep in some of you, while the others might connect with the term. Noam Chomsky, uses the evolution of this very perception to manifest the concept of perception management: We in today’s world live about with the notion that it is not that the rich are ruling us, but the competent. It has been made into an obvious fact that we cannot get away from – they managed to instil this perception into our lives.
Media and propaganda are in today’s world more capable and catastrophic than wars. While wars are violent and there is ultimately pointless destruction of life and property, media with its treacherous wing of propaganda can paint the futile bloodshed into an act of sanity. And that is more gruesome than the act of perpetrating the war itself.
Being cynical, or at the least skeptical of the news and views being fed to us via the channels, and scrutinising them is the only way out of this plague-like problem.The distortions caused by perception management has caused a great shift in the ethics and values of society.
We the people are more cynical about each other than about anything else; there is little concern that we end up showing to the people in real need.
Commodities are replacing people and emotions, and it is as if we live to impress the markets than even pleasing oneself.
Value system is deteriorating and it has given sanction to an evolution such as – help thy neighbor to trample thy neighbor.
In the name of being civilised, all that we as part of the society are doing is to discretise ourselves, fragmenting the social structure and leading ourselves into a framework that is now based on perversion. And media – the mirror with which we are trying to look at ourselves shows ourselves to be sane and ethical.
In Oscar Wilde’s brilliant novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dorian knows he’s rotting from within but his magical painting absorbs his vices and shows him to be young, attractive. Likewise today, we know we are failing – that we are not doing right, and still seek the pseudo sanction from the world created to make us believe in these pseudo values.
Simply,Perception Management is like Event management, or product management, an advertising endeavor – only difference being they are selling our vices polished and guilt-free back to ourselves.
PS: A brilliant documentary which elucidates this notion http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/psywar/