As a regular walker, I am now used to the process of getting to know the people I meet regularly. Smiles become hellos. Hellos become a moment sharing the time of day or a view. Sharing a view becomes a discussion on a life and experience that you would never otherwise have known about.
One such series of encounters led me to become familiar with one old guy in the Village where I live, and as he regaled me with stories of the nights that he and his brother would catch a train from Gloucester to attend dances in the Village pub, it wasn’t the romantic idea of steam and a train station lost under the Beaching Act that captured my imagination the most. It was his memory of the time in the years after the Second World War when he said ‘We were glad to be alive’.
This was a conversation that came before Coronavirus and it did of course stir my thoughts on the entitlement and ‘take everything for granted’ culture that has been so prevalent, where young people don’t want to become Police Officers because they don’t like working nights, and soldiers are more likely to be experts at protesting the technicalities of their human rights after capture on a battlefield rather than pick up a heavy gun and fight and avoid being caught.
Yet since the Government’s response to Coronavirus began, what started as concern has been replaced with the utter disbelief that in only six months of a Conservative Government handling a ‘peacetime’ national crisis, people have been deliberately manipulated and conditioned so effectively that they are now afraid to live.
What is clear is the Government’s response to Coronavirus has been more damaging psychologically to the minds and thinking of British People and our national psyche than our direct involvement in a war would be.
In the 1940’s Blitz, as bombs dropped, neighbours and friends died, and houses, pubs and schools were completely destroyed, people still wanted – and were prepared – to go about their daily business in as normal way as possible. They looked each and every day in the eye and wanted to rebuild and rejuvenate the world around them so they could grasp everything and every opportunity that was there to be enjoyed.
Death was a regular visitor. But death was never inevitable for as long as people respected and worked on the basis that we were in in together.
Yet today, as we supposedly fight disproportionately against a cold like virus that the Government itself fears more than it understands, we are being forced to believe that by being together at any time, our early death is inevitable, whilst death itself is not present amongst us in any way that is different to what would be the seasonal norm.
What the hell have our politicians done?
How did they do it?
Why did they do it?
What does it tell us about the World to come?
Whilst fear makes the world turn at some level for everyone, many do not possess the awareness either to accept or to understand this.
Fear is the power that drives everything in this world at the deepest, most intrinsic level. And if the fear button is incorrectly and deliberately pushed, fear can do untold harm to anyone and everyone, no matter how rational they might believe or understand themselves to be.
If you have access to Netflix, you may have taken the 90 minutes or so to watch ‘The Social Dilemma’ which is a very recent release. It is certainly worth a view as it puts in perspective the harm that can be done and the consequences for us all when people’s minds are played with in the pursuit of profit when the only thing intended (and considered) by the Social Media platform is a fee-paying result.
The cultural use of Facebook, Twitter and just about every social media platform you can think of is having an adverse effect of some kind on all of our upcoming generations. And this is what happens when there isn’t the use of fear involved.
Flip the coin of behavioural control to its other side and you will find the pseudo science of Behavioural Economics or ‘nudging’ in order to achieve specific outcomes with people.
It’s what unscrupulous politicians who are only worried about controlling people would see as the easy way to ‘get things done’.
Social Media is filling up with discussion groups focusing on what is little more than a drive to change people’s behaviour without those same people being conscious that they are being influenced and changing the way they behave in any way.
It’s been a growth industry in recent years with No10 even having its own Behavioural Insights Team.
It was these guys who were called on when the Coronavirus Pandemic kicked into full swing and the Johnson Government – forever committed to controlling the agenda – decided that it was time to use their mind manipulation unit to get the whole population, rather than the virus, under control.
What the impact of Social Media on young minds, Behavioural Economics (or Insights) and Boris’ Lockdown behavioural controls on us all have in common, is they have a defined and measurable purpose. But the consequences or side effects of the actions taken are also not being given a second thought.
It’s a bit like the stories that you may have heard about live theatre shows where a well-known performer conducts hypnosis on members of the audience to get them to do things like barking like a dog or pretending to be something that they are not, whilst all the time they are ‘under’ and not aware of what they have done. Just as the hypnotiser can programme the person being hypnotised to do something with a trigger word at a future time, they can also be sewing all sorts of damage to the individuals mental health which can impact heavily upon their life to come.
The objective of the Government’s mind games at the beginning of the Lockdown, was control of the population. The method of hypnosis that they used was fear. The intended result was a population that would do what it was told wherever the words Covid-19 or Coronavirus were involved. The unforeseen consequence and the damage done is that people are now too afraid to live.
Whilst Lockdown and Social Distancing Measures of any kind continue to exist, it will be all but impossible to snap anyone out of the mind-meld that the Government has created, as continuation of these measures in any form will give legitimacy to lie that a real population-wide threat from Coronavirus continues to exist.
We are literally in the situation that until a responsible Government or Political Leader stands up and says this was all a crock of shit and that Coronavirus is just another illness that has to be treated and addressed quietly and without fuss just like everything else, this Government-inflicted malaise will continue and it will continue at rabid pace.
As we don’t have such worthy politicians in Westminster today, we are in effect staring into a void where none of the damage done can be reversed.
The damage was avoidable and should have been avoided. But this is what happens when irresponsible politicians get their hands-on irresponsible toys.
Whilst the political classes complain of the risk to their idea of democracy from fake news, it is the very same susceptibility to misinformation that people have that makes everyone vulnerable to what politicians have themselves done, just so they could retain the control they believed they had.
Any form of manipulation conducted deliberately will have wider and unknown consequences. Its use is therefore wrong.
Profit or control. The aim simply doesn’t matter. The cost is simply too high for the lives of those People involved.
As we go forward and we leave the days of this kind of government behind, this misuse of power and the roll out of this 21st Century ‘dark art’ must be regulated and kept under strict control.
The Lockdown measures have taken beneficial ‘nudging’ like the fly stickers in the urinals of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to a nefarious extreme. The ability to manipulate minds in this way is simply too much responsibility for politicians and business people without scruples to have.