This post was originally posted on my Affirmation Spot blog in 2011.
Whose idea should be off limits? Whose right to express and explore denied? If you’re willing to make that call, then it could be your freedom, your right that is shut down. Let us create a world where all ideas are in play and all voices are heard. Empowered minds want to know.
One of the oldest aphorisms you probably know is, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” We live in supposedly free post-industrial societies where information and ideas are shared for the betterment of humanity. Really?
Have you noticed the pattern? In our “free” societies, leaders no longer have to censor most information. They have developed sophisticated, herd-mentality psychology techniques for convincing many to censor themselves. Using these techniques, the powers that be can, and regularly do, convince you to edit your speech, your thoughts, and your actions.
Worse, not only do you do this in the moment, but many are easily steered away from whole areas of discovery, research, and thought. They have been given an “official version” of what is by authorities, the media, or “experts” and that is enough for them, without any first-hand knowledge, to condemn those who venture outside this conformity.
There are many, many tools used to keep you within this mental pen. The three I’m going to discuss briefly each touch on several logical fallacies. Each is all about setting boundaries, mental fences, that place ideas off limits to all but the most daring. These are:
- Labeling – this is where people or information is discredited by giving them a label. A prominent example in recent years has been conspiracy theory or theorist. The label is used and the conditioning is constant that people who believe in “conspiracy theories” are crazy and dangerous. The fact is, many “conspiracy theorists” are just interested in transparency, truth, and freedom. Labeling places a mental fence that tells the herd “Keep Out! Warning Dangerous Ideas!” For many this enough to keep them at a safe distance (without any knowledge of the true facts). This technique limits your ability, unless you break through the conditioning, to explore the full range of ideas and possibilities.
- The Cool Factor – many in our society have become very conscious of what is “cool” and what is “uncool”. It’s not surprising since it is a central thrust of much of the media and information they receive on a daily basis. This is a very effective tool with the young, but now impacts adults who have grown up in that environment as well. If we can be convinced of what is “cool” and what isn’t, we can be kept away from whole areas of thought. Often this one is coupled with our obsession over fame and celebrity. A well-meaning, but uninformed celebrity, helps broadcast messages that tell the herd “this is cool” or “that isn’t cool”. People become so afraid of not being cool that anything that smacks of not being cool is immediately taboo.
- “Us” vs. “Them” – this technique is used to keep the herd divided and conquered. We see this most prominently in the political sphere, though it exists in many spheres. Constantly reinforced dogmas of what is “conservative” or “liberal” are firmly entrenched in the minds of large parts of the population. Then any idea can be elevated or destroyed in those peoples’ minds, not based on its merit but based on its source. So if you consider yourself “conservative”, your patriotism is used as leverage against you to support wars. What keeps you in line? The simple idea that it’s only those “unamerican liberals” who don’t support the troops. Conversely, if you see yourself as liberal, you can be forced to oppose an idea simply because it was proposed by one of those “evil Republicans”. The perfect example of this technique is the phrase, “Well, if you believe X, you must be one of those Xs”.
We are all impacted by these and other mind control techniques every day. Depending on the issue, we are more or less persuaded by them to “stay in line”, “support the party line”, and steer clear of whole areas of thought.
This is a topic that books could be written on. I cannot do it justice here. My goal is to nudge the door open just enough that you can choose to walk through and break your conditioning.
What can you do?
- Pay attention to how these techniques are used on you daily. Begin to recognize them and restore your sovereignty over your thinking.
- Help others to see how they are being manipulated in these ways too. Awakening is not complete until it is shared.
- Instill freedom of thought for yourself and others as a cornerstone paradigm in your life. You don’t have to “agree” with someone to support and promote their right to express and explore all possibilities. A transparent, open civilization is to the benefit of overwhelming majority of people on this planet. The fact that a few, in very powerful positions, work so hard to keep “the herd” in line for their purposes is no longer acceptable in our world.
There is almost never only one way to see something. None of us possesses “the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” We can and should dialogue and learn from each other and stand shoulder to shoulder in growing in understanding together. Let ideas flow freely and allow the chips to fall where they may. Because where there is smoke, there usually IS fire. When you see the smoke, but you’re told the fire doesn’t matter….challenge, question, explore, express, and GROW!
Be free! Be inspired! Follow your bliss!
Ray is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and an advocate for the potential of the human race.
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