Posts Tagged 'brainwashed'

Organization’s Effects

artguy

If you take a group of people, a subgroup of the larger population, and expose them to focused messages again and again, you will start to change their point of view. If you augment those messages with exposure to other members of the group, the messages will begin to have ever more impact.

We generally tend to align ourselves with those we’re around. We don’t fully understand why. There is a lot of psychology we know, and then other stuff we can’t explain. Yawning, for instance, can be statistically shown to be contagious. It has been studied for years, yet we don’t know why it happens.

Once a group starts to become aligned, and starts acting like a tribe, the messages of the tribe will become self-reinforcing. When someone is born into that tribe, there is a very high probability she will never know the difference. It is simply her common sense about the way the world works.

Programmed.

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Blind Spot

selfreflection3.erase

Aside from our other senses, we are temporarily blind to the half of the world located behind our head at any given moment. Some call that our blind spot. However, it’s not completely blind because we’re aware of the fact that we aren’t seeing it, not to mention the fact that the blindness is usually pretty easy to remedy when we need to, though it can be dangerous if we’re not paying attention.

Contrast that with our actual blind spot. Ironically the very place where the eye connects to the brain (via the optic nerve) is an area on our retina where we do not see – the blind spot. We do not notice it, and are thus unaware of it, because our brain fills the gap by extrapolating the likely content from the surroundings. We make it up. Fortunately this defect in our vision is small enough that it rarely causes a problem.

Combine those two characteristics and there would be significant issues. Imagine large areas of your vision that appear to be functioning fine, but are in fact being made up by your brain. We would call that being delusional (or one of a few other maladies).

Yet we are, in fact, delusional to some extent. We roll through life with our programming while being largely unaware that we’re thinking and acting according to it rather than objectively processing all the input we receive. These blind spots in our awareness – things we haven’t been programmed to be sensitive to – are all around waiting to trip us up. Most of the time the stumbles are minor, however, on occasion we can go pretty far astray and not be aware of it. We can hit the wall and crash, or we can do more subtle damage that we don’t see for a while, or we get what appears to us as having been randomly blindsided.

There is no solution to this in the moment. No easy shortcut to improve your odds beyond simply acquiring more wisdom as you experience more of life. You must start by accepting that what you see and believe is not an objective reality. It is simply what your brain has selectively chosen to make you conscious of. The best you can do is educate yourself and work at being informed and aware. Work at empathy by forcing yourself to be sensitive to others. Prepare within reason for mishaps so you can recover. There is a discipline to managing the risk, but in the end it’s impossible to eliminate it all. Being prepared includes the perspective of knowing we can’t be completely prepared. We must still be willing to act. To risk that we may be stepping into something that isn’t as it appears. Once we recognize how often this actually happens in our lives it could help us reconcile the fear we have when we do see the potential pitfalls. The risks our limbic system chooses to put in front of us are often as overblown as the risks we don’t see that are glossed over. Even the seemingly sure things had them. We just weren’t aware of it.

Brainwashed

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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