Panopticon Gazes Down on the Pill-Popping Zombies

Vintage drug ads

Haven’t you sometimes said to yourself, I’ll bet other people can see me! And you’re puzzled as to what to do about this serious, baffling problem of being conspicuous…

At once overly self-conscious, and at the same time paranoid and internalized, it is no wonder that the previous statement was written by our favorite paranoid schizo SF writer, Philip K. Dick. However, it is worth taking a closer look at the tendency for humans to worry about their own self-consciousness and appearance, since it is obvious that our right to privacy is under serious attack. Although the government is wrestling with the issue, it is by no means certain that the harsh surveillance tactics brought to us in recent years are coming to an end.

Indeed, the inquisitorial big-brother milieu extends beyond the concept of mere observation…as Dick implies, there is an active attempt to instigate our own self-doubts and keep us trapped in a spiral of confusion. Everywhere we go, we are bombarded now by advertisements for drugs. These often take the form of overt manipulation. For those who are having a bad day, or have low self-esteem, these could trigger a whole chain of thoughts, a sort of self-reinforcing trap for which, SURPRISE! Drug companies have an ANSWER! And with the relaxation of restrictions on Direct to Consumer Drug advertising, this predatory form of brainwashing is reaching epidemic proportions.

In Boston, Mass, a hot-bed of bio-medical research, one needs only to ride the subway to be subliminally assaulted by this nonsense. “Do you or anyone in your family feel irritable, drowsy, itch, hear sounds behind you, or have an occasional twitch in your leg muscles? You are very possibly suffering from IDIOT ON A TRAIN SYNDROME! If you are between the ages of 3 and 89 and have never been struck by lightning or bitten by sharks, you are qualified for a FREE TRIAL prescription testing routine at Mickey’s Bio Drug Laboratory. Call now, before you feel any WORSE!” An interesting book has been published on this topic,

Inventing Disease and Pushing Pills, which predictably enough costs and arm and a leg!

Unfortunately, the invention of disease is not limited to the absurdities of current so-called “Medical Research Trials,” we also have to deal with shocking evidence that pharmaceutical companies have historically been injecting us with vaccines which not only cause diseases over the long-term, but were in many cases laden with undetectable viruses. Of course, the sicker we all are, the more “cures” the drug companies can sell to us!

Clearly, the pernicious tactics of the drug companies, which create worry and self-consciousness, are very similar to intended consequences of the police state. The only difference I can see are that the drug companies want to accentuate our sense of vulnerability in our physical being, while the police state wants to raise our sense of vulnerability in our behaviour. These are part and parcel of control apparatus. Apparently we are viewed as the equivalent of Pavlov’s dogs, leashed to television sets, fed neurotoxins and mutagenic substances, and repeatedly beaten down with threats to our well-being, our privacy, and even freedom of expression. Not good.

If we look more closely at the Philip K. Dick statement above, we find that he had foreseen the whole mess rather clearly in his 1964 novel, <a href=”The Simulacra“>The Simulacra:

‘The commercial, fly-sized, began to buzz out its message as soon as it managed to force entry. “Say! Haven’t you sometimes said to yourself, I’ll bet other people can see me! And you’re puzzled as to what to do about this serious, baffling problem of being conspicuous, especially -“ Chic crushed it with his foot.’

Here the advertisement is actually an annoying insect, which infiltrates the physical space of the protagonist, Chic Strikerock, and begins to infect him with self-doubts. Chic, correctly, gets rid of the nuisance…but the implication, perhaps, is that the robotic-insect is a mental construct, a self-induced agent of self-doubt. As Scott Bukatman comments in his fine book Terminal Identity: This annoying advertisement is a robot - a simulation of a life form… and it is worth noting the spiel of the advertisement, which invokes an anxiety over public appearance, thus contributing to the atomized, and therefore controlled and centralized, conditions of existence.

Nonetheless, for all you weary travelers who might have read this far, keep in mind that there is no light ONLY if you choose to travel down their tunnel of self-defeat. Though there is a concentrated attempt to atomize us all, to divide us and set us up as beggars for relief from imaginary or corporate-inflicted maladies, there is no reason to simply give in to such manipulative blobbergosh. Turn off those brainwashing broadcasts, stay away from manufactured and highly processed foods, and focus on your own yogas to cleanse the body and to raise one’s level of consciousness.