Spot The Manipulators In Your Own Life: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

The real underlying currency of our world is not gold, nor bureaucratic fiat, nor even military might. The real underlying currency of our world is narrative, and the ability to control it. Everything always comes down to this one real currency.

  • Caitlin Johnstone

If you look at what all these think tanks, NGOs, media outlets and grant making networks that billionaires pour their money into actually do, it ultimately boils down to controlling the dominant stories that people tell about what’s going on in their world.

If you want to understand how narrative management works in the world, pay attention to how it plays out in your own life. What are some popular narratives within your family, perhaps about one of your family members, that don’t reflect reality? What subjects are off limits in your immediate or extended family, and why? Who do you know that repeatedly spins narratives about the kind of person they are, or the kind of person you are?

Most of us have at least one strong narrative manipulator in our circle somewhere; family, friends, work, etc. You can spot them by how much energy they pour into manufacturing a consensus about someone in their circle, including themselves; working to spin narratives about themselves that make them look good, or narratives about someone else to make them look bad.

Watch for anyone in your life who repeatedly tells you stories about the kind of person they are, because they’re trying to manipulate your narrative about them. Also watch for anyone who keeps telling you stories about yourself, because they’re trying to manipulate your narrative about you. Be especially wary of the latter.

Spot the manipulators in your own life and watch their patterns, then look out to the world and compare those patterns to what you see with government and media. You’ll see the exact same patterns on a macro scale. Manipulation takes the same form whether small-scale or large.

We’ll get angry at our compatriots for not rising up and forcing real change. We’ll get angry at a loved one for not leaving an abusive relationship. What we rarely do is look closely and see that both are victims of manipulation which keeps them from changing their situation.

Whenever I talk about propaganda influencing public action I get accused of depriving people of their “agency”, but the only way to believe that is to believe it’s impossible to influence people’s decisions through media. An idea both propagandists and advertisers would scoff at.

I love my job, but it’s so stupid and annoying to have to keep dignifying the mass media with attention and analysis. They’re so discredited at this point that everyone should just be dismissing them like raving street corner preachers. I look forward to that day so I can spend my time making art instead of paying attention to the lies that are coming out of people’s screens. …


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