Oh dear. A two-word expression often inaudibly used to captivate the horrors that are being shown on the news. And although the broadcast merely lasts thirty minutes, the events to which people say ‘oh dear’, are continuous. Adam Curtis coined the term Oh Dearism for this common response as a socially-transmittable disease. He goes on to say that this particular reaction to horrific world events inevitably leads to resignation; meaning giving up on a personal level and eventually creating a spectator society. Symptoms one might experience from this socially-transmitted disease are feeling numbed and disconnected when hearing about devastatingly harsh events happening to fellow human beings.
On the other side, this response may also have a purpose of self-protection since it would be emotionally unbearable to feel personally connected to every suffering human being you encounter in the media. However, this reasoning often disguises resignation as ‘’practical or realistic’’ and justifies it arguing that it is based on common sense. Resignation leaves us careless and unthinking to an extent to which nothing really matters and we just living day-to-day, Adam Curtis argues. When agreeing and disagreeing is just that and does not lead to any form of action, oh dearism has spread. To demonstrate, we can view the example of big businesses, which have the primary goal of making large amounts of money often at the expense of people and environments. One might nod his or her head but when no action is taken in the form of more responsible consuming, it might just have spread to them.
However, the founder of this theory does not stop there and goes to say that politicians and others that are at power want you to say ‘’oh dear’’, nod or shake your head and go on with everyday business. It makes their job a lot easier when most have handed in their resignation. This high degree of contamination among people is achieved by politicians through non-linear tactics, Curtis says. This concept was invented by Putin’s right-hand man, Vladislav Surkov, and used in warfare in the Ukraine. The aim is to undermine people’s perception of the world; so that they never know what is really happening. He made all sort of contradictory moves and then announced that it was what he was doing openly. That way the opposition never knew what was intentional and what was not. This could be exactly what it happening to people’s perception considering world events. Everything journalists and politicians are telling us is confusing and contradictory. This creates a non-linear world that plays into the hand of those in power, Curtis says. The aim is similar to Surkov’s in Ukraine, not to win but to use it as a constant state of destabilized perception, in order to manage and control.
Whether or not the man is correct about the existence of a non-linear world I would like to leave open for discussion; however it is something worth exploring.