“Every American should be alarmed by Russia’s attacks on our nation.  There is no national security interest more vital to the United States of America than the ability to hold free and fair elections without foreign interference.  That is why Congress must set partisanship aside, follow the facts, and work together to devise comprehensive solutions to deter, defend against, and, when necessary, respond to foreign cyberattacks.”  (John McCain, U.S. Senator, January 5th, 2017)

Definition of paranoia (Merriam-Webster):

  1. A psychosis characterization by systematized delusions of persecution or grandeur usually without hallucinations
  2. A tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others

Example of paranoia used in a sentence: “I have to admit that my fears were just paranoia.”

Landscapes and Portraits

Cultural landscape is a tangible imprint of human activity. As all human actions and reactions occur in space (geography) and time (history) the landscape can record their manifestations. In regard to conflicts, cultural landscape analysis—looking at land and people—allows us to better understand why people do what they do, comprehend their problems, and search for and hopefully find answers to and solutions for them.

Landscape manifestations of fear and paranoia, however, can also allows us to better comprehend why, in times of conflict, a nation’s collective experience and memory must be conditioned to fit certain ways of thinking, without questioning authority.  Visual messages directed to the citizens of a country fearing against the invaders come to my mind as some of the best examples of such a convincing method.

More Than a Thousand Words

 

For the Greater Good of the Greater Number

It may seem that avoidance of conflict is an easy task, but let us remind ourselves of Hermann Goering’s words during his last days at the trial in Nuremberg:

Goering: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece.

Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Goering: Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

Red is Red, Then and Now

When writing the above words I took a break to log into my identity theft monitoring account.  This service was generously provided by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to the millions of Americans holding security clearances, after the Chinese hackers breached OPM’s archive and stole our records.  For the next decade I will enjoy the luxury of this free service, paid for by the American tax payers. All this, while being afraid of various foreign bogeymen threatening every segment of my life, keeping my mind ever-occupied with geography of conflict.

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References: multiple sources.

 

The Landscape of Fear, Paranoia, and Galvanization of Masses

One thought on “The Landscape of Fear, Paranoia, and Galvanization of Masses

  • January 9, 2017 at 2:35 am
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    This piece succinctly reminds us that we are not uniquely situated in our own cultural landscapes; we’ve been here before and are fully capable of moving in the right direction that our morality demands- before we repeat the bad choices of some of our forebears.

    Reply

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