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I'm just playing around with title ideas for a much-needed seminar.  Lot's of good titles are taken, like "Think And Grow Rich," or "The Secret."  Have you ever attended a business seminar?  About a self-improvement seminar by a self-help guru?  I'm sure many readers have attended one of those multilevel marketing seminars that promise that you'll be able to quit your teaching job (or office job, or any job) in six month with all the money you'll be making, as long as you recruit another 50 dreamers like you.

Some seminars are really good; many provide really good information about opportunities or better ways of doing things, of accomplishing your goals, of thinking.

I've attended many seminars in my career, including seminars about business, technology, time-management, project management, entrepreneurship, self-improvement, sales, marketing, etc.  Again, some of them are really good, and others not so much.

But I've always noticed something: A great deal of seminars are based on current trends, appeal to our base instincts of greed (success?), fear, insecurities, and are ultimately very superficial and transient.

What I've never seen is the announcement of a seminar that promises to reveal the root causes of all social problems, and that once you fully understand them you would have decoded "the true secret of happiness and success."

If you've read this much, and are wondering if this is a snark, the answer is, "well, yes, and no.  Allow me a few more lines..."

Aside from my normal life which includes work, play, love, bills, resolving problems, etc., just like anyone else, I try to push my intellect (such as it is) to think about ways to break through the artificial (mental) barriers that have been drilled into our minds through propaganda.  The thing that makes us feel impotent against the monstrous and well-entrenched system that's destroying our spirits, exploiting us and subjugating us, and ravaging our environment.

I think to myself, "how do I inspire others to 'think and act BIG' by becoming aware of their true potential, and true power?  What would be the best use of my limited time when it comes to on-the-ground social activism, vs. just writing behind a keyboard?"

If I learn something from Democracy Now, or the Sunlight Foundation, ProPublica, or multiple non-profit media sources and investigative journalists, from Thom Hartmann, Norman Goldman, the New York Times, Daily Kos, SF Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, an myriad of sources out there, what do I do next to have a real (positive) impact in the world?

One thing I know... the answer can't just be to write, read, and report about what the right wing and the fascist billionaires are doing.  Why?  Because it seems to me that the dynamics in that situation is that THEY ARE DOING stuff, and WE ARE WATCHING AND REPORTING what they're doing.

And what I understand from that is that they get to do stuff--to really, really do very big world-changing stuff--because they have vision; they have a plan; they have resources; they have and agenda; they are focused; they are patient; and they know what they want.  The beauty of their agenda is its simplicity: (paraphrasing George Carlin) "The owners" want more for themselves and less for everybody else.

In spite of the potential for overwhelming power, the citizenry is kept divided (conquered, manipulated and controlled) by a powerful and effective mass media propaganda machine.

To me, anybody that is able to find a way to liberate a large enough number of people from that type of almost-total mind domination would have found the true Holy Grail that would help bring about the next stage of human enlightenment, or shared prosperity, harmony, and peace.

But again, the more I analyze this situation, and the more I interact with people, I realize that accomplishing that at a massive level is almost impossible.

But, of course, if it was easy it would have been done by now.  One thing that gives me hope is that I believe that these agents of change don't have to be a large percentage of the population at large.  In fact, I think that if 5 to 10 percent of the population were able to truly conceptualize the true nature of our system, free themselves from the effect of its propaganda, and (most importantly) come up with a very simple to understand, disciplined, and focus agenda, it could set the stage for a true social revolution--helping bring about a better world.

And all that leads me to this mental exercise...

Imagine if someone was able to develop a very powerful seminar using a standard approach.  Try to understand your audience.  What are the problems and needs you are trying to address? How are you going to motivate your audience?  Are you going to appeal to their wants, their ambitions, their fears, their insecurities, their emotions?  Is there a hook, or a gimmick, or an iconic concept you can use to grab the attention of the audience, get them excited about your ideas, make them believe that their life will be better off if they follow your "prescriptions," and most importantly, will make them want to reach to others and share this great news?

Of course, this type of approach would disqualify 99.999% of meetings, presentations, shindigs, get-togethers, of the typical "progressive" or "activists" organization out there.

No; I'm talking about an almost-religious experience; something that reaches deep, deep into the psyche of the people attending, make them feel that "before they were sleeping, and now they've awaken, and alive."  Now, that's a challenge!

And while you work on your ideas, once the seminar is developed, also think how you're going to market it.  What is your objective?  It seems to me that it is to help bring about the much-talked-about "new consciousness awareness that's going to change the world--for the better."

The market is huge, it seems to me.  First, think about the undercurrent of the generalized social malaise that's affecting the citizenry.  On the surface things may seem fine, but just below a very thin layer of reality exists certain discomfort, a cognitive dissonance, which is the result of the effects of the mind control exerted over the citizenry via the mass media conglomerate, which is programmed to make people accept absurdity as normal.

So address that disconnect.  That part is easy since the reason the effects of the mind-bending mass media propaganda machine in the United States is so effective is because it is very tenuous...  It's generalized, but very very thin.  So much so that almost anybody can be deprogrammed (at least for a short time until they get back to their routines) in a very short conversation.

But again, the key for success is to connect with the audience more at an emotional, visceral level, than at an intellectual level.

You would have to be like a preacher!  Emphatic; powerful; making emotional pronouncements; soft voice here, thundering voice over there.  You know what I'm talking about if you've attended enough "motivational seminars" or if you are churchgoer.

The message?  Well, that's simple, actually... I'll leave you with this:


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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't know what you're asking. (0+ / 0-)

    If you get some good information, are you going to turn it into a seminar, and begin doing seminars? Or are you just including dKos in your daydreams? Seriously.

  •  I get it. This is a huge problem. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, Ray Pensador, Odysseus

    Internet activism is almost self defeating.  It has us pretty much where "The Man" would like to have us - reading and writing.  For example, I live overseas so I just have to rally around what I think and believe on line, but I am also aware that I am not really making a difference.  

    We just have not yet found a way to outflank the noise machine yet, but I am sure that we will.  It will come out of brain-storming and thoughtfully discussing our options, just like what Ray has initiated here.  

    I believe that the presence of Anonymous is the first indicator that we are entering a new phase.  I am not going to get into the upsides and downsides of this group/affiliation or lose time going into the reasons that I am not going into the reasons.  

    However, first and last, it is a guerrilla movement in place.  It is a resistance that is starting to take shape in the cyber-world.  Any serious study of the history of movements that led to change always has to have some kind muscle - some group of fighters to succeed.  

    It seems to me that what you have written here is a very thoughtful start of a roadmap to other means of activism that others can take up.  

    I will be looking at this post extensively - I can assure you of that.  I will also draw on my experience with professional development seminars and presentations to see if I can think of suggestions that we can examine.  

    I believe that we have creativity on our side, and surely we need to get that out on the field.  

    It gets on my nerves, and you know how I am about my nerves...

    by ciganka on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 02:33:02 AM PST

  •  yes, you are talking about being a preacher (4+ / 0-)

    i was a preacher.  for a very short time.  as a teenager i wanted to save the world from going to hell, so, i started devouring the bible and later in high school i started preaching in my youth group whenever i got the chance.  i led the worship in the youth group and did back up singing on sundays.  

    by the time i started seminary the fall after high school i knew more theology than a lot of professors and was a natural at the pulpit.  i didn't even have to try at public speaking.  i am a story teller at heart and i connect with an audience almost immediately.  

    in fact, it's probably the most alive i am when i am speaking to an audience.  you like the matrix, well, being in front of an audience feels like being neo in the matrix and looking at the code.  i sense everything almost in slow motion.  i don't know how, but it just happens.  and since i speak from my heart and i am a passionate person, people are caught up into the emotion of what i am saying with me.

    the first time i saw Obama speak, i realized immediately that he was the same way.  it's also why i have a lot more trust in him than i can really provide evidence for, because it's based on the fact that i know that you have to believe what you are saying from your heart to draw people into what you are saying.  young people sense when someone believes what they are saying, which is why so many flocked to him.  

    but, don't argue with me about Obama, just take that as an example of what i am saying.  another example is john stewart.  he's almost always authentic.  you can actually tell when he's stretching the truth to make a point, because he can't help but feel bad about it.  it shows like a tell in poker.

    another example is newt gingrich.  but he's an example of someone who believes to his core that it's okay to lie to get what you want.  so, he will lie right to everyone's faces even when everyone knows he's lying and he will barely register on his face that he's aware that he's lying.  i honestly don't know if he's so far gone as a liar that he just accepts whatever lie he says as the truth or if he just doesn't care about being consistent, because he knows how to bully people into letting him 'win' a discussion.  he was frothing at the mouth to debate Obama and that would have been a knock down drag out debate for the history books.  also, incredibly embarrassing for our country.  i mean, palin was bad enough.

    but anyway.  i am just saying all of this, because i want to tell you that you are absolutely right about how to reach people.  but i also want to say that it only works if you really believe what you are saying.  you can't connect with an audience and change their hearts unless you believe what you are saying.  and you can't set out to manipulate people either.  you have to just feel it in your heart and let it connect with other people's hearts.  otherwise, you come across full of shit and people resent you for trying to manipulate them.

    i quit being a preacher after a couple years of preaching at my church for the college aged group, because i didn't believe in what i was supposed to be preaching.  i didn't believe in hell, let alone a god who'd sent my gay friends to hell.  or who expected me to treat women as unequal.  etc, etc, etc.  i didn't believe it, so, i sure as hell wasn't going to preach it.  

    boy that pissed off my parents who'd paid for seminary.

    but anyway, i want to give you my 2 cents from an ex preacher.  even if you can do it, don't.  don't try to save people, because they don't need saving.  and it's incredibly arrogant to believe that it's your job to save them.  it's not.  they are free to choose their lives.  their very short lives.  they don't need some preacher telling them that they are lost and they need to listen to you tell them how to change to save themselves.  just let people live their fucking lives.  they don't need saving.  and they certainly don't need to be taken on some emotional journey to salvation by you.  or anyone else.

    that's my opinion.  and i want to be clear that i don't think that people can't use good advice or ideas.  shit, that's what makes humans so great.  our ability to learn from each other.  but you can teach without preaching.  tell stories, for instance.  do you want to know what does exactly the same thing you want without being arrogant or preachy?  funny heartfelt stories.  

    if you haven't watched Modern Family, give the show a try, because it is changing hearts and minds.  stories are a way to teach, but it let's people come to their own conclusions.  find their own truth.  i think that's the way to do it.  and by the way, philosopher/stand up comedians like George Carlin use funny stories to change hearts and minds.  because it works and it's respectful.

    oh, one more thing about preaching.  kind of crucial actually.  i can't believe i almost forgot it.  while preaching is very powerful it doesn't have lasting effects.  any preacher will tell you that.  especially when you are a very emotional preacher.  if you get people emotional to change them as soon as they aren't feeling the emotion they revert back to the way they were.  which is why people go to church every week.  they need that constant fix.  and preachers know it and that's why they preach every week.  or more than once a week.  when people don't come to conclusions on their own in life they don't change for the long term.  there's thousands of years of religious ceremony as evidence for that.

    and here's a little secret about daily kos.  daily kos is a fix for people who need to feel it.  they need the emotions to keep them going or they drift away.  they need to be angry or sad or happy or something.  but they need to feel or they just go back to living their lives.  i'm not saying that is what daily kos is about, but it is what it does for... not a small percentage of people here.  that was pretty clear to me right away when i found daily kos year ago.  sometimes, there are short term movements that many people follow here and it's because they have to be following something.  they have to have something making them feel.  sometimes, it's kind of embarrassing when that something turns out to have been quite hollow or even a mistake.

    the republicans LIVE AND BREATH preaching.  that's why from Rush to Michelle Bachman they are shoving something down the throats of their followers.  it doesn't even matter what it is.  they had them going after Obama's birth certificate for goodness sakes.  conservatives have to be corralled with preaching or they wander off.  but it's all the preaching that makes them so fucking stupid all the time, because they never think for themselves.  shit, they even lecture liberals on not thinking of themselves and don't even realize that they have it backwards.  but that is what preaching does.  right?  it's you doing the thinking for other people.  and it seems like the obvious way to reach people, but it keeps people in a state of stupid.

    so, anyway, that was really long, but it's a complicated thing to talk about.  

    damn, it's 3am.  i better go.  have a good night.  happy new year.

  •  I'm doing a lot of personal wondering also at this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, Ray Pensador, ciganka

    point in my life.

    Something amazing was shown to me:

    Separate the Hurtful people, words and things that have been done to you On PURPOSE, from the weird everyday people, stuff and events that make us stumble.

    An example: Fox News LIES On PURPOSE-they have an agenda.

    Many parents, preachers, corporations, teachers, leaders, siblings have a pre-meditated hurtful agenda and do/teach/say bad things On Purpose.

    Anyone, any product, anything that uses Lies, Cheating, Theft, Murder ON PURPOSE to get ahead are the soul's/life/humanity betrayers.

    The rest is just annoying crap. And depending on how physically, mentally and spiritually strong one is will determine what one does with this info.

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

    "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:33:44 AM PST

  •  the scope is the challenge (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    it's hard to get most people to accept that it's ALL bullshit. ALL OF IT. Most people have enough trouble just thinking things through and thinking for themselves. Plenty of people are happy to just choose someone to tell them how to think - even someone on TV. Getting them to discard the entire pile of shit and figure it out for themselves won't be easy if it's possible at all. It will likely take a great deal more damage before even a slight plurality of people realize how much they're propagandized and misled.

    when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

    by bunsk on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 09:13:04 AM PST

    •  The corrupt ruling class counts precisely on what (0+ / 0-)

      you describe.  These look like intractable issues, questions.  That's why they appeal to me.  Deep down inside I believe a massive awakening by the populace can happen.  I don't know exactly how, but I believe it's possible.

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