Some conspiracy-type people say the world is messed up because we’re ruled by illuminati or reptilians, but I’m way more out there than that: I say our entire society is made of imaginary thought stories with little relation to objective reality, and some clever manipulators have figured out how to exploit this.
I say even what we take to be our very self is an ultimately illusory narrative construct made up of a disconnected network of thought, language and memories; look hard for a solid “me” entity and you’ll never find one. Same is true of most things people value in this world.
Some people lack healthy empathy centers, and as such they don’t use language the way the rest of us do: to understand and connect with each other. Instead, they use it to get things they want. They figured out how to trade stories for material goods, narrative for actual wealth. You can trade narratives about love for sex, narratives about God for tithes, narratives about terrorists or Russians or Democrats/Republicans for votes, narratives about the economy for wealth, narratives about government for real power, etc. Manipulators learn this and exploit it.
Manipulators without empathy rise to the top, because they’re willing to do whatever it takes and manipulate whoever they need to in order to get there. This problem is further compounded by the fact that wealth itself kills empathy. In a system where sociopaths are rewarded with wealth, and where wealth equals power, we naturally find ourselves ruled by sociopaths. They manipulate our faulty perceptions of objective reality to amass wealth and power, which they use to grab more.
For as long as there has been language and power there have been narratives circulating to advantage the powerful. Much of our so-called “culture” is just ancient power-serving proto-propaganda deliberately interwoven into our ancestors’ worldviews.
Make and keep these two promises to any manipulator in your life and they’ll lose all power over you forever:
“I promise you that I will never again believe anything you tell me about yourself.”
“I promise you that I will never again believe anything you tell me about me.”
Man China’s gonna be so surprised when it finds out it interfered in the November election.