Change blindness

There is a psychological phenomena called change blindness, in which our attention is so taken up with little things that we do not see major changes taking place right before our eyes.

Take a look at two of Britain’s most popular newspapers, The Sun and The Daily Mail which are dominated by salacious stories about celebrities and debates about what one footballer said to another. (Who would want to miss the front page story about a woman who found she had had a pool cue stuck up her nose for two years?)

While we are preoccupied with such tittle-tattle, we do not notice (or have time to think about) the intentions of powerful people. For example, General Wesley Clark was the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, of NATO, before retirement in 2000 and then went on to be a US Presidential candidate in 2004. He is well connected.

In this short extract (from a longer 2007 Democracy Now interview ) he describes how, in September 2001, he saw a briefing paper which listed the countries the Pentagon intended to attack over the next few years: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.

Afghanistan – tick, Iraq – tick, Somalia – tick, Libya – tick, Sudan – ‘welcomes US troops’ – tick, Syria … ? Iran ….. ?

Before Iraq a politician could not advocate regime change because it is illegal under international law (which is why Tony Blair needed to be so economical with the truth). But gradually, gradually, with the ‘Arab Spring’ and Libya it has become acceptable to interfere in the affairs of others, at all levels. Our blindness to change means we don’t see it until too late.

And the change keeps ratcheting in the same direction, it is part of an agenda. What we are missing is the obvious – the predatory intentions of powerful people. This month global financiers (whom this blog often refers to as predators) have carried out regime change in Greece and Italy. They have replaced properly elected governments with non-elected bankers. These bankers are in control and they are not accountable to anyone except their peers.

This is a very dangerous moment – precedent has been set. Our modern surveillance society conditions us to be subservient every day. We get used to ‘the authorities’ watching us – we don’t object even when they move to put cameras and microphones into taxis – to record our every word and gesture. Young children get used to strangers groping them at airports – it is the new normal. We have been blind to the change.

The public mind has been moved – it is okay to interfere. We have become used to invasive controls. The financial crisis is too complicated for us to understand. We have to accept that the authorities know best. Saving the financial system takes priority over democracy. Precedent has been set for the overthrow of elected governments by bankers.

It will seem only natural when, during the coming economic collapse of the UK, a banker is asked to run things (temporarily, of course) by our dear (unelected) Queen Betty. perhaps we will notice that change.

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