Monday, April 19, 2010

How to Manipulate Man

The origins of this article are in a book written by Bogdan Ficeac which I recommend as a basic reading for all those who are interested in this topic (it is written in romanian). Mind control is on the agenda of many organizations and governments and let`s face it, the electoral campaigns are a mind control fiesta.

In the first place access to information is of great importance in trying to manipulate someone or a group of people. The presence of only one information source can amplify to the maximum the effects of mind control. For example let`s take the radio show named 'War of the Worlds' hosted by Orson Wells. In one of his shows he simulated an alien invasion which brought panic in the hearts of listeners. Maybe you don`t know this but the romanian revolution of 1989 which brought down the communist reign, was largely a televised event. A group of people got control of the central television station and manipulated the romanian nation in the way most favorable for them. That is why now it is unofficial called a coup d`etat. Totalitarian regimes, like the fascist and the communist systems, strictly control all kinds of information, for example read about the Google conflict with the Chinese government.

"In critical moments, people prefer to be guided by feelings and instincts dictated by their sens of conservation."

In terms of social psychology we can talk about mind control when a social situation is created for the purpose of influencing the behavior of the ones manipulated in the way the "ruler" wants.

Let us talk about totalitarian systems now. In this case uniformity is a standard, there is very little motivation, the leveling of the human mind/thought creates vulnerability. Those who promote this kind of government see humans as an amorphous mass, depersonalized, ready to be remodeled. When we talk about communication we forget that a tipe of dialogue is done with our own mind, this too can be observed. Think about the secret police which has tendencies to construct a mentality where you are not allowed and you do not wish to question yourself or to ask questions in the sens of finding the truth. In totalitarian regimes there are no shades, everything is black and white and a kind of language appears, a ''wooden tongue'' as it is called in romanian. Simplicity is also sought for in this societies because it does not encourage thinking.

"We must get out of obscurity, let them swear us, let them acclaim us, let them beat us, it is important to hear about us" - Goebbels (photo left)

The most powerfull types of mind control are achieved by isolating the individual. To completely manipulate someone, his thinking, his behavior and his feelings must be controlled with the pure purpose to create a citizen incapable of making his own decisions.

"The essence of obedience is that a person comes to believe in himself as an instrument of fulfilling the wishes and orders of another person and therefore is no longer responsible for his own actions" - Stanley Milgram

Leon Frostinger had arrived to the conclusion that the identity of an individual is composed out of thought, feelings and his actions (behavior). The individual can bear only minor differences between this three components. When a major discrepancy appears we have a sense of discomfort, this being cognitive dissonance. This means that someone can change from the exterior one of the components and the two left will modify themselves to achieve harmony once again.

Controlling the behavior is determined by the control of the physical reality in which one lives, think about rituals and strict schedules. To manipulate someones emotions we have to induce feelings of guilt or fear (terrorism, or the fear of terrorism).

Unfreeze, change and refreeze are the three steps that make a change sustainable. The total destruction of the old behavior, putting a new one in its place and then freezing the new personality. The general lines of this model were drawn by Kurt Lewin (foto right) in the 40`s and in the 60`s Edgar Schein and Rober Jay Lifton developed the concept.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Really interesting article.

Florin Cosma said...

Thank you

Reverse Road! said...

Look at the second face. Probably you think that "nothing is wrong" with it, other than that he is the sweetest person in your neighborhood. But he can master your fight with the neigbours.:)
Good reading!