Information Warfare Education, Propaganda, and How to Tell the Difference

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#1

Education, Propaganda, and How to Tell the Difference

In an information war, it is essential to be able to distinguish education from propaganda. Unfortunately, it is not always easy. Today’s citizens are swamped with manipulative information, and often crave truly educational environments that they can trust. In this, the second paper of our series on information warfare, we argue that propaganda can be thought of as the “evil twin” of education. They often look the same, but with some careful examination, their differences become apparent. Exploring the historical dynamics of propaganda and considering its various forms helps us understand the telltale signs of coercive, manipulative, and propagandistic information. Understanding the difference between propaganda and education, and how complicated the distinction can be at times, allows for better situational awareness. Clarity about the difference allows us to protect both ourselves and our communities from being casualties of the information war. This is an essential step toward creating a healthier epistemic commons for everyone.


#2

Thanks for posting @excecutive . Beautiful article worthy of a another couple of reads. And thanks for the introduction to the Consilience Project.

I did find the Consilience Project opening About paragraph to be a very straight forward statement of their purpose/agenda. They seem to have a broad multidisciplinary team behind the project.

We believe that today’s problems cannot be fixed by yesterday’s solutions. The Consilience Project’s purpose is to lay the foundations for a new kind of society that is capable of addressing the catastrophic risks humanity now faces.


#3

From the article:
“In an information war, it is essential to be able to distinguish education from propaganda. Unfortunately, it is not always easy.”

I’m curious - who are we at war with?

You see - that’s the subtle way manipulation works. The very first sentence established a war mentality. The irony being that a paper purporting to be educational about the difference between education and propaganda … began with propaganda in the 4th word.

Those with a war-oriented, us-vs them paradigm already established believe they are being “educated” by the article when in fact they are being manipulated.

I find the irony sardonically humorous.


#4

@raybennett
The article does answer your question if given it a deep read/listen.
In my opinion, Schmachtenberger and team are working diligently to put together a multisystematic team collaborating in a way to generate multisystematic solutions bridging from “what’s so today in the real world” to “solutions for a better world”, sans the doomsday shit hits the fan adrenal spike.


#5

It was a rhetorical question. Obviously.
I wasn’t asking because I didn’t know, lol.

The solution is of course to honestly accept that while they were presenting an article about contrasting education and propaganda, the authors themselves were using the article itself as propaganda in the guise of education.
The solution is of course to always question every source of so-called education.
My previous post explained that if given a deep read.


#6

Indeed, the work of the Consilience Project risks being labeled as covert propaganda precisely because it claims to offer content that is only educational. Isn’t this exactly what good propaganda would claim? Isn’t this content propaganda too, especially because it is claiming not to be? These kinds of questions form a vicious cycle of epistemic suspicion—a form of epistemic nihilism—and removes the possibility for education to occur. It makes the mistake of assuming that there is no point in even trying to distinguish between education and propaganda. A cultural mood of epistemic nihilism is the fallout of information war. It leads to an inability to orient toward legitimate epistemic asymmetries. The end result is a breakdown of educational cooperation between generations. Over time, epistemic suspicion systematically distorts educational exchange—between generations and between parts of society with access to different levels of information.


#7

Yes, that is a very good point I’d probably make next.
Thank you for so clearly rephrasing it.
Education usually has an aspect of propaganda to it
But I disagree that it’s a mistake to assume so.


#8

They even say this in their article, lol:

It is easy to mistake the difference between propaganda and education as depending on the content of the message being conveyed, rather than the techniques, intentions, and effects of its conveyance. As all sides create propaganda of various kinds, they also accuse others of doing so and deny it themselves. In heavily propagandized environments it can become hard to tease apart agreeable propaganda from information that is truly educational. Those seeking in good faith to serve as educators become almost impossible to distinguish from those seeking to serve as culture warriors.


#9

So you’re “just sayin’ that they’re just sayin’”? :+1:


#10

Noam Chomsky’s Propaganda Model


#11

This is the plan being executed effectively enough to green light armed violence in many of our cities. Hit the children as they go through puberty and you stand a good chance of separating children from their inherited social fabric (you know, that bad world they grew up in).


#12

This is why honest consistent conversations interacting with people is paramount. It allows us to unpack truth from falsehood and helps us to discern those who know from those who spin/propagandize.

Provided of course that a person has a coherent foundation and personal integrity upon which to build. In that case we can help one another find a level of personal self-esteem and perhaps even a higher attainment of personal acceptance; first for oneself and in-turn for all others.

The next generation of individuals are more afraid of the world and seek acceptance at a collective level. Trusting their group identity more than their own. More and more people seem to be paranoid, judgmental and afraid as individuals; clutching to their tribal collective with cult-like devotion to ideologies more than personal integrity to their own ideas.

The western enlightenment of mutual respect, consideration and acceptance of everyone as individuals is declining rapidly in support of group collectives. @FermentedAgave you may consider this the “woke” or the “critical theorists” they are driving agendas more then the genuine spiritual values of loving human connections.

I am impressed with this guy Jordon Peterson that you have referenced even when I disagree I still respect the man for his consistent and coherent positions. As I do you too @FermentedAgave. ~ Peace :slight_smile:


#13

Some people have lots of things to say but are unwilling to risk the vulnerability of being honest. Especially about themselves for fear of being wrong or to expose their frailty as an individual. As Jordon Peterson articulates trust is so important yet it’s becoming harder and harder to find.


#14

We talk much of “Shadow” work within our Inner Quadrants, yet see our structures that have historically enabled inner quadrant development be disempowered, disintermediated or even destroyed in the name of progress. These Inner Quadrants are where our Ego lives, grows, calculates, schemes all based on our individual thoughts, hurts and fears, loves and desires. We are never more than “one step ahead” at the very best of times from our Ego (human nature) usurping our inner eye, our introspective capability, our self awareness. Can we be truly compassionate, truly respectful, truly caring when we ourselves are alone and being distanced from perhaps millions of people within 30 minutes from us?

“You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it’s going to rise tomorrow. When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it’s always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.” from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

By destroying our connections, our beliefs that we have confidence in, how can we not be left wondering if the world will be waiting for us when we awake?


#15

Interesting example for us to consider here in the Education / Propaganda thread.

What was said by one of the world’s leading medical experts:
"My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied"

Fairly concise summary of responses by “news”, “educational” and “fact check” organizations:


#16

I thought this was funny, calling Minaj a “medical expert” :slight_smile:

I think one of the other important factors here is recognizing where the propaganda is coming from. We have gotten very used to the idea of top-down “astro-turfed” propaganda coming from any number of moneyed special interests. This I believe was the most notorious form of propaganda during the formerly-centralized network media paradigm.

But now that we are in the age of decentralized social media, we have new forms of propaganda to deal with. The top-down variety still exists, of course, as we’ve seen in things like GamerGate, which was a deliberate effort to radicalize impressionable young men in gaming communities. But now we have a new form as well, which in many ways is far more difficult to penetrate — the autopoieticaly self-reinforcing peer-to-peer propaganda, which in many ways is more of a self sustaining, inexhaustible “bottom-up” propaganda model. We commonly see this type both on the right (Qanon) and, to a different extent, on the left (Wokism).

My favorite metaphor for this sort of propaganda model comes from observing ant colonies. Ants communicate with each other by leaving a pheromone trail that other ants follow. The more ants who follow a given trail, the stronger the trail becomes, and then even more ants begin to follow it.

But sometimes a group of ants loses the scent trail, in which case they simply begin following each other in a loop, over and over again until they eventually exhaust themselves and die. This is known as an “ant mill”, or sometimes a “death spiral”. It is very difficult to break this spiral, because every ant is biologically programmed to follow the ants around it, and there is no way to convince any individual ant that they have separated themselves from the rest of the colony.

I see something very similar with how information moves in Zone 7 due to these social media platforms. We have so thoroughly delegitimized our notions of genuine “leadership” in politics, media, academics, etc., and have so inflated ourselves with a false sense of moral and intellectual superiority (Dunning-Kruger), that we now have enormous pockets of people who have “lost the scent” and are now only following each other, around and around and around again. Largely because our flat, postmodern social media platforms have a) lowered the overall center of gravity of our online discourse by convincing every persona at every altitude that their views are just as “true” as anyone else’s, b) eliminated all mechanisms of enfoldment and informational curation, c) creating new algorithmic “scent trails” from our behavioral metadata, and d) disrupted the previous autopoietic (i.e. self-organizing) safeguards that prevented too many ants from totally losing track of the colony.

In the end, I don’t think we are very dissimilar from our insectoid brothers and ancestors :wink:


#17

I certainly hope we can break these feedback loops, at least in our own heads, that imprison us in cells or death spirals that we create on our own. ~ Peace :slight_smile:


#18

I should also mention, I think there is still some top-down influence when it comes to creating these nouspheric ant mills. Still plenty of room for personality cults, etc.

Q (Ron Watson) for example, was selected for because he was perceived as a heterodox intelligence authority, an artificially-manufactured anonymous authority that successfully swung the overall Zone 4 Overton window, giving followers new sets of heuristics, permissions, and memetic interpretations.

Someone at some point figured out that if you infiltrate a community and create a thousand new scent trails, eventually enough people will follow some of those trails and then get completely disconnected from the rest of shared reality. So long as those people share a common enemy (which seems to be a basic requirement, and in this case is something like “libtards”), then they can then be farmed every couple years as a new, active, and reliable voter base, and a new front line for the culture war.


#19

Me too! But my sense is, this is an inevitable byproduct of the technology itself. We need to do the inner work required to notice these patterns within ourselves, absolutely. But in terms of the overall social problem, it’s going to require new innovations in the LR, I think.

This is simply how information moves in Zone 7 when we live the majority of our lives on these platforms.

Which is actually a tremendous source of forgiveness for me personally, in regard to how many death spirals we can see out there right now. I just have to remember that, in so many ways, our most deeply cherished views and values are an accident of birth, and more often than not a product of our accumulated patterns of conditioning.


#20

Who is the Drone? Who the Queen? Who has the pheromones’ to influence? To rule?