The World Has Been Pulled Over Our Eyes

Truth is the mirror image of real and factual events. This mirror can be broken or obscured to prevent the actual reflection of factual reality.  It can be said that the world has been pulled over our eyes, to blind us from the truth. The average man does not usually have any views of his own on any matter. He takes ready made views from different sources of media. An average person reads the daily newspapers, listen to the radio broadcasts and TV telecast, and give close and unremitting attention to the arguments presented. He forms judgement upon the facts and arguments delivered to him. He is daily bombarded with overloaded and biased information. Too much knowledge is weariness of the mind; excessive information is a tyranny of the mind. Therefore, the truth is lost in this directed and controlled web of over flowing information. Whether it’s Iraq war, global economic meltdown, Israel’s attack on Lebanon or freedom movements around the world, we cannot see the truth because we are made blind.

To the superficial observer, progress of technology and media has many advantages. The present age is essentially an age of science and machine. The cinema has revolutionized modern life; people go to the pictures and see on screen things which are far from truth and which they could not otherwise imagine. The cinema not only reaches the millions but impresses them most effectively, for humans are picture-thinking animals: they believe what they see.  Similarly, the radio, television and Internet can reach millions in their homes and hearths in the remotest corners of country and even beyond. Television combines the merits of the radio and the cinema; it is really a telecast cinema and has proved itself as the most effective instrument of popular education and propaganda. Moreover, the Internet has the combined power of cinema, radio, newspapers and TV.  It provides variety of information and knowledge. News are broadcast; radio and TV talks are given by experts in their own fields; features programmes, drama, music, and other items of entertainment are presented to us for our recreation and enjoyment; learned discussions and speeches are made by scholars and writers on philosophy, science, politics, economics, arts, literature and social issues. These communication agencies are also the linked between the ruler and the ruled. Most of these agencies are directly or indirectly are monopolized by the government are vested interests. Public opinion and government policies are always at odd with each other. Hence, these agencies are used in an overwhelming manner by the government, lobbies or pressure groups to advance their own vested interests and modify the public opinion.   

Positively speaking, a free media is the one which gives the public honest, impartial, free and untarnished news, views, and reviews or information and is also free to criticize the news, views and reviews or information supplied by any other agency, private or governmental. Negatively speaking, a free media is one which is not controlled or subsidized by men of wealth, vested interests, or communal bodies, or by the government. When all the arguments and facts are voiced and criticized before the people, they will know how to choose the sound and reject the unsound ones. On the other hand, when the media is used to deceive the people or to further the interests of any selfish group, the truth is vanished or led astray. For example the scenes from Saddam Hussein’s execution that were broadcast on the Internet had a cinematic quality. How often does one see a well known head of the state engaging in a spirited repartee with his executioners on whether he was Iraq’s savior or a tyrant and scourge? The Western media dubbed him as an oppressor and criminal, whereas, some Arab news channels portrayed him as a hero and martyr. What about the truth? How can we find it? Truth cannot be suppressed. As Confucius said, “Three things cannot long be hidden the sun, the moon, and the truth”. The truth somehow re-emerges but only to be suppressed distorted and deviated again. Hence, the cycle continues and in that we are blinded to see the truth.

The media has always played an important role in the formation of public opinion, sustaining democracy and unearthing the truth. A reporter can influence the thought of very large number of people as his words and their very tone can be suggestive of far reaching repercussions.  Those who abuse this power bring media and journalism into disrepute. The honest journalist is only interested in reporting the truth and is not concerned whether it agrees with the government’s or his paper’s policy. He has to wage an eternal battle in the cause of truth. In this battle to uphold truth he meets overwhelming opposition and made victim of vilification campaigns. At worst, false charges of espionage may be brought against him. Hence, the truth suffers.

Nothing will enable a citizen to understand the truth behind politics, policies, wars, economics, public and private deals more than a proper understanding of the meaning and significance of propaganda. Propaganda is defined as an expression of opinion, or action, calculated to influence the opinion and actions of others to some predetermined end. A distinguishing feature of the modern state is the use misuse and even abuse of propaganda. A truthful and informed public opinion influence the policy of the modern state, while propaganda influences the public opinion. In modern times, propaganda is conducted through the devices of high technology and the media of mass communications, such as press, radio, cinema, television, Internet and by earth girdling satellites.  It is, indeed, a stock-in-trade of the political parties, pressure groups and other opinion makers and leaders as well as of the commercial publicity-men and advertisers. Modern large scale industry produce and consumer goods can be sold only by means of large scale commercial publicity and advertisement, on which billions of dollars are spent every year in the industrialized countries of the world.

Most of the communication that reaches us is based on false information and lies. “There are no facts, only interpretations”. said Nietzsche. Propaganda is always one-sided presentation of facts. The views, actions, beliefs, actions and attitudes of the ordinary citizens are being manipulated and modified by means of words, gestures, flags, images, music, monuments, and other such signs and symbols. In modern times propaganda has become the chief factor in the process of suppressing the truth. It is a psychological weapon in the hands of political power. The three most common techniques to conduct propaganda are publicity, censorship and indoctrination. Publicity is the publication of a point of view by an official body, person or statement. Publicity is an act of communication unlike censorship which is an act of omission, but one supplements the other. It is indeed impossible to successfully hide the truth without censorship. Indoctrination means to present facts or impart knowledge about something whether policy or philosophy or belief, in a consistent and systematic manner before such persons who are incapable of sound critical resistance. It is most successful in case of children and youth as much can be poured into an empty head as it is an empty pot.

In conclusion, it can be said that truth has become a scarce commodity. Where the advent of technology has enabled the march of progress, it also has enabled vested interests to suffocate the truth by means of electronic and print media. Truth is suppressed through restrictions, censorship, tight-lipped officials, unwholesome policies, intrigues, lies, propaganda and selfish interests. In such spotlessness we only see what and how we are shown. Indeed, the world has been pulled over our eyes, to blind us from the truth. As Emily Dickinson said:

 As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind