What did you used to “know” was true but have since found out was not really true? Have you ever explored why you came to think it? Was it your thought, or were you taught falsehoods?
Most of what we learn and come to know as truth are really other people’s ideas, thoughts and beliefs that we just take on without examination. As young children we are very much a blank slate accepting the meaning of the world around us as given to us by our parents, teachers, religious figures and other authority figures. The first idea into our heads is accepted as truth without questioning if provided by an authority figure.
The first idea into our heads is accepted as truth without questioning if provided by an authority figure.
Often when presented with an idea that is contrary to what we believe (we “know” to be true) we will dismiss the vile intruder or demand extensive proof to dislodge the “first idea” we were given and accepted without question.
It is a disturbing thought to consider that we may have been given, and accepted many, many important, life affecting ideas, beliefs, biases and prejudices that are totally false and control our behaviour in untold ways everyday. What is really surprising is that we will often fight desperately to defend that which we have been given, accepted and never personally validated.
Prejudice against people for whatever differences whether race, breeding, schooling, gender or height are often learned from our parents, friends or society and these ideas bind us to judgement, hatred, fear and unhappiness.
“Society” has trained us for centuries to accept our role in life and people usually do so without complaint. The rare few who step out of line are maligned, outcast, or if persistent and successful, worshipped for overcoming their social impediment.
How does this mind programming take place? Can you see it as it is working? Can you change its affect upon you?
This article below provides excellent insights into the process and intention of individual and group programming. The military, North American school system, job environments, religions and more are easy to identify from this overview.
Be aware of the methods of programming and become less susceptible to them. Can you recognize your past or present environments that operated like what is described below?
How can cultures persist in prejudice, hatred and war for hundreds of years? Are children born to continue such lunacy or are they programmed to hate, fear, judge and war?
When you become older you have the opportunity and experience to begin to question what you have been taught and confirm it for yourself. Until you do you are mindless robot playing out the programs given to you and reacting to the world as you have been taught to. It is not a genuine life. It is not even your life. It is the life chosen for you by others and accepted by you without question.
If you are reading this article on this website, I’ll bet the above paragraph no longer applies entirely to you, but how much more have you got to go before your life becomes your own by purging the false ideas and disempowering beliefs that run your life and limit your potential?
Dr. Margaret T. Singer’s 6 Conditions for Thought Reform
- Keep the person unaware of what is going on and how she or he is being changed a step at a time. Potential new members are led, step by step, through a behavioral-change program without being aware of the final agenda or full content of the group. The goal may be to make them deployable agents for the leadership, to get them to buy more courses, or get them to make a deeper commitment, depending on the leader’s aim and desires.
- Control the person’s social and/or physical environment; especially control the person’s time. Through various methods, newer members are kept busy and led to think about the group and its content during as much of their waking time as possible.
- Systematically create a sense of powerlessness in the person. This is accomplished by getting members away from the normal social support group for a period of time and into an environment where the majority of people are already group members. The members serve as models of the attitudes and behaviors of the group and speak an in-group language.
- Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments and experiences in such a way as to inhibit behavior that reflects the person’s former social identity. Manipulation of experiences can be accomplished through various methods of trance induction, including leaders using such techniques as paced speaking patterns, guided imagery, chanting, long prayer sessions or lectures, and lengthy meditation sessions. Strip members of their main occupation (quit jobs, drop out of school) or source of income or have them turn over their income (or the majority of) to the group. Once stripped of your usual support network, your confidence in your own perception erodes. As your sense of powerlessness increases, your good judgment and understanding of the world are diminished. (ordinary view of reality is destabilized) As group attacks your previous worldview, it causes you distress and inner confusion; yet you are not allowed to speak about this confusion or object to it — leadership suppresses questions and counters resistance. This process is speeded up if you are kept tired — the cult will keep you constantly busy.
- Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments, and experiences in order to promote learning the group’s ideology or belief system and group-approved behaviors. Good behavior, demonstrating an understanding and acceptance of the group’s beliefs, and compliance are rewarded while questioning, expressing doubts or criticizing are met with disapproval, redress and possible rejection. If one expresses a question, he or she is made to feel that there is something inherently wrong with them to be questioning. The only feedback members get is from the group, they become totally dependent upon the rewards given by those who control the environment. Members must learn varying amounts of new information about the beliefs of the group and the behaviors expected by the group. The more complicated and filled with contradictions the new system in and the more difficult it is to learn, the more effective the conversion process will be. Esteem and affection from peers is very important to new recruits. Approval comes from having the new member’s behaviors and thought patterns conform to the models (members). Members’ relationship with peers is threatened whenever they fail to learn or display new behaviors. Over time, the easy solution to the insecurity generated by the difficulties of learning the new system is to inhibit any display of doubts — new recruits simply acquiesce, affirm and act as if they do understand and accept the new ideology.
- Put forth a closed system of logic and an authoritarian structure that permits no feedback and refuses to be modified except by leadership approval or executive order. The group has a top-down, pyramid structure. The leaders must have verbal ways of never losing. Members are not allowed to question, criticize or complain — if they do, the leaders allege that the member is defective — not the organization or the beliefs. The individual is always wrong — the system, its leaders and its belief are always right. Conversion or remolding of the individual member happens in a closed system. As members learn to modify their behavior in order to be accepted in this closed system, they change — begin to speak the language — which serves to further isolate them from their prior beliefs and behaviors.(Singer, 1995).