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As you walk past billboards, TVs playing advertisements, use products with bright logos on display, listen to news radio and read corporate reports, if you’re not paying attention, it might be easily to overlook the fact that every person and every medium that is communicating to you, is attempting to change your beliefs, to alter your perception in subtle ways , that somehow work in their favour. Coca-Cola Amatil wants you to identify as a beach-ball-rolling Coca-Cola man, Pepsi wants you to believe that it passed the Pepsi challenge, and your own government wants you to identify as a patriotic citizen, and to believe that its enemies are raping, bestial monsters.
If everyone dropped their defences completely, letting this propaganda in without question, the world would end up a boring place, with people, instead of being sovereign, independent-thinking individuals, instead resembling pinballs moving around the board, bouncing off bumpers and repeatedly hitting pretty lights. People would adopt the words “Obey” and “Consume” as their personal mantras. Some parts of the world are getting dangerously close to this dystopia – but fortunately, we have the Internet to make people aware of the potential diversity of lifestyles, beliefs and opinions.
How can we recognise the more insidious forms of propaganda? What are the principles which advertisers and speech writers can use to bury their thoughts in our brains, making us believe that they are our own? And what are the costs if we are not vigilant enough? We explore these questions and more, in this mind-penetrating episode of … The Paradise Paradox!