Divide and Conquer

Two young fish are swimming through the water when they are approached by an older fish who asks, “How’s the water this morning?” They carry on swimming, somewhat puzzled, then one fish turns to the other and says, “What the hell is water?”

Our belief systems (or what I call “fundamentalism”) are the waters within which we swim. A belief system is natural to us, so we do not observe it, neither can we imagine anything else. 

This is important because our adversary (the demiurge) uses this propensity to control us. His strategy is divide and conquer.  The adversary is a master counterfeiter, often appearing in one disguise or another. The spider frequently moves its nest. If the spider appears in the disguise of our favorite belief system, we will identify with it even though behaviour contradicts the carefully constructed narrative.

A certain emperor disguises himself as a feminist. When someone uses the word “mankind”, he corrects them and instructs the use of “people kind” instead. The people cheer! The emperor appoints as his Minister of Justice, a Native American woman, to create an appearance of furthering “equity” and “diversity”.  In the exercise of her duties, the Minister prosecutes a business favored by the emperor. He orders her to stop. Recognizing a gross violation of the nation’s constitution, the Minister refuses, so the emperor dismisses her. It seems the emperor actually dislikes strong, principled and competent women, but in order to preserve the narrative, true believers block or forget the contradictions even as they multiply.

In another time and place far removed and at the opposite end of the political spectrum, a certain president invades a country to overthrow an “evil  dictator”. In order to garner the necessary public support and to conceal the real reasons for the invasion, he tells lies about the dictator having weapons of mass destruction and of being connected to a major terrorist attack. None of this is remotely true (and no one argues differently to this day), but people are whipped up in a frenzy of patriotism and moral outrage. Even as the contradictions and inconsistencies mount, they are blocked from consciousness or ignored, and so the bloody and destructive wars continue, one after another. Few think to ask: They have lied repeatedly in the past, why should I believe them now?

This is sophisticated mind-control, and the use of contradiction is part of the game. When subliminal contradiction is accepted into the field of perception without resistance, the critical faculty is stunned, and the mind becomes receptive to suggestion.

The mental anxiety induced when people observe the lies and contradictions is called “cognitive dissonance”. Now they have a choice to make. Question their ideological commitment, or forget the inconsistencies in order to keep believing the lies.

“Winston sank … into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly forget it again…

George Orwell 1984

It’s easy for people on opposite sides to observe the foolish behaviour of their counterparts and not see the beam which is in their own eye. Truth telling invites ridicule and contempt. As we continue to fight each other, the spell-binding machinations of the magician go unnoticed as the hidden agenda moves forward.

That is how the divide and conquer strategy works and that is why we stand on the brink of totalitarianism and WW3 (if we are not there already).


Adrian Charles Smith (c) 2023