We are caught through fears and laziness, through disabled logic and activated emotions. “You have been brainwashed” – this phrase recently can be heard almost at every corner. And everyone believed that only their opponents are brainwashed. But during the so-called “infowars”, the “battle” is done on all fronts.
We tried to identify the main types of people, who are particularly prone to brainwashing, and the main “hooks” that are caught by these gullible fish.
The consultant on improving the efficiency of the staff of the “Master of Web Business”, Roman Makarenko says:
“In the past, it was necessary for an individual to live in a “pack”, accepting its rules, otherwise he would simply perish.The fact that this law is valid today, is proven by a well-known study.In the room there are 6 people:one subject and five “decoys”.On the table in front of them are 6 chips:5 black and 1 white.Everyone is asked the question:“What color are the chips?”.The subordinated “flock” claims that all of the chips are black, and in 55% of cases, the subjects agree with the majority.Of course, the subjects have doubt inside, but none the less.It turns out that half of us are ready to repeat what their environments says, and this is of serious help to the organizers of the “infowars”.”
Disturbing events hit first of all on emotions. Plunging into them, we automatically fall into the childhood injuries. Remember the parental covenant: “Listen to the Elders”? Adults do not forget it, but only transfer responsibility for their own lives from their parents to the leaders of their native enterprise, city or country. The chief says: “You are ill, cold, hungry, you need to be saved,” we believe, since childhood we remember that “dad is always right”. There is simply no other scenario, an individual does not know how to survive, if no one tells him how. So obedient children of strict parents, despite their age, are also very amenable to brainwashing.
As a Hero
People always aspire to be heroes and want to be on the side of the strong. So with the emergence of the winner, most people automatically take his side, regardless of the moral character of the hero. Heroes are not judged. The logic is simple: to be with a hero means to be a hero yourself. This triumphal procession has only one “but”: the defeated, when he comes to his senses, will adopt the model of the victor’s behavior. And everything will begin anew: propaganda, bleeding ideas and interests, conflicts. This pattern of behavior is many thousands of years old. And imitators are the third category that can easily be propagated.
Traces of Propaganda
In the days of information wars, it is necessary to learn to distinguish truth from fiction and to know the secret “hooks” onto which the experts in psycho-technologies catch us. The founder and director of the training center “Speaker”, Natalia Loziychuk, explains: “People are primarily led to two things: fears and stereotypes (thinking and behavior). Therefore, to make it easier to influence an individual, it is necessary to turn off his logic and turn on emotions: scare, offend, praise, promise gifts – different methods can be used.”
To Give in to Fear
To begin with, an individual is told a terrible story about how “a herd of X people mocked a small group of Y people”. After this passage, the subsequent information is no longer substantiated and not confirmed by facts: the image turned on emotions and the individuals was “hooked” on “horror”.
To Protect the Small
It is important to pay attention to the verbal tactic, which is often used: those who are disliked are usually called the “herd”, and their actions are “mockery”, while “their own” are described and shown as a “small group”. Here, a certain stereotype is “sewn”, actively formed in all of us since childhood: it is not good to attack those, who are smaller in number, and so, they need to be protected.
It is a moral norm for our society to help the weak and those, who are in the minority in combat. Who violates this law, commits an ignoble act and even a crime. And if it’s a crime, then for it should be unswervingly (again a stereotype) to follow the punishment. Conclusion, to which an individual is led to: “people X should be punished”.
Another manipulative trick is super-generalization. In this case, criminals are called not only the guilty ones of specific actions, but also their sympathizers and the not opposing.
The Lazy Secret
“Whoever owns the information – owns the world”, especially if this “whoever” owns information about the world, about the people and about the main characteristics of the people. One of these characteristics is laziness. This is another “trick”, which is used by propagandists. They know that testing, questioning and analyzing information is hard work, and to fulfill it, you need desire, patience, perseverance, and most importantly – developed critical thinking. Such a set of characteristics is not present in all, therefore, propagandists do a lot for audiences and viewers themselves. Here is a piece of candy, which is easy to swallow and impossible to spit out.
The main thing in propaganda is the consistency in maintaining the main, key messages. Moreover, they should be extremely clear and simple, aimed at certain target audiences and necessarily influencing their motives (needs). A classic example in this sense is the Leninist message “The land to the peasants, the factories to the workers”.
Depart from the Info-Chaos
There is a huge amount of information monsters in the modern world, we will learn not to succumb to them.
“In order to resist propaganda, we must first of all admit: “Yes, I can be a victim of the outside influence,” says Natalia Loziychuk “This recognition is the first step to resist the outside influences.” However, very many do not want to agree with this. “How?! I, so educated, well-read, constantly aware of all events and news, and can be some kind of victim? It’s just impossible!” Such emotional reaction is quite explainable by our defense mechanisms: “I am good, and I cannot be bad (a victim)!”
It is also important to look for answers to the following questions: What are the goals of the person (group of people) who tells me this news? Are they just informing me, or do they want to influence my opinion? In what do they want to convince me? How evident does all this sound? How is this reinforced? What means are used for this: words, video series, something else? What kind of reaction does the speaker expect from me, and is this really what I want?”
In addition, in order to get the truth out of the multitude of news and messages, it is necessary to know several more rules that Roman Makarenko proposes:
Check the information, and the one you do not want to check, do not turn on your emotions.
Always ask the question: “Do I need this information?” and do not hurry with the answer. Look for a different look at the problem, because uniqueness of judgments is the first sign that you are brainwashed. Upon hearing of any gossip, ask yourself: “Is there any other opinion on this matter?”
Search for “your” way out. 70% of people made decisions, choosing from standard options, without even thinking what else can be done in this situation. For example: “If war begins, I will go to war and will become a hero, or I will hide in the basement and will survive, but I will become a traitor.” About the fact that an individual can not go to war and not be a traitor at the same time, an individual does not think, but there is such an option (aid from behind the lines, for example).
Argue with yourself. Our brain is designed in such a way, that it aims for us to seek confirmation, and not a refutation of an already formed opinion. For example, a candidate for a parliament or presidency says: “I’ll sit in a chair, I’ll raise everyone’s salary and pension.” People, of course, want to believe in it, and they do not even think what price they will have to pay for such a “gift”.
Translated by: Dmitriy Kushnir