Why do we think about the things we do? What prompts us to have a specific thought? Why do we have random thoughts? Why does one person think constantly about celebrity culture, and another sports, and another video gaming? Are our thoughts unique to us? Do you have unique thoughts? Or are our thoughts actually in response to external stimuli?
Ever had a song pop into your head and have no idea why? In particular, that of a song that you have not heard in years, and that you really did not like… and then ‘pop’, it’s playing in your head. And you’re like, “where the hell did that come from… I don’t even like this song”, and you can’t stop ‘hearing it’ in your mind. Why or how does this happen? Why would an obscure song that you don’t really like just suddenly pop into your mind?
Why do we think the thoughts we have? From whence does thought originate? Are they ‘our’ thoughts, or are they actually the thoughts of others? Consider this. I bet a year and a half ago you never thought about Donald Trump. And if he was not running for President you would not have thought about him the past week or month. And yet, whether you like him or not, you’ve thought about him quite a bit the past few months. Did these thoughts just spontaneously occur, or were they prompted by external forces? We know the answer to this question. If you’ve been exposed to any media at all the past year you could not avoid Trump. And so we all have been thinking about Trump not because we wanted to or just decided to. But because we’ve exposed ourselves to media in which Trump is the subject. And thus Trump has been soundly planted in our thoughts.
What we consume controls our thoughts. What we expose ourselves too controls our thoughts. We therefor are all in a regular struggle for control of our thoughts. If you are constantly consuming other people’s thoughts (video, radio, social media, books) then how can you have unique thoughts of your own? And this is the goal of mass media in today’s modern societies. To overwhelm you with so much education, so much entertainment, so much information… that you have no time to ‘think for yourself’. There is so much input that it is impossible to think about it. People just consume, and regurgitate. This is the current education model; memorize, regurgitate, forget. This is why most people cannot properly explain why they believe in what they do. Because they have never actually thought about it.
If you don’t ‘think for yourself’ then someone else is thinking for you. And if someone else is thinking for you then you are NOT in control of your life. You are simply a stimulus-response machine. Constantly reacting to the actions of others. This is what thought control is.
If you are constantly consuming the message of someone else then your thoughts will be dominated by these messages. Most cannot think and consume at the same time. Original thought is a creative process. You cannot mentally create and consume simultaneously. John Rappaport refers to this as the power of Imagination, that using the imagination is inherently a creative process. Certainly one absolute fact is that in order to break out of the Matrix one must start thinking for themselves. It takes thought to tear down the many deceptions we live in. A big part of the current trap we’re in is that of dependence. And the starting point is that of mental dependence. We’ve been trained into being thought dependent, instead of being independent thinkers. For the simple reason that it is easy to control ‘thought dependent’ people. But independent, free thinkers… well they’re dangerous to any thought control system. The reason many people cannot see the Truth is that their thinking has effectively been shut off… they have become completely dependent on whatever thought control system they are controlled by. The classic example of this is the person who gets all of their information from one primary source, and if it doesn’t come from this source then it is invalid. Like the hard core news viewer, or religious person, or social media addict. The person’s mind is captured, and they no longer are thinking, they just consume, and regurgitate when necessary. This is the person that you cannot reason with. Because this person is not, or is refusing to, think.
Not convinced? Your thoughts originate from yourself, you are not affected by outside influences, you’re in control. So when you see the group of 4 people sitting at a restaurant and all four are interacting with their smartphones and not with each other. Are the people in control of their phones, or are the phones in control of the people? That’s an absurd question. Really? So the person who literally, literally cannot be without their smartphone, who cannot go more than 10 minutes without checking it. What is in control of whom? Who is in control of what? You do understand the definition of addiction right? Ok, let’s put it in very plain, simple terms. Are YOU as an individual influencing the news, internet, radio, TV that you are consuming, or is the mass media you are consuming influencing you? You have ZERO influence on the mass media you are consuming. If it helps at all, you’ve been conditioned to believe that mass media does not affect your decisions. Of course this message flies directly in face of the 100’s of billions spent each year in just the USA alone on advertising. Because advertising affects others… but not you? Companies whose sole purpose is profit just throw away money on advertising because… because… because? I know, advertising only works on less intelligent peoples, or really just less affluent peoples (because that is what less intelligent really means, right?). So Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Bentley advertiser because? Rolex advertises because? Donna Karan (DKNY) advertises because?
We live in cultures whose populations have been addicted to mass media for well on a hundred years now. People were addicted to radio beginning in the 20s and 30s, people got addicted to TV in the 50s and 60s, and then repeated this again in the 80s and 90s with the computer, but especially the internet connected computer. And now the newest media device addiction… the smartphone, which is simply a portable computer. So media addiction is nothing new. What is different however with smartphone addiction is how public and obvious it is. With the first three technologies it was mostly private.. in peoples residences. You could drive down the street of a neighborhood, and see little to no people, but know they are inside listening too, or watching, or interacting with their media addictions. But we did not see it. But the smartphone addiction is so visible, so stark, so… in your face. Pun most definitely intended. This addiction is getting the attention of people who aren’t as addicted. I believe it’s making more people aware. What is unique about the smartphone versus prior technology is its portability, people bring it with them everywhere. So before if one went to the sports game, or the park, or the zoo one had broken free from the spell of the radio, the mesmerization of the TV, the grip of that PC game… just 10 more minutes, or 1 more turn. But with the smartphone people are physically present at some event, but mentally far far away. Again the question. Is the person in control of the smartphone, or is the smartphone in control of the person? Is the person in control of the media that emanates from their smartphone, or is the media in control of the person?
From whence do your thoughts come from? Do you know? Consider some of the various subgroups of peoples that you interact with. And then think about where do they get their information from? Let’s take the hardcore sports fan. What are they reading, listening too, watching and engaging in on a regular basis? Espn.com, sports talk radio, the games themselves, pre and post game shows, and fantasy sports leagues. This is the world they live in. Are their thoughts dominated by their original thoughts, or what they’ve consumed of others? Now take the stockbroker, what are they consuming? The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Bloomberg, CNBC. What of the teenage girl? Social Media, Hollywood gossip shows, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Pop radio. What of the hardcore Republican? Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, NPR, etc. The hardcore Democrat has their own unique news sources. And this same pattern applies for those regular consumers of Alt/Truth news.
The trend is clear. The subgroup is defined by what media it is consuming. Their thoughts are being programmed by that which they consume. And all of these subgroups become echo chambers. Reinforcing the message that is being consumed. What also happens is that local, national, worldwide events that occur are filtered through the subgroup of media that the persons consumes. The smaller or tighter this media group is then generally the more misinformed and controlled the person is. The more subgroups a person participates in the higher chance they are exposed to different viewpoints. Of course participating in multiple sub-groups, or tribes, has its own problems.
Is the media of the subgroup a reflection of the group, or is the group a reflection of the media? Does life imitate art, or art imitate life? This is a critical distinction. But if we are what we create and consume, and most people are only consuming… then does not life imitate art? The consumer is a reflection of the creators. Please note I used lower case ‘c’ for creators. Referring to those individuals who create content.
You are aware of multiple thought control systems. And actually recognize them as such. But may never have thought of them as such. What is the purpose of ‘boot camp’ for a soldier, and in particular for a soldier trained for combat? The US Military is one giant control system. And one that has a tremendous influence on all American’s today, all the world in fact. What does the military need of it’s combat soldiers? Passive or aggressive? Pacifists or killers? The US Military has gotten very good at programming killers, officially called combat effectiveness. It has greatly increased the percentage of soldiers who are shooting to kill. General S.L.A. Marshall’s research indicated that in WWII only about 20% of the participants in combat were aiming to kill. Based on his findings, the US Army made significant changes to it’s training to enhance combat effectiveness, so much so that just 20 years later the effectiveness rate in the Vietnam War was estimated at 90%. Just one small problem with creating these killers. The army does not bother to deprogram it’s soldiers after combat. And what happens to these ‘former’ killers who come back to civilian life? Most (all) deal with PTSD. Many become alcoholics and drug users. Many abuse their families. A staggering amount are homeless. And unfortunately a large number take their own lives. War is always a costly affair.
What about cults? You’ve certainly heard the story of the parent who has lost their child to a cult. That they are no longer themselves. They are no longer thinking clearly, or rationally. A cult is a specific small scale thought control system. What defines the cult in particular is the leader. The cult revolves around the leader, for it is the leader who is practicing control upon their followers. This is also why cults in general stay small. Because there is only one person practicing upon others and their reach generally requires regular person-to-person contact. So a practical limit to growth. So a cult is not as much a thought control system, as it’s a thought control person. Cults tend to fade away when the leader exits. Cults that move out of the single personality then must create a system to sustain the control. And if they grow and are successful they can morph into a religion. Scientology from what I understand is not actually an example of this, because Hubbard created it as a system from the ground up.
Armies and cults are somewhat extreme examples of thought control systems. What about the more everyday, the everywhere, the average kind? Many self help and addiction programs are thought control systems. Weight Watchers, Tony Robbins, Alcoholics Anonymous. The goal is to change your thought life. Weight loss programs are about controlling how you think about food. Tony Robbins is about thinking positive, overcoming self defeating thoughts. AA is really about surrendering your thoughts to God.
Most are exposed to and engage in multiple thought controls systems everyday, each sub-group usually defining a unique system of thought. Some in competition, conflict, and in direct opposition. A war of thought control, if you will. So these conflicting sub-groups create internal conflict. This creates confusion, stress, hopelessness, and apathy. And is a direct contributor to the tremendous amount of cognitive dissonance that exists today.
Addiction is thought control. Extreme thought control. Regardless of what you are addicted too, you must think about it to satiate it. But the extreme addict can’t stop thinking about it, their thoughts are dominated by it. The very definition of thought control. Not all addictions are deliberate thought control systems, but many thought control systems are designed to addict the person to it. Many addiction relief systems are actually addiction systems where one is trading a destructive addiction for a benign one, or at least a less harmful option.
So then is simply being exposed to any thought control system all it takes to be influenced by it? Why do some seem to be much more affected than others? Aldous Huxley states that people fall under one of three groups when it comes to what he labels ‘suggestibility’. I call it the 20-60-20 rule. 20% of the population are highly suggestible. 60% are moderately so. And 20% are basically immune. Huxley implies that this rule is in general across the population. But from personal experience and observation of others I believe the 20-60-20 rule also applies to any one thought control technique. In part because different techniques use different methods to influence. Some use sound, visual, direct vs indirect. Some people are immune from third person appeals, but highly vulnerable to person-to-person appeals. An individual can be quite vulnerable to techniques using sound, but immune to those through text. Therefor some individuals are only vulnerable to specific methods, but taking any one specific method the 20-60-20 rule applies across a population. I do believe that there is a small % at each extreme; so 1-5% are vulnerable to all forms of suggestion, and 1-5% are immune to all forms. Therefor these two extreme groups are very important.
The Suggestible 20. The larger group of highly suggestible peoples form the backbone of any movement. They become the diehards, the rabid fans, the radicals, the true believers. Their faith, commitment, fervency is not easily broken, and some cases impossible to break. Sometimes referred to as the person who ‘can’t say no’. Thus a great deal of focus is spent on this group. Because their enthusiasm for the cause appears sincere, and this sincerity is in particular infectious upon the larger 60% group of moderately suggestible folks. Some classic examples of this are: the crazy sports fans; in particular the ones who dress up and paint their bodies. The religious fanatic; the person who lives, breaths, cannot stop talking about their religion. The hardcore political activists; who bleed red or blue, and are the core audience at political rallies.
The Moderate 60. The core masses. Not as deeply affected as the Suggestible 20, but still relatively easy to influence. This group in particular is more likely to be vulnerable to certain thought control methods but immune to others. The moderate group also can normally shake off, recover, or snap out of thought control if avoided. Thus what this group requires in particular is regular reinforcement of the message in order to keep them ‘under the influence’. As opposed to the Suggestible 20 who do not need regular reinforcement. The Moderate 60 is much more likely to change their minds, or flip flop. Their participation is based on immediacy, versus the Suggestible 20 whose participation is a commitment.
The Immune 20. A dangerous group, but in particular that very small subset who don’t fall for any of the control techniques. Often labeled the skeptic. Non-conformist. Independent or free thinkers. Those who think outside the box. And they can because they have not been thought controlled into the box. It is from this group that the malevolent controllers come from. The dictator, the control freak, the sociopath. It is also where true leaders come from. The bulk of this group though remain silent. They go along to get along. They don’t understand why people fall for the latest gimmick. They think the fanatic is nuts. Salesmen hate ’em. But this group is a problem for the manipulators. They don’t become mesmerized or spellbound like the other 80%. So how are these people handled then? Unlike the other two groups they are not easily influenced. Ignore them? Marginalize? I suspect that a large % of this group bends to social pressure. If they do participate, they do not actually believe in whatever they must in order to be part of the group.
How does this play out in real life? Let’s consider how commercials work. Three people are watching TV and see an advertisement for a fast food restaurant, that all three have eaten at and enjoy. The Suggestible 20 person is already a die hard fan and was going there before the ad even ran, so the commercial just reinforces the decision. The Moderate 60 person likes the fast food joint but among others, but the ad prompts their memory of it and encourages them to go there, even possibly changing their mind if they were thinking of a different option before viewing the ad. The Immune 20 had already decided on a different food option and the ad did not change their mind. But it might encourage them to go there in the near future.
But what if an Ad ran for a restaurant that none of the three liked? The only person who might be affected is the Suggestible 20. Ever done something and then said to yourself, “why did I do that for”? You might want to consider the next time that happens that one possibility is the power of suggestion. As for the Moderate 60 and Immune 20 the commercial will do nothing to encourage them to eat there. However, let’s say the ad is for a Hamburger chain, the ad can prompt the person to think about Hamburger options that they do like and thus encourage the person to go there.
Kinda changes the way you think about the 80-20 rule? Most businesses, but in particular food related businesses, get 80% of their revenue from just 20% of their customer base. Meaning that 20% of their customers are regulars; daily or weekly visitors. The other 80% are irregular visitors or infrequent. It seems then that the 20% regular customers are Suggestible 20 folks, the irregulars are the Moderate 60, and the infrequent or never are the Immune 20. Certainly there are exceptions, but in general the trend holds true.
Which group are you? Do you believe you’re in the Immune 20? It would be wiser and safer to assume the opposite.
Huxley used another word to describe suggestibility. I’m have deliberately avoided using it and two other terms specifically because we have been conditioned to react negatively towards them. To ridicule, dismiss, ignore. The other word Huxley used for suggestibility is ‘hypnotize’. The other two terms I have avoided are ‘mind control’, and ‘brain washing’. We’ve been programmed to believe that these three terms aren’t really possible. Maybe for some unusual people, specific individuals, but certainly not on a mass scale, crowd scale, or population scale. Here is a thought experiment. How do you react to the terms; mental conditioning, social engineering, indoctrination, suggestibility? Versus the terms; hypnotism, mind control, and brain washing? I suspect very differently, and yet they all refer to the same principal.
And what of you reading this? Anything you give your attention too has the potential to plant thoughts, influence thoughts, or control thoughts. I believe my intentions are upfront. And ultimately my goal, and in fact most of my writing is geared towards, encouraging others to think for themselves. For this is one critical step to freedom. I don’t want you to read what I’ve written and then choose to believe it or not, I want my writing to stimulate thought. I want you the reader to stop and think. Think. Question. Consider. Weigh. Ponder. Speculate. Judge. Engage. I’d rather you spend 30 minutes thinking about what I’ve wrote and decide you disagree and be able to justify your reasons why. Then immediately agree with what I wrote but not be able to explain why you agree.
I’ve deliberately tried to keep this topic of thought control by influence at a neutral or benign level. That simply put, what one consumes through their eyes and ears has a direct influence on the mind. Irregardless of what the content is or how it is delivered. Irregardless of whether the message is true or false. But as briefly mentioned in regards to the 20-60-20 rule, there are many specific methods of thought manipulation. That by their very nature are not benign, but quite devious and deceptive. These methods are used constantly throughout mass media. One quick example. In Edward Bernay’s Propaganda (1928) in Chapter 4 he describes a technique of planting a thought or desire by leading the individual to the obvious conclusion, but never mentioning the actual intended object. In which the individual believes the ‘thought or desire’ is of their own origin. The example is a campaign to create interest in music rooms. The intent is to influence a desire for a music room. And once this influence is planted and the room in question is created. Well this empty room needs to be filled. And if I have an entire room dedicated to music then what better to fill it with than?… ‘A grand piano’. And this was written in the 20’s, when the primary media was print; newspaper and magazines. Do you think those trying to sell products/ideas/opinions have gotten better at it in the past 100 years? Especially with the advent of video.. and the internet.
I intend in the near future to cover these various methods of thought manipulation in detail. My point here is that mass media is not benign influence, quite the opposite. That by regularly exposing yourself to it, even if you are aware of the potential threats, you will have your thoughts and opinions influenced… by a host of manipulation techniques. Influenced by people that you have no idea who they are or what they believe in.
All mass media was designed as thought control systems. Entertainment, Information, Education are just the wrappers for the real content… thought control.
People are addicted to Mass media today. Mass media is thought control. Addiction is extreme thought control. Mass media is extreme thought control addiction. We’ve become addicted to the very technology that is keeping us enslaved. How is that for insidious?
We must take back our minds. And one certain step is thinking for ourselves. To start questioning. To investigate. To test the logic of the argument. To consider it’s flaws. This is what the original Liberal Education was all about. Our current education system has been geared to teach you ‘what’ to think. Not ‘how’ to think. Thinking for yourself is ‘how’ to think, it requires active participation. You must engage. Consuming is a passive activity. And when exposed to an image display device of any kind, it becomes even more so as the brain quickly shifts into a ‘receive only’ passive mode. The purpose of any deliberate thought control system is to keep the audience in the passive mode.
I don’t believe we can take back our minds without limiting, possibly severely limiting, how much we consume. Remember we live in a consumer society. A society programmed to consume. And when we are constantly consuming mass media we are always consuming the thoughts of others. So much information that it is difficult to actually think on (consider, contemplate, judge) any one particular topic. It is impossible to have original thought when the brain is literally stuffed with the thoughts of others.
As at test or challenge. Turn off all your media for 1 month. See how this affects your thought life. If you simply can’t do this, and I understand it is difficult (mass media has been deliberately designed to be addictive), then radically change the media you do consume. But if mass media has no affect on you, if you’re not addicted to it, then not consuming it for 1 month should be no problem. Can you do it?
Whose thought is it anyway? Your thoughts are not your own if you are a regular consumer of mass media. But they can be. Turn off that which has been designed to control your thoughts. Think for yourself, and reclaim your mind… and your life.
As personal proof of original thought. Many of my most significant insights come in the middle of the night. Technically that would really be in the early morning hours around 4:00ish. I wake up and start cranking on issues I’ve been wrestling with. Many of the articles I physically write are created and written in my mind during this time. I can assure you of one fact. Anything I write about, I have spent a significant amount of time thinking about. I would safely say however long it takes me to write an article, I’ve spent 5-10x more time thinking about it. I also get some good thoughts while driving. (I don’t listen to the radio in my car). My point is that many of my most profound insights occur when there is little to no other input or distraction. When I am NOT consuming anything.
I’ve not had a TV for 3+ years, I have aggressive ad blocking on my PC. Therefor I get little to no exposure to ads in my home. In fact the most advertising exposure I’m subjected too, and by the way that which I literally cannot avoid, is outdoor ads. Billboards and signage. Here in North Texas bloody billboard ads are everywhere. Anyway, I have very little exposure to movie ads. And guess what? I have zero desire to see movies that I don’t even know exist. Fancy that. Can’t be tempted by that which has no access to your mind.