Blue and I were walking our usual path when we reached the terminus of a dead-end street which then opened into a broad field. Ahead, there were multiple possible new routes we could take. I, however, took a turn to double back and retrace
our all too familiar path; but, Blue stopped and sat down and looked toward a different path then back at me. Blue simply sat there refusing to
comply a peaceful, defiant protest of the continued acceptance of things as they are. Though he could not articulate his message, he was still able to communicate his dissatisfaction and frustration of my handling of things. As much as I like to think of myself as the alpha, ours is a symbiotic relationship each of us deriving what we need from the other or at least that’s the ideal. In truth, there was actually nothing stopping him, with his great grey mottled mass, from rising up with claws and teeth bared and reminding me how tenuous my power is and how his seeming compliance, the freedom that he has yielded, is merely a convention for our peaceful coexistence. It was his right in the face of my arrogance, apparent obliviousness, or even callous disregard for his stake in the process to challenge me. I, of course, have my own resources an array of tools to assert my authority, my will, and herd him along to serve my own ends not the least of which are distraction and manipulation.
“In the midst of increasing mechanization and technological organization, propaganda is simply the means used to prevent these things from being felt as too oppressive and to persuade man to submit with good grace. When man will be fully adapted to this technological society, when he will end by obeying with enthusiasm, convinced of the excellence of what he is forced to do, the constraint of the organization will no longer be felt by him; the truth is, it will no longer be a constraint, and the police will have nothing to do. The civic and technological good will and the enthusiasm for the right social myths — both created by propaganda — will finally have solved the problem of man.” Jacques Ellul–Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes.
Whatever either of us chose on that day does not, of course, preclude further occurrences, more pointed challenges. Let’s hope practical, actionable and mutually beneficial solutions are part of the dialogue. Until then, one must keep one’s senses alert for distractions and manipulations.
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