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They Live, We Sleep: How the Control of Data Allows an Invisible Government to Rule in Secret
In the prescient and unsettling-but-realistically-surreal alter-reality 1988 cult classic They Live directed by John Carpenter, there are many clues about the real life police state scientific dictatorship we’re all living under today.
Before the pivotal, iconic turning point when Rowdy Roddy Piper first puts on the Hoffman sunglasses and sees the very first subliminal billboard to “Obey,” there is another subtle message for the police state technocracy to come…
The regular billboard – before revealing the hidden message “Obey” – carries an advertisement for a company called “Control Data” and reads, “We’re creating the transparent computing environment.”
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During the sixties, CDC created what were considered the fastest computers in the world at the time.
“We’re creating the transparent computing environment…”
What sad irony when considered in the context of a movie where an alien race is using that same “transparent” system to control everyone’s minds through frequency manipulation and subliminal messages.
Control [of] Data, yes?
The relationship between implicit control through a data driven society where “They” know everything of any importance that happens on a “transparent” computer platform and a world where “we” obey is clear enough.
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This is basically the society that we have been bathed in since the age of Big Data has dawned.
Total surveillance. Everything tracked, traced and catalogued in metadata libraries that make the Library of Congress look like a magazine rack.
In fact, there’s a new term for this beyond surveillance world of big data we’re all living in: Überveillance.
Überveillance is defined as, “an above and beyond, an exaggerated, an omnipresent 24/7 electronic surveillance. Not only does the term suggest a surveillance that is always on but also surveillance that is always with you, referring to a surveillance technology that is embedded within the human body.”
But the bigger question looms: are today’s masses being literally told through a mass signal of some kind to “Obey” and “Consume” as part of the larger, ubiquitous social engineering program that is admittedly underway?
Are we literally living in They Live?
While it’s hard to prove either way, it is an even harder question to dismiss without lying to one’s self and blatantly ignoring reality.
Even Rowdy Roddy Piper, who played the main character Nada in the film, later Tweeted in 2013 that the movie isn’t fiction but a documentary.
Many people have suggested there is a mass mind control operation underway… How far it goes and who is ultimately in control is perhaps up for debate.
At a minimum — an absolute minimum — it starts with the defining statement of Edwards Bernays’ 1928 book Propaganda.
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.”
“Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”
“This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.”
“In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons… who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
In the first two paragraphs of his influential book, Bernays makes stunningly clear that 1) democracy is farce, 2) manipulation by hidden forces are at work behind the scenes, and 3) corporate agendas are steering the decisions and mass social patterns of the population.
Bernays elaborated on the “instruments and techniques” of “molding public opinion” in his earlier volume Crystallizing Public Opinion.
Bernays blatantly calls these hidden forces of manipulation the “invisible government” — and no, he wasn’t exaggerating for effect.
He was speaking to a coordinated machine that was just coming to power in the 20th Century, a machine which has become many times more sophisticated with advanced in technology and, in particular, with the surveillance, collection and analysis of “Big Data” or “metadata.”
Now, as the real smart grid is coming online, as we are surrounded by a cacophony of wireless everything from satellites to cell towers to antennae to cell phones, from smart meters to smart appliances, we are being tracked and traced and databased everywhere we go. We are being swept up into the Internet of Things.
That very first decoded billboard in They Live wasn’t chosen at random or by accident. It was put there as a warning sign of things to come.
Those things are here.