perception management

Perceptions guide action. Actions produce results. Perceptions determine results.
Why do results matter? Our lives are only whatever results that we experience.

Jim Morrison

“Whoever controls the media, controls the mind”
― Jim Morrison

Allen Ginsberg

“Whoever controls the media… controls the culture.”
― Allen Ginsberg
Charles Darwin Image

“…belief constantly inculcated during the early years of life, whilst the brain is impressible, appears to acquire almost the nature of an instinct; and the very essence of an instinct is that it is followed independently of reason.”
Charles DarwinThe Descent of Man, 1871

“The media is the most powerful entity on earth…. They control the minds of the masses.” – Malcolm X

In my first few years of college, I remember learning exactly two things. First, because I frequently had to fill out forms during college, I learned to memorize my social security number.

While, yes, that has been useful to know (especially the last 4 digits), the other thing has been far more valuable. The second thing that I have remembered for decades is this single quotation:

“We don’t control what the public think. That is impossible. We only control what the public think about.” – Ted Turner, founder of CNN, TBS, the U.N. Foundation, etc…

The issue of accuracy

Actually, that may not be an exact quote. Further, Ted Turner was not the source. I just attributed the quote to him because I expect many people to have heard of him. Maybe you will think that the quotation would be more memorable if he had said it.


Accuracy or idealism?
When I learned the quotation about the media controlling what the public thinks about, I reacted with repulsion, like “yeah, but… that is not how it should be!” Rather than assess the idea for accuracy, I rejected it reflexively.
Why? Because it was something that was too threatening to my youthful idealism. It challenged my false presumptions. It disturbed my social pretenses that I practiced in the hopes that people would like me for “being on their side” (by “being against the influential media, because concentrations of power are inherently corrupting and evil and disgusting”).
I ached to be more popular, to be validated by others as important to them. So, I sacrificed accurate perception to maintain a familiar idolatry (a terrified devotion to a particular idea while dismissing alternative interpretations).
Accuracy or naive sincerity?
Of course, sometimes, accuracy is important, like when remembering a password or when shooting at a charging bear or even when performing surgery. “Oops, sorry about that small error. However, just so you know, I was sincerely trying really hard and I spent a lot of time in the process of not getting it right and slicing some important nerves. You should be more grateful of me!”

To read more about when accuracy can be very important to you (as distinct from sincerity, familiarity, popularity, or “the consensus”), click here. [This is currently just a link to a fun, old article and audio, but I will eventually update the link to some new content. Here is a more recent article on sincerity.]



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One Response to “perception management”

  1. Emotions rule perceptions, responses, and results | power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci Says:

    […] I detail the functional importance of controlling perception in this article form yesterday: […]

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