Brainwashing? Or, BS
Date: October 11, 2004 03:16PM
I do feel that this is a fundamental question. While there may not be a definitive answer, it certainly is one that should be discussed in the light of how people are effected and to what extent.
I had a debate about this with a friend the other day. First he was telling me that people were" brainwashed" and then he was telling me that people always make their own choices in life.
I found the 2 statements to be contradictory.
I asked him for his definition of "brainwashing". he dodged and weaved. I think that is part of the problem, to define it. He ended up giving me an example of a woman who straps a bomb on herself and blows herself up with her children in a terrorist attack.
Of course this is one of the most heinous things imaginable.
I asked him, Do you think if you put this woman just prior to the attack on a desert island with plenty of food, shelter along with her family for 5 years, when she came off the island do you think she would still complete the terrorist attack.
He pondered this and said probably not.
Then I asked, and if she did commit the attack after 5 years what then.
He said "she would have been brainwashed"
I told him that I felt that even if she didn't commit the act after the 5 years that I would considered her to have been brainwashed for the sake of our discussion. I also said that if she had completed the task after getting off the island she would have been brainwashed and bleached!
I did this to illustrate to him that the process of altering ones thinking always exists on a continuum. Words like brainwashing are such hot button words, even mind control or thought reform.
This is not to say that these are not honest efforts at defining what is going on. It is just that I have found that it can often times lead to preconceived ideas which make it difficult to discuss with those who are unfamiliar with the issue.
Now I understand that many of you (myself included) have experienced one form or the other of this. I am fairly certain that none of us would want to see anyone else subjected to these sorts of processes.
I have in my years of discussing this with members of a variety of differing groups put it in other terms which I have found useful and perhaps less threatening.
I label it Concealed Control of Choice [CCC] and put it on a continuum.
The CCC is only the first part, because it only allows the one operating it to lead the person into their agendas world-view by restricting their choices the same way one would restrict the waterflow on a tap. Once in their world view their is a rebuilding of controlled choices [RCC] as the tap gets turned on again.
The methods used to do this exist in every form of society but to certain extents.
The methods used to achieve this are not limited to but include, influence, persuasion, misdirection, deception, selective truth telling, hypnosis, production of altered states of consciousness to varying degrees, manipulation of the environment to name a few.
The degree and speed of which someone's choices can be effected is a mix of the persons personality, mindset, emotional state, and the amount of the above mention items the person is subjected to.
I use a speedometer analogy, once one can gauge some of the items in question or begin to, they will get a more accurate measure of where they are on the speedometer gauge. at what speed they are traveling, and what are the speed limits for that individual.
This does not make a nice easy packet that draws a perfect picture. However, I have found that it can be one way of exploring the depth of ones experience. Please understand that this is only a concept that I have found useful and am not saying that this should be the only way to view or define the discussion.
I would like to hear from others what your opinions on this and the original question are.