Brainwashing and thought control
It’s happening all the time and all around us and we often don’t even recognise the signs. The media, messages from Governments and education are a few ways in which we are subtly brainwashed without realizing. It can be subtle but takes hold over time. A good example – imagine two car adverts on TV, one for Ford and one for Toyota. You may not decide to buy either vehicle, but over time – the more you see cars being advertised, the more you are inclined to think of a car as your primary mode of transportation when you do come to look at transport options.
The media places regular and repetitive messages into your awareness. With marketing – it takes more than one ‘hit’ to get someone to notice so it has to be a repetitive process. I don’t know about you but I know that sometimes I can see a TV advert a few times and then still wonder at the end what they were advertising.
The brain takes in so much more than we consciously acknowledge but over time, slowly but surely we are being ‘primed’. We unwittingly become more receptive to things. For example – in the UK, there are many many stories about health. What we should eat, what we shouldn’t eat. There are a lot of fearful messages out there and Psychologists will often debate the long term effects of these repetitive messages.
Being aware of how you become more amenable to these messages purely by receiving them repetitively is a good start to becoming more resistant to their messages. It’s fine to be informed but be sure that your ideas and opinions are not just hearsay..something you have come to believe due to repetition. Attaching emotion to a product sends an even stronger message to our brains to take notice. Whatever the exact method used to gain access to your awareness, the aim is the same – don’t think about our product, just absorb the message that having our product would improve your quality of life. And the truth is, products rarely improve your quality of life – you can do that all with your brain and by what you choose to believe and take on board about yourself and the world around you. Advertising is not coercive but it is a deliberate attempt to change minds.
Be skeptical of this explosion in consumers needs – we don’t need half the stuff that gets advertised. The ability of our brains to associate powerful emotions with abstract ideas means that it is relatively easy to associate a product with a basic desire. It’s often not the product we want but the promise of happiness or some other underlying desire – love or popularity and acceptance. (Think about cars advertised with pretty women draped over the bonnet).
We can select any one of hundreds of magazines/newspapers from our local supermarket, yet we rarely stop to ask why they contain so much about sex and physical attractiveness, why the faces on the covers are so unrepresentative of readers, why certain topics are covered and not others. Someone is making these decisions in mind, probably to do with profit and it certainly isn’t us.
More info/recommended reading: Brainwashing: The science of thought control – Kathleen Taylor