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Individualisme dan Utopia

KOMPAS Senin, 12-02-1996. Halaman: 4


Tanggal dimuat: 12 February 1996

Individualisme adalah salah satu paham yang paling sering dibahas sebagai karikatur dalam banyak perdebatan di kalangan intelektual kita. Setiap kali berbicara tentang paham ini, biasanya kita langsung berpikir tentang egoisme, keserakahan, kompetisi yang amburadul dan semacamnya. Polemik menarik yang diawali oleh Liddle (Kompas, 8/1) saya harap dapat menjernihkan pandangan kita terhadap salah satu ide terpenting dalam sejarah politik modern. Dalam tulisan singkat ini saya ingin menguraikan salah satu aspek dari penolakan beberapa filsuf terhadap paham individualisme. Kemudian, saya mencoba menjelaskan dasar-dasar paham individualisme yang sebenarnya. Tujuan saya bukanlah untuk menyalahkan salah satu pihak, tapi menjelaskan perbedaan fundamental antara keduanya. Sebelumnya, saya ingin memberi catatan kecil bahwa dalam menolak atau menerima individualisme, penggunaan kategori "Timur" atau "Barat" sudah amat membingungkan. Budiawan (Kompas, 2/2) misalnya, harus menekankan kecurigaannya terhadap anjuran Liddle dengan alasan bahwa klaim individualisme yang universalistik mungkin saja mengandung "napsu-napsu imperialistik." Budiawan khawatir bahwa di balik penyebaran individualisme, tersembunyi kepentingan kekuasaan Barat untuk menaklukan Timur. Yang cukup ironis adalah, dalam memperlihatkan kelemahan individualisme, Budiawan tidak menggunakan Serat Centini. Utopia: dari Plato ke Marx Dasar argumen Mubyarto (Kompas, 2/2) dalam menolak paham individualisme, bersumber pada sebuah cita-cita tentang masyarakat yang harmonis. Jika harmoni ini tercapai, individu dan masyarakat tidak lagi perlu dipertentangkan. Siapa yang tidak senang bila korupsi menghilang, pemimpin tidak lagi menyalahgunakan kekuasaan, dan setiap konflik bisa diselesaikan dengan damai? Sejumlah pemikir, dengan cara masing-masing, telah mencoba menjawab pertanyaan- pertanyaan seperti yang sekarang kita ajukan. Plato, misalnya, menyimpulkan bahwa cita-cita itu bisa dicapai jika masyarakat dipimpin oleh tipe manusia philosopher-king (kira- kira jenis pemimpin semacam Lee Kuan Yeuw dalam konteks sekarang; pemimpin yang bersih dan berpikiran jernih). 2000 tahun setelah Plato. Dalam salah satu dari sekian banyak bukuya, The Philosophy of Right, Hegel membagi kehidupan sosial ke dalam tiga tingkat. Tingkat pertama adalah kehidupan dalam keluarga. Di sini manusia sejak kecil belajar tentang otoritas, tanggung jawab dan cinta. Pada tingkat kedua adalah kehidupan dalam masyarakat sipil. Jika pada tingkat pertama cirinya didasarkan pada semangat kebersamaan dan tanggung jawab (dalam hubungan ayah terhadap anak misalnya), maka pada tingkat kedua ini cirinya yang utama adalah

kompetisi dan pengejaran kepentingan diri yang tak terkendali. Masyarakat sipil, buat Hegel, adalah satuan-satuan tanpa bentuk yang terlalu didasarkan kepada pengejaran kepentingan ekonomi. Dari tingkat kehidupan pertama yang luhur dan penuh cinta, setelah dewasa manusia terpaksa harus terjun ke dunia persaingan yang keras. Untuk mengimbangi dan mengatur masyarakat sipil diperlukan hadirnya negara atau pemerintahan yang kuat dan korporatis. Jika ini bisa tercapai maka tahap kehidupan sosial yang ketiga tercapai. Di tahap ini pendulum bergerak kembali, dari kompetisi kembali lagi ke harmoni. Dan bagi Hegel, yang menjadi motor penggerak dalam tahap ketiga ini adalah kaum birokrat. Kaum ini oleh Hegel disebut sebagai "kelas universal." Dalam perkembangan selanjutnya, Hegel memberi inspirasi kepada dua kelompok pemikir, yaitu kaum Hegelian kanan dan kiri. Kaum Kanan menggunakan ide negara korporatis Hegel untuk membela sebuah argumen bahwa individu dan negara pada dasarnya satu dan sebangun: kita tidak perlu melihat keduanya dalam hubungan yang konfliktual. Yang diperlukan oleh individu karenanya bukanlah jaminan hak-hak perorangan, tapi pelaksana kewajiban kepada negara, pengabdian dan disiplin (karena pengaruh Hegel, kira-kira hal seperti inilah yang dikatakan oleh Prof Supomo dalam perdebatan penyusunan UUD 45 kita dulu). Di kiri, contoh yang terbaik adalah Karl Marx. Walaupun teori dia ditujukan untuk "memutarbalikkan Hegel," tema-tema Hegelian sangat kental terasa pada Marx. Berpijak pada pengertian Hegel tentang masyarakat sipil, Marx mengembangkan teori tentang kelas sosial. Dari Hegel pula Marx mengambil tema tentang "sejarah yang berakhir" di mana tidak ada lagi konflik-konflik yang mendasar dalam masyarakat. Buat Hegel, seperti yang kita lihat di atas, hal ini terjadi jika "kelas universal" telah mampu mengatasi kelemahan dalam masyarakat sipil. Buat Marx, konflik-konflik mendasar itu akan hilang jika kelas proletariat yang juga dianggap kelas universal telah melakukan revolusi sosial dan mendirikan negara komunis. Di sinilah harmoni itu terjadi: sebuah situasi di mana bahkan kehadiran negara pun, sebagai pengatur masyarakat, tidak lagi diperlukan. Bagi Marx seperti ditulisnya dalam The German Ideology, apa yang dilakukan oleh manusia dalam harmoni total itu adalah "berburu di pagi hari, memancing ikan di siang hari, beternak di sore hari, dan berdiskusi setelah makan malam", tanpa harus menjadi pemburu, pemancing, peternak dan kritikus. Individualisme Apa yang membedakan Mubyarto beserta para pemikir besar di atas dengan para filsuf dari tradisi individualisme dalam banyak hal bertumpu pada perbedaan terhadap cita-cita kemasyarakatan. Para filsuf dari tradisi individualisme, sejak John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith hingga Frederick Hayek menolak cita-cita masyarakat penuh keselarasan dan keseimbangan itu. Hal ini mereka lakukan bukan karena mereka mencintai pertikaian dan

membenci persaudaraan. Jauh dari itu. Buat mereka impian-impian harmoni itu adalah mimpi yang terlalu indah, yang jika dipaksakan untuk diwujudkan akan sangat berbahaya bagi manusia umumnya. Secara sederhana argumen mereka saya bagi ke dalam dua segi. Segi pertama bertumpu pada penerimaan terhadap ketidaksempurnaan masyarakat. Buat paham individualisme masyarakat adalah kumpulan dari banyak kepentingan yang berbeda dan sering bertentangan. Hal ini adalah kenyataan alamiah. Yang harus dilakukan karenanya bukanlah menentang alam. Segi kedua, yang menjadi dasar dari segi pertama di atas, adalah penerimaan paham ini akan keterbatasan manusia. Bagi paham ini sangat sedikit manusia yang mampu menjadi superhero, yang dalam bertindak tidak pernah memikirkan kepentingan dirinya sendiri. Paham ini menolak kemungkinan hadirnya tipe manusia jenis philosopher- king-nya Plato, atau kelas universalnya Hegel, atau kelas pendobraknya Lenin. Dengan kata lain, paham ini tidak percaya bahwa kaum birokrat, misalnya, adalah kelompok individu yang tidak lagi mempunyai kepentingan apa-apa selain mengabdi masyarakatnya. Penguasa di mana pun adalah juga manusia biasa, yang sebagai manusia dibatasi oleh kepentingankepentingannya sendiri. Dengan demikian paham ini menerima keterbatasan manusia bukan untuk mendorong meluasnya egoisme dan kompetisi yang keras -- yang mereka lakukan adalah mencoba menerima kenyataan apa adanya tentang sifat-sifat manusia. Lenin dan Mao seringkali berkata bahwa untuk mewujudkan cita- cita masyarakat sosialis, diperlukan lahirnya tipe-tipe manusia baru, yang senantiasa membela kepentingan umum dan melupakan kepentingan dirinya sendiri. Buat paham individualisme, hal ini adalah utopia besar yang berbahaya. Manusia selalu sama dari dulu dan sekarang: makhluk rasional yang selalu bereaksi terutama terhadap hal-hal yang berakibat langsung terhadapnya dan terhadap lingkungan terdekatnya. Menciptakan manusia baru hanya bisa terjadi dengan menghancurkan manusia itu sendiri. Buat paham ini, sejarah kelam Rusia di bahwa Lenin dan Cina di bawah Mao adalah monumen sejarah yang mengingatkan kita semua terhadap "biaya sosial" -- untuk menggunakan bahasa Budiawan -- dari upaya penciptaan manusia baru tersebut. Berangkat dari dua segi argumen inilah para filsuf dari tradisi individualisme membangun argumen dan konsep-konsep tentang perlunya demokrasi, penegakan kekuasaan hukum, dan pemerintahan yang terbatas. Demokrasi, misalnya, mereka anggap alternatif sistem pemerintahan yang terbaik yang dapat meminimalkan dampak buruk yang diakibatkan oleh pengejaran kepentingan dari individu-individu yang duduk di kursi kekuasaan. Selain itu, demokrasi juga mereka percaya sebagai sistem yang memungkinkan perbedaan dalam masyarakat untuk tidak menjadi konflik yang terbuka dan berdarah. Konsep-konsep penting inilah yang menjadi sumbangan paling besar bagi sejarah politik modern dari para filsuf dalam tradisi individualisme, dari John Locke hingga Frederick Hayek. * Rizal Mallarangeng, mahasiswa S3 dalam bidang ilmu politik, Ohio State

University, AS. --Kini Direktur Freedom Institute, Jakarta.

January 31, 2000 Media Contact: Dolores Davies, (858) 534-5994 NOTED UC SAN DIEGO COMMUNICATION SCHOLAR, MEDIA CRITIC HERB SCHILLER DIES Herbert I. Schiller, professor emeritus of communication at the University of California, San Diego, who documented key shortcomings in the new information economy years before anyone called it that, died Jan. 29 in La Jolla, CA, after a long illness. He was 80 years old. Schiller warned of two major trends in his prolific writings and speeches: the private takeover of public space and public institutions at home, and U.S. corporate domination of cultural life abroad, especially in the developing nations. His eight books and hundreds of articles in both scholarly and popular journals made him a key figure both in communication research and in the public debate over the role of the media in modern society. The founding member of UCSD's Department of Communication, Schiller was an immensely popular teacher who always played to packed classrooms and was known for combining his biting criticisms of the media with dry humor and an openness to students' own ideas. Schiller was a frequent and much sought after contributor to leading journals of opinion, including The Nation and Le Monde Diplomatique. "Herb Schiller was a valuable national resource," said Neil Postman, author of "Amusing Ourselves to Death" and a professor of media ecology at New York University, where Schiller often taught in recent years. "It is not too much to say that he gave shape and texture to the modern study of communication and culture in America." An economist by training, Schiller turned to the study of the media in the 1960s, publishing "Mass Communications and American Empire" in 1969 and "The Mind Managers" in 1973. The mass media, he argued, were closely tied to the centers of political and economic power. Because of these ties, they

often fell short in their most crucial roles of providing a democratic forum and acting as the watchdog of powerful interests. This critique, which represented a dramatic break with the conventional wisdom in communication research at the time, permanently changed the agenda of communication scholarship by reintroducing issues of political and economic power, which had drawn little attention in the 1950s and60s. With a very few other scholars, Schillers early work founded what came to be known as the critical political economy school of communication research. Appearing at a time of political activism both at home and around the world, Schiller's work also had wide impact beyond the scholarly community, inspiring media critics and activists of many kinds. It was widely translated, and had perhaps its greatest impact in developing countries, where the subservience of media to ruling elites and the dominance of world media markets by U.S. companies became significant political issues. "Herbert Schiller was a media intellectual on a global scale," as Kaarle Nordenstreng, a Finnish scholar and president of the International Association for Mass Communication Research put it. "His ideas traveled well in the divided world of the East, West and South." In the 1970s, when sharp debates arose in UNESCO and other forums over cultural imperialism, Schiller's work was important in defining the position of the critics of Western media industries. In the 1980s and 90s, Schiller turned his attention to the rise of the "information society," publishing, among other works, "Who Knows: Information in the Age of the Fortune 500" and "Culture Inc.: The Corporate Takeover of Public Expression." In these works, he argued that the new information technologies extended the power relations he criticized in his earlier work, allowing corporate power to penetrate new parts of the world and new areas of life, including education. Schiller continued writing to the end of his life, recently completing "Living in the Number One Country: Reflections from a Critic of American Empire," which will be published by Seven Stories Press this year. The book is in part an account of the development of his own political ideas. Schiller was born in 1919 in New York City, the son of Benjamin Schiller and the former Gertrude Perner. He grew up in the Washington Heights section of

northern Manhattan, and attended DeWitt Clinton High School and City College of New York. His own life, he liked to say, paralleled in many ways that of the United States in the 20th century. His father, a jeweler, was thrown out of work early in the Great Depression, and only regained steady employment when the war economy revved up a decade later. Schiller himself was able to finish a Ph.D. at New York University because of the GI Bill, and became a professor at the University of Illinois soon after the build-up of higher education after the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite. As an occupation officer in Berlin after World War II, Schiller saw the recreation of much of the prewar economy in West Germany as a business-dominated social order. Schiller came to UCSD in 1970 to establish the Communication Program. Throughout the 1970s, Communication at UCSD was a fragile entity, popular among students but marginal within the academic structure of the university. On a number of occasions it was close to elimination. In 1982, it finally became a regular department of the university, and two years later it established a Ph.D. program, which came to be among the best known worldwide. "When I arrived here in 1978," recalls Communication Department colleague, Professor Michael Cole, "Herb was the heart, soul, and rallying point for students interested in critical studies of the media. The conversion of Communication from a small program to a large, world-class department, is in no small measure a monument to Herb's energy and determination." Schiller is survived by his wife Anita of La Jolla; two sons, Dan, of Del Mar, CA and Zach of Cleveland, OH; and two grandchildren.

THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY: PAVING OVER THE PUBLIC Interview with Herbert Schiller From the March, 1994 issue of *Z Magazine*

Huge companies are doing the most natural thing in the world to them; following their own corporate interest. - Open Magazine Interviews Herbert Schiller -

OPEN PAMPHLET: Professor Schiller, right now the major media are promoting, advertising, and exciting people with talk of an "information superhighway" The corporateowned media are doing their best to dazzle us with all the new consumer opportunities we'll have in an interactive 500 channel future which will enable us to shop from our bedrooms. You, on the other hand, are among a small group of scholars who scathingly criticize this portrait of things. Instead of a "global village" you foresee a global mall owned and controlled by corporations who are largely unaccountable to the nationstates in which they operate. Will you elaborate on this for us? A: SCHILLER: I would have no objection to a genuine expansion of communication channels in this country or globally, if I had even the slightest reason to believe that those channels would be used in a social direction and address the staggering amount of unmet needs that people have in the United States and around the world. There are untold educational needs, health needs, and general cultural needs of a wide variety. There are untold recreational needs of a very different character. So, I don't have any problem with the introduction of more channels for communication. But I get very uneasy as I follow the discussions of control and the beginnings of the implementation of policy in what is called the electronic superhighway. Nothing of what I am going to say is any secret. Most information about this is available to the public. There's a great deal of boastful commentary and promotional hype, and a lot of it clearly reveals what the underlying plans and intentions are for this highway. In fact, the best source of information is in the documents expressing Clinton and Gore's views called the National Information Infrastructure (NII) Agenda For Action. Behind all the hype shaping the electronic highway are corporate interests. These huge companies are doing the most natural thing in the world to them; following their own corporate interest. They're following their balance sheet requirements. They want to find markets that will give them very lucrative rates of return. This is how the corporate economy operates. They take their own set of aims, doctor them up, and present them as the aims of the entire society. But if we think about it, our interests are very different from these corporate interests. As the NII policy is being formed and implemented, the interests of the general public are being marginalized. It is not for the public's sake, but for the interest of this much smaller group of influential companies that all of this discussion, all of these programs, and all of this policymaking are moving ahead. Q: Your article in the Nation (July 12, 1993) suggests that commercial expansion is resulting in the extinction of the public sphere. Can you comment more on this?

A: Yes. A clear example of this can be seen in the case of public libraries. The public library has been one of the most democratic institutions in American history. When you read biographical statements of this country's most distinguished writers, many times you'll find them describing what a tremendous debt, or what gratitude they owe to the public libraries. It was a place they entered without any real barriers, picked up a book, and read. The public library has been one of the most progressive institutions in American history. Yes, it's got deficiencies. No one's saying it's a perfect institution. But, by and large, in comparison, it's been a much more democratic institution than others. And one of the cardinal principles of the public library system is that information is to be available for everyone, and it's to be available without cost. Free. Funding comes from the community. Therefore, the principle of unlimited and free public access has been the cornerstone of this democratic institution. And what's happening now? As with so many other things in this society, information is being turned into a good for sale. A good that's made available on the basis of payment, a commodity. Of course, information has always been part of commodities. Books and newspapers were always sold. But a really massive change has been under way due to the technologies that can transfer and reorganize bits of data and information, and now an area that never had the attention of private enterprise is being regarded as source of massive profit. An information industry has been developing since 1968. Companies involved in the industry say they are doing very valuable things. It's true that they are creating certain information services that were never available before. One wouldn't argue with that. But they're doing it on a commercial basis, which means that information which once was or could have been available free, now is available for a charge. If you have any experience hooking your computer in with databases, you know that you have to pay. Q: As with Lexis or the Internet A: The Internet isn't too costly compared with Lexis, which is a very expensive service. Highpowered corporate law firms have so much money that these services represent no large expense. If you're in such a firm you can connect with the information at no personal cost, but if you are outside the firm, as an ordinary individual, and you want to access the material in Lexis or Nexis, you will pay a very heavy charge. The amounts of information available are increasingly refined and sophisticated. For example, a person can search out how judges voted on a given court case, and how many cases represent a particular point of view. All of this information is available "on line," but it's available commercially, and the costs can be substantial.

Information is just one area where you see this happening, and, of course, the informationarea commercializing the fastest is government, which has previously made its information available for free. More and more of the government's data is being funneled into private, commercial vendors who repackage it and then sell it for profit to whoever can pay for it at the prices that are commercially established. Putting basic items or basic kinds of goods into a commercial format automatically creates divisions in your society, because not everybody has the same ability to pay. And this is what's going on. The entire education system is experiencing this trend, from the public schools to the universities. One of the greatest representatives of the commercial trend is the Whittle Corporation. Mr. Whittle, as you know, broadcasts his Channel One program into approximately 1,000 high schools, delivering the commercial message right into the classroom. It's the ultimate example of what I'm talking about, where a public arena gets transformed into a commercial pit. And what Whittle is doing to the classroom is being done to people in every sector of society. Anywhere you go in society, anywhere, your senses are invaded and intruded upon. The complete commercialization of space and information is proceeding rapidly. A fundamental quality of American life is being changed under our noses. Ironically, each one of these changes is being hailed as a marvelous benefit to the population. It's an unbelievable trick. Things that are fundamentally changing for the worse, the limiting of access to information and the commercialization of public space, are being presented as wonderful benefits in the offing. It's a sickening congame. Q: In a scenario where large blocks of information are owned by corporations entire classes of people will be excluded. The emerging information superhighway will further alienate society in so far as it'll be a payonly access. A: Part of the Clinton administration's job in building the information superhighway involves auctioning off longterm leases to frequencies on the radio spectrum. This is a tremendous change. And it is happening almost without comment or debate. Now what does this mean? It means they're taking a portion of public property, the radio spectrum, justifiably considered a natural resource, just like a timber stand, or a waterfall. Q: Like a national park. A: Exactly. All of these things are public property, national resources. Radio was originally intended as a people's resource. And, as such, it has been very badly abused and mismanaged, there's no question about it. The people who have received licenses to broadcast have failed in their commitment to the public mandate. Radio

broadcasters have screwed the public and used the radio spectrum for their own personal profit while they were under mandate to serve the public's interest. Q: The 1934 Federal Communications Act required that broadcast stations operate "in the public interest, convenience, and necessity." A: This Act protected the use of public property, the radio spectrum. Up until the present time, public property was considered, in a sense, inviolate. Now, the government is under enormous pressure from a massive onslaught of corporate users, who are no longer satisfied with getting shortterm leases. ABC, CBS, and all the other big networks have huge sections of the spectrum licensed to them, not given to them. They have their leases automatically renewed without having to conform to "the public interest, convenience, and necessity" in any substantive way. Now the government is actually auctioning off licenses to the highest bidder. How do they present this to the people? They say, this is a wonderful opportunity to raise billions of dollars and bring an end to mismanagement of the spectrum. They tell the general public that $10 billion will be raised. Most people are impressed. The Administration sells off something that most of us have little knowledge of. Where is it? What is it? It's very intangible. The public loses access to a natural resource, and the government gets $10 billion while saying that everybody will be benefiting. That's the kind of baloney that's being passed on to people these days. Q: I remember the article in the New York Times (Sept. 24 1993) that pitched the auctioning of the radiowaves as proconsumer in so far as Jane and Joe Consumer will be able to use cellular phone services at a fraction of the present cost. That's how we're sucked into it. Thinking that we'll again lower charges for something like cellular phone usage while actually losing a piece of a Yosemite or Yellowstone, you know, a national resource. A: I think this is the most costly single example of conversion of public resources into private resources, one which we will have to pay for endlessly. The money the public will have to pay to access the radio spectrum after it's leased off will far exceed the money the government garners from selling the leases. If it were otherwise, these companies wouldn't purchase the leases to begin with. More importantly, we will no longer be able to decide for ourselves not as individuals, but as a community, a national public how this resource should be used. Maybe we don't want to give the radio spectrum out to the cellular phone industry. We have to ask, Who's going to use these services? And for what purposes?

Once you hand this over to corporate control you alienate it from the public arena, you lose your democratic rights over its disposition. It's a profound decision we are facing as a society. What's so upsetting is that it occasions no discussion. Q: Why the sudden imperative to auction these longterm leases? A: The argument of those who are happy with this new policy is that the spectrum, up to this point, has not been used efficiently. What if, as a society, we had a very different set of criteria for what is and isn't efficient and what is and isn't profitable? How could you ever calculate the value of utilizing the spectrum for the community's benefit? It's priceless. A vast chunk of the channels are still held by the military, the Department of Defense. They use it for all kinds of purposes: navigational, satellites, spying, etc. I think the military still controls half of the spectrum. If you want to look where the spectrum is not being handled efficiently take a look there. Q: You have written that you see the tangible ownership of this new social network in communications, corporate mergers, and the development of the "information highway" as ushering in the death of the public sector. A: Yes, unless one chooses to build the information highway on the existing model of the Internet. The Internet was started with military funds from the Department of Defense, but those were public funds. And the military, obviously, had its own interest in establishing an electronic network. Clearly, a lot of our research in the last 50 years has been militarily funded and targeted. Then the National Science Foundation (NSF) got into the act, and they put up some funding. The amounts of money provided by the NSF were not very great, but it was enough to start an experimental network used primarily by university researchers. People in academia began hooking into networks all around the country, and exchanged research findings, questions and data. As time went on, the network attracted more and more users. If you were in a university, either as a faculty member, or even as a student, you could hop on and use the system without cost, so it functioned more or less as a truly democratic system, more like a library than a mall. You can communicate with whomever you want by way of electronic mail, EMail. But now the Internet is in the process of being slowly converted into a more commercial system. Q: How is the process of privatizing the Internet taking place? A: I can't give you all the specifics, but, for example, as of 1994, the NSF will withdraw the $12 million that it annually grants to the Internet. The money has to

come from somewhere. That's where the corporations rush in and the commercialization begins. Quite likely, Internet's going to meet the same fate that radio broadcasting met back in the 1920s and 1930s. Q: To play devil's advocate for a moment, corporations like Chris Whittle's and Dun & Bradstreet might ask why corporate and public interests cannot exist side by side? They could argue that they are providing substantially new information services. What do you see as the contradiction there? A: It's a Faustian bargain. You sell your soul for a temporary benefit. Consider Whittle's infiltration of the public school system. What are the implications? Whittle's formula with Channel One is to package ten minutes of news with two minutes of commercials. Kids in a Channel One school are exposed to this every day, five days a week. What are the implications of this? What are the consequences? Well, first of all, you get a false notion that the kids are really benefiting from the news. There's no reason to believe this whatsoever. What are kids getting out of this? At the very best, they get a superficial familiarity with a couple of names and places. It's just mishmash. Which is bad enough, but what's worse is that the children become commercial targets for the corporations that have the money to advertise on Whittle's program. I don't see the kids getting anything whatsoever. Whittle provides some of the most grotesque examples of present day commercialism. In addition to Channel One, the Whittle Corporation brings in so called "educational posters" and "educational bulletin boards," and puts them in the classes or the corridors of the schools. The section of the poster that's an advertisement is placed at the kids eyelevel. and the socalled informational component is above the kids heads. It's obviously crude stuff, but it's a good example of what they're thinking about, where their interests are, and how their presence deteriorates the educational environment. Q: Another broad area to discuss is public resistance to all of this, resistance to the penetration of public space by people like Whittle with Channel One and the Star Broadcasting Network. What kinds of venues do you think are best for people to explore and defend against, Let's say, the selling off of the public airwaves or the "mallification" of our social fabric, and the development of an information highway that's not like a library, but like a department store. What kinds of activist strategies do you recommend in the months and years ahead? A: Some of the possibilities for resistance will come out of the contradictory situations that these developments produce. They will produce certain kinds of discordances, certain kinds of problems for groups or sectors in the society. I was in

Connecticut a couple of weeks ago, and nearby in Greenfield, Massachusetts a couple of local communities had organized to keep out Walmart, the giant chain store. Now, ordinarily an outfit like Walmart is able to convince people that when it comes to town everybody will benefit, people will get lower prices and a larger variety. This is far from being a massive national movement, but the Massachusetts community won, and Walmart was forced out. The basis for the organizing was the protection of local interests, and the protection of local autonomy. Community resistance can prevent corporate giants from dominating everyone's space. Q: If the corporate media trivialize everything that they report, and their only business is to buy and sell public attention to corporate advertisers, how can we ever engage in the public dialogue necessary for policy changes? How can we counter this in real and meaningful ways other than through the change of ownership. It seems like it comes to this. We always feel a frustration with media watchdog groups, noble as their efforts are to correct media biases in race and gender and class, the underlying problem of corporate ownership is never really engaged. Commercial ownership of the media is the source of our problem; it's what we have to challenge, and it's a monolith that few groups are willing to engage. A: You're right on target with that. I don't think you can tackle the media head-on. We need to go around them. The central question is the structure of media ownership. You're not going to get a discussion of this from the very institutions that are organized in this way. In other words, you won't see CBS, or ABC or NBC actually exploring issues of hegemony and domination. Q: But at the same time we're so paralyzed at exactly this point. To go around the media monoliths is to leave unchallenged the issue of commercial ownership, and then the only real alternative is for us to challenge with independent media networks. A: It's an unequal battle. Strengthening an independent media system is something that needs to be pursued, because you know you're not going to get access into the corporate media system. I just don't see it happening at this particular stage. We need to recognize that the whole system is riding very high right at this particular time. Washington doesn't have to look over its shoulder at whether or not there is a significant socialist model to contend with; the Cold War destroyed whatever there was out there. Just look at the unrelenting pressure put on the people of Cuba. Washington doesn't want the slightest possibility of a social alternative to exist. So, when I say they're riding high, I mean that they no longer feel any serious challenge to their expansion. They can always use what happened in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union as their ideological ploy against socialism.

The question is, what can we do in the meantime, until broad movements can take on corporate power as a whole? I can't see being able to get a fair shake in the media. However, it is at least imaginable that political pressure could make our sclerotic representative government pay a little attention to the needs of people who are being ignored. When people are running for office a crucial political question to ask now is: What are your views on the media? In what ways do you plan to open up the media? Are you going to press for the cable company in your community to make ten channels available for public use? What are they going to say? No? Why not? You can do that. One of the biggest problems is that the entertainment and information media want massive audiences, and they don't want to run into any problems with any social questions. How many movies did they make about the labor movement? After all, America is made up of people who work. Where is the history of these people? Where's the dayinanddayout history of the African American population? Where's the dayinanddayout history of women? Not just one program. Where's the whole history of the people? Where's the whole history of protest movements in America? Can you imagine the kind of dramatic material that could come from American protest movements? The entertainment people are always saying that they don't have enough dramatic material. Who are they kidding? We can begin by alerting the population on a national level as to what is happening and begin stimulating debate. What are the needs of this country? How will they be met? How are they going to be met with the means proposed? These are the questions we need to ask before society is rewired by a corporaterun information superhighway. Interview conducted By Greg Ruggiero and Stuart Sahulka Open Media, PO Box 2726 Westfield, NJ 07091; (908) 789-9608

This page last updated 31 January 1996. Copyright 1995 BCLA Information Policy Committee Back to Information Policy Home Page

According to Herbert Schiller, American megacorporations are taking over the world, and

What we call "the free flow of information" is a scam --it's merely propaganda for aggressive international capitalism; The Marshall Plan was not an altruistic aid program to help Europe rebuild after a devastating war, but a prelude for economic imperialism as represented by the World Bank and, more recently, the IMF. (The Marshall Plan even tied "grants to a recipient's acquiescence to opening its market to U. S. cultural exports, film in particular," so we could beat up on their cultures with our own). Germany after WWII was rebuilt not because of what we learned from Versailles, but rather to push this new form of colonialism --- one promulgated by the United States of Coca-Cola, IBM, General Electric, ITT and, presumably, Bugs Bunny.

"I gave my attention to those locales around which I had some, though limited, personal experience," Schiller writes. "One was the Western European social order, which was 'threatened' not, as was asserted by our leadership, by Soviet aggression, but by its own indigenous radical movements." Translation: The Cold War scare was cooked up to squash liberal tendencies in the governments of England, France, Italy and Scandinavia. Some of this may be true, but Schiller has a problem getting his message across. The reason: He's a dogmatist of the first water. And he's a lousy writer to boot. Reading Living in the Number One Country reminded me of that old wheeze, "When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail."

There are nuggets of truth. No one with brains (or heart) could excuse our nation's long love affair with Chiang Kai-Shek, or our not-so-secret support of the overthrow of Juan Bosch and Jacobo Arbenz Guzmn. CIA excursions into Iran, Chile and Nicaragua, among others, and our shenanigans in Vietnam have left us with wounds that will, and should, taint American foreign relations for many decades. But to say that our vigorous support for the anti-communists in Greece, our 50-year containment of Stalinism, our part in defusing apartheid in South Africa and our central role in the birth of democracy in Germany and Japan derived solely from the needs of large-scale capital is tedious and shortsighted. It's no sin to be a didactic writer --- Barbara Tuchman, John Kenneth Galbraith, William Buckley and Eric Hobsbawm are some of the best in the business, and we read them with pleasure. In The Age of Extremes, Hobsbawm (who shares many of the same views as Schiller) gives us a fine exegesis on 20th Century world economic and social history. He may have an agenda, but he sucks us in with a combination of style, wit and astonishing facts. By contrast, Schiller puts us in mind of a story by the psychotherapist Salvador Minuchin. In one of his more famous videotape sessions, he is treating a family consisting of a whining mother, a noisy father, and a daughter who keeps trying to kill herself. "This family is a violin with only one string," he tells them. "And it's playing a funeral march." Is there any hope in Schiller's bleak world? Yes. Our "reduced world role" will create "a sharp increase in social conflict

between domestic haves and have-nots, a struggle over shares of diminishing resources." To put it more starkly, we're on the edge of a revolution, and the megacorporations will not be able to control it. It's an interesting if scary theory, but some of us who have been around as long as Schiller can't help thinking otherwise. We see, sometimes with despair, that American know-how has created a subtle and unbeatable system. Our world is tied up, more and more, with rules and regulations and bureaucratic idiocy. Ask any American who tries to run a business out of his home about the nightmare of paperwork. Ask any poor Mexican who wants to make a living over here about getting over the border and "La Migra." Ask anyone who wants to grow and sell dope for medical purposes what it's like getting busted. But there's a powerful hook that keeps us going. It shows up every day in the newspapers, on radio and TV and cable. It's at the heart of the very capitalism that Schiller deplores. It's some geezer who bought a home in San Francisco or Washington or Miami thirty years ago who finds himself sitting on a pot of gold called "equity." It's an auto mechanic or garbage hauler who buys Lotto tickets week after week and, despite the odds, ends up with $100,000 in cash. It's those geeks in high school who had moss on their teeth and bad breath who invented something obscure having to do with computers, and who all of a sudden are sitting on a million stock options. If Schiller thinks his rants about the dangers of international corporate malfeasance can overcome this jackpot mentality, he

is mistaken. He's badly outnumbered by all those in line to become the next Bill Gates, or Michael Dell, or Larry Ellison, or Pehong Chen. It's too bad that Schiller has recently passed on. If he were still among the living, and wanted to produce yet another rant on the evils of American international capitalism, we'd have suggested that he give himself (and us) a break by taking a semester or two at the Iowa Writer's Workshop. A few weeks with the likes of T. Coraghessan Boyle would have taught him how to lighten up a bit so that those of us who might be interested in his message would not have to be driven batty by his miserable style.

Media Criticism: AG. Eka Wenats Wuryanta


Media criticism is in an undeveloped state, today, largely because the mainstream media allows virtually no open discussion of the subject. Some criticism that does get to the public, of course, but most of it is corrupted by the same forces that have turned the rest of the media into a source of manipulation. Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Realitas dan Kajian Media


Oleh Thomas Hanitzsch Tujuan tulisan ini adalah untuk memberikan sumbangan pemikiran terhadap tulisan R. Kristiawan dan Nuraini Juliastuti yang dimuat di KUNCI (8, 2000). Berangkat dari memperdalam kritik terhadap kosep hegemoni saya akan merevisi kajian terhadap majalah remaja HAI. R. Kristiawan sangat benar ketika mengkritik konsep hegemoni yang dikembangkan oleh Antonio Gramsci, karena wacana Gramsci ternyata tidak membantu untuk mengerti interdependensi (bukan dependensi!) kultural antara dunia Barat dan dunia Timur maupun antara dunia Utara dan Selatan. Proses globalisasi itu memang jauh lebih kompleks. Gramsci menyimpulkan bahwa budaya Barat sangat dominan terhadap budaya di negara-negara berkembang, sehingga negara berkembang terpaksa mengadopsi budaya Barat. Dalam konteks pembangunanisme, konsep Gramsci memang sangat dekat dengan dasar pemikiran teori dependensi

(Cardoso), termasuk imperialisme struktural (Johan Galtung) dan imperialisme kultural (Herbert Schiller). Model-model pembangunan tersebut gagal karena empat faktor: pertama, proses diferensiasi di dunia ketiga sendiri, terutama kesuksesan ekonomi beberapa negara berkembang dengan menggunakan strategi yang berorientasi pada pasar dunia, justru menentang kesimpulan-kesimpulan utama teori hegemoni dan dependensi (Rullmann 1996). Kedua, teori-teori tersebut memanfaatkan sebuah perspektif global dan dengan demikian tidak menyadari adanya ketidakseimbangan sosial, struktur patrimonial dan eksploitasi di negara-negara berkembang sendiri (Servaes, 1995). Ketiga, teori hegemoni dan dependensi ternyata gagal dalam mengusulkan solusi-solusi yang bermanfaat dalam konteks global (ibid). Keempat, referensi historis yang mengarah kepada masa penjajahan dan hegemoni ekonomi global sebagai sebab kemacetan perkembangan di sebagian Dunia Ketiga harus dilihat sebagai hal yang sangat problematis. Perlu kita ingat bahwa Afghanistan misalnya, yang tidak pernah dijajah oleh negara Barat, sampai sekarang tetap tidak mampu berkembang, dilihat tidak hanya dari perspektif model demokrasi Barat. Bahkan James D. Halloran, salah seorang penasehat komisi MacBride 20 tahun yang lalu, berpendapat bahwa riset terhadap perkembangan di Dunia Ketiga cenderung justru mempertajam ketergantungan negara-negara berkembang pada Barat. Lalu dia bertanya, apakah imperialisme kultural dan imperialisme media diikuti imperialisme penelitian? (Halloran, 1998). Saya pikir, tidak. Apa gunanya? Persepsi tentang Antonio Gramsci oleh pakar sosiologi di dunia ketiga yang sangat positif itu barangkali terjadi karena mereka sering dengan mudah dan tidak kritis mengadopsi model dan teori sosiologi Barat yang sudah ketinggalan jaman seperti modernisme, dependensi dan hegemoni. Dengan demikian, tanggung jawab atas segala kegagalan di Dunia Ketiga bisa dilempar ke negaranegara maju. Saya sangat setuju dengan yang ditulis R. Kristiawan bahwa media massa tidak merupakan alat penguasa untuk menciptakan reproduksi ketaatan (KUNCI 8, 2000). Media massa sebenarnya tidak berdiri sendiri, melainkan merupakan bagian dari masyarakat. Dalam bahasa teori sistem sosial yang terus menerus dikembangkan di Jerman, fungsi media massa adalah memungkinkan pengamatan diri masyarakat (Marcinkowski 1993). Fungsi media massa sebenarnya bukan merekonstruksikan realitas sosial, sebagaimana ditulis oleh Ana Nadhya Abrar, pakar jurnalistik di Universitas Gadjah Mada (Abrar 1997). Dengan kata lain, media massa merupakan cermin kebaikan dan keburukan masyarakat, bukan mencerminkan (dalam arti meng-copy) keadaan masyarakat. Media di Indonesia maupun di negara lain sama parahnya dengan keadaan masyarakat. Tidak ada gunanya kalau kita terus bertanya, kenapa pemberitaan di media massa begitu parah? Menurut Niklas Luhmann, sosiolog Jerman, seharusnya kita bertanya, seberapa parah kondisi masyarakat kita sampai kita membutuhkan cermin media seperti itu? (Luhmann, 1996) Dalam konteks ini, maka saya tidak sepenuhnya setuju dengan pengertian Nuraini Juliastuti terhadap media massa dalam kajiannya terhadap majalah remaja HAI. Dalam tulisannya "Majalah HAI dan 'Boyish Culture'" (KUNCI 8, 2000) ia hendak menjawab pertanyaan "bagaimana sistem operasi dari konstruksi budaya dan konstruksi sosial itu bekerja membentuk dominasi ideologi maskulinitas lewat media massa". Pertama, pertanyaan tersebut tetap tidak terjawab. Akhirnya, bagaimana sistem itu sebenarnya beroperasi? Kedua, pertanyaan Nuraini Juliastuti tampaknya mengandung dua premis pernyataan yang belum terbukti, yaitu adanya arus informasi yang bersifat satu arah dan adanya dampak media massa yang cukup berarti terhadap publik. Sebagian besar pakar cultural studies selama ini masih melihat konsumsi media massa sebagai proses penciptaan budaya yang berkaitan dengan kuasa (Ang 1999) dan mengandung bahaya hegemoni Barat (Hepp 1999). Walaupun demikian, suatu perubahan dalam pengertian cultural studies terhadap media massa sudah terlihat. Douglas Kellner misalnya menuntut pendekatan metateoretis dan multiperspektifis dalam menganalisis proses penyampaian pesan media (Kellner 1999).

Demikian juga pakar-pakar sosiologi yang memanfaatkan potensi teori sistem sosial pasca-Talcott Parsons. Proses penyampaian pesan dalam ilmu komunikasi kini dipandang sebagai proses yang dinamis dan transaksional. Artinya, khalayak juga aktif dalam proses tersebut. Publik tidak tinggal diam dan menerima pesan-pesan media massa begitu saja, melainkan paling tidak memilih pesan yang layak diterima. Sebaliknya, media juga sangat tergantung pada nilai-nilai kultural masyarakat pada umumnya. Bila kita mau menyalahkan media massa atas perkembangan masyarakat yang tidak memuaskan itu, seharusnya kita membuktikan bahwa ada kenyataan murni yang bersifat universal (the truth out there), dan kita sebagai individu dapat mengamatinya dengan hasil yang sama. Akan tetapi, apa yang kita alami sebagai realitas itu hanya merupakan hasil konstruksi atau kognisi kita sendiri yang berdasarkan pengamatan atas realitas. Tentunya, kenyataan Anda berbeda dengan kenyataan saya walaupun kita mengamati realitas murni. Kesimpulan kita berbeda karena cara pengamatan yang dipakai tidak sama (Luhmann 1990). Dengan demikian muncul pertanyaan, apakah layak bila kita sebagai ilmuwan menuntut media massa untuk mengkonstruksi realitas dengan cara pengamatan kita? Tentu tidak! Seorang peneliti mengamati realitas sosial dengan maksud mendapatkan kebenaran. Seorang wartawan mengamati realitas dengan maksud membuat berita yang relevan dan informatif buat pembacanya. Walaupun demikian, kita sebagai peneliti tetap dapat meneliti dan terus mengkritik media massa. Akan tetapi, bila kita memanfaatkan pendekatan ontologis dan normatif dalam analisis media, maka posisi ilmu komunikasi atau sosiologi pada umumnya akan berada dalam posisi yang lemah. Kita perlu melihat media massa sebagai bagian dari masyarakat kita. Jangan kita bertanya seberapa parah pemberitaan di media massa kita masa kini. Melainkan bertanya, faktor-faktor apa yang memungkinkan penampakan media yang kurang memuaskan.
Thomas Hanitzsch Peneliti Program S3 di Technische Universitt Ilmenau, Jerman. Sekarang sedang melakukan penelitian tentang wartawan di Indonesia dan mengajar di Program Studi Ilmu Komunikasi, Universitas Atma Jaya Yogyakarta.

Referensi Abrar, Ana Nadhya (1997): Bila Fenomena Jurnalisme Direfleksikan, Jakarta. Ang, Ien (1999): "Kultur und Kommunikation, Auf dem Weg zu einer ethnographischen Kritik des Medienkonsums in transnationalen Mediensystemen", in: Roger Bromley/Udo Gttlich/Carsten Winter (eds.):Cultural Studies, Grundlagentexte zur Einfhrung, Lneburg, 317-340. Cardoso, Fernando Henrique/Enzo Falletto (1979): Dependency and Development in Latin America, Berkeley. Galtung, Johan (1971): "A Structural Theory of Imperialism", in: JOURNAL OF PEACE RESEARCH 8(1971)2, 81-117. Halloran, James D. (1998): "Social Science, Communication Research and the Third World", in: MEDIA DEVELOPMENT (1998)2, 43-46. Hepp, Andreas (1999): Cultural Studies und Medienanalyse, Eine Einfhrung, Opladen. Kellner, Douglas (1999): "Medien- und Kommunikationsforschung von Cultural Studies, Wider ihre Trennung", in: Roger Bromley/Udo Gttlich/Carsten Winter (eds.): Cultural Studies, Grundlagentexte zur Einfhrung, Lneburg, 341-363. Luhmann, Niklas (1990): Soziologische Aufklrung 5, Konstruktivistische Perspektiven, Opladen.

Luhmann, Niklas (1996): Die Realitt der Massenmedien, Opladen. Frank Marcinkowski (1993): Publizistik als autopoietisches System, Politik und Massenmedien, Eine systemtheoretische Analyse, Opladen. Talcott Parsons (1964[1951]): The Social System, New York/London. Schiller, Herbert (1969): Mass Communication and American Empire, New York.

Dientri oleh AG. Eka Wenats Wuryanta at 4:04 PM 1 Komentar


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Roboh Rasionalitas dan Moralitas Politik Kami


Akhir dekade '80-an, contohnya, reformasi politik di Rusia dan Eropa Timur yang digerakkan oleh klaim-klaim keberlakuan universal dari rasionalitas dan moralitas sejumlah metanarasi proyek pencerahan (yang memuat ide-ide demokrasi, hak-hak asasi, kebebasan, dan keadilan), harus menerima kenyataan adanya berbagai keyakinan, ide, visi, dan tingkah laku regresif yang menyelinap sebagai free riders dalam proses reformasi di kawasan itu. Elemenelemen regresif tersebut-yang dipenuhi oleh irasionalitas klaim-klaim primordial dan lokal, dan yang seharusnya telah lama terkubur dalam sejarah hitam peradaban manusia-bisa diamati melalui sejumlah fenomena. Satu di antaranya adalah munculnya konflik berdarah di Rusia dan Yugoslaviadi mana manusia membunuh sesamanya hanya karena perbedaan ciri-ciri etnik, ras, atau agama. Kemudian bisa juga diamati dari kembalinya neo-Nazisme di Jerman dan Austria yang meyakini mitos superioritas ras "Arya" dan memandang manusia ras lain sebagai subhuman, ataupun lahirnya kelompok ultrakanan Vladimir Zhirinovsky yang berusaha menghidupkan kemaharajaan Rusia.

Dalam bobot yang tidak jauh berbeda, proses-proses yang berlangsung selama reformasi politik di negeri kami pun juga telah menciptakan peluang bagi terbukanya kotak Pandora, memunculkan kembali beragam keyakinan, ide serta tingkah laku yang justru bertentangan dengan hakikat rasionalitas dan moralitas dilakukannya reformasi itu sendiri. Reformasi politik untuk mengakhiri tirani kekuasaan rezim Orde Baru, demi terciptanya kehidupan politik yang lebih demokratis berdasarkan mayoritas pendapat yang dihasilkan melalui pertukaran opini secara rasional, ternyata telah dibayangi oleh tendensi munculnya democrazy yang lebih didasarkan atas kemampuan unjuk kekuatan massa (secara fisik), melalui agitasi dan pemanfaatan irasionalitas simbol-simbol dan sentimen-sentimen tertentu yang masih bisa digali dan dieksploitasi dari budaya masyarakat kita.

Fenomena reformasi politik di Tanah Air, seperti halnya di Eropa Timur, merupakan kasus di mana peluang demokratisasi justru tercipta oleh keruntuhan ekonomi-berlawanan dengan tesis bahwa demokratisasi politik merupakan produk pertumbuhan ekonomi kapitalis, melalui penciptaan kelas menengah independen. Masalah yang kemudianmuncul adalah bagaimana dalam kondisi ekonomi yang buruk, proses demokratisasi bisa berjalan mulus tanpa harus membuka kotak Pandora yang penuh berisi sentimen primordial dan irasionalitas politik.

Robohnya rasionalitas politik jelas terlihat melalui berbagai tingkah laku politik kelompok elite ataupun massa, terutama dalam pertikaian dan konflik-konflik berdarah yang melibatkan amuk massa dan yang dipicu oleh sentimen primordial, prasangka sosial, serta alasan-alasan irasional lainnya. Sebab, rasionalitas suatu tindakan politik, sekurangnya melibatkan optimalisasi tiga hal. Pertama, penentuan pilihan tindakan politik terbaik untuk mencapai suatu tujuan politik, berdasarkan keinginan dan keyakinan politik yang dimiliki (termasuk konsepsi tentang suatu realitas politik). Kedua, keyakinan atau konsepsi politik itu sendiri haruslah merupakan pilihan terbaik dari sejumlah kemungkinan yang bisa dibentuk berdasarkan bukti-bukti serta argumen yang ada. Ketiga, keyakinan atau konsepsi politik tersebut juga harus rasional, memiliki konsistensi internal (antara lain harus secara optimal didukung oleh bukti-bukti serta argumen yang memadai; dan pengumpulan bukti serta penyusunan argumen itu pun juga harus dilakukan secara rasional, tidak selektif dan manipulatif).

Irasionalitas, dengan demikian, bisa muncul di tiap bagian yang ada dalam mata-rantai antara tujuan tindakan keyakinan - keinginan - dan bukti serta argumen. Dalam kasus Maluku, contohnya, tindakan kekerasan serta unjuk kekuatan yang dilakukan, jelas bukan merupakan pilihan terbaik untuk mencapai tujuan politik tiap kelompok yang terlibat dan menginginkan penyelesaian; semua tindak kekerasan serta unjuk kekuatan ternyata hanya membuat masalah semakin berlarut-larut serta merugikan semua pihak. Tindakan politik itu pun lebih didorong oleh keinginan untuk meniadakan kelompok lain atau balas dendam. Lebih jauh, keinginan seperti itu juga banyak didasarkan keyakinan atau konsepsi tentang realitas politik yang tidak tepat, yang terbentuk oleh sentimen primordial, argumenargumen tidak logis, bukti-bukti tidak memadai, yang diperoleh secara selektif, hasil manipulasi informasi atau sekadar rumor. Kesemuanya bahkan mungkin hanya didasarkan pada dikotomi artifisial tentang "kita" dan "mereka", ataupun stereotipe dan prasangka negatif tentang kelompok lain.

Irasionalitas politik serupa juga bisa diamati dalam berbagai tindakan politik yang dilakukan elite ataupun massa dalam berbagai proses politik selama era reformasi, dari pembentukan platform partai, penyelenggaraan kampanye politik, pemilihan partai dan pimpinan politik, hingga penyelesaian berbagai masalah politik yang terjadi di Tanah Air.

Irasionalitas politik bisa pula muncul sebagai apa yang disebut the weakness of will ataupun the excess of will (Elster, 1991). Yang pertama merujuk pada kondisi di mana tindakan politik yang dilakukan bertentangan dengan pilihan tindakan politik terbaik yang secara rasional harus dilakukan; itu antara lain disebabkan oleh faktor ketidakmampuan menahan keinginan untuk melakukan tindakan atas dasar solidaritas primordial semata-mata. Sementara the excess of will bisa mengambil contoh di mana tindakan untuk turut memperjuangkan reformasi bukan mengarah pada tujuan demi terciptanya kehidupan politik yang lebih demokratis, melainkan justru terutama sekali untuk menciptakan peluang bagi muncul dan berkuasanya suatu partai atau kelompok politik pembawa visi serta ideologi totaliter tertentu (yang mungkin tidak kalah represifnya dibanding yang dimiliki rezim penguasa sasaran reformasi itu sendiri).

Moralitas dan pers Rasionalitas politik, bagaimanapun, bukanlah satu-satunya isu pokok. Sebab, rasionalitas politik bisa ditampilkan untuk tujuan-tujuan penindasan dan dominasi politik. Semua tindakan irasional yang dilakukan masyarakat dalam konflik berdarah di Maluku, contohnya, bisa merupakan bagian suatu desain akbar tindakan rasional kelompok elite politik tertentu untuk pencapaian tujuan-tujuan politik mereka-yang bertentangan dengan nilai-nilai universal etika dan moralitas politik-dengan memanfaatkan irasionalitas serta sentimen-sentimen primordial yang masih bisa digali dari budaya masyarakat.

Rasionalitas politik hanya menunjukkan apa yang harus dilakukan agar secara optimal bisa mencapai suatu tujuan politik, tanpa sedikit pun mengatakan tujuan apa yang sebaiknya harus dicapai. Rasionalitas politik seperti itu lebih mewakili suatu instrumental rationality, atau formal rationality, yang didasarkan atas pragmatisme kalkulasi rasional untuk tujuan-tujuan efisiensi dan maksimalisasi kekuasaan politik.

Dalam konteks rasionalitas instrumental, maka nilai-nilai humanisme substansif-yang berlaku lintas etnis, agama dan ras, seperti keadilan sosial, hak-hak asasi manusia, serta perikemanusiaan yang adil dan beradab-bisa menjadi sekadar nilai instrumental, yang dipegang hanya sejauh masih bisa berfungsi sebagai instrumen pencapaian tujuan maksimalisasi kekuasaan politik tertentu.

Di lain pihak, reformasi-reformasi politik besar yang berlangsung sejak beberapa abad lalu, tidaklah semata-mata digerakkan oleh rasionalitas politik, tetapi didasarkan pula atas elemen-elemen non-rational yang berkaitan dengan

etika dan moralitas politik tertentu. Lahirnya negara kesejahteraan (welfare state), contohnya, tidaklah dihasilkan melalui gerakan sosial yang semata-mata didasarkan atas kekuatan rasionalitas politik belaka, melainkan juga oleh adanya moral resources, berupa komitmen terhadap nilai-nilai keadilan sosial yang berlaku untuk semua kelompok etnik, ras, agama, dan sosial-politik.

Karena itu, sebenarnya yang diperlukan adalah suatu rasionalitas politik yang memuat elemen-elemen nonrasional, berupa nilai-nilai etika dan moralitas politik yang berlaku universal, yang kesemuanya ditempatkan sebagai bagian dari cara (means) sekaligus sebagai tujuan akhir (ends) untuk melakukan aktivitas berpolitik. Rasionalitas dan moralitas politik suatu bangsa-ataupun robohnya kedua hal tersebut-bisa tercermin melalui teks isi media. Isi media merupakan produk dari praktik-praktik wacana (discource practices) pada level industri media, yang berkaitan dengan rasionalitas dan moralitas di balik proses-proses memroduksi dan mengkonsumsi teks. Artinya, teks isi media tidak terlepas dari rasionalitas dan moralitas yang mendasari berlangsungnya interaksi antara berbagai kekuatan, baik yang melekat pada struktur pasar dan kepemilikan dalam industri media, ideologi politik dan "ideologi" profesi jurnalis, selera khalayak, dan kekuatan berbagai kelompok politik dalam masyarakat. Keseluruhan praktik wacana itu sendiri tidak terlepas dari rasionalitas dan moralitas praktik-praktik sosial-budaya (socio-cultural practices) yang menjadi konteks proses memproduksi dan mengkonsumsi teks isi media.

Namun, secara bersamaan, rasionalitas dan moralitas teks isi media juga mampu mempengaruhi praktik-praktik wacana ataupun sosial-budaya yang melekat dalam struktur industri media dan struktur sosial-budaya. Atas dasar premis adanya interaksi antara structure dan agency-yang salah satu intinya mengakui bahwa individu adalah produk struktur sosial-budaya, namun secara bersamaan individu yang menempati struktur tertentu memiliki pula potensi untuk mengubah struktur-maka posisi jurnalis, sebagai human agencies, dalam keseluruhan struktur yang ada, sebenarnya amat strategis.

Karenanya, prospek pengembangan rasionalitas dan moralitas politik dalam reformasi di Tanah Air akan turut ditentukan oleh kelompok jurnalis. Pertama, sebagai kekuatan profesional yang independen, yang hanya berpihak pada rasionalitas kaidah-kaidah memroduksi teks isi media; kedua, sebagai kekuatan moral independen, yang menunjukkan keberpihakannya bukan pada kelompok tertentu, namun pada nilai-nilai etika dan moral universal melalui tes isi media yang diproduksinya.Bagaimanapun, adanya media sebagai suatupublic sphere yang menjadi wadah diskursus rasional, dan mengacu pada kaidah-kaidah etika serta moralitas politik yang berlaku universal, merupakan suatu legitimate principle bagi demokrasi, apa pun nama demokrasi tersebut.

* Dedy N Hidayat, dosen Pascasarjana Universitas Indonesia (UI).

Dientri oleh AG. Eka Wenats Wuryanta at 10:44 AM 1 Komentar

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Monday, June 05, 2006

TOTAL PROPAGANDA: Perspektif Kritis terhadap Iklan


Ketika ada ABG mengecat rambutnya menjadi merah, banyak orang terperanjat dan bergumam, "Korban iklan apa lagi?" Maka, warna rambut pun menjadi obrolan orang tua karena itu adalah dagangan 'gaya hidup' terkini. Saya pun pernah terkena giliran. Saat seorang keluarga tergiur kosmetik pemutih kulit, saya pun berteriak sama, "Korban iklan apa lagi?" Tapi itulah. Walaupun krisis masih melanda negeri ini, ribuan remaja terus saja jadi korban iklan. Dan mereka pun tiba-tiba mendambakan rambut warna-warni, kosmetik dan parfum berganti-ganti, handphonebermacam seri, dan impian mobil mewah keluaran terkini. Welcome to Consumer Society!.

Tumbuhnya masyarakat pasar-industri (the market-industrial society) dalam konteks kapitalisme modern ternyata telah membawa perubahan radikal dalam kehidupan masyarakat. Sejak revolusi industri yang membawa pelipatgandaan barang-barang yang dikonsumsi manusia, untuk pertama kalinya, masyarakat hidup dikelilingi oleh beragam komoditas barang dan jasa dalam jumlah dan keragaman foo[2]luar biasa. Walaupun awalnya, barang-barang yang diproduksi lebih merupakan duplikasi dari apa yang digunakan di dalam rumah, inovasi dalam produksi modal industri semakin lama membanjiri pasar, memberikan aneka pilihan, jauh melampaui sekadar kebutuhan dasar (basic needs) yang diperlukan. Industri dalam kapitalisme modern memiliki kemampuan menciptakan 'kebutuhan-kebutuhan baru' dalam kehidupan. Akibatnya, masyarakat sering kali dihadapkan pada tawaran-tawaran kebutuhan menarik yang mereka sendiri awalnya tak merasa pasti benar-benar membutuhkannya. MASYARAKAT DAN KOMODITAS Saat ini partisipasi masyarakat dunia amat tinggi, dan fenomena partisipasi aktif ini tidak terlepas dari perkembangan kapitalisme. Masyarakat kapitalis mutakhir disebut Foucault dengan masyarakat konsumer (Piliang dalam Ibrahim, 1997, hal. 195) dan Adorno dengan masyarakat komoditas (commodity society). Adorno mengemukakan empat aksioma penting yang menandai masyarakat komoditas. Empat aksioma tersebut adalah ; Pertama, kita hidup dalam suatu masyarakat komoditas, yakni masyarakat yang di dalamnya berlangsung produksi barang-barang, bukan terutama bagi pemuasan keinginan dan kebutuhan manusia, tetapi demi profit dan keuntungan. Dalam masyarakat komoditas, kebutuhan manusia terpuaskan hanya secara insidental. Kedua, dalam masyarakat komoditas, muncul kecenderungan umum ke arah konsentrasi kapital yang luar biasa yang memungkinkan terselubungnya operasi pasar bebas demi keuntungan produksi massayang dimonopoli dari barang-barang yang distandarisasi. Kecenderungan ini akan benar-benar terjadi teristimewa terhadap industri komunikasi. Ketiga, hal yang lebih sulit dihadapi oleh masyarakat kontemporer adalah meningkatnya tuntutan terus menerus, sebagai kecenderungan dari kelompok yang lebih kuat untuk memelihara, melalui semua sarana yang tersedia, kondisi-kondisi relasi kekuasaan dan kekayaan yang ada dalam menghadapi ancaman-ancaman yang sebenarnya mereka sebarkan sendiri. Dan keempat, karena dalam masyarakat kita kekuatan-kekuatan produksi sudah sangat maju, dan pada saat yang sama, hubungan-hubungan produksi terus membelenggu kekuatan-kekuatan produksi yang ada, hal ini membuat masyarakat komoditas sarat dengan antagonisme (full of antagonism). Antagonisme ini tentu saja tidak terbatas pada wilayah ekonomi (economic sphere) tetapi juga ke wilayah budaya (cultural sphere). Masyarakat kini hidup dalam budaya konsumer. Ada tiga perspektif utama mengenai budaya konsumer menurut Featherstone (1991). Tiga perspektif yang dimaksud adalah ; Pertama, budaya konsumer di dasari pada premis ekspansi produksi komoditas kapitalis yang telah menyebabkan peningkatan akumulasi budaya material secara luas dalam bentuk barang-barang konsumsi dan tempat-tempat untuk pembelanjaan dan untuk konsumsi. Hal ini menyebabkan tumbuhnya aktivitas konsumsi serta menonjolnya pemanfaatan waktu luang (leisure) pada masyarakat kontemporer Barat. Kedua, perspektif budaya konsumer berdasarkan perspektif sosiologis yang lebih ketat, yaitu bahwa kepuasan seseorang yang diperoleh dari barang-barang yang dikonsumsi berkaitan dengan aksesnya yang terstruktur secara sosial. Fokus dari perspektif ini terletak pada berbagai cara orang memanfaatkan barang guna menciptakan ikatan sosial atau perbedaan sosial.

Ketiga, perspektif yang berangkat dari pertanyaan mengenai kesenangan/kenikmatan emosional dari aktivitas konsumsi, impian dan hasrat yang menonjol dalam khayalan budaya konsumer, dan khususnya tempat-tempat kegiatan konsumsi yang secara beragam menimbulkan kegairahan dan kenikmatan estetis langsung terhadap tubuh. Sejalan dengan pemikiran ini Pilliang mengemukakan bahwa :
Kebudayaan konsumer yang dikendalikan sepenuhnya oleh hukum komoditi, yang menjadikan konsumer sebagai raja; yang menghormati setinggi-tingginya nilai-nilai individu, yang memenuhi selengkap dan sebaik mungkin kebutuhan-kebutuhan, aspirasi, keinginan dan nafsu, telah memberi peluang bagi setiap orang untuk asyik dengan sendirinya (Piliang, 1999, hal. 44).

Selain itu Pilliang juga mengemukakan bahwa :


Demi tetap berlangsungnya sistem kapitalisme, apa yang disebut dengan kapitalisme global, misalnya, memangsa apa saja-artinya menjadikan komoditi apa saja- mulai dari hiburan, olah raga, pendidikan, informasi, kesehatan, kepribadian, penampilan, mulai dari tubuh, pikiran, kekuasaan hingga ilusi, halusinansi dan fantasi, demi keberlangsungan perputaran kapital, demi menggelembungnya kapital (Piliang, 1999;hal.117)

Hal yang penting yang terdapat dalam masyarakat komoditas adalah proses pembelajaran. Dalam masyarakat komoditas atau masyarakat konsumer terdapat suatu proses adopsi cara belajar menuju aktivitas konsumsi dan pengembangan suatu gaya hidup. Pembelajaran ini dilakukan melalui majalah, koran, buku, televisi, dan radio, yang banyak menekankan peningkatan diri, pengembangan diri, transformasi personal, bagaimana mengelola kepemilikan, hubungan dan ambisi, serta bagaimana membangun gaya hidup. Dengan demikian, mereka yang bekerja di media, desain, mode, dan periklanan serta para intelektual informasi yang pekerjaannya adalah memberikan pelayanan serta memproduksi, memasarkan dan menyebarkan barang-barang simbolik disebut oleh Bordieu (1984) sebagai perantara budaya baru. Dalam wacana kapitalisme, semua yang diproduksi oleh kapitalisme pada akhirnya akan didekonstruksi oleh produksi baru berikutnya, berdasarkan hukum kemajuan dan kebaruan. Dan karena dukungan media, realitas-realitas diproduksi mengikuti model-model yang ditawarkan oleh media. SEMIOTIKA DAN ESTETIKA MODERN DALAM MASYARAKAT KOMODITAS Dalam masyarakat komoditas, konsumsi sudah merupakan suatu tanda atau makna keberadaan manusia modern itu sendiri. Segala bentuk pemasaran telah dikomodifikasikan dalam bentuk yang lebih persuasif sekaligus hegemonik melalui simbol-simbol yang digunakan dalam sebuah iklan. Dapat dikatakan bahwa simbol-simbol tersebut adalah media baru bahkan pesan yang dibungkus dalam simbol merupakan media itu sendiri. Desain, mode, bentuk kata, tipografi muncul sebagai avant garde yang pada akhirnya menjadi penentu kebutuhan manusia. Dalam konteks permasaran modern, seseorang sekarang membeli bukan karena barang atau jasa itu sendiri tapi rangkaian kata, simbol yang membentuk gayahidup yang disimbolisasikan dalam tanda-tanda yang dibuat. Sekarang ada istilah yang disebut sebagai consumers are the citizen of Brand. Atau dengan kata lain, kalau kita makan mie sebenarnya yang kita makan adalah merek mie tersebut, kalau kita memakai celana jeans kita tidak semata-mata memakai celana, tapi menggunakan gaya hidup yang inheren melekat dalam jeans tersebut. Logika konsumen adalah logika merek atau brand. Satu sisi kekuatan iklan modern terletak pada daya rayu Iklan yang menekankan aspek simbolisasi yang berhubungan dengan gaya hidup manusia. Penekanan aspek simbolisasi tentu saja akan sangat berhubungan dengan kemampuan manusia untuk menarasikan dan mengabstraksikan gaya hidup dalam sekumpulan tanda, ikon atau indeks yang tepat.

Tapi hal yang perlu dipahami adalah bahwa aspek simbol, ikon atau terminologi apa saja yang ada dalam telaah semiotika berhubungan dengan proses kultur dalam hal ini adalah kultur konsumtif manusia.Pola nilai budaya yang hidup dalam sebuah masyarakat akan sangat berhubungan dengan sistem nilai dan penafsiran tentang apa yang disebut dengan indah atau menarik. Estetisasi budaya konsumtif merupakan aras pelengkat dalam daya pikat iklan tertentu. Dalam pemahaman ini, maka wajar bahwa sebuah iklan dalam budaya tertentu merupakan kombinasi meminjam istilah Saussure- langue (konsep) danparole (tuturan). Dari penjelasan yang diungkapkan di atas terlihat bahwa ranah iklan terutama bagi masyarakat modern merupakan ranah kebudayaan selain bahwa iklan tetap pada domain pemasaran, komersialisasi dan kreativitas seni. Kombinasi domain ini menyebabkan iklan menjadi salah satu kekuatan kapitalisme modern yang berpenetrasi pada wilayah sosial, psikologis, politik, ekonomi dan lainnya. Iklan menjadi bentuk yang sangat jelas bahwa lingkar dan belalai kapitalisme modern sampai menusuk pada ulu hati individu yang berpengaruh pada cara nilai, cara pandang, cara berbelanja, cara makan, cara berkacamata dan masih banyak cara-cara yang lain. Pada kesempatan ini, penulis juga ingin mengatakan bahwa berbicara tentang iklan modern, berbicara juga tentang total propaganda. Propaganda dalam arti penyampaian, penyusupan dan invasi ekonomis yang masuk dalam wilayah pribadi para konsumen, di mana konsumen sendiri tidak menyadari bahwa mereka sedang dibujuk, dipersuasi, dirayu bahkan dirampok habis-habisan oleh sistem kapitalisasi yang semakin lama semakin cantik, menggairahkan dan penuh dengan godaan.

[1] Penulis adalah dosen Pengajar di Universitas Paramadina Jakarta, STIKOM Prosia Jakarta.

Penulis bisa dihubungi pada emaileka.wenats@paramadina.ac.id atau http://ekawenats.blogspot.com


[2] Makalah dibuat untuk Seminar tentang Periklanan dan PR di era Komunikasi Multimedia di

STIKOM Prosia Jakarta. Dientri oleh AG. Eka Wenats Wuryanta at 3:07 PM 0 Komentar Links to this post

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Conclusion: A Capital Idea!


The framework of generalized appearances or, if you will, the essential lie required for the development of privative appropriation (i.e., the appropriation of things by means of the appropriation of beings) is an intrinsic aspect of the dialectic of sacrifice, and the root of the infamous separation that this involves. The mistake of the philosophers was that they built an ontology and the notion of an unchanging human nature on the basis of a mere social accident, a purely contingent necessity. History has been seeking to eliminate privative appropriation ever since the conditions which called for it ceased to exist. But the metaphysical maintenance of the philosophers' error continues to work to the advantage of the masters, of the 'eternal' ruling minority. - Raul Vaniegem

Myth, Theatre & Game: We humans seem to continually transform ideas into things and subvert real things into ideas. Sometimes this is helpful, but our efforts should not be mistaken for 'reality'. The state and capital are two sides of the same set of ideas (myth) which is born from and also generates social relations (real behavior between real people), social roles (the masks we wear during ritual performances) and social attitudes (ideas about Peopleas-an-idea) which are constantly (although not precisely) reproduced. The myth/idea informs the ritual/behavior which reinforces and reproduces the myth through compliance. This compliance may be religiously dogmatic, opportunistic, merely unquestioning, or even begrudging. The myth of capitalist civilization (also called "The State", "Industrial Civilization", or merely "Capitalism") states:
Capitals only lifeblood is in the exchange it conducts with labour power [the potential for living to be appropriated]. Thus when surplus value is created, it is, in the immediate sense, only potential capital; it can become effective capital solely through an exchange against future labour. In other words, when surplus value is created in the present, it acquires reality only if labour power can appear to be ready and available in a future (a future which can only be hypothetical, and not necessarily very near). If therefore this future isnt there, then the present (or henceforth the past) is abolished: this is devalorization through total loss of substance. Clearly then capitals first undertaking must be to dominate the future in order to be assured of accomplishing its production [exploitation] process. This conquest is managed by the credit system. Thus capital has effectively appropriated time, which it moulds in its own image as quantitative time. However, present surplus value was realized and valorized through exchange against future labour, but now, with the development of the futures industry, present surplus value has itself become open to capitalization. This capitalization demands that time be programmed, and this need expresses itself in a scientific fashion in futurology. Henceforth, capital produces time. From now on where may people situate their utopias and uchronias? ... It will require a total mutation before all the logic of this domination can be swept away. For quality and quantity both exist in close affinity with measurement, and all are in turn linked to value.- Jacques Cammatte

Extracting and distinguishing the state and capital from our body of myth is useful since it exposes the foundational premises of civilization, one of which is compliance itself. The first rule of this code is "obey". The second is "work". The third is "acquire". For the "Boss", it is only "command" and "acquire" except in relation to his/her bosses in the hierarchy of the pyramid - our social organization. The state informs us we must comply. Therefore, as long as we remain the 'performed' or 'acted-upon' (or 'extras' as opposed to 'performers' or 'actors') in our social roles and relations, we need not (and in fact can not) carry the myth in its entirety in our own heads. We unquestioningly comply and are thus generally referred to as "sheep". When the actors perform from the script/myth they are called "leaders" and are considered "successful",

"winners". When actors/doers improvise, they are at worst labeled "psychopath", "bully" or at best "perverse" or "eccentric". If their behavior does not confront established power, at best they are labeled "creative", at worst, "insane". If the 'extras' act, they are called "criminals" and "losers". The resentful or begrudging actors carry much of the myth in their heads. They would confront power if they thought they could, yet still they comply - "Don't get above yourself!" Hence, the old truism, "knowledge will set you free" is shown to be in error. Because the myth (or script) is so complex and involved (and largely unconscious and certainly not intact in any one actor), we have created great bodies of law (algorithms for behavior) and positions of authority to interpret and enforce it so we know just who to castigate and who to promote. Thus, increased knowledge of the script can entail the actor's complete subjection to the character or role he's playing out. "Civilization" is the logic of 'power' (exerting force, exercising authority), material 'value' (underlying capitalism) and 'growth' (progress). "The state" is its actual institutionalized apparatus - its social organization. Vaniegem referred to "power" as "the social organisation which enables masters to maintain conditions of slavery", which deals out "survival" to us. We should want more than that. I certainly do. Survival is dealt out through the management of "scarcity". "Power", "the state", "capital", whichever term you wish to use, administers and regulates scarcity thrugh the control and in fact destruction of abundance, which in my dictionary, is the main attribute of 'nature'. I have no use for power, progress, or value (in things rather than relationships). I especially have no use for survival. It is a sickness. We would not even need radical theory if we could but question the basic premises of our body of myth - the play we are living, the game we are playing - and I believe there are only three critical rules beneath obey, work and acquire which we need to examine and refuse. Then the entire myth might come apart. Alienation might just disappear in a "puff of logic". There are an infinite number of ways it might creatively recompose if these premises are removed. If we can get in touch with our imp of the perverse, our will to live instead of a will to power, creativity must follow and who knows to where this path (these paths) might lead? What are these rules which separate and alienate us, generate struggle and stifle creativity? 1. Value is an innate characteristic of things rather than our subjective relationships with them. This leads to their capability to be quantified, owned, withheld or exchanged for other things;

2. People only get what they deserve. Therefore, people also have exchange value. Life can be exchanged for things or the promise of things (wage labor/slavery). "Ya give a little, ya get a little" - this is politics. It is also an extortionist scam leading to elite privilege and authority those without privilege must struggle just to survive. Scarcity goes to the most in exchange for 'life' while the most goes to the privileged few in exchange for a mystified sense of 'security' which is nothing more than the continuation of scarcity, 'assured' survival. The title of this play, this ritual enactment of the myth, is Dr. Faustus. 3. As in any game, other players are your opponents ("enemies" in the correlary 'war game'). Therefore the object of life is to 'win' - to best your opponent. Of course, reality television informs us that winning is still only survival, even if we do walk away with the big bucks. This is because abundance has already been annihilated. Very often, revolutions of the 'begrudgeoned' have also incorporated these rules. In fact, these three premises permeate our everyday lives and influence our social relations. No historic revolution has liberated workers as-a-class. Refusal is necessary and mass refusal is sufficient for revolution to take place, but unless we also refuse its logic, the system always recomposes, much along the lines as before the revolution. This is what is meant by refusal of the totality. If the revolutionary is not willing to pursue his/her 'struggle' outside of the system of alienation and exploitation, there will never be any liberation of creativity or human potential, which is also to say "life". The revolutionary avant guard is just another way of saying "authority". This is why I prefer the concept of "insurrection". It suggests autonomous action over theory, and the most subversive and effective insurrectionary act is total refusal. To actually refuse is nothing more than dropping out of the exploitative system. It means saying "no" to our own exploitation and especially to our willingness to exploit others. This idea is often counterpoised as "counter-revolutionary", "anti-technology", "anti-civ", hippie lifestylism or

"primitivism" etc. This counter-position discounts human creativity, mutuality or cooperation, and desire. The liberation of the worker from struggle (work and competition for survival) frees and enables his/her creativity and real mutuality. I can guarantee that if you shut down all the guitar factories and send the workers home, we would still be playing guitars, only better ones crafted with subversive love. There will always be luthiers, tinkerers, craftsmen, artists, goatherders and gardeners if they are left free to pursue their desires.
To break through language in order to touch life is to create or recreate the theater ... This leads to the rejection of the usual limitations of man and man's powers, and infinitely extends the frontiers of what is called reality. We must believe in ... a sense of life in which man makes himself master of what does not yet exist [the conquest of nothing], and brings it into being. And everything that has not been born can still be brought to life if we are not satisfied to remain mere recording organisms. Furthermore, when we speak the word "life", it must be understood we are not referring to life as we know it from the surface of fact, but to that fragile, fluctuating center which forms never reach. And if there is one hellish, truly accursed thing in our time, it is our artistic dallying with forms, instead of being like victims burnt at the stake, signaling through the flames. - Antonin Artaud

Mental Illness as Insurrectionary Strategy keyword: ultimate Ultimately, if one feels oppressed, ultimate pessimism can only generate three options: 1) accepting and embracing your condition; 2) suicide - both of these options are often viewed as copping/selling out; and 3) a stasis of mental illness - anxiety and/or depression. Stanley Diamond included schizophrenia the ultimate reaction to civilization. For the ultimate pessimist, "resistance is futile". Maybe we are all wrong in our promotion of specific insurrectionary/revolutionary strategies. I'd like to present a comment by Frere Dupont from another context responding to the question, "how long can this state (of affairs) be maintained before folks say 'fuck it' and go home?"
I do not think it is a question of "how long" because it is already happening on a large scale... and the exodus is being addressed strategically as mental illness. WHO wrote: "By the year 2020, depression is projected to reach 2nd place of the ranking of DALYs [disability-adjusted life-years] calcuated for all ages, both sexes. Today, depression is already the 2nd cause of DALYs in the age category 15-44 years for both sexes

combined." http://www.who.int/ The UK government's 'happiness guru' says "One in six of us suffers from serious depression or anxiety" http://www.guardian.co.uk/. In other words "one in six of us" have caught a glimpse of how things really stand and suddenly are incapable of work today. Nonfunctioning units are now seen as being more dangerous than those who are preparing themselves for 'self-management'. Therefore, I consider the end of capitalism to be located in the "frequency" of this fucking off home. Or put another way, the qualititive transformation of insight into quantative fucking off. What is required is the achievement of a coherant wave pattern in the flight from happy consciousness. In this sense, deserters are interesting, but tides in the affairs of men, ie a triggered wave of desertions achieving optimum resonant coherance at a pitch capable of shattering conditions, is much more so. This wave-like fucking off home in a mood of "serious depression" and "anxiety" was after all the material precipitant of the Russian Revolution.

What a wonderfully morbid solution! We needn't even work at it or wait for it! It is happening as we speak. I would only suggest one doesn't try mainstream pharmaceutical remedies which can and ultimately do have a lobotomizing effect. (On the other hand, those you concoct or grow at home might be perfectly acceptable to relieve this tension - a tension ultimately built in to civilization itself). Of course we are still left with the question, "what then?" The question has been asked "what is found, not on the fringes or margins but on the outside of the capitalist relation?" My answer is "everything else". The position promoting local autonomy would lead to diversity. The revolutionist movement calls for homogeneity, even if it is accepting of some regional differences. The autonomist position (and I'm not talking the Italian movement) suggests local solutions within the "system" or "machine" which will ultimately supersede it. The insurrectionist and revolutionist positions call for total annihilation, from whence we may (then and only then) create something new. The primitivist asks "why don't we try to recreate something old?" Ultimately, this solution will not reproduce "something old" but can only lead to some kind of 'primitive'/'modern' synthesis, or rather, a syncretism. This is NOT a 'primitive'/'civilized' synthesis, for that is reform and will maintain [and reproduce] the state, even if in disguise. This is evident if one examines the history of Asian civilizations.

Postscript on Foolish Ideas: Aufheben's Civilization and its Latest Discontents is probably the best criticism of the anti-civilization (and primitivist) positions and a most persuasive argument for a class struggle perspective. However, that critique can go both ways. We are want to affiliate ourselves with one line of thinking or one heroic thinker, as if all tendencies are mutually exclusive. We forget that these lines of thought are the activities of humans and therefore not absolute bodies of coherent logic based on unassailable assumptions. There is room for criticism in every approach, but this does not mean we need to throw the whole body out. Both Perlman and Aufheben see the imposition of class domination as the likely prime mover of civilization. Origins are interesting, but also become useful if they imply means for an end to the system we oppose. This was Clastres' position concerning the origin and hopeful demise of the state. Aufheben warns against a line of thought which "hinders the project of abolishing that system". One line of thinking (e.g., 'primitivism') is too general to point out targets of attack, but another line might be too specific such that the big picture is obscured, giving 'the enemy' many places to hide out, if only in our own minds. Sometimes the specific, revolutionary approach seeks mass uprisings and so we must wait for the right conditions to be met. The generalist warns that these conditions may never be met, so we must start with our own personal rejection. Certainly both have a point - can we not find some common ground, or is it just too much fun to endlessly bicker? Should the system fall abruptly or gradually? Will it fall from within or without? Quick would be nice, but it needs to fall nevertheless. Personally I think that anti-civ and primitivism are nothing if they are not inspiring of insurrection, and revolution will never take place without a multiplicity of insurrectionary acts. Collective actions can only follow from diverse individual acts unless orchestrated by a revolutionary avant guard, and this is antithetical to the anarchist position (at least to mine! It sets up a new class system of "thinkers" and "doers"). We concern ourselves with whether the targets of our attack should be "capitalism", "the state", "civilization", or specific institutions within. Will it make a difference as to which way we point our ponies? Which direction is the state? What specifically do we attack when we make the charge against capitalism? If we have to wait for the purification of theory and it's formalized system to replace the system who's onsloughts we are just surviving, nothing will change except our own survival. The revolution will come when everyone

is in a state of refusal - refusal to partake in and reproduce the system ourselves. But the shit can only get deeper if none of us as individuals does anything but wade - "You won't put a pitchfork in my hands!".
We are all too rational. We talk too much. [We don't] allow ANY space for intuition to fill the gap between this crippled language (imagined as some mighty tool), packaged in these boxes, and the intended message. We are separated from our own lives, so we must somehow express or picture that - or articulate a critique of that situation. We are civilized people, we are raised like slaves & robots. What did you expect? It's easy to say that our attempts are disgusting, but we try our best to break that mould. We don't have an advantage to be raised as free people in free, supportive communities. We have to fight for it. Sometimes we are so artificial and pathetic, I agree. But how can you talk like that [so disparagingly]? People want to break free, so maybe they deserve a little bit more support and understanding, without any restrictions in critical attitude toward some aspects of their attempts [ - Aleksa]

Postscript On Technology and Other 'Things'

A device which enables one person to perform the work of ten is considered a "labor-saving device". But has anyone considered the implications of this from the point of view of that one person? S/he now does ten times the work that any one person has ever had to before, and nine bureaucrats are created.

When technology is actually helpful (for example, a washing machine), nine new laborers are required to build the machine as well as to extract the energy this new device runs on. In either case, the technology has actually increased labor. Is this a call to arms against technology or a division of labor? Not at all! We are not against having technology - we are against technology having us. The present system relies on ownership and therefore withholding, including withholding of skill-training. We call this "higher education". If not guaranteed by social position, only "the most competetive" have access. This represents a world view of scarcity. Access to training and material need only be based on desire, and this is a view of abundance. Would this preclude anthropologists, psychologists, miners, machinists, carpenters, plant operatersor goatherders? For that matter, would it preclude free association or cooperation? When the motives of possessing and withholding are removed, what remains is sharing and cooperation - "All for all", as Kropotkin said. Mutual aid. We must also consider the perspective of the individual's needs and desires - "All for one", as the three musketeers said. Forget "one for all" as Kennedy implied in his "ask not..." speech - that is sacrifice, not altruism. The standard opposition to this view runs something like this: "There are just too many people! There are not enough resources!" "Sure, it stinks, but what would you replace it with?" The latter is like refusing to jump a sinking ship till a more seaworthy vessel pulls alongside. These are symptoms of our own alienation from the rest of the planet. I could answer these objections no better than Albert Einstein already has:
A human being is part of the whole, called by us Universe; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The delusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely but the striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security. Einstein

On another note, it is true that there may be foolish ideas found in every line, tendency, position, milieu we adhere to or disagree with. Adherents of many tendencies, like primitivism, the crimethink 'agenda', dropouts and lifestylists, and even the 'disorganization' and tactics of elf and alf, are attempting to "live" alternatives here and now. While I might endorse them, this obviously does not mean I equate any of them. I don't think any one of them will put an end to war, much less change the course of civilization, but a little disruption can be

fun and 'rewarding' now and then. We do not argue for localism. The nationstate is an expression of localism. We are arguing for local autonomy or even nomadic autonomy. We are not against society, we are against the restrictions placed upon our own cooperative relationships, and that cooperation is not exclusive to homo sapiens. Local autonomy must maintain a balance with ones surroundings, or its manifestation will be indistinguishable from the 'death camps' erected by civilization - places of scarcity and struggle. Personally, I am not against cities, I am against their permanence - "they can be a fun place to visit", as the old saying goes. They could be temporary manifestations, but then, this is probably a novel use of the term "city" for most. Even some so-called "paleolithic" people had large settlements exceeding archaic civilized "cities" in diversity of residents and population size - but they were temporary or seasonal. Two examples might be the annual camus festival or even the encampment on the Littlehorn river prior to Custer's run-in with an historically large-scale anarchist action. A question was raised, "how do you live your anarchy?" I would answer this as a "distancing". Yes, we all have connections to capitalism. Even Sitting Bull had such a connection or there could have been no battle. Would we disparage the Comancheros in New Mexico for their obvious connections to capitalism in providing guns to the Comanchee or Apache in their struggle against the state? The Comancheros, like Iraqi insurgents, were themselves fighting for their own autonomy. My position has always been that capitalism and the state and it's institutions are carried (more and less, to be sure) in our minds and in our relationships with each other and the world around us. It is our culture. If we cannot expose and question its hidden assumptions we carry ourselves, then all is for naught, for we will transmit them to each new generation. This is the value of John Zerzan, even if I don't agree with all of his conclusions. We cannot destroy the state with dynamite. That much is assured. We must destroy the logic underlying it and the behavior it generates and we continually reproduce. Tim Leary thought LSD could be a sort of dynamite for the brain. Was he so wrong or different from, say, Guy Debord? "Turn on" (bloooow/detourne your mind), "tune in" (to the anti-establishment/anti-authority position, to life beyond the spectacle), "drop out" (reject your culturally generated assessments and create new arrangements, drop your role as passive spectator).

Finally:

I just have a few more thoughts before I put the lid back on this typewriter. Civilization is the destroyer of cultures. That much we can all probably agree on. What we may not all understand is that this destruction is one of the defining characteristics of civilization itself. It is demanded by progress. That which stands in the path of progress must be annihilated or transformed to fit our image. Civilization praises unity. It calls for uniformity. Without the destruction of the other, the road of progress will fragment into diversity. This has historically been labeled "Chaos". Diversity and abundance are the defining characteristics of what we call "nature". Because of scarcity imposed by the management/withholding in economics and politics, civilizations do not thrive - they survive. When they get too big for their britches, as the old saying goes, they collapse. This is none other than exceeding the resource base. Collapse is staved off for a time through conquest of the neighbors. Today empire building through conquest is replaced by global control of global resources. The dominating social relation within the civilization is extended outside - between civilizations. When growth exceeds the global resource base, we will see global collapse. The total biomass of the earth has been fairly consistent for a very long time. We are taught that populations of species rise at the expense of others - competition. This is the civilized view. An alternative view sees cooperative relationships maintaining diversity of species making up the biomass. As the terms, "biomass" and "human" become increasingly interchangeable, we see perpetual war, a prelude to perpetual cannibalism - the "Soylent Green" scenario. This is the technological solution, for we have neither the time nor the means for a conquest of space - the "Startrek" scenario. This cannibalistic response is actually the most 'hopeful' scenario for the progress of civilization, for the alternative is a catastrophic collapse from which we will witness, (that is, if we could attain an off-global standpoint - "Silent Running" meets "Dr. Strangelove"), the survival of nothing. As Woody Allen said, "More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly". When you get right down to it, Artaud's 'perverse' plague of the theatre has probably inspired more resistance than any amount of radical theory and ideology. The question, "what is the essence of humanity?" is easy to answer: you'll know them when you see them! "What is the nature of 'Man'?" That isn't much better and should probably be left to the poets writing from their attics on the fringes. A very smart person once told me "Forget time and geography, people are the same everywhere; cultures are different!" A better question might be "what is the nature of nature, and does 'man' belong there?" If the

answer to the first part is "a system of relationships, adjustments or adaptations", and the answer to the second is "'man' is part of that system", then I think anthropology and the primitivism it has inspired and in fact the 'primitives' they wish to emulate might just have something valuable to say to us. If, on the other hand, the answer is "we are above nature" or "nature is an irrelevant construct of the mind", then civilization is obviously the place for you. I agree that nature is a construct, but not all constructs are ipso facto irrelevant. It is true early anthropologists opposed nature with culture, but if that opposition, or dialectic if you will, is destroyed, both nature and culture will disappear. We will be left with a system of reciprocal, cooperative relationships displaying local autonomy and global diversity and no longer have to worry about such questions to which alienation gives birth. Maybe only then will we be able to experience 'living' as opposed to survival. An argument was posed:
"This seems a little confused. First, man is defined as part of nature, then nature is defined as a human construct. Nature is certainly a construction. But what does it mean to overcome this construction? Would we then say that nature is historical? Probably. Then there is no "human nature," no matter how obvious it seems to you." [ - Sasha]

Now we're back to the problem of language Aleksa referred to. Wittgenstein also said language (and discourse - logical positivism) is not adequate to discuss the great philosophical questions - only experience will suffice. "Nature" may be a 'noun', but it is not a 'thing'. Nature is process. If this 'thingness' is insisted upon, then nature becomes the atheist 'god'. Some say it is the primitivist 'god'. Eastern 'wisdom' informs us that man is god. The enlightenment told us god is man. Most today operate as if civilization is god, even if in need of reform by those on the 'left'. Yet even the self-satisfied conservative is gung ho for progress. 'Progress' is a verb which also exhibits 'thingness', a godness - goodness. We may not be able to explain it, but for those left in its wake, it is experienced as destruction. Most will argue that this picture is wrong - "we no longer worship gods". Yes, we worship things. Hence, nature, culture, capitalism and civilization must also be "things". We tolerate no linguistic transformation - we are ruled by things. Looters will be shot. When Stirner inferred that god (and "Man") is a "spook", he was buried. Nietzsche revived "Man" with the death of "God". Historical materialism says nature is history. This works well for me but only up to a point. If determinism is involved, we have a nature/culture split (the thing, 'culture', is the effect; the thing, 'nature'/'history' is the cause). This Newtonian/Cartesian dichotomy is even more easily disputed than the

self/other split. The logic of this disputing is seen in zen but also in quantum physics. Einstein called the split (or false dichotomy) "an optical delusion of our consciousness". If 'nature' is process or history (which does seem obvious to us), then there is no "going back to" - we're already there. Nor is there "overcoming" or "transcending from". But it's the way we talk. This is why it is so hard to discuss anything outside of civilization unless we talk about balance. In economics, this 'balance' is called "reciprocity", in biology it is "homeostasis". In physics it is "equilibrium". Civilization actually promotes an anti-balance. Everything else tends toward balance. What is on the outside of civilization? Everything else. When we witness this balance, this process of recripocal relations, we call it "natural". We come up with phrases like "natural laws" to describe it. Thus, Kropotkin, trying to get away from the Hobbes/Huxley 'conflict' view and back to Darwin's evolutionary implications (stripped of the 19th century 'proper British' or 'civilized' moralistic ethnocentrism), saw cooperation operating in nature, competition driving the civilized. Darwin himself stressed the "social instinct" derived from "sympathy" as the more appropriate motivator of our behavior over "selfishness". The key term is still balance, but within nature, not with it. This is inferred in the phrase "ecological relation". In this sense, "nature" is the totality of relationships, the Eastern "Tau" or "way", which Lao Tse so beautifully described: "I don't know who gave birth to it, it is older than god". Competition is the fuel of civilization. It is the unstable relationship. It provides the capitalist relation which was described by De Sade as follows: "people are not esteemed save in reason of the aid and benefits one imagines may be had of them." People are also destroyed for this same reason. So I find the 'silly' phrases, "the nature of nature", "the nature of civilization", "the nature of man" still useful, even if they refer to nothing empirical. It will be perfectly natural for civilization to annihilate nature itself. The tool of this annihilation is the state and the fuel is competition. It will be the end of existence, the end of process, the end of history, already experienced locally, soon to be felt globally. This is ultimate progress - self-consumption in the process of total destruction. This is why we are against civilization and yet maintain sympathy for the civilized. We are against destruction of the totality. Many confuse civilization or 'the spectacle' as "the totality". Primitivists inform us that it is not. Such Heresy! We all know the world was created through a godly sneeze and will in the end be consumed by the great cosmic goat!

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Mass media shape our values and influence our perception of the world
By mariaiova

In the modern society, mass media represents the dominant mean of social communication, giving to the individuals and to the groups a permanent intense stream of data, facts and ideas. When the information is transmitted through mass media, it proposes certain meanings, building a certain image about the world. Therefore, I could say that the values, hierarchies and social norms promoted by media, the meanings determined by them, could influence the way of thinking and the cognitive map of the people. This means that mass media works as a creator of an agenda with classifications and priorities for the mass audience. This hypothesis formulated by the American researchers M. McCombs and D.L. Shaw is named agenda setting. Mass-media expresses and influences positive or negative opinions, behaviors, mentalities, values and social norms, contributing to the increasing or to the decreasing of knowledge and the general education level of people in the essential areas of culture and civilization.

Regarding this aspect, it is important the conclusion drawn byAlexander King and Bertrand Schneider, two rapporteurs from the Club of Rome. They said that mass-media has become one of the main agents in the shaping of the public opinion and of peoples thinking.

The humanity shaped by mass media in the world, at the global village level, as McLuhan said, must not be viewed as being reduced to a general unformization of the individuals, but rather as a diversified collectivity.

In my opinion, the values and the norms are represented in different ways, depending on the culture of each country. For example, values such as family, freedom, identity, tolerance, security, money are reflected different in Romania, an ex-communist country in comparison with America, with a great history of capitalism and democracy. Americans are associated with freedom, Romanian are associated with hospitality and with old and valuable traditions.

Certain countries value more the history, others value and see more in the future. In accordance with Herbert I. Schiller, Americas media managers create, process and preside over the circulation of images and information which determine peoples beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. Many times the media manipulates the audience, creating a false sense of reality, delivering only certain information about an event or other. Paulo Freire said that the manipulation of human minds is an instrument of conquest. I consider that this fact is available only for the non-elite part of the mass audience, because of their low knowledge in comparison with the elites. The mass media manipulation is an instrument of control of public opinion. Regarding the manipulation process through mass media, Schiller identifies five myths that structure the content: myth of individualism and personal choice, the myth of neutrality, the myth of unchanging human nature, the myth of the absence of social conflict and the myth of media pluralism. The owners of mass media speculate that the audience wants to see, to watch or to read certain types of programs. In the USA and in the Western world, one of the most important values is human freedom. This value is reflected by American mass media, as Schiller shows in his writing. He reveals details about the identification of the personal choices with human freedom, an idea arisen four centuries ago in connection with the

individualism created by the wealth of the market economy. Individualism and the private entrepreneurial system has been associated with personal freedom in the US, due to the very few constraints and limitations encountered since the settling of the American continent. The myth of individualism and private choice is clearly visible in the means that ensure personal freedom, such as the owning of a car, a house or a business. This is one of the most important myths that structure the content of the mass media today in the USA. Is this applicable to a different culture? By making the comparison withRomania, I can say that this myth is also promoted by the mass-media in this country. The second myth is the neutrality of mass-media in relation with different institutions. Mass-media is actually not neutral and it conceals the true nature of things and helps with the manipulation process. The essence of neutrality is to affirm that institutions are above any social conflict and that they are impartial. Only a second thought and the disclosure of accidental breaking of the law by the people who represent the institutions shows the flaw of this myth. The control mechanism of the neutrality myth is to nurture the fact that no special groups of interest are controlling the majority. In my opinion there is no perfect neutrality of mass-media in any country or culture in the world. Economical or political bias will determine mass-media to take sides. The expectation that humans act in a certain way due to their inherent condition, is reflected in the myth of unchanging human nature. This is an other mind-managing technique through the media, that removes the social circumstances from the human decision act and blames it on an inherent, hereditary and somewhat predictable human behavior. For example, Schiller mentions the showing of violence on TV, which is thought that it is what people want. What is elicited by this myth is the fact that human social behavior is in fact changing under the effect of the recent technical progress (internet, new science). More important, major changes in this assumedly steady human behavior, usually shown in other parts of the world, are shown as a defect or as a problem. The myth of absence of the social conflict in the American world is formed on the idea that the society is in harmony and steady equilibrium on a large scale. Conflict and violence is due to individuals and to the human nature in the end. Omission and distortion of social reality is a control mechanism of the elites, which plainly reject the reality of such conflicts in order not to

present so called controversial issues which can raise questions and create unrest. The process of manipulation through the personal choice exercised in a multipolar source of information and culture forms the myth of media pluralism. This idea is manipulated through the fact that the individual believes that his choice is meaningful. The information controllers create confusion by providing an abundance of media which gives the impression of a diverse content, when in fact the content is rather similar and manipulative. This way, the real choice is actually reduced to the monopoly of a few sources of information with no major difference in quality. The verification of the same information from multiple channels ensures the in fact the success of the manipulation. Finally, I agree with the theory of Schiller that mass-media is manipulating the public through five basic myths that structure the content of the information. In this way, mass-media is shaping our values.

Sesuai dengan Herbert I. Schiller, media Amerika manajer membuat, proses dan memimpin peredaran gambar dan informasi yang menentukan kepercayaan masyarakat ', sikap dan perilaku. Banyak kali media memanipulasi penonton, menciptakan rasa palsu tentang realitas, hanya memberikan informasi tertentu tentang suatu peristiwa atau lainnya. Paulo Freire mengatakan bahwa manipulasi pikiran manusia adalah instrumen penaklukan. Saya menganggap bahwa fakta ini hanya tersedia untuk bagian non-elit dari massa penonton, karena pengetahuan mereka yang rendah dibandingkan dengan elit. Manipulasi media massa merupakan instrumen pengendalian opini publik.

Mengenai proses manipulasi melalui media massa, Schiller mengidentifikasi lima mitos bahwa struktur isi: mitos individualisme dan pilihan pribadi, mitos netralitas, mitos sifat manusia tidak berubah, mitos dari tidak adanya konflik sosial dan mitos pluralisme media .

Para pemilik media massa berspekulasi bahwa penonton ingin lihat, untuk menonton atau membaca

beberapa jenis program. Di Amerika Serikat dan di dunia Barat, salah satu dari nilai yang paling penting adalah kebebasan manusia. Nilai ini tercermin dari media massa Amerika, sebagaimana Schiller menunjukkan dalam tulisannya. Dia mengungkapkan rincian tentang identifikasi pilihan pribadi dengan kebebasan manusia, sebuah ide muncul empat abad yang lalu sehubungan dengan individualisme diciptakan oleh kekayaan ekonomi pasar. Individualisme dan sistem kewirausahaan swasta telah dikaitkan dengan kebebasan pribadi di AS, karena sangat sedikit kendala dan keterbatasan yang dihadapi sejak menetap di benua Amerika. Mitos individualisme dan pilihan pribadi jelas terlihat dalam cara yang menjamin kebebasan pribadi, seperti memiliki sebuah mobil, rumah atau bisnis. Ini adalah salah satu mitos yang paling penting bahwa struktur isi hari ini media massa di Amerika Serikat. Apakah ini berlaku untuk budaya yang berbeda? Dengan membuat perbandingan dengan Rumania, saya dapat mengatakan bahwa mitos ini juga dipromosikan oleh media massa di negeri ini.

Mitos kedua adalah netralitas media massa dalam kaitannya dengan lembaga yang berbeda. Media massa sebenarnya tidak netral dan menyembunyikan hakikat sebenarnya dari hal-hal dan membantu dengan proses manipulasi. Inti dari netralitas adalah untuk menegaskan bahwa lembaga-lembaga di atas setiap konflik sosial dan bahwa mereka tidak memihak. Hanya berpikir kedua dan pengungkapan tanpa disengaja melanggar hukum oleh orang-orang yang mewakili lembaga-lembaga menunjukkan lemahnya mitos ini. Mekanisme kontrol dari mitos netralitas adalah untuk memelihara kenyataan bahwa tidak ada kelompok khusus kepentingan mengendalikan mayoritas. Menurut pendapat saya tidak ada netralitas sempurna dari media massa di negara atau budaya di dunia. Ekonomi atau bias politik akan menentukan media massa berpihak.

Harapan bahwa manusia bertindak dengan cara tertentu karena kondisi yang melekat mereka, tercermin dalam mitos sifat manusia tidak berubah. Ini adalah teknik mengelola pikiran-lain melalui media, yang menghilangkan keadaan sosial dari tindakan keputusan manusia dan menyalahkan itu pada perilaku manusia yang melekat, keturunan dan agak diprediksi. Sebagai contoh, menyebutkan Schiller menampilkan kekerasan di TV, yang diduga bahwa itu adalah apa yang orang inginkan. Apa yang ditimbulkan oleh mitos ini adalah kenyataan bahwa perilaku sosial manusia sebenarnya berubah di bawah pengaruh kemajuan teknis baru-baru ini (internet, ilmu pengetahuan baru). Lebih penting lagi,

perubahan besar dalam perilaku manusia assumedly mantap, biasanya ditampilkan di bagian lain dunia, akan ditampilkan sebagai cacat atau sebagai masalah.

Mitos tidak adanya konflik sosial di dunia Amerika terbentuk pada gagasan bahwa masyarakat berada dalam harmoni dan keseimbangan stabil dalam skala besar. Konflik dan kekerasan adalah karena individu dan dengan sifat manusia pada akhirnya. Penghapusan dan distorsi realitas sosial adalah suatu mekanisme kontrol dari elit, yang jelas menolak realitas konflik tersebut agar tidak dapat menyajikan apa yang disebut isu-isu kontroversial yang dapat mengajukan pertanyaan dan membuat kerusuhan.

Proses manipulasi melalui pilihan pribadi yang dilakukan di sumber multipolar bentuk informasi dan budaya mitos tentang pluralisme media. Ide ini dimanipulasi melalui fakta bahwa individu percaya bahwa pilihannya bermakna. Pengendali informasi menciptakan kebingungan dengan menyediakan kelimpahan media yang memberikan kesan dengan isi beragam, padahal konten agak mirip dan manipulatif. Dengan cara ini, pilihan nyata sebenarnya direduksi menjadi monopoli beberapa sumber informasi dengan tidak ada perbedaan besar dalam kualitas. Verifikasi informasi yang sama dari beberapa saluran memastikan sebenarnya keberhasilan manipulasi.

Akhirnya, saya setuju dengan teori Schiller bahwa media massa adalah memanipulasi masyarakat melalui lima mitos dasar bahwa struktur isi informasi. Dengan cara ini, media massa adalah membentuk nilai-nilai kita.