“By psychopolitics our chief goals are effectively carried forward. To produce a maximum of chaos in the culture of the enemy is our first most important step. Our fruits are grown in chaos, distrust, economic depression, and scientific turmoil. At last, a weary populace can seek peace only in our offered Communist State, at last only Communism can resolve the problems of the masses.” (Synthesis of the Russian Manual on Psychopolitics)
The above quote is from a little handbook entitled Brainwashing-A Synthesis of the Russian Textbook on Psychopolitics. Allegedly written by Lavrentiy Beria, Joseph Stalin’s righthand henchmen, the book details a very sophisticated brainwashing method meant to transform people’s thinking to be more in line with communist objectives, while also maintaining loyalty to the communist state. Largely discredited as a conspiratorial hoax, the book describes, aside from the quote above, several things that Americans would say are legitimate issues in our society. Attacks on religious freedom, the use of psychiatric medicines, and constant attacks against ideas that go against the politically correct narrative, to name a few. This one quote alone describes something many Americans recognize as the problem-reaction-solution strategy, otherwise known as the Hegelian Dialectic. It is difficult to look at America today and not see chaos everywhere. Inflation is out of control, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Covid-19, an incoherent president devoid of any leadership, a divided population, and a media which is constantly pushing all of this in our face, are all contributing to a stressed-out country that doesn’t know which way to turn. This is right in line with what Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov describes as Ideological Subversion.
Ideological Subversion: “To change the perception of reality to such an extent that despite the abundance of information, no one can come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their families, their communities, and their country.” (Yuri Bezmenov)
The media plays a huge role in shaping public perception. According to the book Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research, the media plays what is referred to as an agenda-setting role, as they are increasingly defining what Americans should consider being the most important issues of the day. They are not telling people what to think about certain stories; they are controlling what issues dominate America’s thinking. This came about in the 1960s as researchers were realizing that the everyday reporting of facts was not having the desired result on the nation’s attitudes and beliefs, and by framing stories from a certain perspective, they could effectively guide public opinion. The media constantly keeps us on the edge of our seats with stories that depict an out-of-control world, attempting to guide us into predetermined solutions. No sooner are we coming out of the Covid-19 fiasco, we are bombarded with news of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine. On one side of the aisle, you have a president who appears to be suffering from dementia, who can’t make a coherent statement, and on the other, a former president who can’t make up his mind. On one hand, he praises Putin’s genius, and on the other, he condemns the attack. If the idea of deliberate chaos is accepted, then it must be accepted that the media is playing a role in presenting it. The constant portrayal of crisis and the divisive nature of how news is reported is contributing to a heightened state of stress in the nation. Setting conspiracy theories aside, there is plenty of evidence that suggests high levels of stress make people easier to control and more willing to accept tyranny simply to ease their minds.
In his book Rape of the Mind, psychiatrist Joost Meerloo states that keeping people in a state of fear and hopelessness is essential in developing the conditions necessary for people to abandon their own sense of reason, and demonstrate a willingness to comply with a tyrant’s dictates. Meerloo was a psychiatrist for the allied forces in WWII after experiencing firsthand the interrogation techniques employed by the Nazis. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, if it could really be called that, millions of people complied with the intervention strategies without taking the time to research anything for themselves. The information presented by the media, for example, was often so contradictory people didn’t know what to think. Dr. Fauci kept flip-flopping on the issues of masks, and the information pertaining to the deadliness of Covid was confusing and uncertain. The speed at which people were forced into their homes and made to close their businesses also shocked people into a mindless state of compliance. In essence, people were frightened by the constant portrayal of a new, deadly virus, that they allowed their own sense of reason to be abandoned and simply complied.
Attempts at brainwashing have been going on for decades. The best example that Americans are familiar with is MK Ultra. While this borders on the conspiratorial, there is little doubt that the program existed, and that hallucinogenic drugs were used in mind control experiments in an attempt to create sleeper personalities. In 1977, the Senate Committee on Health and Scientific Research held an inquiry aimed at discovering the truth behind the revelations that people were being tortured and drugged against their will by the CIA. To what extent they could manipulate and control behavior through the creation of alternate identities, supposedly remains unknown. The history of brainwashing goes back centuries as tyrants have always used torture as a means of eliciting confessions and controlling behavior. The use of torture is something the Soviets perfected, and according to the book Brainwashing in Red China, was built on and refined by the Chinese Communists during Mao’s Great Leap Forward. The role the communists have played in brainwashing is significant because it ties directly into the modern study of human behavior. Pavlov’s theory on classical conditioning not only dominates the field of behavioral studies but all medical sciences. This is because it offers an easier explanation to phenomena that science can’t explain but has traditionally been associated with religious traditions, making it more politically convenient.
“Meanwhile, however, a large part of the world’s population is not only being re-indoctrinated but has had the whole medical system reorientated along Pavlovian lines, partly because the mechanistic and physiological approach to what is more commonly regarded in the west as the province of philosophy and religion has achieved such politically convenient results.” (Sargent, Battle for the Mind)
B.F. Skinner, in Science and Human Behavior, refers to this as reductionism. He states that studying behavior from any of the established systems of human knowledge, like religion, limits, and handicaps any legitimate investigation into human behavior because the results are limited to the confines of that system. Studying behavior from a basic functional analysis, Skinner states is essential. That functional analysis is built off Pavlov’s classical conditioning and materialist beliefs.
Pavlov was a Russian who conducted his experiments during the reign of Vladimir Lenin. According to Joel Dimsdale, author of the book Dark Persuasion: A History of Brainwashing from Pavlov to Social Media, Pavlov was literally approached by Lenin and asked if his conditioning theories could be applied to the Russian people to control individualism and shape their thinking so that they would be more likely to conform to communism. Lenin, according to Dimsdale, provided Pavlov with psychiatric patients on whom he could test his theories. While Pavlov later came to detest the direction the Communist Party was going, he was a materialist who believed that man had no soul. Even after Lenin’s death, he remained in a prestigious position as the nation’s leading scientist working for the Communist party.
One of Pavlov’s key findings is that people can be programmed to respond predictably to stress-inducing stimuli. He found that exhausted, traumatized people were easily suggestible, particularly when continually exposed to contradictory information, or conflicting instructions (Dimsdale, p. 19). Skinner (pg. 65) later found that behavior could largely be predicted by controlling the environment. He states that Pavlov’s experiments show that by attaching the stimulus to the reinforcer, behavior can be affected. Whereas in operant conditioning, the reinforcement of the behavior is contingent upon the response, and desired responses are strengthened through this method. In other words, B.F. Skinner built on Pavlov’s classical conditioning by showing that the manipulation of the environment, through positive or negative reinforcement, can shape and maintain behavior. Skinner found this to be effective because people have a natural fear of isolation and standing out (Beyond Freedom and Dignity, 1971, p, 92).
Meerloo states in Rape of the Mind (p. 31), that conditioned responses to a fed stimuli may be accelerated when people are experiencing a state of relief. In other words, it is easier for people to simply go along with the program when under a great deal of stress than it is to question and investigate. Interestingly, this truth can also be found in the study of persuasion. According to the book The Dynamics of Persuasion, there is a persuasive communications technique called Fear-then-Relief, built on the principle that people are more suggestible when under high levels of stress when offered a solution that relieves them of that stress.
“This is somewhat different from other techniques in that the persuader deliberately places the recipient in a state of fear. Suddenly and abruptly, the persuader eliminates the threat, replaces fear with kind words, and asks the recipient to comply with a request. The ensuing relief pushes the persuade to acquiesce.” (Perloff, Dynamics of Persuasion, p. 464)
Is it possible that popular media, in collaboration with our government, is deliberately working to keep us in a constant state of stress, fear, and confusion? Most people reading this article would probably say yes to the idea that left-leaning media is doing this. Wouldn’t it be safe to assume that the entire design of the left and right-wing media programming aids in this purpose? Like the book, Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research states, the media’s role is to define what the public thinks about. No matter what channel you have on, you are being bombarded with opinions from talking-head pundits who are attempting to shape your views concerning the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, Covid-19, inflation, economic crisis, or any other issue in American society that they deem we should be focused on. These issues flow from one to the next with no break in-between. Is it possible they are doing this based on an advanced understanding of human behavior that started with Pavlov and has been refined incrementally over the ensuing decades? The evidence is, in this writer’s opinion, is irrefutable. Unfortunately, there isn’t a solution to this aside from people taking the necessary time to independently research the issues for themselves. For instance, while people were insisting society wear masks in response to Covid-19, several studies were conducted showing they had no effect. These studies had to be sought out, however, as the mainstream media kept the masses focused on the messages they wanted you to pay attention to. What people need to understand is that their actions, or reactions, largely inform the opinions and beliefs of the researchers. People complying with mask mandates, for example, while contradictory information to what the news was portraying was released, shows researchers that people aren’t paying attention to anything but the news. Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler write in their book Nudge, that people are mindless thinkers unable to make decisions in their own best interest, and that they wouldn’t know what to do with information that contradicts their previously held beliefs. These statements are not based on mere opinions of biased researchers, rather, they are the conclusions of research into human behavior and our reactions to mass media. In other words, if we want to change society, we have to change our own behavior.