Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How to Protect Children Against Brainwashing

Perhaps it would be helpful if we first define our terms.

From wiki:

"Brainwashing (also known as thought reform or as re-education) consists of any effort aimed at instilling certain attitudes and beliefs in a person — sometimes unwelcome beliefs in conflict with the person's prior beliefs and knowledge."

From phinnweb:

"Below is a list of the usual brainwashing/mind control techniques used in schools, hospitals, army, religious cults, totalitarian states; with political prisoners and dissidents, mentally insane, some versions of psychoterapy, etc., etc. "Indoctrination" is a more slight and more subliminal form of brainwashing (e.g. commercials). However, these concepts are nothing short of controversial and open to various interpretations.

1) HYPNOSIS - Inducing a high state of suggestibility, often thinly disguised as relaxation or meditation.

a. Repetitive Music (most likely with a beat close to the human heart 45 to 72 beats per minute). Most likely used during "study sessions" as the teacher will say the music helps you relax and concentrate better!

b. Voice Roll -- A "voice roll" is a patterned, paced style used by hypnotists when inducing a trance. It is also used by many lawyers, several of whom are highly trained hypnotists, when they desire to entrench a point firmly in the minds of the jurors. A voice roll can sound as if the speaker were talking to the beat of a metronome or it may sound as though he were emphasizing every word in a monotonous, patterned style. The words will usually be delivered at the rate of 45 to 60 beats per minute, maximizing the hypnotic effect.

c. Room "Feel" - The way a room feels is essential to hypnotizing unknowing subjects. It needs special lighting, florescent lights are best because they aren't too dim, but aren't too harsh. Also, Room Temp helps a bit, usually a little cooler than normal room temperature. You need to have the unknowing subjects very relaxed, perhaps even close to falling asleep.

2) PEER GROUP PRESSURE - Suppressing doubt and resistance to new ideas by exploiting the need to belong.

3) "LOVE BOMBING" - Creating a sense of family through physical touch, thought & feeling sharing and emotional bonding.

4) REJECTION OF OLD VALUES - Accelerating acceptance of new lifestyle by constantly denouncing former beliefs and values.

5) CONFUSING DOCTRINE - Encouraging blind acceptance and rejection of logic through complex lectures on an incomprehensible doctrine.

6) METACOMMUNICATION - Implanting subliminal messages by stressing certain key words or phrases in long, confusing lectures.

7) REMOVAL OF PRIVACY - Achieving loss of ability to evaluate logically by preventing private contemplation.

8) DISINHIBITION - Encouraging child-like obedience by orchestrating child-like behaviour

9) UNCOMPROMISING RULES - Inducing regression and disorientation by soliciting agreement to seemingly simple rules which regulate mealtimes, bathroom breaks and use of medications.

10) VERBAL ABUSE - Desensitizing through bombardment with foul and abusive language. (Physical abuse, such as torture, is the more extreme form of this.)

11) SLEEP DEPRIVATION AND FATIGUE - Creating disorientation and vulnerability by prolonging mental an physical activity and withholding adequate rest and sleep.

12) DRESS CODES - Removing individuality by demanding conformity to the group dress code.

13) CHANTING OR SINGING - Eliminating non-cult ideas through group repetition of mind-narrowing chants or phrases.

14) CONFESSION - Encouraging the destruction of individual ego through confession of personal weaknesses and innermost feelings of doubt.

15) FINANCIAL COMMITMENT - Achieving increased dependence on the group by 'burning bridges' to the past, through the donation of assets.

16) FINGER POINTING - Creating a false sense of righteousness by pointing to the shortcomings of the outside world.

17) ISOLATION - Inducing loss of reality by physical separation from family, friends, society and rational references.

18) CONTROLLED APPROVAL - Maintaining vulnerability and confusion by alternately rewarding and punishing similar actions.

19) CHANGE OF DIET - Creating disorientation and increased susceptibility to emotional arousal by depriving the nervous system of necessary nutrients through the use of special diets and/or fasting. Also applying drugs for these purposes fall in this category.

20) GAMES - Inducing dependence on the group by introducing games with obscure rules.

21) NO QUESTIONS - Accomplishing automatic acceptance of beliefs by discouraging questions.

22) GUILT - Reinforcing the need for 'salvation' by exaggerating the sins of the former lifestyles.

23) FEAR - Maintaining loyalty and obedience to the group by threatening soul, life or limb for the slightest 'negative' thought, word or deed.

Three Principles of Re-Education

1) REPETITION - Going through the same subject over and over again until it is known by heart.

2) ACTIVITY PEDAGOGICS - The subjects are never left alone nor give any private time of their own, they are always in activity.

3) CRITICISM AND SELF-CRITICISM - The subjects are supposed to feel uncertain; under the constant threat of being humiliated and despised."

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I believe that the number one responsibility of a parent is to make sure one’s children survive to adulthood. A close second is the parent’s responsibility to prepare the child for adulthood (i.e., being able to take care of one’s self, and think for one’s self, so that one is not as vulnerable to those who would want to mislead and take advantage of you). These two responsibilities – protection and the nurturing of independence – do not have to be mutually exclusive, but sometimes they come in conflict. I think when children are young there will be a lot more direct intervention and shaping by the parent. Little children, if not given sufficient instruction and guidance are likely to behave in ways that could get them maimed or killed. As they grow, the parent can give the child more and more choices and foster expression of their individuality. The tough part of parenting is learning how to strike that balance and keep parenting age appropriate.

So, how do we avoid brainwashing our children? Perhaps it is unavoidable at least to some degree and perhaps not completely undesirable because most of us would like to instill some values in our kids. But, I also want my kids to think for themselves, so I have taken the list of brainwashing techniques and have made a new list of how to your children to think for themselves.

1) Discourage the passive acceptance of whatever messages the child is taught by teaching the child about how presentation methods manipulate the emotions and affect the likelihood of being receptive to the message. Commercials are a great teaching opportunity. You can discuss the role of the music, the announcer’s voice, the pleasing graphics, etc, plays in making the product more appealing and creating associations with pleasant feelings.

2) Reassure the child that they are still loved and belong even when they express doubt and resistance.

3) One must learn to foster independence by gradually cutting the apron strings and stopping the “hand holding”. Release the child so that they can learn to swim in the deep and ride their bike without your balancing it.

4) Encourage the objective evaluation by helping the child identify the good and bad of both sides on an issue or decision.

5) Encourage the use of logic by praising critical thinking.

6) Help child to identify both the direct message being conveyed by a speaker as well as any meta-messages also being conveyed. One might ask the child what the political ad said and then what other messages were being conveyed by what was left unsaid.

7) Encourage private contemplation. Set aside a little time each day, free of distractions, in which the child can reflect on the events of the day and what might he or she learn from them.

8) Teach child to be cautious of circumstances that decrease one’s ability to inhibit behavior, especially when there are others who might take advantage of us in that state.

9) Encourage child to question and challenge rules including your own. If you can’t defend your rules, then maybe they should not be rules. Child needs to be old enough to understand the advantage of social order in the classroom and the consequences of breaking laws.

10) Encourage the child not to tolerate verbal or physical abuse. Child needs to learn appropriate ways to stand up for her or himself and how to report abuses.

11) Help child understand the importance of getting enough sleep and exercise in helping maintain mental alertness and in decreasing vulnerability to suggestion.

12) Encourage individuality and also the value of striking a balance with conformity.

13) Encourage exposure to lots of different literature, philosophies, and religious ideas.

14) Help child develop personal boundaries and understand that it is best not to share their inner most feelings or weaknesses with people they hardly know.

15) Encourage financial independence, and a healthy skepticism of anyone wanting their money or trying to place them in a position in which they will be dependent on another.

16) Discourage judgmental attitudes.

17) Teach child to beware of those who would attempt to separate them from their support systems.

18) Help child learn to identify manipulation attempts, especially peer groups that withhold praise except for acts of conformity or obedience.

19) Teach child about how important nutrition is in helping keep one’s mind alert. Beware of drugs that loosen one’s control over one’s self.

20) Encourage child to really consider a situation before obeying.

21) Encourage child to question everything, especially authority.

22) Encourage child to be on the lookout for guilt-trips.

23) Teach child to beware of anyone who tries to instill fear in them.

A) When in a situation where repetition is unavoidable, encourage child to actively critique the message that is repeated.

B) Avoid over-scheduling the child.

C) Be consistent and respectful of the child.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

love your blog. I followed the link from postmormon.org and added it to my google reader list. Keep it up!

Hüffenhardt said...

Thanks!