Munitions of the Mind

A history of propaganda from the ancient world to the present era

This book presents a history of propaganda from the ancient world to the present day. The ancient Greeks, best remembered for their enduring contributions to civilization, recognized that propaganda was an essential ingredient of an organized and effective society. The book begins with the suggestion that it is the intention behind propaganda that needs scrutiny, not just the propaganda itself. It is intention that has caused and prolonged wars. Increased use of persuasive techniques intended to benefit humanity as a whole requires some fundamental rethinking about how people popularly regard propaganda. Differences of opinion between people and nations are inevitable, but they can only remain a healthy aspect of civilized society if violence, war and terrorism are avoided. Since 9/11, people need peace propagandists, not war propagandists: people whose job it is to increase communication, understanding and dialogue between different peoples with different perspectives. A gradual process of explanation can only generate greater trust, and therefore a greater willingness to understand our perspective. And if this dialogue is mutual, greater empathy and consensus will emerge. The historical function of propaganda has been to fuel that fear, hypocrisy and ignorance, and it has earned itself a bad reputation for so doing. But propaganda has the potential to serve a constructive, civilized and peaceful purpose if that is the intention behind conducting it.

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