Deception, Fakery and Pranking

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The power of a thought to get itself accepted in the marketplace is worth little if the market is full of lies and deceptions.

– The Greek

 

If it’s not a duck, it shouldn’t quack like a duck!

– The Arkon


 

 

 

Modern man’s ignorance of his world is exceeded only by his expectations of it.
When he turns on the TV, he expects his news outlets, however vapid, to bring him compelling reports. He expects his foreign travels, however transient, to be exotic and inspiring. He imagines that his job, however banal, should be meaningful and stimulating. He also expects the contradictory and the impractical – compact cars that are spacious, upscale apartments that are affordable and high-fashion clothes at bargain prices.
He even includes himself in such fantasies, imagining himself as charitable when he’s rich and merciful when he’s in positions of power. Perhaps never before have people expected so much from their lives yet had so little to show for it, having failed to grasp that the world is not as they suppose it to be. What we see instead is an arrogant trust in modern society that strays into the delusional – but this is not new. When major civilizations of the past reached their peak, most proclaimed themselves to be “modern” and presumed they had a firm grasp on 90% of reality, with the remaining 10% to be uncovered in the next twelve months. Such was the smugness of past empires right before they toppled over, and given the hubris seen all around us, one can only be surprised by how long the current civilization has lasted, having already declared itself superior to all that came before, and openly ridiculing its forebears for being antiquated and backwards.

 

 

The most efficient way of making space for falsehoods is to marginalize the truth.
After all, how can we gain understanding if we’re indifferent to the accuracy of what we say and hear? Yet the conventional wisdom of our time insists that we live in a post-truth world – today’s “truth” is no longer what is, but what others can be brought to accept,
just as “money” is not only legal tender, but any counterfeit bill that can be passed off as the real thing. When the preference for reality is no longer to be found in a society, having been replaced by a desire for fantasies, then we must witness the unfailing rise of a new culture as a result – one which accommodates the delusions of the masses.
For all the falsehoods it promotes, this new way of life can be fittingly called
“fake culture”.

The rise of fake culture in the past century has allowed for the alliance between what used to be opposing parties. Whereas in times past the separation between victim and perpetrator was often clear, such as the class divisions of the 19th century, fake culture is willingly upheld by both the victim and the perpetrator. Those in power work alongside those they govern to maintain a mutually agreed-upon delusion that envelopes both parties, who collectively agree to believe what they don’t believe, and to feel what they otherwise never would have felt. We see all around us a parade of fake beliefs,
fake knowledge, fake news and fake expertise. We have fake reactions, fake emotions and even fake desires. All of this comes about when people degrade their behavior and language to the point where actual meanings can no longer be conveyed without artifice, so that no-one can anymore differentiate between the true and the false.

A culture of fakery is more pernicious than a culture of lies. Anyone can tell a lie; the only requirement is to speak with the intention to deceive. The liar and truth-teller are on opposite sides of the same see-saw, each responding to the facts as he chooses.
One of them obscures reality, whilst the other illuminates it. But fake culture asks us to ignore this dynamic altogether; the faker doesn’t even respect the truth enough to oppose it. Instead, he simply pays it no attention, as if it were disposable, and thus becomes an even greater enemy of the truth than the liar. Among today’s many adherents of fake culture, the lie has long since lost its customary function of misrepresenting reality.
In their world, no-one really believes anyone else anyway, despite everyone somehow purporting to be in the know, and even the most genuine attempts at communication are regarded as no more sincere than carnival barking.

 

 

In spite of whatever assurances and promises are offered up by the powers that be,
a nagging suspicion endures that not only is there something structurally wrong with the world, but that stories of political progress, ideological utopias and Enlightenment virtues like “equality” are but myths. Such suspicion only grows when it becomes increasingly obvious that most government policies and revolutionary ideologies lead to results glaringly opposed to their stated aims. These deceptions that tie people to contemporary beliefs are much like the chains that kept Roman prisoners bound to their cells, and for the purpose of exposition, we can refer to the sum total of this fraud as the “Big Lie” –
a brazen falsehood pushed so relentlessly in mass media that it eventually becomes undistinguishable from the truth.

The idea of the Big Lie is hardly novel. Whether an outgrowth of the distrust of government, or a reaction to multiple failed pushes for utopia, it’s been a recurring sentiment throughout the centuries, most notably in the polemical works of authors like George Orwell and Alduous Huxley. The primary task of the Big Lie is to have major institutions cultivate a set of illusions that turn the individual into a serf to be saved by those same institutions. The world of advertising is full of such contrivances and provide some of the best examples of it. But the work of admen can hardly be regarded as “lies” because they never had the truth as their target anyway; they exploit market research and public-opinion polling to present their images in whatever way will best win over their audience. Their aim isn’t to advocate a false proposition, but to indulge their audience in fantasy and vain aspirations. This indifference to how things really are is the essence of fake culture and its resulting dreamworld. People seem quite content to live in such a world – perhaps it’s why they prefer a poster with a happy cliché on it to the truth. Presumably if we all smile, join together and drink Coke, there will finally be peace in the world. Such is the state of a society where those in power are openly lying, faking, stealing and cheating, and everyone knows it. But one can hardly blame the elites – perhaps one should even applaud them. After all, what are liars and fakers if not great magicians?

 

 

Whether in politics, entertainment or advertising, lies and fakery have always been justifiable means for capturing an audience, and the premise of human gullibility has become one of the hottest commodities sold in these marketplaces. In fact, truthfulness has seldom been counted as a virtue within such arenas, and as the influence of consumer advertising grows to equal only that of Hollywood’s, fake culture continues to lodge itself even deeper into the mainstream. Hence, we can detect the evolution of the “Big Lie” into something more sinister and alarming: the “Big Prank”.

The Big Prank is an adversarial system that most people cannot conceive of unless it’s explained to them, being otherwise too counter-intuitive to unpack on one’s own. It appears rather harmless and inviting, much like a magic show. The magician initially creates a sense of wonder by pulling a rabbit out of a hat, but if his secrets were explained and it was revealed that his assistant had been pick-pocketing the distracted audience all along, the collective amusement would quickly dissipate. But effective pranking needn’t solely be about sleight of hand or concealment; it is equally effective to inundate the audience. Even if the truth is knowable, one needs only surround it with mountains of other junk. Just trade in the magic show for a fun house of mirrors; the truth may be visible, but can you spot it among all the conspiracy theories and conflicting reports, or will apathy take home the victory and leave critical thought panting on the field?
If so, why even bother to falsify anything? Just bury the secrets of the universe in a shallow grave of Google search results, say on page three, and no-one would ever find them.

 

 

Humans are governed so absolutely by their desires and impulses that any charlatan who wishes to deceive will easily find willing dupes. In fact, a lot of people experience the world with the same incredulity that the audience did when the magician pulled the rabbit from the hat. Something tells them it must be a trick, but in the absence of a proper explanation they have no choice but to accept what they’re witnessing as the real thing. This bombardment of pseudo-realities begins to produce inauthentic humans very quickly. And fake humans will only help generate more fake realities to peddle, turning even more people into forgeries of themselves until we wind up in a large version of Disneyland where you can visit the Planet Of The Apes, the Mickey Mouse Simulacrum or Goofy’s Wild Ride, but alas, none of them are true.

Have things always been this bad? Since when was it okay to be a prankster? Since when was it a virtue to be fake? Maybe since forever, given that hustlers, scammers and magicians have always done well in society. For millennia they’ve seduced people into self-deception, and that success now raises the question: are people so enthralled by the trappings of fake culture that they can no longer escape its fairy-tale dreamworld?
Upon examining our major institutions, one can safely answer “yes”, that deception is their purpose, though one allegedly pursued for the good of all. The widespread acceptance of the Fake World Order is often used as evidence of mankind’s progression towards some future utopia, but it’s merely a mirage put up by a society that refuses to engage not only with history, but also with the events in front of their facesAnd no-one seems much to resist it; they may occasionally try to distance themselves from it, but more often than not they only turn away with an impatient shrug until fake culture finds some way to placate them back into submission. This indifference guarantees their ruin, for whether people believe in fake culture or not does not matter as long as they absorb its messages, which is what upholds the system’s authority for the half-believers who simply accept it because it exists. It is no easy task to remove this delusion. Perhaps it even grows too deep for removal. Yet it seems that people have decided they rather like it, though it offers them a world where there’s nothing to choose from except lies.
But at least they’re free to choose the kind of lie they want.

 

 

 

GREEKSPEEK FOR THOUGHT

 

People believe the liar because he accommodates them, so trying to interrupt his lies with the truth is like playing heavy metal at a piano concert. You’ll be regarded as a nuisance that has to be removed.


Much of the world functions through legerdomain.
The elites lie and you swear that it’s true, so it becomes true.
It’s like a magician sawing a woman in half on stage – you swear it happened, so it did, even though it didn’t.


We’re living in a time of fake. Fake news, fake food, fake medicine, fake religion, fake teeth, fake breasts – what’s not fake? Everything is.


On one hand you have the ignorant masses who are fed lies and don’t care. On the other hand you have those who do pursue the truth, but have no outrage against their leaders that lied to them.
So things are bad all around.


Anyone who claims to know the answers to life’s big problems is laughed at, whilst the man who claims he doesn’t know the answers is considered great.


Why should you expect any more truth than you’re willing to obey? Once you’re at the point of compromising, you don’t need to know any more truth.


Because of the widespread loathing of knowledge, those who learned about the truth always retracted from society.
Consider the archetype of the ancient sage or wiseman: after becoming masters of their knowledge, did they live in the center of town? No. They lived in the deserts like ObiWan, or deep in the forests, or on mountaintops. Why? Because when they went into town, they were disgusted by what they saw there, and unsurprisingly, they were never appreciated for what they knew.

About the author

The Arkon

Just a person trying to make their conception of reality as sophisticated as possible.

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