If you are someone who actually thinks still then you are a rare individual, and if you are I'm sure you've noticed something that happens on television quite a lot, especially on the major cable networks with regards to our national discussion and political direction. Have you ever noticed that they completely frame the argument, bringing up points of contention that they wish us to think about, but that you often come up with points of contention yourself and notice they never addressed them? Then, you might be reading the newspaper perhaps within a few days or week, and you notice that someone else is writing an editorial piece with exactly the comment you wanted to make.
Still, the media is very slow to pick up a new argument because they are so busy driving their agenda, and generally it is cascading in from two different points of view without regard for a third, or even addressing the common sense behind the entire issue. Now then, wouldn't you say that since this happens so much that the direction of our political and national dialogue is obviously more about mass media brainwashing than it is about getting to the best possible solution to any given problem?
In the Journal Psychoanalytic Review there was a very interesting paper published way back in 1958 titled; "Brainwashing and Menticide: Some Implications of Conscious and Unconscious Thought Control," by Joost A. M. Merloo, which stated in its abstract:
"During the last 30-years several political agencies have tried to misuse psychological and psychiatric experience to further their private aims. Active psychological warfare and political mental torture are now accepted concepts in totalitarian countries. A prime result of the political pressure, both overt and unobtrusive, has been a cynical re-evaluation of human values. A new profession of specialists has emerged whose task it is not to cure, but to aggravate and manipulate the weaknesses."
All of this affects individuals and our society overall in very problematic ways, in fact, sometimes it is quite insidious. It's interesting that people get so caught up in the chaos and controversy, and the sound and fury that they can't see past their own questions in their own minds. After a while they just start viewing and stop asking questions, and they're just reciting what they are supposed to believe, and somehow through mass repetition the powers that be, and those running the media, and those behind the political agenda move the ball down the field. This is nothing new; it's been going on for all of recorded history.
If you doubt any of this there is a book I think you should read by W. Phillips Shively "The Craft of Political Research," and the reason I recommend this book is it takes it down to the point of absurdity, they really treat it like rocket science, they know how to push your buttons, get you to think a certain way, and in fact change your opinion, life view, and even your own family values. Almost to the point you have to ask yourself if what you believe to be so, actually came from your own thoughts and observations and not from someone else's agenda to control you.
Over the years, this has disturbed me to see it happening in real time, and yet now I just laugh at all because it truly is "amazing what you get people to believe," and that remains the biggest challenge, and perhaps that's why we aren't teaching kids to think in our schools, we'd rather teach them rote memorization, and to make sure they answer the questions exactly as we wish them to and then to reinforce that with stars, happy faces, high grades, diplomas, and little letters after their names. Life is funny isn't it? You humans are real kick to study.
Cite: 1958; Psychoanalytic Review, 45A:83-99.