What Hitchcock Taught the Social Engineers

by | Jan 24, 2022 | Newsletter | 18 comments

You’ll recall that late last year I was exploring the central role that narrative plays in shaping our lives. Although it may sound trivial at first glance, story-telling is not just a fundamental part of the human experience, it is one of the primary ways we come to an understanding of the world around us.

From earliest childhood—listening to our parents reading stories to us at bedtime—we learn that the events that shape our world don’t just happen. Instead, they follow familiar plot trajectories in which protagonists set out on quests, encounter obstacles, surmount challenges, battle antagonists and ultimately resolve their conflicts by using what they have learned along their journey. This isn’t just how story works; for the narrative mind, this is how the world works.

This is one of the central insights of my Film, Literature and the New World Order series: movies, books and TV series aren’t mere popcorn entertainment. They reflect our understanding of the world, and—in the hands of the would-be social engineers and predictive programmers—even the dumbest B-movie can be used to implant an idea in the public’s mind. By this method, fiction writers and film producers play a part in indirectly controlling the public’s perception of the world.

So it only stands to reason that those who are trying to write the script of history and steer world events would steal a trick or two from the fiction writer’s playbook, right? And if you want to keep your audience hooked to a far-fetched adventure tale, who better to steal from than the “master of suspense” himself, Alfred Hitchcock?

This week in The Corbett Report Subscriber, James pulls back the curtain on a favourite narrative device of The Great Narrative gang. Thankfully, we can disarm this weapon merely by being aware of it. And as always, Corbett Report members can stick around for James’ recommended reading, listening and viewing, plus a coupon code for 25% off Corbett Report DVDs at the New World Next Week shop.

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