Amusing Ourselves to Death: The Diagnosis for the Future Inhabitants of our Dying Planet


Gary G. Kohls, MD | Duty to Warn – TRANSCEND Media Service










“And when they found our shadows (grouped ‘round the TV sets), they ran down every lead; they repeated every test; they checked out all the data in their lists. And then the alien anthropologists admitted they were still perplexed, but on eliminating every other reason for our sad demise they logged the only explanation left: This species has amused itself to death.”
Roger Waters

“Apathy and indifference are nurtured in the modern age as most peoples’ free time is frittered away with worthless trivia like ball games, computer games, movies and soaps, and fiddling with their mobile phones. These distractions might be fun, but after most of them you’ve learnt nothing of any value, and remain ignorant, malleable and suggestible, which is just how the elites want you.”
— Clive Maud

“A truth’s initial commotion is directly proportional to how deeply the lie was believed… When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker, a raving lunatic.”
— Dresden James

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
Winston Churchill

A lie told once remains a lie, but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.”
— Attributed to Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment

30 Jul 2018 – 30 years ago (1985) Neil Postman (a professor of communications arts and sciences at New York University – until his death in 2003) wrote the best-selling book “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business”. The book exposed, among other things, the subtle but profound dangers to the developing mind from the mesmerizing (and addictive) commercial television industry.

The lessons from that book have essentially been ignored by the amoral, corrupted and very sociopathic capitalist system that says “damn the torpedoes/full steam ahead” and blindly and greedily promotes unlimited growth no matter what the costs and who or what gets hurt in the long–term in the resource-extractive, exploitive and permanently polluting processes.

But Postman’s thesis applies even more strongly today to the current internet-mediated, age-inappropriate, pornographic violence and pornographic sex-saturated realities with which the prophetic Postman would be properly alarmed.

Aldous Huxley, in his classic “Brave New World” (1932), wrote about the new form of totalitarianism that has now come to pass in the developed world. A good example is the massively-privatized drug, medical and psychiatric corporations were once, in happier times, controlled by well-meaning, altruistic health practitioners who were mainly concerned with relieving human suffering and trying to holistically and permanently cure their distressed patients’ ailments – rather than managing “clients” as permanently paying consumers of their unaffordable cocktails of vaccines and prescription drugs.

Of course, Huxley’s book was also about the imaginary psychotropic drug SOMA that predicted Eli Lilly’s drug dealers, makers and promoters to make the false claims that Prozac would make its swallowers “feel better than well”.

One of the characters in Brave New World said:

And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there’s always SOMA to give you a holiday from the facts. And there’s always SOMA to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering. In the past you could only accomplish these things by making a great effort and after years of hard moral training. Now, you swallow two or three half-gramme tablets, and there you are. Anybody can be virtuous now. You can carry at least half your morality about in a bottle. Christianity without tears; that’s what SOMA is.”

Nearly 30 years after he wrote the book, Huxley said,

“And it seems to me perfectly in the cards that there will be, within the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda, brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods.” (See the lyrics to Pink Floye’s “Comfortably Numb” further below.)

Postman’s very last sentence of his book concerned the prescription drug-infested victims of the new form of totalitarianism that “Brave New World” dealt with the following sentence:

“What afflicted the people in Brave New World was not that they were laughing instead of thinking, but that they did not know what they were laughing about and why they had stopped thinking.”

<<<Lessons from Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”>>>

One of my favorite psychologically-relevant movies (up there with “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) was Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”, whose major song-writer was Roger Waters. Because it was such an important movie, I included a screening of “The Wall” in the curriculum for the upper-level psychology class that I taught at the University of Minnesota-Duluth a decade and a half ago.

“The Wall” was partially about early Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett (the character Pink in the movie) and his descent into so-called paranoid schizophrenia (of “unknown cause). Actually, rather than mysteriously coming down with one of the 300 or so mental illnesses of “unknown cause” that are in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders (which the popular press and the psychiatric industry wants us to believe in), Barrett had irretrievably destroyed portions of his brain with the frequent use/overuse of neurotoxic oral and injectable hallucinogens like LSD, Quaaludes, heroin, alcohol and assorted other addictive, brain-poisoning drugs. Of course there are many other contributing factors that can cause or contribute to emotional or neurological damage, especially in the developing brains of fetuses, babies, children and adolescents. Some of the ones illustrated in “The Wall” are listed immediately below.

The many psychological traumas suffered by Pink in “The Wall” help explain the epidemic of so-called mental illnesses of unknown cause in our so-called “civilized” First World. They were nicely illustrated in the movie with such traumas as: 1) parental neglect or absence; 2) harshness in parenting; 2) having dysfunctional, cruel, domineering figures in positions of authority (teachers, parent-figures, etc); 3) childhood medical traumas; 3) cruelty in the school hallways;4) contagious, inter-generational effects of war; 5) punitive court systems; 6) the humiliating, anxiety-producing, depressing trauma of isolation, loss and loneliness; and 7) illicit brain-altering drugs; and 8) Pink’s obsession with war and war movies – (actually related to the loss of Waters’ military father in WWII).

(Of course, back in the late 1970s when Waters began writing the lyrics to the album that led to the movie, the world’s medical and pharmaceutical multinational corporations had not yet begun their massive mis-adventure of over-vaccinating vulnerable babies and children with cocktails of neurotoxic ingredients, starting at birth. Nor had well-meaning but mis-informed physicians begun their mis-adventure of prescribing cocktails of (Big Pharma’s) neurotoxic, addictive drugs for little children that had immature brains, So “The Wall” did not deal with the future brain-damaging and mental illness-causing effects of psych drugs, the withdrawal of psych drugs from the addicted brain or the various neurotoxic vaccine ingredients, all of which can cause neurological problems indistinguishable from mental illnesses of unknown cause.

In addition, many of the scenes in the movie and many of the song lyrics from “The Wall” offer great insights into what causes fascist ideologies to erupt. The roots of both mental illness and criminalityfascism were valuable lessons for my students.

Below are pertinent lyrics from a number of Roger Waters’ songs from his career as song-writer and performer for Pink Floyd. Some are from “The Wall”, but they all deal with realities that deal with the media-generated propaganda and brain-washing that is now so effortlessly accomplished in America and the First World’s prescription drug-intoxicated, brain-malnourishing, war-profiteering, corporate-controlled and media-dominated technocratic age that inevitably and predictably produces serious societal dysfunction, including hopelessness, hatred, isolation, cruelty, violence, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, poverty, educational impoverishment, anti-intellectualism, malnutrition, mental ill health, personality disorders, criminality and ultimately fascism.


Read these Roger Waters’ lyrics and weep for the future of the children and the planet.

Amused To Death

Doctor Doctor what’s wrong with me
This supermarket life is getting long
What is the heart life of a colour TV?
What is the shelf life of a teenage queen?
Ooh western woman
Ooh western girl
News hound sniffs the air
When Jessica Hahn goes down
He latches on to that symbol of detachment
Attracted by the peeling away of feeling
The celebrity of the abused shell of the belle

Ooh western woman
Ooh western girl
And the children of Melrose strut their stuff
Is absolute zero cold enough?
And out in the valley warm and clean
The little ones sit by their TV screens
No thoughts to think
No tears to cry
All sucked dry down to the very last breath.

Bartender what is wrong with me
Why I am so out of breath
The captain said excuse me ma’am
This species has amused itself to death

We watched the tragedy unfold
We did as we were told
We bought and sold
It was the greatest show on earth
But then it was over
We oohed and aahed

We drove our racing cars
We ate our last few jars of caviar
And somewhere out there in the stars
A keen-eyed look-out
Spied a flickering light
Our last hurrah.

And when they found our shadows
Grouped ‘round the TV sets
They ran down every lead
They repeated every test
They checked out all the data in their lists
And then the alien anthropologists
Admitted they were still perplexed.

But on eliminating every other reason
For our sad demise
They logged the only explanation left
This species has amused itself to death
No tears to cry
No feelings left
This species has amused itself to death…


Comfortably Numb

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?
Come on, now,
I hear you’re feeling down.
Well I can ease your pain
Get you on your feet again.
I’ll need some information first.
Just the basic facts.
Can you show me where it hurts?

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying.
When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons.
Now I’ve got that feeling once again
I can’t explain you would not understand
This is not how I am.
I have become comfortably numb.

Just a little pinprick.
There’ll be no more aaaaaaaaah!
But you may feel a little sick.
Can you stand up?
I do believe it’s working, good.
That’ll keep you going through the show
Come on it’s time to go.

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying.
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown,
The dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.


Waiting for the Worms

“Eins, zwei, drei, alle!”

Ooooh, you cannot reach me now
Ooooh, no matter how you try
Goodbye, cruel world, it’s over
Walk on by.

Sitting in a bunker here behind my wall
Waiting for the worms to come.
In perfect isolation here behind my wall
Waiting for the worms to come.

We’re {waiting to succeed} and going to convene outside Brixton
Town Hall where we’re going to be…

Waiting to cut out the deadwood.
Waiting to clean up the city.
Waiting to follow the worms.
Waiting to put on a black shirt.
Waiting to weed out the weaklings.
Waiting to smash in their windows
And kick in their doors.
Waiting for the final solution
To strengthen the strain.
Waiting to follow the worms.
Waiting to turn on the showers
And fire the ovens.
Waiting for the queens and the coons
and the reds and the jews.
Waiting to follow the worms.

Would you like to see Britannia
Rule again, my friend?
All you have to do is follow the worms.
Would you like to send our colored cousins
Home again, my friend?

All you need to do is follow the worms.


In The Flesh

So ya thought ya
Might like to go to the show.

To feel that warm thrill of confusion,
That space cadet glow.
I’ve got some bad news for you sunshine,
Pink isn’t well, he stayed back at the hotel
And they sent us along as a surrogate band
We’re gonna find out where you fans really stand.

Are there any queers in the theater tonight?
Get them up against the wall!
There’s one in the spotlight, he don’t look right to me,
Get him up against the wall!
That one looks Jewish!
And that one’s a coon!
Who let all of this riff-raff into the room?
There’s one smoking a joint,
And another with spots!
If I had my way,
I’d have all of you shot!


The Trial (Lyrics from The Wall)

Good morning, Worm your honor.
The crown will plainly show
The prisoner who now stands before you
Was caught red-handed showing feelings
Showing feelings of an almost human nature;
This will not do.
Call the schoolmaster!

I always said he’d come to no good
In the end your honor.
If they’d let me have my way I could
Have flayed him into shape.
But my hands were tied,
The bleeding hearts and artists
Let him get away with murder.
Let me hammer him today?

Toys in the attic I am crazy,
Truly gone fishing.
They must have taken my marbles away.
Crazy, toys in the attic he is crazy.

You little shit you’re in it now,
I hope they throw away the key.
You should have talked to me more often
Than you did, but no! You had to go
Your own way, have you broken any
Homes up lately?
Just five minutes, Worm your honor,
Him and Me, alone.

Come to mother baby, let me hold you
In my arms.
M’lord I never wanted him to
Get in any trouble.
Why’d he ever have to leave me?
Worm, your honor, let me take him home.

Over the rainbow, I am crazy,
Bars in the window.
There must have been a door there in the wall
When I came in.
Crazy, over the rainbow, he is crazy.

The evidence before the court is
Incontrovertible, there’s no need for
The jury to retire.
In all my years of judging
I have never heard before
Of someone more deserving
Of the full penalty of law.
The way you made them suffer,
Your exquisite wife and mother,
Fills me with the urge to defecate!

“Hey Judge! Shit on him!”

Since, my friend, you have revealed your
Deepest fear,
I sentence you to be exposed before
Your peers.
Tear down the wall!

The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range

You have a natural tendency
To squeeze off a shot
You’re good fun at parties
You wear the right masks
You’re old but you still
Like a laugh in the locker room
You can’t abide change
You’re at home on the range
You opened your suitcase
To show off the magnum
You deafened the canyon
A comfort a friend
Only upstaged in the end
By the Uzi machine gun
Does the recoil remind you
Remind you of sex
Old man what the hell you gonna
kill next?
Old-timer who you gonna kill next?
I looked over Jordan and what did I see
Saw a U.S. Marine in a pile of debris
I swam in your pools
And lay under your palm trees
And through the range finder over the hill
I saw the frontline boys popping their pills
Sick of the mess they find
On their desert stage
And the bravery of being out of range
Yeah the question is vexed
Old man what the hell you gonna kill next?
Old-timer who you gonna kill next?
Hey bartender over here
Two more shots
And two more beers
Sir turn up the TV sound
The war has started on the ground
Just love those laser guided bombs
They’re really great
For righting wrongs
You hit the target
And win the game
From bars 3,000 miles away
3,000 miles away we play the game
With the bravery of being out of range
We zap and maim
With the bravery of being out of range
We strafe the train
With the bravery of being out of range
We gained terrain
With the bravery of being out of range
We play the game
With the bravery of being out of range.

It’s A Miracle

Miraculous you call it babe
You ain’t seen nothing yet
They’ve got Pepsi in the Andes
McDonalds in Tibet
Yosemite’s been turned into
A golf course for the Japs
The Dead Sea is alive with rap
Between the Tigris and Euphrates
There’s a leisure centre now
They’ve got all kinds of sports
They’ve got Bermuda shorts
They had sex in Pennsylvania
A Brazilian grew a tree
A doctor in Manhattan
Saved a dying man for free
It’s a miracle
Another miracle
By the grace of God Almighty
And pressures of the marketplace
The human race has civilized itself
It’s a miracle
We’ve got a warehouse of butter
We’ve got oceans of wine
We’ve got famine when we need it
And we’ve got designer crime
We’ve got Mercedes
We’ve got Porsche
Ferrari and Rolls Royce
We’ve got a choice…
An honest man
Finally reaped what he had sown
And a farmer in Ohio has just repaid a loan
It’s a miracle
Another miracle
By the grace of God Almighty
And pressures of the marketplace
The human race has civilized itself
It’s a miracle
We cower in our shelters
With our hands over our ears
Lloyd-Webber’s awful stuff
Runs for years and years and years
An earthquake hits the theatre
But the operetta lingers
Then the piano lid comes down
And breaks his frigging fingers
It’s a miracle

It All Makes Sense

And the Germans killed the Jews
And the Jews killed the Arabs
And Arabs killed the hostages
And that is the news.

Hi everybody I’m Marv Albert
And welcome to our telecast
Coming to you live from Memorial Stadium
It’s a beautiful day
And today we accept a sensational matchup
Bur first our global anthem
Can’t you see
It all makes perfect sense?
Expressed in dollars and cents
Pounds, shillings and pence
Can’t you see?
It all makes perfect sense

Late Night Home Tonight – Part 1

But the cockpit’s techno glow
Behind the Ray Ban shine
The kid from Cleveland
In the comfort of routine
Scans his dials and smiles
Secure in the beauty of military life
There is no right or wrong
Only tin cans and cordite and white cliffs
And blue skies and flight
The beauty of military life
No questions only orders and flight only flight
What a beautiful sight in his wild blue dream
The eternal child leafs through his war magazine
And his kind Uncle Sam feeds ten trillion in change
Into the total entertainment combat video game
And up here in the stands
The fans are goin’ wild.
But that’s okay see the children bleed
It’ll look great on TV.

Too Much Rope

And last night on TV
A Vietnam vet
Takes his beard and his pain
And his alienation
Twenty years back to Asia again
Sees the monsters they made
In formaldehyde floating ‘round
Meets a gook on a bike
A good little tyke
A nice enough guy
With the same soldier’s eyes
Tears burn my eyes
What does it mean?
This tear-jerking scene
Beamed into my home
That it moves me so much?
Why all the fuss?
It’s only two humans being
It’s only two humans being
Tears burn my eyes
What does it mean?
This tender TV
This tear-jerking scene
Beamed into my home
You don’t have to be a Jew
To disapprove my murder
Tears burn my eyes
Moslem or Christian, Mullah or Pope
Preachers or poet who was it that wrote?
Give any one species too much rope
And they’ll fuck it up

The Powers That Be

Game shows, rodeos, star wars, TV
They’re the powers that be
If you see them come,
You better run
You better run on home
The powers that be
They like treats, tricks, carrots and sticks
They like fear and loathing, they like sheep’s clothing
And blacked-out vans

Blacked-out vans, contingency plans
They like death or glory, they love a good story
They love a good story

Sisters of mercy better join with your brothers
Put a stop to the soap opera state
They say the toothless get ruthless
Run home before its too late.


Dr Gary Kohls is a retired physician from Duluth, MN, USA and a member of the TRANSCEND Network. In the decade prior to his retirement, he practiced what could best be described as “holistic (non-drug) and preventive mental health care”. Since his retirement, he has written a weekly column for the Duluth Reader, an alternative newsweekly magazine. His columns mostly deal with the dangers of American imperialism, friendly fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism, and the dangers of Big Pharma, psychiatric drugging, the over-vaccinating of children and other movements that threaten American democracy, civility, health and longevity and the future of the planet. Many of his columns are archived at;; or at;


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 6 Aug 2018.

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