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  • Writer's pictureChris Cisneros

Bread and Circus

Updated: Jun 5, 2018

With the NBA Finals currently taking center stage, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the psychological application of sports.

In this case, I'm referring to the role sports play in pacifying the masses.

Let's start with Rome. Its rulers employed something called 'Bread and Circuses', otherwise known as the Roman Circus.

The goal was to gain obedience and political favor by superficially appeasing the populace. This was done by mass offerings of food, beer, and entertainment — ultimately winning public loyalty and trust, especially that of the poor.

But beneath the pomp, the circus was nothing more than a mental distraction. It was a form of pacification — a psychological chess move to satisfy base desires and dull the senses. Think of it as the original "opiate of the masses", a way of keeping the commoners in their place.

So, how does this apply today?

Well, instead of a circus, we have the NBA, the NFL, soccer, and all the other official sports leagues.

Sports have become the new circus.

In fact, the word 'sport' etymologically means "to carry the mind away from important matters". The objective is no different from the Roman Circus, which is to stimulate the mind, pumping emotion and adrenaline into the audience, so that they "feel" their participation (merely viewing) offers meaning and value to society.

Except now, we can skip the Colosseum and watch competitions in our air-conditioned living rooms, on pricey high-definition LED screens. In 3D. With voice-controlled home assistants. Wearing sneakers that order pizza for you to eat during the game.

From 2012-2015, the Department of Defense (DOD) spent over $50 million on military messaging, using multiple sports leagues as outlets. Additionally, I'm certain the use of anthems and tributes helped to rally up patriotism and national pride.

Now, think about this... Were they promoting enthusiasm and loyalty for America? Or did they make a Roman chess move and use it to reinforce mass distraction through sports?

In other words, is this the political elite's way of defending themselves from the masses while dulling American minds? A form of sedation when political tensions flare up?

Sure, it may sound a bit devious and Orwellian.

But trust me, psychology is a HUGE part of governance. And if you master the psychology of the human mind, then you can do just about anything.

I'll leave it at that for today.

Play ball!


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