The Memory Hole: From Orwell To Gladwell To Alicia Machado

My new column in Taki’s Magazine over an overview of the evolution of misleading the public from Pharaoh Akhenaten to the 2016 election

In politics, secrecy and silence are becoming less practical, while noise and distortion are coming to dominate. Thus, the 2016 election raises questions of how strategies of political power are evolving as we move from an age of information scarcity to one of superabundance.

Almost by definition, the powerful in the future will still continue to exercise dominion over the minds of men, but their methods of manipulation will change.

The technology of power is moving from the past’s emphasis on privacy and concealment toward more contemporary techniques of diversion, bias, misconception, and willful stupidity. The crude methods that George Orwell summed up in his image of the incinerator-chute “memory hole” are growing into more sophisticated devices for providing the public with misleading frameworks for mentally organizing (or rationalizations for simply ignoring) the overload of available facts, thus making it harder to remember or understand politically inconvenient knowledge.

In the past, outright censorship was more useful. During the Egyptian counterrevolution over 3,300 years ago following the reign of the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten (a.k.a. Amenhotep IV), his statues were smashed and his name laboriously scraped from the walls. His memory, and that of his queen Nefertiti and son Tutankhamun, were largely expunged from history until the archaeological discoveries of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Read the whole thing there.

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