It is a fact: People are fascinated by the subject of brainwashing, and they love to discuss it. This is the first of a three-part series of articles on Brainwashing Basics. These techniques are used, to some extent, by every organization which requires cooperation or obedience of its employees. followers, or soldiers. Sometimes it is employed with great subtlety, and sometimes it is done brutally, depending upon the circumstances and the available time to achieve a behavior modification result. The information which I am about to provide may be used in either one of two ways -- It can be used as an instruction manual or primer to effect change in others (e.g., "subjects"), or it can be used as an early warning system to be able to alert you as to when you are being treated as a subject, and being subjected to brainwashing techniques. I will make no moral judgment here, and the information is ethically neutral...merely provided for educational and entertainment purposes. Remember The Manchurian Candidate?...Jacob's Ladder?.....The Bourne Identity? How about Little Nikita?.....Full Metal Jacket? How about every police show where a suspect is being aggressively questioned in a small room? How about the articles you've read about cults? How about the recruitment of the masses by fundamentalist preachers (whether in madrassas in Afghanistan or in revivalist tents in the U.S. countryside)? Brainwashing, with its uses, and its effects, is everywhere. It is an application of human psychology and physiology.
Brainwashing is a crude and nefarious relative of hypnosis -- the latter is quite benign and voluntary, while the former can be deadly and operates in stealth; often, on many different levels. Brainwashing is an integral component of preparing soldiers for battle, forcing a fanatical religious conversion, obtaining a false confession, of espionage, of a crazed lynch mob, and the mainstay of many abusive slave-master relationships and other unhealthy interpersonal co-dependencies.
1. STAGE 1: THE BREAKDOWN
For any brainwashing to work, the brain slate must be exposed and wiped clean while susceptible and defenseless. Implanting a new or radical idea must be done when resistance is at a minimum. A breakdown must first be initiated. Here are the common means of accomplishing this:
- Work on inciting the emotions of insecurity, fear, anger, hatred or excitement. As these emotions are inflamed, judgment is impaired and suggestibility is increased;
- Use physiological weapons, such as fasting, radical or high-sugar diets, physical discomfort (cramped quarters, extreme cold, electric shock, intense lighting, certain repetitive or frightening noises, et cetera), chanting, uncomfortable exercise postures, or through the use of drugs;
- Create a sense of timelessness and monotonony;
- Impose sensory deprivation and isolation;
- Traumatize the psyche or the body by use of shocking ("disillusioning") information in the form of a series of horrific revelations, or by inducing dizziness and vertigo though blindfolding, hooding and tossing the subject about erratically and unpredictably.
Once an individual has lost all sense of control, all sense of perception and the ability to think reasonably or rationally, he is "broken". The handler's job is to reprogram the broken subject while the subject is still freshly broken. To be continued...