Hijacking Your Brain

If advertising didn’t have the power to influence our beliefs and our buying an d voting  decisions, it would not exist. But it does exist, and it’s a very profitable business. One man, Edward Bernays, is largely responsible.

Edward Louis Bernays, (November 22, 1891 − March 9, 1995) was a pioneer in the field of influencing the behavior and thinking of the masses, and is referred to as the “father of public relations”. A nephew of Sigmund Freud, Bernays was  born in Vienna, Austria, and raised in New York City.

Bernays wrote many books, among the most influential of which were Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923), Propaganda (1928), and Public Relations (1952). It can be argued that his work changed the world forever.

How can one person or group exert enough power to make another person or group act and think in a certain way? In this short article we will look at one important factor: the use of language as a tool of influence.

A young student misbehaves, so the teacher makes her stay after school and write one hundred times on the blackboard, “I will not pass notes in class.” Whether this works or not, the goal is to use language to force the child’s mind to think a certain way, in order to make the child change a behavior.

During World War 2 the Nazi party’s propaganda used a method called, “the big lie.” The idea was that, when lying to the people, make the lie outrageously large, and repeat the lie all day long, day in, day out, until the people believe it. This technique worked! It is used today all over the world. Yes, even in the U.S.A.

But the use of language for the purpose of controlling people’s thinking and actions is far more clever and devious than these two examples.

We are all accustomed to the concept of political correctness. Originally an idea used by the early Russian Communists, it has become an accepted way of speaking. Its purpose is to make people use language in a way that forces us to change our  thinking. Can you imagine trying to think without the use of words? It is impossible. It is logical, then, that the words we use determine our thoughts, beliefs and behavior. This is a form of mind control on a massive scale. 

One of my male clients, who has a live-in girl friend, refers to her as his “partner”. This term was adopted by homosexuals to refer to their lovers. But now, it seems that young people think they must delete words like boy friend, fiancee, husband, wife and spouse, and use “partner”, instead. This is idiotic.

Another client of mine, a physician, told me that, at a recent meeting of The Indiana State Medical Association, a group of young doctors insisted on replacing the phrase, “pregnant woman” with “birthing person.”  Yet another attmpt to control thought and behavior by forcing people to use new language. The implication is that, if you refuse to use that language, you are evil. The threat is not a threat of punishment. It is a form of large scale guilt-tripping.

This kind of manipulation happens in a relationships. Kids try to manipulate their  parents by lying and twisting facts. Too often, they succeed by confusing the parent and making the parent doubt his thinking.  You may have heard of gaslighting, the use of language intended to make a person feel stupid, wrong or mentally unbalanced.  

If you want to be free to think and act in line with your beliefs, it is essential to to identify attempts to manipulate your thinking. The individual who distrusts and always questions his judgments and actions is at particular risk. Such a person could be easily made to think and act against her own interests.

The subtle emotional power of the manipulator can make it hard for his victim to spot what the manipulator is doing. For that reason it may be necessary to get professional help. If this speaks to you, and you would like to explore a path to freedom from this kind of abuse, contact me at (219) 309-3928. It would be an honor to be of service.

For m ore thoughts click Manipulation

Thanks for reading!