The Behistun Inscription is a multilingual (three different cuneiform languages) inscription and rock relief at Mount Behistun in the Kermanshah Province of Iran. It measures 15 meters high by 25 meters wide and is 100 meters up a cliff on the major road between the capitals of Babylonia and Media.
The Old Persian text contains 414 lines and was authored by Darius the Great sometime between his coronation as king of the Persian Empire in 522 BC and his death in 486 BC. It tells of Darius’s lineage, how he fought 19 battles in a period of one year to put down multiple rebellions, and how he was victorious in all battles. The inscription was illustrated by a life-sized bas-relief of Darius I, the Great, holding a bow as a sign of kingship, with his left foot on the chest of a figure lying on his back before him.
The Behistun Inscription is viewed by most historians as an early example of government propaganda.
“Propaganda is communication that is used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda. The information may not be objective and may be selectively presenting facts to encourage a particular perception to produce an emotional rather than a rational response.”
Born in 1841, Gustave Le Bon was a French anthropologist, psychologist, and sociologist. Maybe his greatest achievement was dying at 90 years old in 1931. But in between he wrote a book titled The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind. Le Bon lived through the French Revolution. He witnessed the Parisian crowds burn down the Tuileries Palace, the library of the Louvre, the Palais de Justice, and other irreplaceable works of architectural art.
Le Bon travelled extensively throughout Europe, Asia and North Africa and wrote many books on the people and cultures including La Civilisation des Arabes (Arabs), Voyage au Népal, and Les Premières Civilisations de l’Orient, giving an overview of the Mesopotamian, Indian, Chinese, and Egyptian civilizations.
The Crowd is considered one of the original works on crowd psychology. Le Bon was ground breaking but has created “modern” controversy. He claimed that there are several characteristics of crowd psychology: “Impulsiveness, irritability, incapacity to reason, the absence of judgement, and the exaggeration of feelings.” Le Bon theorized that the “psychological crowd” creates a “collective unconsciousness.” Street protestors would prefer the term “collective wisdom.”
However, there is also a collective “dumb” that propagandists thrive on. Jesus of Nazareth said “rumors of wars” and this is where the propaganda folks have their techniques almost perfect.
Remember pictures of Tropical Storm Ondoy that have been posted on social media for every rainstorm and typhoon since 2009? Virtually all “fake news” is propaganda designed to get you to think one way or another. There have been some press/media stars created by using the same picture of an “injured/dead” child in several wars over several years. Recent pictures of Ukrainian children saluting their nation’s soldiers on the way to war against the Russians are actually a “replay” from a 2016 military parade.
The warmongers and war profiteers will do anything to gain your support and they have the active complicity of the press and media. US President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “military–industrial complex” has been enlarged to the “military-industrial-media complex.” They cannot take a chance that the American antiwar slogan from the “hippies” during the Vietnam War might come true. “Suppose They Gave a War and No One Came?”
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a global disaster. As in all crimes, only the perpetrator is to blame.
But we as all part of the “psychological crowd,” how much were we propagandized by all involved to almost eagerly anticipate and then accept that the war was inevitable as happened in the Vietnam War? “The men who spurred us on/ Sit in judgement of all wrong/ They decide and the shotgun sings the song.”
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