A tech How To site goes into the “how tos” of brainwashing, and finds that many of the techniques are all around us. (compare the points they raise to say, life before the mass media revolution that took place from the ’40s to the ’60s…)
Inducing ADD and short memories by feeding them small snippets of information about many subjects is one I didn’t know, but it makes sense. c.f smartphones.
Highly worth reading is the “Russian” brainwashing manual they link to: http://www.apfn.org/pdf/The_Brainwashing_Manual.pdf
Some background worth noting. It was actually written by well-known brainwashing master L. Ron Hubbard (http://www.xenu-directory.net/practices/brainwashing2.html), but the bias, or the fact that he dictated it within a few minutes of having had the idea it should be a book, doesn’t inherently imply inaccuracy.
If anything I would say it only briefly mentions some of the interesting stuff while focusing on the brutal. For further reading, see G. H. Estabrooks’ excellent but at times (deliberately?) misleading “Hypnotism,” as well as the previously mentioned “Supermemory” (Ostrander & Schroeder).
Interesting observations on the Brainwashing book, if only for historical reasons:
– Hubbard sees the Communists as trying to suppress the power of the self in order to subordinate it to the power of the authority figures that rule the collective.
– Along those lines, Hubbard sees the “battle for the mind” as being not between the Soviet and US governments, but between the Soviets and the large Anglo-American gnostic movements of the time (Christian Science and Hubbard’s Dianetics, it’s unclear if he forgot or intentionally omitted the others).
“There are actually very few basic outlines to successfully brainwashing people. The funny part is, you’ll recognize a lot of these tactics being used on you in your everyday life.
Encouraging laziness – This promotes a passive lifestyle in which the person is a couch-locked bimbo, allowing easier manipulation.
Manipulating choices – Leaving people with choices, but making sure that those choices give the same result no matter what, is a good way to get into someones head. For example, instead of asking someone “Would you like some dinner?”, say “Would you like pizzas or eggs for dinner?” instead. When you do this over and over, it gives the person the illusion of choice and freedom, which brings us to the next tactic.
Repetition – Repetition is key. The more you hear something, the more subliminal it becomes. If you were told day in and day out that your spouse was cheating, you would probably start to suspect something. So the same goes for other things, as well. If you are told your shoes smell daily, yet you don’t believe it, eventually you will because you are inconveniencing another human, which is something humans don’t like to do.
Play emotions – Emotions allow easy manipulation, especially when the emotions are associated with fear and sadness. Making a person feel bad when they don’t comply with wishes, or making someone scared to not do the “right” thing can coerce them into doing what is desired by the mind-hacker.
Remove self-awareness and responsibility – Make people think their instinct is always wrong, and eventually they will believe it. Make them believe that they are powerless without the help of others, but stronger than anyone with it. Independence inspires intelligence and will, which inspires revolt.
Children in advertising – Utilizing children to give flash vibes of innocence is common. If you show a funny commercial of a group of children pushing down an old lady for fruit rolls, it would go unquestioned because of the children and atmospheric music telling you that it’s okay.
Intense intelligence-dampening – When people are fed information, keep the information in small snippets about many subjects. Like a television. This actually induces ADD by promoting short-term learning, which will train your brain to have a short memory. Try to not even use rationale in your teachings to skew things even more, like the infamous “war is peace” idea. A stupid populace is a brainwashed one.
Keep them scared – Making people think the world could explode under them at any moment is a great way to control someone. If you offer someone your wing, they will feel safe, making a manipulator’s ideas seem like the correct ones.”