I suspected this was on the way. Neurologists are now using brain scanning techniques to develop more effective forms of advertising. Advertising (and, more importantly, political discourse), use potent signs to activate various regions of the brain presiding over pleasure, fear, sexual desire, hatred, and so on, to form cognitive relations to things entirely unrelated to these affects. For example, a cleaning product might make a commercial with all sorts of romantic imagery so as to forge an unconscious association between detergent and romance, even though there’s no relation between the two. Of course, historically these techniques have been crude as advertisers and politicians don’t know what signs will activate these affects and what won’t. It’s been hit or miss. Theories of what signs will produce affects (not that signs produce affects) haven’t admitted much in the way of verification, but have been based on the individual theories of semioticians and advertisers (the former, of course, being more sophisticated). However, now some neurologists are scanning brains to rectify this problem, contributing to the formation of a “brave new world”. Perhaps we are here witnessing a new diagram of power; one that suggests that the terrifying possibilities described by R.S. Bakker in his horror-detective novel Neuropath aren’t just science fiction.
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