Like the enigmatic glyphs of Nazca whose ancient figures are only discernible when viewed from far above, so it is with human perception of current events and their yet unknown significance. It is only in looking back that we can truly appreciate the gravity and impact of an event in history.
The narrow perspective allowed us, even at the highest levels of intellect and analysis, is still handicapped by time itself. As events unfold, the ramifications of those events reach out and the ongoing changes which become part of that event are realised only later.
Because these things are impossible to know, the unintended consequences, the chaos of the universe, the infinite number of variables which could throttle or reverse a trend and well, the human element of passion and morality are just too much for us to view within the narrow time frame of our experience.
When historians look back at an event like the French Revolution, which in its own time was a raw and passionate boiling over, an organic reaction of the populace to their present experience and the driving need for change and justice that welled up within them, is now viewed as a turning point in human consciousness that once done, could never be undone.
All events afterwards would be viewed through a new prism which now refracted differently because of this added experience. From the abolitionist movement, where people resisted the evil of slavery on moral grounds in spite of an intellectual class justifying racial hierarchy, came a new paradigm. Out of the moral courage shown by those fighting against slavery was born a new standard. The idea that all humans deserve equality and dignity preserveered in spite of the fact that not everyone agreed. A shift had taken place and those who chose to violate the belief in equality were called upon to justify their deviation.
In comparing these perspectives, the "in the moment" verses the "hindsight" we can see how those seeking to influence the populace take advantage of this narrow perspective. Using it as leverage they try to drive the masses toward their desired outcome. Like a pyramid whose broad base is the entire experience of history, the middle is the current era and the tip is the very moment before us, the populace is most easily leveraged at the narrowest point.
We can not look into the future and know what all the actions of today will lead to, however, in fully grasping the past, and understanding the nature of human experience we can better predict how our revolutions of today will turn out tomorrow. The more that is known of history, the more we are supported by that broader base and are not so easily swayed by propaganda.
The use of propaganda and the control of the media has become, as much as any weapon, a vital tool in the arsenal of the combatants waging a war of information. When Che Gueverra stated "You can't kill an idea" he had no way to foresee the development of advanced, complex, social analytics and could never have conceived the cell phone obsessed, 24 hour access to the human thought bank that those in power would master so efficiently in our time.
They are killing ideas. Through the artful manipulation of emotion and the repression of ideas, through corporate media domination, they both kill and give rise to ideas which have no base in the pyramid of history but are wars waged on the very apex of the moment.
The self admitted addiction to technology in our world, the people who acknowledge they check their Facebook/Twitter multiple times throughout the day have made the soil of the human soul soft and open to the seeds being planted by those desiring a crop of chaos.
But we must also recognize the hope that exists and one which had never, until our generation been realized. That the failure of propaganda occurs when it reaches the line where it is confronted directly by the real human experience of the individual and the two are not congruent. We see this with universal health care propaganda. While the conservatives in the GOP contintinue to propagandise that the U.S. has the "best health care system in the world" this has come face to face with the real human experience of the populace who struggle without insurance because they can't afford it.
The advent of technology across the globe has allowed for an incredible possibility that will be the revolution of our time. With the rapid expansion of communication between the general population on a global scale, the prospect of propaganda, both in the omission and suppression of events on the ground and the creation of a narrative tailored to the interests of the ruling class are meeting more frequently on that line. This in turn has fueled the rapid evolution of propaganda by the ruling class into a highly scientific level on the part of those who use it.
The eventual outcome of this battle is one of those unknown future events. However it is undeniable that propaganda as it existed before this revolution, the propaganda created within a silo of nationalistic patriotism, which relies heavily on the dehumanization of a foreign populace will increasingly be ineffective. As the populace becomes more interconnected globally it can be anticipated that when the individual's home country bombs some far flung place, the possibility that same individual will have experienced a real human connection, even a friendship, with a person in that part of the world in much more likely.
Support for this concept was evidenced with the Vietnam war. It was one of the first where Americans experienced it in their living room through televisions. Although few Americans had any intimate connection or even communication with the people of Vietnam, they did, through journalists get a window into their world. Journals brought into American homes stories of the human costs of war on civilians as well as the soldiers experiences. This created a schism in the American electorate.
More recently is the border debate, where the United States is divided on the view of immigrants. The right wing portrayal of them as violent criminals requires that they validate this image by putting on display the very few but real victims of violence from immigrants, because they must compete with the vast number of American citizens for whom their experience with immigrants is peaceful, to whom they are friends and neighbors.