Human society is all about information, the sending of messages. Most of these messages are obviously advertisements, but they're a little outside of what I want to talk about now. What I'd like to discuss is the messages you get from day-to-day interaction with other humans.
Example 1: The police.
In the 1950s, the police wore a hat, a belt, a gun, and a nightstick, and travelled in pairs. The message was "We are here as representatives of the law. If you misbehave, we may arrest you. If you really misbehave, we may be forced to club you. If you go completely batshit, we will shoot you. Let's not let things get out of hand, okay?
By the 60s, the riot shield was added, for dealing with flower children. The message there was "We are the legions of order. Submit."
In the 80s, police carried radios. The message there was "you can't outrun this radio."
In the 90s, tasers became available. The new message was "Go ahead and fuck around. I'm DYING to try this thing out.
By the last decade, the police look like nothing so much as infantry. The message the police at the WTO and OWS protests sent was "You People are The Enemy, and you will be treated as such. Submit now, or quit the field...Or we'll make you wish you were never born."
A far cry from "We are here as representatives of the law.", right?
Example 2: The democratic party as the "opposition" to the republican party. "We'll do the same things, but we'll do them better! Change!"
I don't think I have to explain that one...The dems openly agree with whatever batshit ideas the GOP comes up with, having already taken those ideas as valid. The message, of course, is "The Fix is in."
Example 3: You are waiting for a one on one meeting with your boss. He keeps you cooling your heels while he does things that could have been done outside of the agreed-upon meeting time.
The message here is, "I'm an important guy, and the things I do are more important than your time." If he's taking a call from HIS boss, not unreasonable. If he's playing Farmville on his computer, get a new job.
A little more on this later.