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07 Feb 2006

are we free
doctor,

do you believe in mind control, and social experiments on a global scale done to control the masses.

like brainwashing and conditioning to think in a certain way.

do you believe in freedom of expression to such an extent that we become derogatory.

even freedom must have its limits.
but we told that we are free. we are not.
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Hello bd,
Funny you should ask that, as I studied "Brainwashing" over the years, worked with a pioneering early exprt in the field dr William Sargant ( his book Battle for the Mind" is still valuable ), and later was an expert witness on such matters in some notable court cases.
Ideally, of course, we would want everyone to have as much freedom as possible --- but for everyone to choose to restrict themselves wiselym and to use that freedom very responsibly.
Some quick comments on brainwashing. In the form of Coercive Interrogation, there are unpleasant ways in which interrogators can push you towards making statements against your own interests, and even to "remember" things which didn't happen or things in which you were not involved, and thus to make false confessions. This can be easier to do that people realize, and in the False memory Syndrome, for instance, we see people who are persuaded to "remember" prior abuse which actually never happened, by a naive and fanatical "therapist" using bad techniques. In both situations the problem is that any such method produces a mixture of fact, fantasy and distorted fact, that makes it much harder to know what may have really happened, and it really isnt useful.
As for conditioning, it's also possible. Advertisers and sponsors obviously believe in it and spend millions on campaigns designed to convince us that Brand X, which may actually be lousy, is marvellous and you need to have some. Some people and some societies are much more susceptible --- look at the large numbers of Muslims getting into a fury about cartoons which hardly any of those protesting have actually seen, and responding with violent threats which tend to make the mischievous message of the original cartoon seem true, rather than refuting it. And on the other hand, the media tend to program us to see such events in a single way, collaborating, as it were, with the protestors. Any Muslim protest anywhere now tens to get wide coverage --- bu the millions of muslims either ignoring the issue or feeling differently about it or at least responding differently to it, are ignored by the media.
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