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Friday, March 27, 2009

BRAINWASHING


In the past you have heard me lament about the erosion of our moral values, and it is my contention that our religious institutions have dropped the ball on this one. Their message may be good, but it is not generally turned into practice anymore. I've seen way too many people go to church to absolve themselves of their sins for the past week, only to continue unethical business practices on Monday morning. I think this is because our places of worship tend to say the same tired things over and over again and, in the process, have lost the hearts and minds of their constituents. Our moral values are now shaped by the Media using brainwashing techniques which are somewhat subliminal, but very effective. The intent of brainwashing is not just to manipulate perspectives, but to also put things into action. Organized religion knows how to deliver the message, but fails to put it into practice.


Brainwashing is typically born from calamity, such as the loss of a war, or hard economic times. It is illustrated by Nazi Germany in the 1930's and 40's, the Korean War, and is still put to good effect in Third World dictatorships. It is omnipresent in the free world as well, maybe not as obvious as in the Third World, but it is definitely present in our culture nevertheless.


Brainwashing is intended to produce a desired result, and many believe the end justifies the use of such techniques. It has been my observation there are three basic building blocks for brainwashing:


1. Information management - meaning the control of the media outlets, what can and cannot be said to the public, and who can say it. As you may recall in Nazi Germany, no author or artist could be published or exhibited unless they were a member of the Third Reich and proved good behavior. Control of the media is essential as it is known that life imitates art, not the other way around. Whoever controls the media, controls information, and subsequently our culture.


2. Repetition of the message is essential for conditioned response as in the case of Pavolv's Dog. If you say something enough times, people tend to believe it, regardless if it is right or wrong. Such repetition must be relentless and tends to be long term in nature in order to penetrate the human psyche.


3. The message must capture the hearts and minds of the people. Here, basic human instincts are exploited, such as greed, status, social class, and patriotism. The message tends to be simple and filled with pathos as complicated messages tend to be lost on most people and there is a desire to draw on the passions of the public. Basically, you need to pander to the masses and tell them what they want to hear; e.g., "You are great; you are being abused and mistreated", etc. Again, the intent is not simply to comprehend the message, but to motivate people into action. Emotional extremes are particularly effective in this regard; e.g., Love of Country, Hate for its enemies. The message also becomes more credible through testimonials and endorsements by recognized celebrities and other seeming experts. In fact, the message must be well choreographed and glitzy to assure it becomes fashionable and popular. Technicians skilled in the arts are vital to make the message appealing to the masses. People must believe the message is the popular consensus of the masses, not just a handful of people, thereby minimizing resistance to it.


Behind all of this is a deep-seated contempt for the human spirit, that people are cattle and easily swayed. Using brainwashing techniques, lying and misleading people is perfectly acceptable as long as it ends with the desired results. Thereby truth and honesty are often sacrificed in the process.


The question now becomes, is our Media engaged in brainwashing and, if so, what are their objectives? I believe it is there to orchestrate and exploit the American middle class thereby simplifying the implementation of social and economic changes. Why the middle class? Simple, because it is the economic engine of the world.


From this perspective, the Media is more powerful than the politicians charged with governing us. Perhaps our officials are nothing more than caretakers and the Media is truly pulling the strings, or perhaps the two are in cahoots. Either way, it is disconcerting that a "Big Brother" is doing the thinking for us and in the process, quietly engineering our thoughts and values.


It is also very unsettling that we are the unwitting dupes in all of this.


Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.


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Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com


For a listing of Tim's Pet Peeves, click HERE.


Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.