Cultural Rigidity and the Suppression of the Alternative
Andy asks, does the absence of ‘alternative’ ambassadors in the media indicate something more profound than mere cover-up..?
When listening recently to yet another academic reductionist on BBC Radio 4 scoffing at claims of the paranormal, I found myself wondering once again just why it is that those being scoffed at are never given a presence to defend themselves or present their evidence. Why do round-table discussions of such topics seem never to actually include those who research them? The very holding of a belief in the reality of mysteries, conspiracies or alternative health, seems to immediately disqualify a person from being allowed to discuss them in public, while the debunkers hold sway.
This set me thinking. Why does our culture feel the need to contain everything? Why is it so frightened of anything beyond a very narrowly defined, and confined, spectrum, and where and when did those definitions become entrenched, and by who? Surveys – and the multiplicity of dedicated websites – demonstrate a huge interest in ‘alternative’ matters, yet this is not reflected anywhere in the carefully sanitised content filtered through the media. In commercial opportunity terms alone, this appears not to make sense.
Some questions, then: Why are people who believe in the apparently paranormal not given at least the chance to voice their beliefs, if only for the fun of it and to widen the palette of public discussion? Where are the serious mystics? Where are the real psychological astrologers in the media? Why are those who challenge the official narratives of huge global events such as 9/11 not welcomed even just as necessary trickster voices to hold up a mirror to rigid establishment opinions – or even just featured as figures of ridicule to make a point? Why is the establishment so defensive if it feels so solid in its own convictions? Since when did questioning become a thought crime? Some, of course, say that all this is a conspiracy – as much of it very likely is. But beyond the obvious cover-ups at work in the world, from Ruling Elites and Big Business, what does the entrenched denial to alternative voices mean on a deeper level?
It seems as if the truthseekers and mystery aficionados whose predilections edge onto the borders of seeing a more chaotic, magical, inexplicable and sometimes deceptive world, a world kept from us by the establishment, are viewed on some deep cultural level with terror and revulsion, hence the need to blank them, as if by acknowledging their very existence life as we know it will somehow be undermined and threatened.
The wholesale exclusion of ‘alternative’ voices from the mainstream creates a tense and divided society whereby a large subsection of the population feel they are not allowed a voice and that their very presence is a dark aberration that must be kept hidden. Simply branding someone a ‘conspiracy theorist’, as if that in itself demolishes their right to be taken seriously, does not make the theory go away. Inevitably, this then leads to some of the excluded turning against the establishment, sometimes in unhealthy ways that can wind up being expressed with more dangerous consequences – ultimately a cry from the subconscious. Such responses could be avoided if the questioner’s presence and right to believe what they believe were even just acknowledged.
The mainstream establishment must feel very threatened indeed to maintain such a block on a very large body of people, and its reaction suggests a deep desperation to give at least an image and impression of order at all times, perhaps all too aware that in truth, just under the surface, there lies a sea of chaos and disorder which throughout history has been stronger and more influential than the supposed order to which we are all supposed to subscribe to.
Is such cultural rigidity harming true progression and evolution? How can a society evolve with any authenticity when so many voices are unheard, savagely put down or simply ignored?
Again, who has set down these ‘rules’ which we are supposed to live by, and by what arrogant assumption has it been presumed that everyone else should live by the same parameters – parameters that might be fundamentally wrong on so many levels? This is not genuine consensus, but enforced consensus. The current state of terrified denial from cabals of unworthy ‘superiors’, self-serving politicians, closed-minded academics, smug comedians (often the worst offenders) and arrogant journalists who unfairly guard the gates of public acceptability and the availability of knowledge, is not serving humanity and is surely unsustainable in the long term. Controlling elites may wish to keep us stupid, granted, but it is hard to understand why so many apparently free-thinking people further down the ladder show such dumb servility in crushing dissent with condescension.
Instead of seeking to control the Internet and portraying the expression of any perfectly reasonable question about the truth of our society as “extremism” on a level of Jihadist terrorism, as UK Prime Minister David Cameron has recently suggested, perhaps it is time instead for the media to take the risk of stepping out of conformity and ‘normality’ and see what might result from an uncontrolled acceptance of a true diversity of opinions. This, surely, would be a real revolution. It is time to challenge, time to step out of the narrow confines, time to take the lid off of the suppressed ‘chaos’ of genuine free thinking, to see what really lies beneath. Only by doing this are we going to really move forward as a species and civilisation.
Freed from the old chains, could things, in truth, really turn out any worse than they have so far..?
One day, then, we might put Radio 4 on and enjoy a genuinely rounded debate with a panel of representative from all sides of the divides when it comes to ‘alternative’ matters. Until such time that the cultural gatekeepers start truly thinking for themselves and stop fearing cultural disintegration if all voices were to be heard, however, this day may still be a little way off. It just seems a pity, not only for listeners, but for the progress of society as a whole.