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Chapter 15



Propaganda is an attempt to change behavior through words.  The origin of the word "propaganda" dates back to 1622 when Pope Gregory XV created in Rome "The Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith."  This type of communication often has a hidden motivation.  Advertising is a type of propaganda. 

 An example of successful commercial advertising is the flat declaration that some brand of vitamin will remedy “that tired and run-down feeling.”

A more subtle approach is find something most people feel is a good thing, and sponsor it so it conveys a message that the product is good, because its associated with something else.

For example, a company may sponsor a popular sports event or an evening concert to create a feeling of good will towards the company and its products. Stadiums are often after a product.

More sinister is to promote a product through the targets desires.  If the targeted people are poor, one can sell a get rich quick scheme more easily, than to try to market it to people who have a lot of money.

Another sinister thing to do, is to use slogans to get a target to buy into a product or idea. 

If one wanted to create more isolation between their country and others the slogan "America First" might be effective.  If you wanted to promote a more pure capitalism, the slogan Communism Makes People Oppressed might work.

Unhappy and discontented groups may be targeted to help promote certain ideas.  Hitler used this technique to promote Nazism. Trump used this technique to attack the Capital building in 2021.

 Slogans can be used to accomplish good things too.  For example, the Red Cross has used the slogan “All you need is a heart and a dollar” effectively. Other examples include  “No Taxation without Representation” during the American Revolution, “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” during the French Revolution, and “Peace, Bread, and Land” during the Russian Revolution.

Why do slogans work?  They pack a lot of meaning in a few words, and they are so short, that it easy mass market them. Being short they can be repeated, put into jingles, or create banners.

The letters we used to make words can be thought as symbols. The Japanese language uses thousands of kanji symbols.  Each kanji symbol can be meaningful in itself.

 Meaning can be represented by flags, emblems, trademarks and song Lyrics.  If you sing a song with a group, it is easy to feel that you are acting as one person, as you literally are doing it.

 Words convey emotions when put to music.  By singing together, a group of people will tend to feel as a unified force.

The opposite can occur.  For example, you ask "Do you believe in God?"  Wait a minute, there are many types of God.  Some people imagine that God lives in heaven, in the clouds. Other people see God as being in another dimension.  So arguments start, but the real thing that is going on, is that we need to define the words we use, so other people can understand what we are saying.

 Then there are some words that sound like they have deep mysterious meaning.  The Catholic Church is good at doing this. For instance, the words "Summa Theological" actually mean just the teachings of Thomas Aquinas.


Recommended  books which support many of my ideas.

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