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Brainwashing - Brave New World, Brave New World Revisited
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Will Offline
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Brainwashing - Brave New World, Brave New World Revisited

Let me start by saying that everyone here will find Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited, by Aldous Huxley, extremely interesting. You should read both, (which you can get as one book), but as many of you probably have a hard time reading without feeling guilty about not doing schoolwork, you can just read Brave New World Revisited, which is pretty short. I actually didn't finish the last couple chapters of Brave New World Revisited; it's really interesting even if you just read half a chapter.

But anyway, I posted this because I wanted to see examples of brainwashing in other peoples' lives. In chapter 8, "Brainwashing," Huxley explains that Ivan Pavlov found that dogs when subjected to extreme stress all at once or to lesser amounts of prolonged stress, their brains would "go on strike"; the dog would go unconscious or act weird. The same is true for humans, which was shown during the two World Wars. Most sane people can stand about 30 days of fighting before they break down. The people who can take this stress indefinately are not sane.

As a or dog person reaches or just passes this limit of endurance against stress, he becomes more suggestible. "New behaviour patterns can be installed while the dog is at or near the limit of his cerebral endurance, and these new behaviour patterns seem to be ineradicable. The animal in which they have been implanted cannot be deconditioned; that which it has learned under stress will remain an integral part of its make-up."

Here are the ways that "psychological stresses" can be created:
  • "[S]timuli are unusually strong."
  • "The interval between a stimulus and the customary response is unduly prolonged and the animal is left in a state of suspense."
  • "The brain is confused by stimuli that run counter to what the dog has learned to expect."
  • "[T]he deliberate induction of fear, rage or anxiety markedly heightens the dog's suggestibility."[/list:u]

    Physical stresses that increase suggestibility are "fatigue, wounds and every form of sickness.

    This passage about a "successful" preacher reminds me of school. "He would open his sermon with a long and detailed description of the torments to which, unless they underwent conversion, his hearers would undoubtedly be condemned for all eternity. Then, when terror and agonizing sense of guilt hada brought his audience to the verge, or in some cases over the verge, of a complete cerebral breakdown, he would change his tone andpromise salvation to those who believed and repented." It worked.

    I tried to find an example of where this happened for me in school, and I found it. My first and fourth grade teacher (She switched grades when I was in second or third grade.) was one of those extremely strict ones who always made you write in complete sentences and assigned lots of boring, stupid work. She frequently yelled at me for my bad writing, generally because it was too short for the given time period. (Most of the writing was done in school.) My writing didn't improve at all, but I found it pretty hard to break the practice of answering all written questions in complete sentences even though other teachers sometimes didn't really want you to do that. I can't quite remember whether I found the work in first and fourth grade stupid, but if I did, I certainly didn't say anything about it. I worked extremely hard at all my work from first grade until ninth grade.

    So, try to find examples of brainwashing in your lives or the lives of others whom you know well. If you find anything, please at least post that found something. (I just want to see if others can actually relate to this.) You're certainly welcome to explain how this brainwashing occurred. It will probably take you a few hours, as it did for me, and it might be harder to find examples for people on these forums than for most people; it's possible that school did a bad job at brainwashing you. As it should take a while and many of you have already started school, you can think about during boring classes at school if you don't have anything to read or any homework to do.


    This last part isn't related to the rest of what I've said, but I can't help mentioning it. If I were required to write something like this for school, I would probably dread writing it. I would be given some stupid requirements and given a strict format in which it would have to be written. I probably wouldn't be able to choose an interesting topic, and I would know that it would be graded by an idiot. Even if I were somehow allowed to write this particular article for school, I would hate writing it because I would always be worried about the teacher's grading. I did not have to write this for school, however. It took me about 40 minutes write all this, and it wasn't boring at all.
08-26-2006 07:07 PM
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SoulRiser Offline
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thanks for posting, that was very interesting (and scary) stuff about brainwashing... it reminds me of reading about those teen boot camps, i suspect they rely on similar methods for "changing" people... Uhoh

i'm trying to think of something specific that happened which relates to this... i'm not sure if being bullied counts. i mean, if people keep saying negative things about you for years, that could make you believe it eventually, even though it's not really quite the same as "extreme stress" (unless it is actually that bad, i didn't stress that much though)..

i'll post again if i think of something Smile

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08-26-2006 10:00 PM
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modest mouse Offline
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Brilliant....

"If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees through narrow chinks of his cavern."
08-27-2006 12:09 AM
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Rebelnerd Offline
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that's some pretty scary shit.

I think Buenaventura Durruti is a pretty cool guy. eh kills fascists and doesnt afraid of ruins.
The quickest way to kill a revolution is to wait for it.
08-27-2006 12:36 AM
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Will Offline
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SoulRiser Wrote:thanks for posting, that was very interesting (and scary) stuff about brainwashing... it reminds me of reading about those teen boot camps, i suspect they rely on similar methods for "changing" people... Uhoh

i'm trying to think of something specific that happened which relates to this... i'm not sure if being bullied counts. i mean, if people keep saying negative things about you for years, that could make you believe it eventually, even though it's not really quite the same as "extreme stress" (unless it is actually that bad, i didn't stress that much though)..

i'll post again if i think of something Smile
Bullying could count; after being bullied for long enough, you may become more obedient to the bullies. This is probably the simplest example of bullying.

I have a feeling that more complicated situations involving two parties are most common when bullies are involved. For example, a student who is constantly bullied wants to feel important. As his parents are never home, he gains this feeling of importance by getting good grades in school. He is willing to believe the teachers even if he realizes that they are stupid lyers because they are the only people who make him feel important at all. This is reminding me of my 7th-8th grade years of school. I had already been doing very well in school at this time, so I'm not sure how much it directly affected my school performance, but I remember that I didn't feel comfortable when I was around any kids who knew me.

When I realized that the school didn't actually care about bullying, I began to realize that I shouldn't be going to school. I had always realized that school was stupid, but it seems like the idea that I had to do perfectly in school had always been ingrained in my head.

Rebelnerd Wrote:that's some pretty scary shit.
And that's just one chapter of the book.
08-30-2006 06:31 PM
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SoulRiser Offline
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tlevine Wrote:Bullying could count; after being bullied for long enough, you may become more obedient to the bullies. This is probably the simplest example of bullying.

actually, yeah, that does kinda count. after i switched schools and nobody bullied me anymore, it took me literally years to stop thinking of myself as inferior and ugly (and all sorts of other negative things). i sometimes still feel that way though, and even the slightest criticism can send me for a trip down memory lane. i hate it when that happens. Ranting .. i am working on it though, but it's hard to unlearn that sort of thing.

the more you think of yourself as inferior, the more likely you are to believe people when they claim to be superior to you (and then all the stuff they tell you after that). that didn't work on me personally, as i hated the people who bullied me, so i disliked anyone else who claimed to be my superior in some way as well, but that's not to say it won't work really well on other people.

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08-30-2006 10:55 PM
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Brainwashing - Brave New World, Brave New World Revisited

I never got to read this book unfortunately.

I wonder where Will is these days.

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04-15-2017 06:05 AM
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