The brainwashed do not know they are brainwashed. If you use a broad enough definition of the term one could argue we are all brainwashed to a degree, by parents, the culture of our surroundings, or even things we voluntarily subject ourselves to, such as church, media, news, etc. (For clarity it’s important to note that real brainwashing involves the systematic use of unethically manipulative techniques to modify one’s thought processes for the sake of having him conform to ideas and actions he would not normally agree to.)

While we may not have been brainwashed intentionally, it is fair to say that we are so influenced by our surroundings as we grow up that we never really had a chance to view the world objectively. We have free will and can make our own decisions, but the overwhelming majority of information we are supplied with to make them is biased, and as such our perception is inherently skewed. This becomes apparent when a person of one culture visits a dramatically different culture, or when you see a person grow up taking on the religious and political sensibilities of his parents.

We aren’t objective. We are biased (brainwashed), unable to see the reality others perceive. We shouldn’t judge them or think harshly when they believe things and take actions (according to those beliefs) that we find incomprehensible. Instead we should engage them as best we can in a thoughtful discussion designed to test the grounding behind their thinking, as well as our own. We aren’t inherently right any more than they. Thus, if any meaningful thought transactions are to occur we MUST MEET THE OTHER PARTY HALF WAY.

It is not a negotiation. Taking an extreme position in an effort to offset seemingly outlandish claims isn’t productive. No, we must start at least half way to the other party’s point of view and work together to see what will hold up.

Try it. Be genuinely open to an opposing point of view. Remember it is their reality. They are brainwashed and they don’t know it. So are you.


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