Philip G. Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect

When a power elite wants to destroy an enemy nation, it turns to propaganda experts to fashion a program of hate. What does it take for the citizens of one society to hate the citizens of another society to the degree that they want to segregate them, torment them, even kill them? It requires a “hostile imagination,” a psychological construction embedded deeply in their minds by propaganda that transforms those others into “The Enemy.” That image is a soldier’s most powerful motive, one that loads his rifle with ammunition of hate and fear. The image of a dreaded enemy threatening one’s personal well-being and the society’s national security emboldens mothers and fathers to send sons to war and empowers governments to rearrange priorities to turn plowshares into swords of destruction.

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Jack Kerouac, On the Road

I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.

That Color on You

That color on you reminds me of my aunt’s lipstick when I was a young girl

It stuck to her teeth and she’d lick it off with one swipe of her tongue

It left an imprint of her lips on the water glasses, like pink fog

That color on you reminds me of my big sister’s shoelaces

She double doggy eared them but they somehow always got loose

One day she tripped on them and busted her lip

She ran into the house with blood on her hands, and it looked like that color on you

It reminds me of a bird whose nest a boy stole in my neighborhood,

and when the bird learned she lost her eggs, she became sad

I tried to feed her worms, but she didn’t move

I opened her mouth, and when I looked inside, her tongue looked like that color on you

Which reminds me of my grandmother’s scarf

It was the most expensive thing she owned, because my father got it for her birthday

She perfumed it and wore it on special occasions, like Sunday mornings when we’d go to church

And she sat me by her side and told me to put my hands together and pray

I closed my eyes to imagine God but all I could see was the pink of my lids

That color on you

Reminds me of the rose bushes that lined my driveway

My big sister and I rubbed the velvety petals between our fingers and placed them between the pages of books

And after some days, we crushed them into potpourri and wrapped them with white mesh and tied them with a string

We wanted the house to smell nice

And maybe my mother would have worn a hue

Like that color on you

 

Daniel Boorstin

Two centuries ago when a great man appeared, people looked for God’s purpose in him; today we look for his press agent…Among the ironic frustrations of our age, none is more tantalizing than these efforts of ours to satisfy our extravagant expectations of human greatness.  Vainly do we make scores of artificial celebrities grow where nature planted only a single hero.