Tag Archives: manipulation

Brainwashing

Fantasy, Illusion, Sailboat, Sea, Sky, Ocean, Clouds

Yesterday, a friend sent me an email on how all social media information goes public on such and such day. Beware.

I said, Gina, that’s not true. I looked it up. My friend didn’t care. She said, Well, who knows. Just in case. Over the years, I’ve known Gina (not her real name) to be a reasonable person, with a good head on her shoulders. Lately, however, between the pandemic closures, information spinning out of control, and social-media tribalism, she sends me doom and gloom links all the time.

Just in case, she says.

In case what, exactly?

In case rational is irrational, and irrational is rational. Or the world is upside down or downside up.

That, I think, is the idea concocted in the ether of ideas. Spin everything so we no longer know what’s what.

Take a look around, and brainwashing is a real epidemic.

Used to be an ailment mostly affecting teens, or at least that’s how I remember it. Gina is in her fifties.

And is it manipulation or brainwashing? Or both? Is Gina liable to turn into a nut long term, or is this just a phase?

The latter, I hope. Because if not, I’m about to tell her I saw Big Foot. And if it wasn’t Big Foot, well, I’m still inclined to believe so, just in case.

We all have our fears, right? Fear of falling ill, fear of losing someone or something, fear of being forced to alter our lives. Having those fears played into, that’s what leads to brainwashing and/or manipulation.

Gina has a fear of losing her privacy, among other fears. To her, the idea of private chats or private information becoming public brings an unbearable amount of shame (chats may have involved gossip :)). She fears her private information would be used against her. So, when whoever put the claim out there that facebook is going to disregard laws and turn private matters public, she panicked.

Playing into people’s fears is an effective way to alter behavior.

According to the American Psychological Association, “Fear appeals are persuasive messages that emphasize the potential danger and harm that will befall individuals if they do not adopt the messages’ recommendations.” Source.

So, we are pounded directly and subliminally with messages of fear. How we respond varies widely.

I emailed Gina back: Fear not, strong woman, fear not, and shout it from the roof top: (a paraphrased quote).

No answer so far. I don’t know if the message got through, or she just gave up on me.

photo credit: pixabay

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