Except for hostilities that we may face in some of our work places, we are oblivious to what governments, organizations, organized groups are doing to influence society. These could happen through platforms such as social groups, salesmen, advertisements, recruitment efforts, marketing messages, political propaganda and so on. So un-wittedly the “enemy” may be our spouse, parents, friends, peers, bosses become involved because they got roped into this.
The Worst Internship Ever: Japan’s Labor Pains
Whatever these hostile situations are, the perpetrators are not interested in us, or our welfare, or in having an intellectual exchange. They are more interested in the psychological impact rather than facts, principles or whether something is right or wrong.
About the Book
The book focuses on avoiding being duped or conditioned into doing things or accepting things against our principles and values in order to achieve the motives or agenda of others, even if it is something detrimental to ourselves. We have to fight the battle for our minds and stand up for what we believe.
The following excerpts were taken from section 1 to 5 of the Beginner Course from the book “Push Back” written by B.K. Eakman. She how us how to push back in the psychological warfare.
Governments, political factions, organizations, organized groups uses professional manipulators. Professional manipulators are paid professionals hired to “medicalize” the opinions, preferences, perceptions and viewpoints of the masses.
Eakman remarked that “A sophisticated form of bribery is the charitable ‘donation’ or “contribution” from which some sort of return is expected. If an NGO becomes powerful enough, it influence may require no more than what is known as ‘the quiet word’ – a piece of well-placed advice to an office-holder or policymaker. More critical is that many of these organizations help launch new curricula. These help indoctrinate upcoming generations into anti-parent, anti-religion, anti-morality, redistribution of wealth mindset.”
National Education Association – The author commented that it “Trained recruits work to deftly pit factions of a community, citizen’s group, committee or even classroom full of students against one another, to make the favoured side of an issue (the one they are hired to promote) appear ‘sensible’ and any opposing factions seem out-of-touch. This is how the facilitator assumes control of the ‘psychological environment.’ “
Professional Manipulators can take varying roles:
- Change agents
- Community organizers
- Technical assistants
- In-person assisters
The instruments used for manipulation are:
- Peer Pressure – To heighten peer pressure until the group function as a “we” mentality (groupthink or mob mentality). Once this occurs, ideas can be planted.
- Recruitment and training of “group facilitators”, “community organizers” and “change agents”.
- Running events.
- Turning former academic tests into psychological assessment, with features for data-mining ad profiling.
- Popularization by mainstream media and universities.
- Intertwined with educational curriculum.
- Public conditioning by repetition of phrases in various venues and formats until it is subconsciously accepted. Once accepted, we lose the will to protest misuse of authority and in this way give powers to someone else.
- “Attack” publications in the form of pamphlets, manuals, booklets, flyers and workshops.
Who Professional Manipulators Recruit
- Politically driven students from top universities
- Unwary concerned citizens
Examples of Targets
School represents easy targets because they are captive audience
Honest and Dishonest Debates
“Most of us are caught up with the idea that the best way to get through to an adversary is in a heart-to heart, fact based discussion. That is true only if people are honestly debating an issue as equals. It is true if the debate is dishonest. If a provocateur can generate a mob mentality, and get it to work for him, control of the agenda is usually assured. “
“Whereas a real moderator is supposed to keep a meeting “on message” and moving along, and a real negotiator works to pull 2 parties together to resolve a specific dispute, an unethical manipulator’s mission is part of a larger offensive against those holding to traditional values, especially when it concerns standards of morality and culture.”
The Principles of Psych War
Four Rules of Psychological Warfare from Sun Tzu indicated that the demoralization of the enemy is a high priority.
- A resistance movement is not run according to the rules of etiquette.
- Those skilled in war subdue the enemy without physical battle.
- Deception and surprise are 2 key principles of battle.
- Confuse the enemy’s leaders; “if possible, drive them mad,” then forge ahead.
The principles the author gathered from The Art of War are as follows:
- All warfare is based on deception.
- Always let your opponent know an escape route is open so that they will go there. Show him or her that that there is a road to safety so that he will think there is an alternative to losing all. Then strike.
- An enemy is conquered more easily if “appropriate conditions” are created.
- Recruit persons who are highly intelligent, but can appear stupid; who can play dumb, but are I reality strong; who are principled, but can appear passive; who are willing to be humiliated to succeed.
- Do not gobble preferred baits.
- Weary your opponents by keeping them constantly occupied. Make them rush about by offering them ostensible advantages.
- Those skilled in making an opponent move, do so by creating a situation to which he must conform – for example, by enticing him with something he sure to take.
- Do not demand accomplishment of those who have no talent.
- Those skilled in war bring the opponent to the field of battle. They do not allow themselves to be taken or drawn there.
- Disrupt the opponent’s alliances using deceptive operations so that their constituencies disperse in confusion.
- Numbers alone confer little advantage.
- Avoid the opposition when his energy is high and attack him when it is sluggish. This is control of the morale factor.
- If leaders or policies are inconsistent, morale will be low and the rank and file angry. Cause leaders to lose confidence of their constituencies.
Real Consensus versus Manipulated Consensus
The author explained that: “The purpose of a facilitated, unethical consensus is to preserve the illusion that there is lay, or community, participation in policy-related decision making, when in fact there is not.
A manipulated consensus is actually groupthink. Manipulated consensus-building is dependent upon groupthink, which requires a mob mentality. It is not the results of individual, thoughtful and rational analysis. Facilitators keep the individual from thinking for himself and encourages him or her to defer to the group.
A phony consensus is essentially a collective opinion that does not reflect anyone’s opinion. Professional manipulators pulls this off as ‘compromise’ because the collective good is viewed a superior to, and more important than, the individual good.”
These are based on the following principles.
- It is easier to control a group than it is to control an individual.
- Whoever controls the debate, controls the agenda.
- Whoever controls the debate, or agenda, usually wins.
- Never let the other fellow control the debate, or agenda.
- Once alienated, particularly if members of a group that form the backbone of a community, help the facilitator because this gets the primary resistance out of the way.
The Power of the Media
The media can dictate what and for how long people should think about something.
How to Railroad Opinion
The aim of railroading is to legitimize, then institutionalize, unpopular and bogus policy before people realize what has happened.
- Controlling the climate of thought
- Marketing: Using different packages targeting at different audiences.
Keys to Manipulation
The author remarked that a person’s attitudes, worldview and outlook make up a person’s belief system. The key to manipulating another person’s perceptions is the same key to thought control. The key is to alter the person’s belief system.
Primary Techniques of Manipulation
The primary techniques of manipulation are:
- Escalating tensions
- Distracting individuals
- Confusing the issues
- Divide and conquer – let the group do the dirty work
3 Key Capabilities
Psychological control is a combination of manipulation, per pressure and repetition.The 3 key capabilities used by trained facilitators, change agents, provocateurs, agitators to help them alienate people and get them to go outside their comfort zones are:
- Repetition – repeat catch-phrases and buzz terms using varied formats and contexts, enough to get the targeted group accustomed to hearing them. This often assures belief or acceptance.
- Isolation – This is to alienate someone by undermining, embarrassing or out maneuvering them so that they give up or sound irrational. A person may be labelled as “loner” or “extremist” or “self-styled patriot”.
- Labeling – Consistently label certain ideas as negative so that persons that advocate them will be perceived as extremists.
The use of slogans and catch phrases tend to redefine terms that the group members think they know. In a way this redefine their belief system.
Body Language and Facial Expressions
When using the methods, the moderator is taking notice of the group member’s body languages and facial expressions.
To create a false pretext that a group backed an idea or was involved in decision making, facilitators (professional manipulator) either plant people in a group meeting to bring up the idea or set up a group meeting to bring forward the idea. Usually nobody object because most of us have been conditioned to be open, tolerant, polite and care about integrity. The author named this technique “climate control.” This method makes it easier for 1side to frame the debate and keep the other side from injecting an alternative viewpoint and taking back the discussion.
A manipulator will distract the group members from how they would feel personally and re-ret it into a “we are all in this together” mindset and then move the group into various “what would we do if?” scenarios.
This provides them a platform to document and say that the targeted group was involved in the decision making.
Karl Marx’s Theory of Alienation states that people will do just about anything to avoid being ostracized or ridicules (alienation). Cognitive dissonance means irreconcilable conflict. When we are in such a meeting as described in Climate Control, we are aware that the “consensus” is not true but the facilitator was able to present “credible information from reputable sources”. We will start to become uncomfortable, vacillate, lose our frame of reference and fell alienated. We start to look for others inside of our own group. This is how members of our own factions got revealed.
In this method, instead of a professional facilitator, a professional provocateur or agitator is used. The aim is make the opposition outraged, angry, mad, frustrated so that lose focus, go into disarray, start lashing out at everything and eventually someone may go off the deep end and do something stupid. This then give the opposition to make generalized negative statements about the behaviors of the targeted group so as to discredit it. You may note that the provocateur is trained to identify the leader, the “loudmouth”, any weak or non-committal person, person who is most likely to change side.
The provocateur works to distract the group members. The author defined distraction as “A distraction is an effort to change the subject, or to divert people’s attention from the real issue.” Group members will find that it will be their constant task to remember what they are really discussing.
The Delphi Technique
The Delphi technique is use to establish consensus on a controversial topic or regulation. In the technique, the facilitator starts as everyone’s friend (He or she works to become an accepted member of the larger group) and then goes about setting up one faction against another (He or she turns factions of the larger group against one another. He or she becomes the devil’s advocate.).
The facilitator works the group to ensure a predetermined outcome. On in the devil’s advocate position, he or she uses selective hearing to ensure that views that run counter to the pre-determined outcome “appear unknowledgeable, inarticulate, or dogmatic.” In selective hearing, the facilitator pretends to ignore a question or comment, or declines to put a group member’s suggestion “on the table”. One way is by acknowledging the group member’s suggestion. He or she will permit opposing views only if they are helpful in escalating tensions later on. If the discussion is “facilitated” properly, all participants will emerge believing that the decision reached was their own ideas. You will know that you are isolated when you feel that the facilitator and other participants are talking around you, and not to you.
Resisting the Delphi Technique
- Before the event, find out who is being paid to chair it, who stands to benefit and who are the behind the scene stakeholders.
- Determine the real issue and keep it in mind.
- Determine your own viewpoint and remember it.
- Grab control of the debate (psychological climate).
- Do not let the facilitator lead you into a “we are all in this together” and “what would we do if” hypothetical environment.
- Do not let the facilitator lead you into a “group consensus” position. If you allow them to establish a group consensus position, they will use it.
- Do not let the facilitator continue until he or she reveals the agenda. Remember facilitators and any “plants” in the audience are there to sell you something that you do not want.
The author remarked that “Indoctrination, like its close cousin, brainwashing is a form of psychological manipulation. Indoctrination, however, goes beyond framing of the debate, because its purpose is not merely to redirect attention or disrupt the thought process, but to systematically root out a person’s emotional support system…… A teacher’s, or facilitator’s role is to interpose certain impressions, notions, attitudes, perceptions and conclusions into the vacuum created by stripping away the belief system and impairing rational thoughts.”
[print-me target=”#post-%ID%” title=”Print This Article”]