Bread And Circuses - The Curse of Busyness
January 17, 2024 | Last Updated Jan 26, 2024
Roman empire had invented what came to be known in Latin as panem et circenses; in English: bread and circuses; in Urdu: roti aur topi drama. Here is one explanation of its origin:
Practically what it has come to mean thenceforth, is techniques of behavior control; how empires, rulers, oligarchy, the powers that be behind the modern state, etc., should keep the masses, hoi polloi (in Greek) busy between struggling for food and entertainment, so that the empire, rulers, oligarchy, and the powers that be fronted by the visible symbols of the state, can continue on with their own business of pursuit of narrow self interests while maintaining proper illusions.
Busyness has also become chic! The oped appearing in today's Dawn newspaper of Pakistan written by a notable Pakistani-American lawyer and political scientist titled: The curse of being busy, explores some other interesting dimensions of this obsession with self which makes busyness a convenient excuse - I am too busy to...
It is the basis upon which what Plato circa 300 BC to Goethe circa 1800 AD explained, rests the edifice of public's mind control; to fill them with lies such that wrong begins to look like right before their eyes, leaving the masses no time to think and reflect by keeping them occupied between bread and circuses --- which is their baser natural instinct anyway!!
Don't let the public step out of their bread and circuses web of control, their opiates, which prevent the masses from thinking for themselves away from the reach of magnetic and attractive personalities, prevent them from being conscious of the manipulations they are being subjected to. It makes virtual zombies of the public, actually useful idiots, getting them to march in any direction, sometimes even in opposing directions to seed chaos and conflict, to create revolutions at will (eg. color revolutions), to lay down supinely on their backs (eg. colonialism), or march off to war to kill and be killed under blaring trumpet and honorific (eg. shaheed, martyrs). The graveyards are filled with hoi polloi patriots.
For Muslims in particular, topi drama includes obsession with religion and its rituals as the fastpath to Heaven... that Karl Marx had rightly termed the opiate of the people. As Voltaire had also observed: convince people of absurdities and you can get them to commit atrocities.
Add all this up and the circus, or topi drama, acquires rather broad behavioral semantics that are underwritten by empiricism: from entertainment to patriotism to religionism to blind passion for one's profession or hobby. The last of which I examined in my essay: The Fable of the Bees and the Seduction of Science and Technology Corrupting the Intellect and the Soul
( http://tinyurl.com/Seduction-Fable-of-the-bees ).
That was just keeping busy in tech. But the principles and the fable of the bees I draw upon apply to all passions that a) blind reason, b) blind commonsense, and c) tickle one's own narrow self interests despite knowing of its negative consequences for others. This co-opts both intellectual integrity and moral integrity with self deceit thus corrupting the soul. But in the materialist's conception of life and Nature, there is no soul, and evolutionary principles dictate social evolution... with appropriate illusions maintained for the masses to prevent their rebellion out of existential fears... so it is sold to them as being in their own best interest.
See how Pakistan's sham democracy is being marketed by focus on elections? The same applies to American elections. The choice is always between twiddledee and twiddledum in America. At least Pakistan's is a tad more colorful in presentation if not any different in substance. The rulers and public opinion-makers gracing our drawing rooms nightly without fail must really think all hoi polloi are idiots. Well, some public can actually think. See: Not-Voting is a 'YES' vote to Reject a Corrupt System which thrives on the facade of Elections and Democracy!
Empiricism is just a fancy science word which means realism, i.e., not abstract theory, i.e., we can readily observe it as a phenomenon, we can statistically measure it, if not directly then in the aggregate, statistically quantify it, extract aggregate intelligence out of that data, create models that explain that intelligence, conduct experiments on it based on the models, test various hypothesis on the models, draw conclusions from it, base actionable decisions on it, etc.
Everything stated in here is empirical...
Thus topi drama, circus, keeping busy, leave no time to think and reflect, has become the basis of modern behavior control techniques via perception management. I am not claiming that capriciously; those masters developing its techniques and practicing it and the slavish world of Pakistanis are learning from, are admitting to it themselves:
“In the technetronic society the trend seems to be toward aggregating the individual support of millions of unorganized citizens, who are easily within the reach of magnetic and attractive personalities, and effectively exploiting the latest communication techniques to manipulate emotions and control reason.” --- Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages, 1970, pg. 11
“[T]here is already widespread concern about the possibility of biological and chemical tampering with what has until now been considered the immutable essence of man. ... Speaking of a future at most only decades away, an experimenter in intelligence control asserted, 'I foresee the time when we shall have the means and therefore, inevitably, the temptation to manipulate the behaviour and intellectual functioning of all the people through environmental and biochemical manipulation of the brain.'” --- ibid. pg. 12
“We are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy who have always existed and presumably always will exist, to get people actually to love their servitude!” --- Aldous Huxley, The Ultimate Revolution, 1962, talk at UC Berkeley
“We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.” --- Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928, pg.1
And all that manipulation rests on keeping the masses occupied between bread and circuses, between roti and topi drama. But in the upcoming Brave New World of transhumanism, external environmental coercion will be replaced by internal compulsion by tampering with the very essence of man... far easier for behavior control than constant environmental manipulation to get people to believe and accept the absurd big lies, half truths, lies wrapped in veneers of truth, and vicariously through worldviews forged by books, movies, television, social media, vlogs, political activities, jalsas and marches, political and religious sloganeering, etc.
And they have really figured it all out and this is how they coral us:
“'Public Assumptions' Shape Views of History: Such presumptions are beliefs (1) thought to be true (although not necessarily known to be true with certainty), and (2) shared in common within the relevant political community. The sources for such presumptions are both personal (from direct experience) and vicarious (from books, movies, and myths).” --- November 1997-August 1998: Future 9/11 Commission Staff Attend Terrorism Study Group; Predict Consequences of ‘Catastrophic Terrorism’ and how public will react
And that's what's happening in Pakistan. The rulers not only know and understand how the public will react to all their tickling, but how to channel their boundless energies into nothingness. While they pursue whatever they are ordered to on the Grand Chessboard by their own massa. The election scam, the democracy scam, the SC scams year after year, the establishment scams year after year, are all topi dramas where each group of gullible people predictably align with their leaders and think-groups which expound their own worldviews.
Those who are creating this topi drama, aiding and abetting in its narrative, are criminals. They pull wool over the public's eyes making the masses prisoners of the cave that Plato so lucidly captured in his Allegory of the Cave in his seminal book The Republic written 2500 years or so ago.
Don't know what punishment in this world they are in for. Except under victor's justice. That I know of a little bit having studied Nuremberg Military Tribunal events rather diligently over the years. Don't know of Divine Justice and Divine Punishments at all - it is all a fable as far as I can tell, never having been dead (yet). And so it is irrelevant to the calculus of life in the here as far as I am concerned... I leave the calculus of the hereafter to those who know about it, I don't.
All I know is that monumental crimes against humanity are purveyed here, so punishment too must be purveyed here; otherwise, not only is it meaningless, it fails to deter here. I can only curse them as public intellectuals to have put wool over the public's eyes instead of having been the beacon of guidance for them; minimally, apne hissay ki shama he jala kay rakhte (they could have lighted their share of the candle). See "My Little Jihad" ( http://tinyurl.com/My-Little-Jihad-ZahirEbrahim ) for why monumental crimes against humanity must be interdicted and deterred before it's orchestrated and become fait accompli... , ex post facto verdicts by ICJ for instance, even if they, by miracle of miracles, find Israel actually guilty of genocide in Gaza rather than merely continue on with the Hearings which ICJ decided today to do (see https://www.dawn.com/news/1808859/icj-stops-short-of-gaza-ceasefire-order-but-lets-genocide-case-stand ), won't bring back those Palestinian men women and children civilians visited upon by the Jewish State's armed to the teeth Zionist military's magnanimity with full Western support of bombing a real Shoah upon them; or restore the tabula rasa of the survivors, even if Gaza is subsequently rebuilt like how Germany and Japan were rebuilt ex post facto after the decimation of their millions of civilians in World War II. And what good was international law in deterring the lame American mea culpa for the decimation of Iraq and the subsequent colonization by Pax Americana with "oops, intelligence failure"! The entire Middle East was lighted on fire by the so called imperative to "birth-pang a new Middle East"... no deterrence! ICJ and World Court and International Law etc. are not just instruments of realpolitik of superpowers, but also toothless in safeguarding and preventing victims, or providing for the just restitution claims of the surviving victims. For, as far as realpolitik is concerned, the victims are just collateral damage. Unless of course the victims happen to be Jews! Then Germany is legally saddled with paying the survivors of the so called Holocaust TM and their progeny restitution for a hundred years to create what Norman Finkelstein has called the Holocaust Industry in his book of the same title.
So much for paying for crimes against humanity here!
And so, the topi dramas, the bread and circuses shall continue for ever.
For those who claim innocence and fail to raise their voice, fail to act to oppose the topi drama of their own rulers, are so infected by the curse of busyness to even not want to open their eyes, and instead become part of the conformist narrative space and echo its bullshit, I can only day this.
If one is too stupid to cook food properly and keep on poisoning the customers despite their best intentions, then staying out of the kitchen would be the moral and intellectually honest thing to do.
Of course, freedom to cook whatever one wants for one's hungry customers as a human right trumps all moral and intellectual calculus.
That, all that, is the real curse of busyness that far outstrips the Dawn columnist's misgivings in the aforementioned article.
In my layman's two cents opinion.