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Opening Our Eyes

We all know that television ads are expensive.
     Businesses pay exorbitant amounts of money because they know that the influence of a 30 second commercial generates high profits.
     Television ads are purposely designed by professionals to influence the way we think, the values we believe in, the money we spend, and for what. If they weren't effective with what amounts to low impact mind-washing, businesses would spend their money elsewhere.
     National politicians know this well. They spend much of their time raising millions of dollars for television ads for reelection (so they can raise millions more for their next campaign). They do this because they know the power of television and the dynamics of aggressive marketing.
     Their simple, primary objective is to win elections—not to tell the truth per se, or educate the populace about issues so we can all work together. Using proven marketing strategy, they formulate a certain image, a well-crafted byline, and a train of thought that stops exactly where they want it.
     Likewise, they want their opponents to look bad. They have no trouble twisting the truth, incorporating lies and innuendoes, fabricating motives while hiding their own misdeeds.
     They use tried and proven marketing techniques to do all this, even though the majority of their audience is sophisticated enough to see right through it. That's because they aim their propaganda at those who will respond, and care little about the rest of us. With so few candidates running for each office, and each using the same advertising methods, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
     Unfortunately, this tactic works to win elections.
     It also works to disinterest the general public in politics; to make people distrustful of our system; to bring poor quality of candidates into office; to make voters who are easily swayed by two-dimensional reasoning to carry the day; and to play into the unreasonable hands of close-minded extremists.
     In a democracy where freedom and integrity are precious, this dynamic rules our government—and for some reason we accept it. Our thought processes have been so shaped by television marketing, that we can't imagine a better way to do things. It's in our blood. Look how television news has steadily transformed itself into entertainment. This was a corporate decision based on what appeals to the marketplace—to us!
     We are not well-served by all these dynamics—we the people, for whom this government exists. Everywhere we look, advertising bombards us with value-influencing images and slogans specifically meant to shape our thoughts. Political formulas, many of them as outdated as they are outlandish, are not meant to nourish a populace starving for truth, but to lead us around by the nose. Leaders pander to their like-minded base, and leave the majority of us out in the cold.
     Personally, I am disappointed by the slates of candidates running for office this election season. Even the ones I liked, who seem really good, I no longer trust. I can no longer separate the person from the performance, the words from the subtext of two-dimensional slogans, the vision shaped not by what is best for the world we live in, but by marketers who appeal to our lowest instincts.
     Even our news professionals and pundits openly rate the candidates by their appearance, acting ability, shrewdness and sound bites, rather than their integrity, leadership abilities and grasp of the issues. They seem to prefer actors running for office. In this celebrity-crazed culture we live in, they understand that sort of ego and motivation better than anything else. So do we. We've been weaned on them since birth. For many of us, television has replaced scripture as the primary source of moral dictates. That means advertisers, illusion-makers, and profit-obsessed CEOs are dictating our values in ways we scarcely notice because they are so ingrained.
     It reminds me of H.G. Wells' story The Time Machine. When the horn blasts, people automatically head for the temple/shelters to become fodder for what hides below the surface. We are trained by what amounts to classical conditioning to respond like Pavlov's dogs.
     I call this to your attention because chivalry demands the kind of truth and authenticity that liberates those who are open to it. It calls us to think for ourselves. We can only do that by freeing ourselves of the mind-controlling influences that shape reality as they would have us see it.
     I invite you all to purposely and forcibly step out of this closed box of canned thinking, into the wider circle of confronting the world directly, with clear vision and a clean heart.
     It takes more than saying yes, or nodding in agreement. It takes awakening everything inside you that chivalry has to offer: truth, justice, the warrior spirit, personal development, a discerning mind, and committed resolve.
     No one is going to show us the way. No one is going to appreciate us deviating from the herd and speaking out. They have too much invested in the "group think" they are part of.
     The world we live in needs new insight. It's up to us to serve as catalysts for thought. Not as purveyors of our own fixed ideas of truth, but as well-meaning friends pointing out the tripwires, appealing to heavily burdens souls to free themselves, and share their enlightened perspectives with the rest of us.
     As we progress on our personal quests, we discover that they lead to a higher purpose: that of saving the world we live in, serving the best interests of the people, learning and living the full meaning of "love thy neighbor." To do this, we first need to see the illusions around us for what they are. We have to free ourselves as much as we can, so that our thinking is no longer dependent on them. We have to challenge them for the metaphorical dragons that they are, hoarding wealth, shackling women, decimating the earth while demanding the sacrifices of our young.
     Who thought a web site on chivalry would discuss things like this?
     If we did not discuss our present day situation and the threats that confront us daily, it would not be chivalry at all.

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