By dint of talking about the Simulacrum, one of the most apt sociological theories of recent years – and it takes some time for me to speak well of Parisian sociology – the question I hear myself most often is "how is it fought? Like me is it free? Like you do?".
Then, we need to go step by step. The first concept to understand is simple: how did democracies exist before mass media? I mean, the Republic of Venice was somehow elective, in Athens a minority voted, for a certain time they voted 'even in Rome, and the question I ask is: how did a citizen know who to vote for, how a citizen knew if the government was good or not?
Even coming out of the vote, but the person who joined the French revolutionaries or the Garibaldians, in the almost total absence of mass media, how had she been informed? What did he know about reality?
Simple: he knew the reality.
The media, in fact, is something that "mediates", that stands in between, that is, that puts itself between us and reality. Now let's ask ourselves a question: what happens if I remove the media? What appears before our eyes if I take away something that is between us and reality?
Well, simple: the reality remains.
The first thing to understand is that the mass media is an OBSTACLE placed between us and reality. Something that serves to separate us from reality, which otherwise would appear very pure in front of our eyes.
The media does not help you understand or know about it. On the contrary, it prevents you from doing so. It is the obstacle between you and reality, and it is therefore the natural place, the ecosystem in which the simulacrum is born and develops.
The first thing to understand, therefore, is that the mass media is a COGNITIVE OBSTACLE between us and reality.
No matter what: the newspaper, TV, internet. It remains an obstacle, something that comes between us and reality, and makes it difficult for us to know it directly.
Let's take an example, but I would not like to discuss the example.
Suppose you are in a country without understanding its language, or understanding it enough to live there, but not enough to participate in the political debate. At this point you wonder, I know, how good the interior minister is.
Good. I go around the city and the first thing that catches my eye in Düsseldorf is that the apartments on the first floor don't have bars on the windows. I go around in the evening and see lonely girls.
What do I deduce? That the German interior minister is good and knows how to do his job.
But if I tell a German, who accesses all German media, I get "naaaaahhh!" SPD blablabla CDU blablabla AfD blablabla Merkel Bla Bla Bla Seehofer blablabla. "This thing is the Simulacrum. The simulacrum they put between the Germans and their windows without bars.
If tomorrow I started feeding on the same mass media, I would probably also see the simulacrum. But until there is nothing between my eyes and the houses with windows without bars, my eyes see the windows without bars.
What can there be between me and the windows without bars? "Naaaaahhh! SPD blablabla CDU blablabla AfD blablabla Merkel Bla Bla Bla Seehofer blablabla. "I mean what the media write.
The first objection I receive when I say this is that in this way I will be able to see a local reality, while with the mass media I have visibility of a global reality.
The human brain is not designed for this. He can't do it. Average or not average, your brain can't really process reality on a global scale. If anything, the fact that you believe it is possible is a simulacrum: you really think you know something, I know, about IRAN, without ever having been there, without understanding a word of Iranian, without ever having met Iranians, without ever having studied history of that country?
So if you take away the media that came between us and IRAN, then what would you see? Nothing. Which is right: you know nothing about IRAN. So it's obvious that you won't see anything. It's more than obvious: it 's real . Language, customs, history, culture, of IRAN you know nothing about nothing. You only know the Simulacrum, that is the media that is placed between you and the IRAN (which is too far away, so you would not see anything).
The illusion of knowing things that you don't know is another of the simulacra, placed between us and the things we don't know, we don't know or we don't see . So if you say "but removing the media I don't know anything about IRAN", the answer is: welcome to reality, coconut, you don't know anything about IRAN. It is a fact.
But there is also the situation in which we actually want to know. And then we can take advantage of some glimmers in the simulacrum: no simulacrum is perfect, logic always beats narrative. I'll give another example (but I wouldn't want to discuss the example)
A few months ago my company told me that they would take Huawei's cell phone to give me a Samsung: the reason was that the telco that supplies us won't give us more Huawei because of the accusations of industrial espionage. So I asked, "But can I remove the SIM from my phone and use a personal Huawei?" The answer was that I could do it because the company had no policy against Huawei. So I went to a regular mobile shop and bought Huawei and put my company sim into it. In this way I still use a Huawei: what does this tell me about reality?
First of all he tells me that this imposition came from far away: my company has no problems with Huawei. Not even the German market has problems because I could buy a Huawei quietly. So it must be something that has come from far away and since it has hit the telcos it will be something that has come through a probably cheap channel, because the difference between a telco and anything else is cheap.
So this is already what I see: I can see reality simply by observing what happens to me.
At that point you will say: " Yes, but this does not tell you that Trump … does not tell you that this is his strategy … he does not tell you that this is a problem of slowing world trade …" Of course.
But as we will see at the end, Trump does not exist. If not as a simulacrum.
It is possible to read reality exactly as one reads a website, as one reads a book: this skill, however, is being destroyed by the mass media.
The mass media gets in the way and says: "no look, I'll give you a pre-packaged narrative". And it does so for the specific purpose of making you lose your training, making you lose the habit of reading reality like a book and thinking about reality rather than thinking about what Massmedia has shown you.
This is the problem: Mass-media not only aims to get between you and reality, but aims to get rid of the habit and training to read in reality.
the mass media is not only something that is blinding but it is also morally harmful : harmful because precisely it proposes to remove me from training to reason about the things I see, the habit of observing the things I see and read them.
Consequently we can reformulate our sentence in this way:
Mass media is not just something that is put between us, it is reality to prevent us from seeing it: it is also something that takes away the habit of reaching reality with the mind and takes away the habit of sticking our minds towards reality.
Another example: in the past few days they have talked about this government crisis when in reality there is no government crisis : all the actors are in their place so what do they want to hide? They want to hide the fact that all the actors are in place.
This is the point and nothing else.
"I am the worker president," said Berlusconi. What the simulacrum wanted to hide is obvious: it wanted to hide the fact that Berlusconi was the sworn enemy of anyone representing or fighting for the workers. When Salvini shows the rosary and does it to the Madonna and does all this religious chatter what does he want to hide? He wants to hide from a country (which is said to be Catholic) the fact that, all things considered, it will do the opposite of what the Catholic religion says.
We need to get out of the rhetoric of the difference between "propaganda" and "information" to understand that the mass media as such is disinformation and miseducation : it is misinformation because it is reality among us, while it is diseducation because it makes us unaccustomed to reading the reality that we have around.
There is no good mass media. There is no media that "informs us". There is no mass media "that makes us understand". There is no "intelligent" media. There is no "journalism".
There are obstacles placed between us is reality.
The last thing we have to believe is: which prodest?
Well, try to imagine that people no longer have the mass media, that they no longer know anything about parties and ministers and parliamentarians and pleasant characters, and begin to judge the government from the streets, from the aqueducts, from the lines of communication, from the services that they are given by taxes, etc. The result would be that there would be no one in favor of the Italian Government because the benefits are painful in every sense. How many Italians can actually say they feel good in Italy? How many Italians can say they trust the future? How many Italians can say they hope that things will go better in the future? They are few.
On the contrary, if we start discussing parties and ideals and ministers and sides, we can begin to think that there is a wonderful party in parliament and we can even believe that when this party ruled things went better.
But things were no better: if you had not had the media between you and reality with Renzi's "government of experts" you would not have seen anything change. Absolutely nothing has changed: the roads have remained more or less the same as ever, the infrastructures of the State have remained those, the services of the state in those 5 years have not changed a lot, taxes have practically not changed except by zero point something, so in the end nothing happened.
Nothing has changed. There is nothing of what you read in the media: there is no government, there is no party, there is no PD, there is no 5 Star Movement, there is none of this, because nothing has changed around you and if nothing has changed around you then nothing has changed in Rome either.
The practical effects of a good / bad government are seen: unless you have a mass media between you and reality.
The public should not directly observe reality because if no government were to observe reality, no party you had in Italy would be satisfactory. So they put something between you and reality: parties, names, symbols.
The first thing to do to get rid of the statue is to read the newspapers as if they were fairy tales . Knowing that they are fables. Knowing that it is an obstacle between you and reality. Not only is it false but it is an obstacle to your understanding of reality and it is also harmful, because it makes you lose your training in investigating reality using your eyes and mind, so you have to start to see the media as an enemy, as a deceiver, as a diseducator.
Until you succeed in doing this, as long as you think the parties will exist, according to you there will be deployments, as long as you think Salvini exists, according to you there exists exists Beppe Grillo, just because you read it on an obstacle that you have put before your eyes , you will never get rid of the simulacrum.
But it's not all to be thrown away. Were it so, it would be enough to turn them off. The point is that these simulacra are never perfect. Always filter some shadow, some ray of light that comes from reality. And it is from here that you can take inspiration to understand even more about reality.
Let's do some exercise.
You believe that "President Trump" exists. The simulacrum is well built, but something is filtered. That is, the fact that he is continually dismissing members of his team, the equivalent of ministers, and the management of the secret services is constantly changing. Now, if this is true, the only logical conclusion is that Trump cannot govern. Such a government is dysfunctional: it takes months for a minister to take over all the files with full knowledge of the facts, and to make matters worse, Ivanka's husband has so many tasks that he cannot complete them. No one can carry out a project, even a small one, with a similar turnover. The American government is, as it is filtered by the media, dysfunctional.
But the US is not in chaos, so someone is ruling the country. Yes, but who? We do not know: and we do not know it because the simulacrum "Trump" is placed before our eyes, to hide who really governs the USA.
Yes, but who are they? From here I cannot know, but logically I can assume that the American public would not be happy to know. Otherwise a simulacrum would not be needed.
Donald Trump does not exist. It is a simulacrum that the media put in front of your eyes to hide who really governs the USA, or characters that the Americans hate.
A similar mistake was made with Salvini. It is said that he is the interior minister, but the thing that the mass media have shown is that Salvini spends too little time working to be a minister.
However the interior ministry works, does things, decides things. But if Salvini is always in the electoral campaign or on the beach, who is the minister of the interior? Salvini said "my collaborators", but who are they? Their names? Where they come from? Who voted for them? Boh.
Matteo Salvini also does not exist. It is a simulacrum that they put before your eyes to hide the fact that an occult power (= non-public) has taken control of the interior ministry.
As you can see, starting from the hypothesis that the mass media is an obstacle and taking only the facts that filter, everything is much clearer. I say facts that filter for a reason: that Matteo Salvini was on the beach or in the square is a physical fact that is difficult to counterfeit, unless you resort to some double: but this would worsen the situation because then you would wonder what the real is doing Salvini, and the double would be a simulacrum made to hide it.
But these examples serve to make people understand that simulacra are not pure inventions like dragons, fairies or Jesus. We're talking about people in the flesh, but they play a part, in order to put a film between you and reality. Salvini, Grillo, Renzi, are all simulacra, but there are also larger simulacra like porn (which is a simulacrum between you and sex), but they have people in the flesh behind, money, events, everything how much.
You can take all the statues you know and apply the same method. You will soon realize that you can judge the government only by observing the state of the roads, counting the beggars in the streets, watching how high the pensions of your family members are. You don't need to have an opinion about the party or the politician. You can judge if you are in danger by observing when insurance costs, counting the bars on the windows, watching how many women come out of the house in the dark. You can know EVERYTHING about a government without reading the newspapers.
But the point is this: to get rid of the power of the simulacra, the first thing to understand is that the mass media is an OBSTACLE placed between you and reality, in order to hide it and disaccustom you to read it with eyes and understand it with the mind.