EXTRACT, GÜNTHER ANDERS, “THE OBSOLESCENCE OF MAN”

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“In order to stifle any revolt in advance, one must not use violence. Methods like those used by Hitler are outdated. You need only develop such powerful collective conditioning that the very idea of revolt will not even cross people’s minds.

Ideally, individuals should be conditioned by limiting their innate biological abilities from birth. Then, we would continue the conditioning process by drastically reducing education in order to bring it back to a form of integration into the world of work. An uneducated individual has only a limited horizon of thought, and the more his thoughts are confined to mediocre concerns, the less he can rebel. Access to knowledge must be made increasingly difficult and elitist. The gulf between people and science must be widened. All subversive content must be removed from information intended for the general public.

Above all, there should be no philosophy. Here again, we must use persuasion and not direct violence: we will massively broadcast entertainment via television that always extols the virtues of the emotional and instinctive. We will fill people’s minds with what is futile and fun. It is good to prevent the mind from thinking through incessant music and chatter. Sexuality will be placed at the forefront of human interests. As a social tranquilliser, there is nothing better.

In general, we will make sure to banish seriousness from life, to deride anything that is highly valued and to constantly champion frivolity: so that the euphoria of advertising becomes the standard of human happiness and the model for freedom. Conditioning alone will thus produce such integration that the only fear – which must be maintained – will be that of being excluded from the system and therefore no longer able to access the conditions necessary for happiness.

The mass man produced in this way must be treated as what he is: a calf, and he must be kept a close eye on, as a herd should be. Anything that allays his lucidity is good socially, and anything that could awaken it must be ridiculed, stifled and fought. Any doctrine questioning the system must first be designated as subversive and terrorist, and those who support it must then be treated as such.”

Günther Anders, Translation, "L’Obsolescence de l’homme" (Ed. Ivréa), 1956

Florence Quattrocchi