Today, Mercury moves from Capricorn, where he was hard-nosed, realistic, and short on words into Aquarius, where he is equally hard-nosed but not the least interested in being either realistic or short on words. Now communication and thought processes of all sorts take on a completely different tone and to learn more about how this might play out, let’s explore some ideas about utopian propaganda.
Propaganda, defined for this purpose as ‘opinion management’ is oft associated with falsehood and lies, even though in reality, propaganda is ethically neutral. Much of the ‘bad’ propaganda, like we have come to associate with the likes of Hitler and Stalin, is down to marketing of the utopian dream. Perhaps the reason that this type of propaganda gets such bad press is that, etymologically, utopia is both a ‘good place’ that is ‘no place’? After all, if the utopian dream carries with it both the affirmation of possibility as well as the negation of its fulfilment, then it ought to come as no surprise that attempts to put utopian ideals into practice will fail.
But as history makes clear, such failure often does come as a surprise, not the least because people did not wish to see coming. So if ‘bad’ propaganda aims to sell us the impossible dream then what might we do to get a better grip on it?
In an excellent book, Propaganda, Power and Persuasion: From World War I to WikiLeaks (ed. David Welch, London: IB Tauris, 2014) the point is made that to make more informed decisions about propaganda, we must gain a better understanding of its nature and process and that, for better or worse, is an opportunity you have each and every time – once a year - that Mercury is in Aquarius. But with Saturn, the planetary ruler of Aquarius, currently also in Aquarius (happens only once every 28-30 years), you have a very special opportunity.
To take full advantage, I would direct you to George Orwell’s novel, Animal Farm, which is a classic fable about propaganda in the rise of Soviet communism, an ideal which, at the time, many forward-thinking, liberal-minded people embraced. The problem was that however much like the animals in the fable, the Soviets wanted to build a better life by overturning their oppressor in a rebellious coup, what they got instead was much, much worse.
But the real shame was that in allowing their opinions to be managed such that they blithely accepted utopian propaganda as their blueprint to bliss, both the animals and many Soviets signed their own death warrants whilst at the same time never giving up hope that - some day - their lofty ideals would still be met.