2. Appeal to ideals, goals, beliefs
You probably feel very passionate about your beliefs, so it’s easy to involve you on this level.
It’s also another way to win trust.
3. Create a state of emotions and receptivity
Once your defenses are down, there are many techniques for turning off your critical mind and putting you in an emotional state.
There you are more willing to believe anything. Emotions may include fear, anger, idealistic euphoria, camaraderie, love, or any other strong emotion.
4. Slowly introduce new ideas and restrictions on thoughts and/or behavior
These are ideas or restrictions that dehumanize opponents, instill fears of the enemy, introduce thought-terminating cliche’s, create loaded words, give you feelings of elitism or of being special, and so on.
This is the point at which you become tangled in the lie and become a perpetuator of that lie using the same techniques used against you.
It’s How We’re Wired
You don’t have to be a full member of a suicide cult to be manipulated. Mind control techniques are used every day: in the news, in commercials, in political speeches, on billboards, on the radio, in forwarded emails, and in conversations. Even abusive relationships practice the same manipulative methods.
We are always being asked to trust someone who wants to tell us who to fear, when to shut down our brains, who’s side to never respect, which facts are skewed and which are true. We are asked to immediately reject everything we disagree with and accept everything we agree with without question.
Our society now values free-thought, intellectual honesty, and persuasion through facts and reason, but this has not always been so.
For most of history, mankind has blindly followed authority.
Arguably, civilization might not have survived this far without these traits. Certainly, rebellious, contrarian individuals in those cultures didn’t survive long.
Our minds seem prone to accept deceptive persuasive processes that bypass critical thinking. The tendency towards free thought was literally bred out of us.
It’s actually hard work to employ honest persuasion. We have to risk the discomfort of cognitive dissonance, which seems ever present in the harsh light of honesty. Our very brain chemicals make us unhappy when we critically question cherished beliefs.
Conversely, coercive persuasion is a much more comfortable process, but it always involves deception. Typically such persuaders believe the lies they tell. Followers of these distortions are just repeating the program, including mind control methods, they have been taught.
Who Can I Trust?
Ironically, you are actually more likely to be brainwashed by those you least expect to be capable. These will be people you fully trust, people with similar values and goals as you, someone who is on your side.
You cannot be brainwashed by someone you distrust, unless you are physically held hostage by them. This means if you hate liberals, you can’t be brainwashed by liberals. If you hate Republicans, you can’t be brainwashed by Republicans. If you’re God-fearing, you can never be brainwashed by atheists.
Think about that for a moment. The groups you might suspect most capable of mystically infecting your mind with deceit are actually the most incapable. Those you believe to be benevolent are those most capable of deceiving you, if they so choose.
There are members of every camp, every ideology, every school of thought who have used the powers of deceptive thought reform. Out there, somewhere, is a controlling group or belief system that is likely to appeal to you, that has the power to hook you and reel you in. It’s even possible, likely in fact, that it’s already happened to you to one degree or another.
When we’re born, we are about as helpless and dependent as we ever will be. We start out being programmed by our parents. In most ways, this is a good thing, because this is how we learn basic survival, how to behave in society, and how we gain culture and language. We learn useful values and principles.
But we also come to blindly accept many untruths and thought patterns that keep us from critically thinking or asking questions when maybe we should.
We also become susceptible when the world itself becomes terrifying. There are many things to fear: War, terrorism, disease, crime, violence, immorality, anarchy, socialism, racism, tyranny, oppression, and so on.
Many will stand on podiums or behind TV screens and amplify those fears, and then promise to ease them if we but trust them. This isn’t much different from when a cult targets someone who has had a recent loss in their lives.
I have been brainwashed about some things. I still am, to some degree, even though I am aware of these techniques and do everything I can to spot them. But when someone is “on my side”, saying things I already tend to agree with, I’m just a little susceptible. And so are you.
Ultimately, you can only trust yourself. That is why questioning and critical thinking are so important. If you can become comfortable with cognitive dissonance and ok with being wrong, your mind becomes agile. If you learn good research techniques, you make yourself the ultimate authority.
If you teach yourself rational habits and learn about the difference between good logic and fallacy, you can give yourself a built-in bullshit detector. If you study mind control techniques, you shield yourself with awareness to disarm the lies. Trust yourself and become the guardian of your own mind.
And, hopefully, armed with this knowledge, you can be that much more immune to mind control. Because no one else can do it for you.
By Luna Flesher