In Of the New Idol I wrote of the dual meaning of the word state, and essentially that there is a kind of battle for reality itself, or the understanding of its nature; the processes, which can be seen as arms of the state in the broadest sense, from birth inculcating the individual with an absolute immersion in unrealities that keep him from a true experience of the state in the sense of the human condition.
Me old perennial, Aldous Huxley, wrote:
The non-stop distraction of the various forms of media deliberately used to prevent people from paying too much attention to the reality of the social and political situation.
Think of Sky News as a consciousness swamping drip-feed in so many various establishments, from banks to pubs and petrol stations. Or the blanket over reality of the ubiquitous radio station with a dj speaking in a fake awful accent, the incessant ads, plastic saccharine music, and the same bad news on the hour/half-hour on every station getting their 'news' from all the same sources. But Huxley could have added, as he most certainly would have thought, that the non-stop distractions are deliberately used to prevent people from experiencing reality itself, rather than just preventing knowing about the political and social situations. It is as much and more an existential issue as an information one. Whether the philosophical nature of the distraction culture is entirely understood in its subtleties by its chief protagonists is debatable, but at a crude level it is certainly understood.
As Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, and a svengali in the worlds of thought applied to consumerism and 'democracy' in the last century wrote:
If we understand the mechanisms and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it... 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... 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.
The battle for the nature of reality is admirably described by my other perennial, Victor Pelevin, thus:
The evil magic of any totalitarian regime is based on its presumed capability to embrace and explain all the phenomena, their entire totality, because explanation is control. Hence the term totalitarian. So if there’s a book that takes you out of this totality of things explained and understood, it liberates you because it breaks the continuity of explanation and thus dispels the charms. It allows you to look in a different direction for a moment, but this moment is enough to understand that everything you saw before was a hallucination (though what you see in this different direction might well be another hallucination)...
Solzhenitsyn’s books were very anti-Soviet, but they didn’t liberate you, they only made you more enslaved as they explained to which degree you were a slave. The Master and Margarita didn’t even bother to be anti-Soviet yet reading this book would make you free instantly. It didn’t liberate you from some particular old ideas, but rather from the hypnotism of the entire order of things.
One example of the battle for reality is the illegalisation of marijuana, and the hallucinogen family of intoxicants which were intrinsic to the unleashing of so much consciousness and its inevitable creative outflowing in the 1960s. Such catalysts of the mind have always been gateways to the divine or higher reality, and while defiling and limiting avenues for the mind have the more than solid approval and fostering of and by the organs of state, the experiencing of the mind itself, reality, and even God could without exaggeration be said to be illegal in the current age.