Tag Archives: Thought

Mind Control – Brainwashing

via The Skeptic’s Dictionary

Mind control is the successful control of the thoughts and actions of another without his or her consent. Generally, the term implies that the victim has given up some basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes, and has been made to accept contrasting ideas. ‘Brainwashing’ is often used loosely to refer to being persuaded by propaganda.

conceptions & misconceptions of mind control

HypnotizeAnimatedThere are many misconceptions about mind control. Some people consider mind control to include the efforts of parents to raise their children according to social, cultural, moral and personal standards. Some think it is mind control to use behavior modification techniques to change one’s own behavior, whether by self-discipline and autosuggestion or through workshops and clinics. Others think that advertising and sexual seduction are examples of mind control. Still others consider it mind control to give debilitating drugs to a woman in order to take advantage of her while she is drugged. Some consider it mind control when the military or prison officers use techniques that belittle or dehumanize recruits or inmates in their attempt to break down individuals and make them more compliant. Some might consider it mind control for coaches or drill instructors to threaten, belittle, physically punish, or physically fatigue by excessive physical exercises their subjects in the effort to break down their egos and build team spirit or group identification.

mindcontrol 858_200pxSome of the tactics of some recruiters for religious, spiritual, or New Age human potential groups are called mind control tactics. Many believe that a terrorist kidnap victim who converts to or becomes sympathetic to her kidnapper’s ideology is a victim of mind control (the so-called Stockholm syndrome). Similarly, a woman who stays with an abusive man is often seen as a victim of mind control. Many consider subliminal messaging in Muzak, in advertising, or on self-help tapes to be a form of mind control. Many also believe that it is mind control to use laser weapons, isotropic radiators, infrasound, non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse generators, or high-power microwave emitters to confuse or debilitate people. Many consider the “brainwashing” tactics (torture, sensory deprivation, etc.) of the Chinese during the Korean War and the alleged creation of zombies in Voodoo as attempts at mind control.

Finally, no one would doubt that it would be a clear case of mind control to be able to hypnotize or electronically program a person so that he or she would carry out your commands without being aware that you are controlling his or her behavior.

[ . . . ]

the government and mind-control

mind control 857_200pxThere also seems to be a growing belief that the U.S. government, through its military branches or agencies such as the CIA, is using a number of horrible devices aimed at disrupting the brain. Laser weapons, isotropic radiators, infrasound, non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse generators, and high-power microwave emitters have been mentioned. It is known that government agencies have experimented on humans in mind control studies with and without the knowledge of their subjects (Scheflin 1978). The claims of those who believe they have been unwilling victims of “mind control” experiments should not be dismissed as impossible or even as improbable. Given past practice and the amoral nature of our military and intelligence agencies, such experiments are not implausible. However, these experimental weapons, which are aimed at disrupting brain processes, should not be considered mind control weapons. To confuse, disorient or otherwise debilitate a person through chemicals or electronically is not to control that person. To make a person lose control of himself is not the same as gaining control over him. It is a near certainty that our government is not capable of controlling anyone’s mind, though it is clear that many people in many governments lust after such power.

ElectroshockIn any case, some of the claims made by those who believe they are being controlled by these electronic weapons do not seem plausible. For example, the belief that radio waves or microwaves can be used to cause a person to hear voices transmitted to him seems unlikely. We know that radio waves and waves of all kinds of frequencies are constantly going through our bodies. The reason we have to turn on the radio or TV to hear the sounds or see the pictures being transmitted through the air is that those devices have receivers which “translate” the waves into forms we can hear and see. What we know about hearing and vision makes it very unlikely that simply sending a signal to the brain that can be “translated” into sounds or pictures would cause a person to hear or see anything. Someday it may be possible to stimulate electronically or chemically a specific network of neurons to cause specific sounds or sights of the experimenter’s choosing to emerge in a person’s consciousness. But this is not possible today. Even if it were possible, it would not necessarily follow that a person would obey a command to assassinate the president just because he heard a voice telling him to do so. Hearing voices is one thing. Feeling compelled to obey them is quite another. Not everyone has the faith of Abraham.

paranoid02There seem to be a number of parallels between those who think they have been abducted by aliens and those who believe their minds are being controlled by CIA implants. So far, however, the “mind-controlled group” has not been able to find their John Mack, the Harvard psychiatrist who claims that the best explanation for alien abduction claims is that they are based on alien abduction experiences, not fantasies or delusions. A common complaint from the mind-controlled is that they can’t get therapists to take them seriously. That is, they say they can only find therapists who want to treat them for their delusions, not help them prove they’re being controlled by their government. Thus, it is not likely that the “mind-controlled CIA zombies” will be accused of having delusions planted in them by therapists, as alien abductees have, since they claim they cannot get therapists to take their delusions seriously. In fact, many of them are convinced that their treatment as deluded persons is part of a conspiracy to cover up the mind control experiments done on them. Some even believe that False Memory Syndrome is part of the conspiracy. They claim that the idea of false memories is a plot to keep people from taking seriously the claims of those who are now remembering that they were victims of mind control experiments at some time in the past. It is hard to believe that they cannot find a wide array of incompetent New Age therapists willing to take their claims seriously, if not willing to claim they have been victims of such experiments themselves.

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5 Things I’ve noticed about… Conspiracy Theorists on the Internet

Via The Soap Box

conspiracies06Ever encounter a conspiracy theorist on the internet? Most of us have, especially if you’re a skeptic like myself who has their own blog about debunking. At that point they tend to come to you.

While there are a lot of things about conspiracy theorist on the internet that I’ve noticed they tend to do, I’ve narrowed it down to five main things.

So here are five things I’ve noticed about conspiracy theorist on the internet:

5. They love using quotes.

Be it in their signature line on an internet forum, or in their timeline on their Facebook page, conspiracy theorists love posting quotes on the internet. Usually these quotes are allegedly from some musician, or politician, or philosopher, or just some famous person whom they think would share their beliefs. Sometimes these quotes are accompanied with a picture of the person who allegedly said it.

The problem with this is that (and this is true anytime someone quotes someone) is that the quotes can be taken out of context, the quote can be mis-quoted, or it could be something that person never said at all.

There is of course one truth about these quotes: they do absolutely nothing to back up what ever conspiracy theory they are claiming to believe in.

collage

4. They love collages.

Go to any conspiracy theorist group on Facebook or conspiracy theorist forum and you’ll usually find some collages of photo-shopped pictures along with conspiracy theory claims within the collage.

These collages are often times confusing at the least, and more times than not, disturbing looking.

Many conspiracy theorists might think these collages helps get whatever point they have across, but the reality is that they are really a turn off for normal minded people and makes them all look like a bunch of wackos.

3. They don’t have a sense of humor.

AlexJonesLunaticConspiracy theorists (at least on the internet) take things way to seriously, and when someone makes a joke or a sarcastic remake, they tend to go ballistic, either because they don’t think you should be joking about the subject at hand, or they think you’re being serious.

They also can’t tell when someone (or some website) is being sarcastic either. An example of this would be Skeptic Project. On the front page of the website it says “Your #1 COINTELPRO cognitive infiltration source.” To most people they are clearly being sarcastic. But apparently some people in the Infowars forums thought they were actually admitting to being a COINTELPRO website.

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B.Y.T.H. Busters (The Secret Law of Attraction)

From WikiPedia:

The law of attraction is the name given to the belief that “like attracts like” and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results. This belief is based upon the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from pure energy, and the belief that like energy attracts like energy. One example used by a proponent of the law of attraction is that if a person opened an envelope expecting to see a bill, then the law of attraction would “confirm” those thoughts and contain a bill when opened. A person who decided to instead expect a cheque might, under the same law, find a cheque instead of a bill.


via YouTube.

In B.Y.T.H. Busters: The Secret Law of Attraction, Adam Average and Jamie Imtheman put the “Law of Attraction” to the test. This is the second in a series of videos that promote science and critical thinking through the use of humor, wit, and satire. If you missed our first video, The Con Academy, watch it now: http://youtu.be/eR_HlRDhUxY

Your Dream World

Don’t go through life unaware you are
projecting the inner world onto the outer.

by William Berry via Psychology Today

This article isn’t about dream interpretation, though the analogy is apt. The post is about how projection, which is a staple in dreaming, occurs in waking life and affects what you see. It is about no longer walking through life in a dream like state, and taking the time to delve inside of yourself, and to interpret your life.

medium 840_250pxIn Gestalt dream analysis, everything in the dream is you. Other theories, though not outright stating everything in the dream is subjective, recognize that projection is apparent. After all, it is your mind creating the images, not an actual person invading your dream. Your unconscious projects an image. The real meaning of the image lies within you, not outside in another.

Dream interpretation is very interesting, and can provide clues to the unconscious. The purpose of this post is to discuss how the waking hours can do the same. There are aspects of reality we all agree upon: the weather; who won which bowl game; there is little about these aspects of reality anyone will argue. There is a great deal of room in daily interactions and activities, however, for one to have their own truth, their own perception of reality. In fact, it could be contended that the vast majority of occurrences in a day have a large element of projection.

Projection is when an individual attributes something within him or herself onto another. Basically, you see what you are. This is not new, there are numerous quotes that impart this meaning: Anaïs Nin stated, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Henry David Thoreau proclaimed, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Carl Jung said, “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” These quotes, and likely many others, point to the theory that humans project their unconscious onto others. Simply, what one finds in the world is a reflection of one’s unconscious.

Who Are YouThe idea that one is projecting much of what he or she perceives maybe difficult to accept. People rely on their thinking beyond reproach. This is understandable; one has more access to his or her thoughts than any other material. One’s thinking has likely served him well. The thought of not relying on thinking could be terrifying. However, the alternative is to walk through a dream world never interpreted.

In previous posts I have touched on the theme of subjective reality. One of my more popular posts is “The Truth Will Not Set You Free.” The suggestion is similar here: question thinking. Evaluate it. Step outside of thought, look at it objectively and with an inquisitive mind, and evaluate it. Could all of these learned and insightful people, some of whom developed theories around projection, others who use the theories to assist others to increase happiness, have been wrong? Isn’t it possible or perhaps likely that what one sees is affected by their unconscious, by their experience, by their history? As such, how is projection affecting your vision?

To approach this differently, it is not being suggested that one simply cease having confidance in every thought and question everything. Nothing would get done. Automatic thinking serves the human race well. It helps discern between dangerous and benign situations. It allows for much more productivity. It eases living immensely. To be without it would be to become infantile.

Always functioning and trusting thinking, nevertheless, has its costs.

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Thoughts of death may be associated with a good life

via Examiner.com

There has been a tendency to take the position that thoughts of death are associated with depression and associated negative health consequences. However, according to a new analysis of recent scientific studies thinking about death can actually be a good thing. The Society for Personality and Social Psychology has discussed this topic in the article “How Thinking About Death Can Lead to a Good Life.”

Thoughts about death can actually be a good thing which can help us re-prioritize our goals and values. It appears that even non-conscious thinking about death, such as walking by a cemetery, could prompt positive changes and promote the helping of others. Past research generally suggests that thinking about death is destructive and dangerous and sets off everything from prejudice and greed to violence. These studies which have been related to terror management theory (TMT) have rarely explored the potential benefits of being aware of death.

Keep Reading: Thoughts of death may be associated with a good life – National health | Examiner.com.

A Slew of Suspects

Suspicion is a useful, even necessary, trait—up to a point. Even though we live in times that breed distrust, there is a line, however fine, between the healthy and the clinical.

By Stephanie Booth via Psychology Today
Published on November 01, 2011 – last reviewed on January 02, 2012

You walk into the conference room just as your coworkers halt their conversation: Were they talking about you? Or maybe you can’t help but notice that the same car has been behind you on the highway for the past few miles. Are you being followed?

At one time or another, everyone experiences the kind of insecurity that can give rise to suspicious thoughts. But when thoughts consistently veer toward the perception of threats, you’re not just being cautious—you may actually be paranoid.

Paranoia is a cognitive distortion, a consistent, unfounded view that others want to hurt us in some way. It’s marked by a tendency to interpret neutral situations with a negative slant and then—even in the face of information to the contrary—to treat those fears as fact. It’s a hallmark of severe mental illness, most notably schizophrenia.

But paranoia isn’t limited to those with severe psycho-pathology; it exists on a spectrum, affecting plenty of otherwise healthy individuals. In fact, a mild—but still maladaptive—shade of this cognitive distortion, known as nonclinical or “everyday” paranoia, affects about a third of the population, research shows. For people with everyday paranoia, believing that friends, acquaintances, or strangers are hostile or critically focused on them is a daily occurrence.

What sets apart clinical from nonclinical paranoia is how strongly the ideas are held, how distressing they are, and how much they interfere with daily functioning. As with most other mental health problems, there is no clear cutoff between clinical and nonclinical paranoia; it’s a judgment call reflecting how much distress and disability the problem causes.

Not only is everyday paranoia common, some experts believe it’s on the rise. Our current media environment, with its endless repetition of scary news, has the effect of magnifying threats, which gives rise to paranoia in the susceptible. Now more than ever, the stage is set for suspicious thinking.

Keep Reading: A Slew of Suspects | Psychology Today.

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