This a tool that protects and projects the values of those in control. It’s such a part of our culture we do not see it. And it’s the most dangerous when it becomes invisible.
A verdant, healthy society requires practical and fair standards of behavior. But there is a delicate balance between too few and too many rules and regulations. In a democratic society, everyone should have a voice in setting these standards.
“All censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently, the first condition of progress is the removal of censorship.” ― George Bernard Shaw, Mrs. Warren’s Profession
In large social groups, it can become too cumbersome to implement this balance, so some people specialize in this area we call law. Ideally, they set standards that protect and support the people’s general welfare. But some rules are often standards based on arbitrary or prejudiced points of view.
“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” ― Mark Twain
Some subcultures set standards that support the interests of those in control of the entity. These rules don’t have to be fair, and they aren’t most of the time. They skew what is appropriate based on their beliefs and standards. A popular form of this is what we call censorship. It hides under the guise of “community standards” or similar innocuous terms.
Is Censorship For Our Protection?
Censorship is a way of promoting a set of values while excluding opposing views. That is why it’s a subtle form of propaganda. Propaganda aims to advance biased and prejudiced arguments simultaneously, excluding opposing points of view.
Suppressing or excluding ideas is one of the mind control tactics of self-hypnosis, group hypnosis, or groupthink Manipulation. If you aren’t familiar with this, it’s an overall strategy for programming beliefs and actions.
Does suppression protect us, or something else going on? Does the suppression support the cultural narrative or us? Or does it just keep us in the dark? Is censorship for our protection, or is it simply a way of projecting the values of those in charge of the group?
Many people think censorship violates our fundamental right to free speech. Do we have the need or the right to see unfiltered information? Unfortunately, if you don’t control the space, you don’t have the right to other points of view. Facebook is an excellent example of a large worldwide entity that applies whatever rules it makes up to censor ideas and opinions. It should be responsible for filtering misleading data, but that’s it.
So, we come to expect censorship. First, we know we don’t control the groups we join. Second, people are more comfortable when they see and hear things that validate their thinking and values. However, this thinking also makes people easier to control.
Because we expect censorship, it becomes almost invisible. Many groups have community standards, Facebook and your Church, for example. It is another way of saying you agree to their censorship and suppression. If you disagree, you can’t take part.
The Most Asked Questions About Censorship
Why are most books banned? That’s simple. The book presents ideas, subject matter, or facts that don’t support the prevalent cultural narrative.
“Secrecy is the keystone to all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy and censorship. When any government or church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man who has been hoodwinked in this fashion; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, whose mind is free. No, not the rack nor the atomic bomb, not anything. You can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.” ― Robert A Heinlein
What are the basic arguments for and against the suppression of information? As we stated above, the primary argument for censorship is that we need protection from some threat. Freedom of expression is the central argument against suppression. It is better to know than to stay in the dark.
Censorship Becomes Accepted
Many things are subject to censoring. Books, films, and social media are banned or edited to remove things they don’t like. Restricting language, art, and pictures is a form of censorship. There are obvious and subtle types of censoring. Promoting biased and prejudiced opinions while excluding differing viewpoints or facts is censorship.
Western organized religions are the pioneers of censorship. They say this is suppression for our protection. They use both over and covert types to recruit and retain members. History shows us how even famous public figures can not escape the censoring authority of the Church.
For example, despite creating many works of art for the Church, they tried Galileo Galilei for heresy in 1632. They found his book “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems” (1) a threat. This book a well-accepted theory for the cosmology of the universe. It presents our solar system with the sun at the center instead of the Earth. This idea was a challenge to the authority of the Church.
Western organized religion revolves around censorship. It involves weekly meetings where people subject themselves to mythology masquerading as fact. Along with the mythology are values and ideas that political entities can manipulate to their ends.
Think about it. If you can get people to believe mythology is a fact, anything is possible. Get them to believe in talking snakes and animals marching from all over the world to get on a boat. Once you can do this, you can promote any ideas or values.
“You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?” ― Mark Twain
Remember, any content that presents a potential financial liability or threat to membership is the group owners’ enemies. That’s because maintaining a paying membership is a vital source of cash flow. So, maintaining control of what you see and hear is essential.
Censorship in the Corporate World
We accept censorship in the workplace. It’s a mistake to think corporate policies protect the employees. Non-compete clauses and intellectual property policies defend the rights of the company. However, even policies like those against discrimination are primarily to protect the company.
Policies do not prevent undesirable behavior. For instance, policies against discrimination give the company an affirmative defense against lawsuits, but this doesn’t protect you. It covers the corporation. Then the company can terminate anyone who threatens the finances of the organization. Terminating someone’s employment doesn’t change their behavior. They go to another company where they are likely to engage in the same behavior. Only now do they know how to hide their activities.
Learn the importance of unplugging from the cultural narrative. When you disconnect from it, then you space to think. It helps you to spot the use of other forms of censorship.
Is Suppression Really for Our Protection?
The argument we hear is that censorship for our protection is necessary because it protects us from awful stuff. In other words, hearing or seeing things that don’t support their agenda is a threat. But who decides what is threatening? Those in charge of the social group choose what is appropriate. They determine what is right and what is wrong. This way, you don’t have to decide for yourself. Above all, censoring protects the financial interests of those who profit from the group.
What can you do to Combat Censorship?
1) Express your opinion to those who own the group. Chances are it will not change their minds. They created these boundaries to protect their financial interests, such as advertisers or paying members.
2) Seek other outlets that allow more freedom of expression. Find others with the same interests.
3) Enhance your critical thinking skills. Follow the inner quest of consciousness development. The more aware you become, the more options you’ll find in life. We call these processes spiritual exploration. Become a freethinker. The better you can discern the facts from the fiction, the better it is for everyone.
4) Above all, practice self-control. Practice guarding your words and actions; this kind of censorship keeps you safe. Guarding your words and actions is a skill worth mastering in our modern world. Learning to do this is an exercise in self-control.
Thinking before you act is mindfulness. Avoiding unnecessary conflict is an intelligent tactic. But, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak up. If you see injustice and prejudice, speak up to the source that can help. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to be a freethinker. Learning to guard your words and actions can help you survive in any culture. It’s a form of self-censorship for self-protection.
The suppression of information, ideas, and art is a standard social control tool. Those in power use censorship for our protection as a ploy to force their values on others. But, it’s such a part of our culture we do not see it. That’s when it’s the most dangerous. So, learn to be a freethinker and spot this tactic. Once you can do this, then you can get around it. Learn to question the cultural narrative which hides censorship.
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(1) Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Galileo Galilei, Wikipedia
(2) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia