Mind Control: It’s Happening to You Right Now

Your mind is being controlled by distant strangers who don’t have your best interests at heart. If that sounds like a paranoid fantasy, brace yourself and read on. These are the findings of a series of scientific studies that show how a few dominant institutions have the power to affect how you feel, how you act, and even how you vote – without you ever knowing about it.

Deliberate mind manipulation of the masses is, by itself, nothing new. Nearly a hundred years ago, our global mania for consumption was unleashed by the malevolent brilliance of  Edward Bernays, known as the “father of public relations.” Bernays was Sigmund Freud’s nephew and used his uncle’s insights into the subconscious to develop his new methods of mind control, designed to create the modern American consumer.

Bernays-1
Edward Bernays: the father of modern consumer culture – © Waking Times

“We must shift America from a needs to a desires culture,” declared Bernays’ business partner, Paul Mazur. “People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. We must shape a new mentality. Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.” In 1928, Bernays proudly described how his techniques for mental manipulation had permitted a small elite to control the minds of the American population:

[T]he conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government that is the true ruling power of this country. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of… In almost every act of our daily lives… we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons … who pull the wires which control the public mind.[1]

Bernays set in motion what we have all come to know as an essential part of our capitalist ecosystem: the use of mass media to promote roles, desires and status symbols that rake in profits for corporations. The chilling words of Wayne Chilicki, chief executive of General Mills, show how faithfully Bernays’ vision has been followed: “When it comes to targeting kid consumers, we at General Mills follow the Procter & Gamble model of ‘cradle to grave.’ We believe in getting them early and having them for life.” [2]

What’s changed is that a new generation of mind controllers are using the burgeoning technologies of data mining and social media to inject their power even deeper into our minds than their forebears could have dreamed possible. A modern-day Bernays named B.J. Fogg has founded a field called “captology,” derived from the acronym CAPT or “Computers As Persuasive Technology.” At the ominously named Stanford Persuasive Tech Lab, he teaches freshly minted graduate students how to use technology to “change people’s attitudes or behaviors.”

His teachings have spawned the interfaces of our new daily routines: the chimes from our smartphones diverting our attention, the thumbs-up icon on our news feeds, and the Like statistics telling us how popular we are today. These are known as “hot triggers” which kick off behavioral loops in our subconscious. Successful apps, they teach, are those that trigger a momentary need, and then provide us with an instant solution. The solution sparks a micro dose of endorphins in our brains. That feels good. So, like rats on a wheel, we find ourselves getting addicted, going back for more.[3]

Rat on a wheel
Like a rat on a wheel, we are trained to need more… and more. – © Getty Images

Facebook has built its global empire of 1.6 billion active users on this addictive routine. According to one of Fogg’s students, Nir Eyal, Facebook’s key trigger is FOMO: fear of missing out. Humans evolved in hunter-gatherer bands, where survival meant being part of the community. The social anxiety of missing what our friends are doing arises from deep within our hormonal system. Meanwhile, as psychologist Sherry Turkle has pointed out in her book Alone Together, we sacrifice our daily physical intimacy with those around us by focusing our attention on the screen in our hands. [4] This has been brilliantly captured by artist Eric Pickerskill in his photography series, “Removed,” which documents the feeling of everyday social situations – after removing people’s smartphones from the picture.

REMOVED_-_Eric_Pickersgill
Social media makes us alone together – “Removed” © Eric Pickerskill

Facebook has been researching the extent of its power over our behavior, manipulating its own users as guinea pigs. On election day in 2010, it sent “Go out and vote” reminders to more than 60 million users, causing an estimated 340,000 to vote who otherwise wouldn’t have. If it chose to send these reminders to supporters of a particular party or candidate, it could easily flip an election without anyone knowing about it. Under current law, it wouldn’t have to tell anyone what it was doing. In another experiment, which caused a public outcry, Facebook successfully manipulated the emotional state of 689,000 users  by sending them either an excess of positive or negative terms in their news feeds.

The mind control doesn’t stop at social media. Do you believe in your autonomy when you’re carefully conducting research on a topic and use Google to search for something? Think again. Psychologist Robert Epstein has unearthed the massive subliminal power of what he’s called the Search Engine Manipulation Effect, or SEME.

This effect is based on the fact that when we search, we click half the time on one of the first two results, and more than 90% of our clicks are on the top ten links listed on the first page. There might be thousands of other web pages containing our key words, but Google decides which ones we’re going to read.

Mind control
Is your mind being controlled? – © RD Revilo

Epstein and his associate Ronald Robertson wanted to test whether SEME could impact how people decided to vote in an election. They asked a sample of Americans to research candidates for an Australian election (to minimize preconceived notions about the candidates) using their own mock search engine, “Kadoodle.” They randomly divided the sample “voters” into three groups, and served up the same results to each group. The only difference was the ordering of the results: one group’s results favored one candidate; another group’s results favored the opposing candidate, and the third group saw results that favored neither candidate.

The results were staggering. The proportion of people favoring Kadoodle’s “favored” candidate increased by 48%. Disturbingly, three quarters of the people in the manipulated groups were completely unaware of any bias in their search results. In the “neutral” control group, there was no significant shift of opinion.

Since then, they’ve replicated these findings in larger tests conducted across the U.S. They’ve discovered that using simple techniques, they can mask the manipulation so that virtually no-one is aware they’re seeing biased rankings. In 2014, they took their testing to India during the election for prime minister, where people were already very familiar with the candidates. Even so, they were able to shift the proportion of people favoring a chosen candidate by 20%, with 99.5% of people showing no awareness they were being manipulated. [5]

In many countries of the world, including the U.S., Google has a near monopoly over internet searches. The search-ranking business is entirely unregulated, and courts have ruled that Google’s right to rank search results however it pleases is protected as a form of free speech. If Google chose to swing the U.S. election, they could probably do so without anyone knowing about it. [6]

Would they do something like that? It turns out that Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company, has funded a semi-secret company, The Groundwork, to provide Hillary Clinton the engineering talent she needs to  win the election, prompting Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to call Google “Hillary’s secret weapon.” Meanwhile, Hillary has hired a longtime Google executive as her chief technology officer. If Google were prioritizing pro-Hillary search results over those favoring Bernie Sanders, we’d never know.

Eric Schmidt & Hillary Clinton
Eric Schmidt and Hillary Clinton: Is Google secretly manipulating public opinion in her favor? – © LibertyBlitzkrieg.com

The British economist Kenneth Boulding once warned: “A world of unseen dictatorship is conceivable, still using the forms of democratic government.” So you decide, is your mind being manipulated?

Until these unseen influencers are better regulated, there are still some things we can do to protect ourselves from their mind control. One idea, suggested by technology thought leader Jaron Lanier, is to investigate your relationship with social media and take back your power to choose by conducting your own experiments. Consciously go through periods of complete disengagement from social media – a day, a week, or a month – and notice how it feels. How strong and how frequent were those urges to reconnect? Did you miss anything? Did anything positive arise in their place?

Another idea is to become aware of the sources of our news. Notice the extent to which you live in an information silo. Make a regular habit of checking the websites of news sources outside your ideological comfort zone. When conducting a search on Google, see what’s listed two or three pages down, and occasionally try an alternative search engine for a reality check. DuckDuckGo is one that doesn’t track your activity, meaning you will get a more neutral result.

Finally, we can use the realization that our minds are being manipulated to delve deeper into the patterns of thought instilled in us from early infancy by our culture. What ideas do we take for granted that are really constructions of the global corporate profit machine? What implicit beliefs do we hold about the world that are merely the result of deep cultural indoctrination? My book, The Patterning Instinct: A History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning, attempts to unearth some of these. Asking these questions, while consciously searching for patterns of meaning that could lead to a more equitable and sustainable world, offers a pathway of liberation from the mind control those distant strangers are attempting to impose on us.

[1] Cited in Gore, A. (2013). The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change. New York: Random House, Ch. 4.

[2] Cited in De Vogli, R. (2013). Progress Or Collapse: The Crises of Market Greed. Routledge: New York, p. 47

[3] Weisberg, J. (2016). “We Are Hopelessly Hooked.” The New York Review of Books, February 25, 2016.

[4] Ibid; Turkle, S. (2012). Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other New York: Basic Books.

[5] Epstein, R. (2016). “The New Mind Control”. Aeon (published online).

[6] Spannos, C. (2016). “If Google and Facebook can flip elections does code now rule the real world?” New Internationalist Blog, March 11 2016.

 

36 thoughts on “Mind Control: It’s Happening to You Right Now

  1. Mind control, also called brainwashing, concerns the indoctrination of human behavior and thinking, causing impairment of autonomy, inability to think independently, disruption of basic beliefs and view points. Users who are in the habit of communicating on internet platforms via PC or mobile phones regulary, are not only at risk to become addicted; this form of “mind interchange” includes an extremely high potential of brain washing…

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  2. i think that mind control or brainwashing use in medicine field is usefull to improve patients health situation, according to the retailers point of views is even usefull to influence customers to buy (mass customization or mindmanipulation), or students to pay the fees to repeat the courses, (it happens when the actors related to the fields said before (customers) do not know about mind control existence and behave themselves as they feel or they are said to do, at the same time to not accept a mindcontrol situation and to accept the sickness existence improve the turnover for pharmaceutical industries: patients who do not know about hidden technology might be forced to get medication because of the sicknesses created by that technology. it looks like some retailers used that situation not only to lounch new products (food, shoes, cloths, iphone, …… new medicine tablet) in the market and to make more interesting the new products when they speak about revenue during a conference, but even to increase the turnover.
    i would like to remember that mindocntrol is even used to create a mistake situation for workers (workers who do not know about that system at the working company make mistakes used to not recognize the workers merit).
    so according to me mindcontol and brainwashing situation that influences badly society (gang stalking, mobbing, psychiatry …….) must be eliminated even by law, the use in other fields that make people happy should be appreciated.
    amèn

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    1. you are right when you speak badly about mindcontrol. some years ago it was not know because it was the cause of many people deads (such as Monroe, Kennedy …… please read through internet), and other deads of people less famous.
      when something strange happens for instance deads not justified empirically, you have to think always about mindcontrol: case of killer existence, people murdered…..
      animals also, they are more manipulated by mindcontrol ….. and they react irrationally as it happens for people killer …..

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  3. We’re not passive and helpless consumers of media. We need to take responsibility for the media we consume. You can’t fool all of the people all of the time. People have grown distrustful of the media. The problem with the media is what they don’t say rather than what they do.

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  4. It’s true. The first experience of dreams manipulation was in Milano around the year 2000. I remember very well the dreams: I was at Bocconi students house and I had a dream of my grandmather, who passed away two months before and who gave to me number to play with roulette to win money, then I had a dream of a sexual relation with a boy and at the same time sex with a woman, I remember very well the names of both (boy and girl), the first one was Michele and the second one was Rossella. Again if we speak about dreams manipulation my dreams were manipulated in Basel while I was working at Tally weijl company and in Salento (salve) were i live at the moment after the mindcontrol situation I was involved in when I was in Basel. My dreams were manipulated in London too and before in Saint Louis (alsace). The very hard mind control situation situation was in Milan during the years 2005/2006 when I was at Montblanc italia, when my thoughts were read by spy satellites that produce even voices, in Coventry during the years 2007/2008 when I was student at Coventry university, in Basel (Suisse) during the years 2014/2016, in alsace and In Bobigny. If when I was a student at Bocconi University mind control was only about dreams, in the rest of my experiences it was a mixture between dreams, voices and thoughts reading.

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  5. I found these articles and statements are what i have publicised in my community fot many years. I had researched it later in depth and documented the changes in media, society and communities.

    This gang stalking is common among people in authoritive positions.

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  6. The impact of mind control is prevelant in today’s society deriving from media celebrities to the elite. The common people that are unemployed are selected through mind as keyist and narkist to control communities think process in negative behavioural towards targeted names i.e. McLeish. This targeting has been happening from 2016-date. Mainly caused by white supremacist and black panthers from America and UK.

    The courts are aware of it.

    This is factual information in 2019.

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  7. The National Health Service were identified as quango’s and pledged hate on former staff’s. These person’s who pledged is Michael Attwood and David Conteh. By using mind control
    they slandered and attempted to block former NHS staff’s futures.

    This was witnessed by the current NHS staff’s in England.

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  8. Henny worked in the BBC and thats where she influenced the lies on her own life and her families. Henny reversed the roles of her sibling into herself. Media knew and this was aided by Michael Aspen. The rest was lies in misconception to promote Henny’s name and faux life todate.

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