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October Book Review: Propaganda by Edward Bernays

Propaganda Considered a fascinating and controversial read, Propaganda by Edward Bernays-written in 1928 and revised in 1955-explains the role of public relations in government and business, or rather, explores how power is used by the ruling elite of our society to curb, control and manipulate public opinion. It is a summation of how the elite control how we think, how we act, what we buy, and what we do. I found Propaganda apropos to read in October of an election year.

The definition of propaganda, according to Edward Bernays, is “the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses.” Not only is propaganda necessary for social order, but Bernays believed that it is also a vital and important element in democratic society, and without its use, the masses would be confused and lost.  Propaganda is used to sell an idea, a product or service, every day. Bernays, although insists that the use of propaganda is essential, does acknowledge that curbing its potentially destructive mass ramifications is impossible; essentially, he does not idealize his stance but rather understands that the use of propaganda is manipulative, covert and only serves the propagandist. Today, the word, “propaganda” has a very negative connotation, and the Oxford Dictionary definition is: “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.”  An example of this, of course, is the propaganda deliberately used by the mass media in this election year of 2016 with the goal of shaping public opinion in regards to the two major presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

In addition to analyzing the role of propaganda in politics, Edward Bernays scrutinizes how it is used in education, social services, business, art, science, and what he terms “women’s studies.” He also briefly discusses the psychology of public relations. I found Bernays book a brief but thorough introduction of the subject of propaganda. Even though this book was originally published in 1928, it is still very pertinent today, almost one hundred years later. I recommend this reading to anyone who seeks to understand how the masses are covertly (and sometimes overtly) manipulated into thinking and acting on all levels. It is truly and eye-opener!

A bit about the author, Edward Bernays:Edward Bernays

Austrian-American intellectual Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, pioneered the scientific technique of shaping and manipulating public opinion. During WWI, he was an integral part of the U.S. Committee on Public Information (CPI), a powerful propaganda machine that sold the war to the American people as one that would “make the world safe for democracy.” The marketing strategies for all future wars would be based on this model. Bernays fashioned a career as a proponent of propaganda for political and corporate manipulation of the population. His career earned him the well-known title of “father of public relations.”

To learn more about Edward Bernays, visit Wikipedia.

To read a copy of Propaganda, visit Amazon or download a PDF version.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com. Musings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being 

 

 


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My Voice Matters: A letter from an Immigrant to Bernie Sanders

Dearest Bernie,

You have truly done it.

I have not been one to get heavily involved in politics, but this year, I couldn’t help myself. The reason is you, Bernie Sanders.  You have reminded me that I have a voice, and my voice is heard.

You need to know, Mr. Sanders, that in the past, my voice shattered when I spoke. I stuttered badly as a child, because I was not secure in my skin. I grew up in an upper middle class neighborhood in California as part of a working poor class family. My family and I were considered strange – Mexicans that were a nuisance who would not amount to anything (even though we were Argentine; no offense to anyone who is Mexican or Hispanic reading this). I did not feel accepted, liked, normal, and especially, heard. I had no voice then. It was not until decades later that I realized what had happened to me and to my family. Thank you, Bernie Sanders, for speaking for immigrants and the working poor. Thank you for reminding me that my voice matters, that our collective voices matter.

Bernie Sanders

I am a first generation, Argentine-American who is now a United States citizen.  Like most of the masses of people in this country, I believed that what I witnessed in the world around me and what I had experienced first hand was all there was or will ever be. I believed that no one had the courage to fight for what we need, what we want, what we should have and what we deserve as citizens of this country or of the world. I believed there was no way to change the corrupt system we endure year after year. I believed with every cell of my body that there was no way to change a system that has been in place for decades, even centuries. I believed that I would not see significant social change and significant betterment of society in my lifetime. You, Bernie Sanders, have taught me that I was wrong. I owe this to you and only you.

As the eldest of three children, I watched my father devolve from a fun-loving, gregarious, and funny man who was usually the life of the party into a silent, dispondant, depressed alcoholic until his untimely death of a heart attack at the age of 59.  Dad worked in a book binding factory in an assembly line with no air-conditioning or heat for very little pay (he was a legal immigrant who did not speak English) and with an unrealistic production goal from management. My father was the sole breadwinner in our family and would often have to work overtime, sometimes as much as sixty hours per week.  He eventually secured a job working the swing shift so he could avoid the heat from the sweltering summers and meet the production assembly-line quota. Because of this change of schedule, we only saw an exhausted version of dad on weekends. My mother was left to care for me and my siblings and hardly spent any time with her husband. We were the working poor class. Dad sacrificed his life working his ass off getting paid minimum wage or less doing a job that would drive anyone insane. I am now part of the middle class because of my father’s unrelenting dedication and sacrifice. I acknowledge that sacrifice and commitment from my papa. I have never forgotten that.  

Like my father, Bernie, there are many other fathers (and mothers) in this country working menial jobs where the pay is not enough to even survive month to month. This is the result of the unregulated, corrupt capitalistic system we have in place where greed flourishes and people are viewed and treated like machines for production. This is unacceptable. No person should have to work in deplorable conditions and earn a meager income. YOU, Bernie Sanders, are the only politician in a long time that has even addressed, (and much less cared about) the condition of the working poor or the immigrant, and I thank you for that. I thank you for standing up for working class families and fighting for an increase in the minimum wage in this country. June 24th would have been my father’s 82nd birthday. Below is a picture of him working at the factory. I often imagine what his life would have been like if he had been treated better at work. I wonder if he would have lived sober, if he would have not died so soon. I imagine how different my childhood might have been.

Dad

We have a long way to go in this country (and worldwide) to change or improve the systems in place that abuse and oppress people. It is your vision, Mr. Sanders, your courage and your passion that ignites the fire within each person to step up and do their part in changing our country for the better, not only for the plight of the poor and the immigrant, but also for all the other problems facing this country that you address. Thank you for your courage, your diligence, your inspiration, your unwavering conviction, your honesty and trailblazing spirit. You are the inspiration that we all needed to fight for change, to fight for freedom, to wake us out of our slumber. It is people like you who change the world for the better. You are our voice and have helped us rediscover our own voices. I sure hope you will be elected our next president, Bernie Sanders, but if you should not, I want you to know how truly grateful I am for you.  And, if my father were alive today, Bernie, I picture him shedding a tear (or two) knowing there was a candidate running for president that would have heard his voice.  He would have Felt the Bern, and he would have been SO INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL.

From one inspired immigrant who speaks for other immigrants,

Thank you, Bernie.

To learn about Bernie Sanders and his vision, visit BernieSanders.com or Bernie’s Facebook page, BernieSanders.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comMusings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being 

 

 


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January Book Review: you2: A High-velocity Format for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps by Price Pritchett

Price PritchettA short, concise and very inspiring book (easily carried in a briefcase or small purse), you2: A High-velocity Format for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps by Price Pritchett encouraged me to go after my dreams and omit the excuses! More importantly, the book helped me to realize that my dreams are in reach. And, yours are too!

you2 (squared) promotes an unconventional strategy for achieving breakthrough performance in everything you want to achieve. Pritchett presents this powerful method in eighteen key components and explains how these build massive success with expending less effort and bypassing the gradual and conventional methods. His books showed me how to “quit trying harder,” to think beyond what common sense would allow, and how to make a move towards my dreams before I feel ready.

Price Pritchett

I recommend this short book (which can be read in less than an hour) to anyone who needs inspiration, motivation and encouragement to take a leap towards their dream. If you want to be challenged and learn that you can attain your goals, read this book! If you find yourself living a dull life because you have settled for the “status quo” and have no idea how you will ever create a life of abundance, Pritchett’s book will inspire you to move and take action with faith and belief. It will show you how to take what he calls a quantum leap.

A bit about the author, Price Pritchett:

Price Pritchett

Price Pritchett is CEO of Pritchett, LP, a Dallas-based consulting and training firm with offices in numerous other cities and countries. Specializing in change management, corporate culture and merger integration, he holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is recognized worldwide as an expert on personal and organizational change. He has been featured on CNN, CNBC and other major television channels. Pritchett has sold over 20 million copies of his books and is one of the world’s best-selling business authors.

To learn more about Price Pritchett or to purchase a copy of you2: A High-velocity Format for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps, visit his website: pritchettnet.com.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com, Musings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being

 

 

 


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November Book Review: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry

“Monumental…Few have caught the real sorrow and inexplicable strength of India, the unaccountable crookedness and sweetness as well as Mistry.” – Pico Iyer, Time Magazine

Absolutely stunning and one of my favorite all-time, award-winning novels is Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance. Set in 1975 in India in an undisclosed city by the sea, this is a story about four strangers unexpectedly forced to share a very crammed apartment in times of political turmoil twenty five years after India’s outlawing of its caste system (a Hindu religious and social institution where people are grouped in different social hierarchies). Coming from different castes or “jadis”- Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Sudras, and Pariahs (the untouchables or the “outcastes”) – and forced to live together, they inevitably learn to trust each other despite their beliefs and customs. Their life stories unfold as the reader discovers the painful truth about Indian culture and religion.  (One wonders if the origins of the English word “outcast” has anything to do with India’s Pariahs.)

I highly recommend Rohinton Mistry’s, A Fine Balance, as a beautiful and engaging read, especially if you are curious about India’s history, culture, religion, politics and the discrimination that still continues (but has diminished since 1950) even today. The author produces a fantastically-written work of fiction that depicts the engrained (and sometimes unchangeable) beliefs of its people. Written in brilliant, illuminative prose, this thick book’s realism is, in my humble opinion, nothing less than masterful. I learned a great deal about India by submersing myself in this book.

Rohinton Mistry, Vilma Reynoso

A bit about the author, Rohinton Mistry:

Rohinton Mistry is an Indian-born Canadian who writes in English. Born in Bombay, he is also the author of several novels including Such a Long Journey, Family Matters, The Scream, and Tales from Firozsha Baaga among others. Mistry is the recipient of many prestigious awards for his books and writing including the Scotiabank Giller prize for A Fine Balance, the Neustadt International prize for Literature, Governor General’s Award for English-language fiction, the Los Angeles Times book prize for fiction, and while studying at the University of Toronto, he won two Hart House literary prizes. He practices Zoroastrianism and belongs to the Parsi community.

Rohinton Mistry, Vilma Reynoso

To purchase a copy of this magnificent novel, please visit Amazon.

To learn more about Rohinton Mistry, visit Wikipedia.

Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.