Know How You Are Being Manipulated Is The First Step

David Trammel's picture

Knowing how people in power manipulate you, is the first step in countering it's affect on you. Noam Chomsky, who some consider one of the most important intellectuals in life today, has drawn up the list of the 10 strategies of manipulation through mass media. I will offer them up as he listed them.

1-The strategy of distraction
The primordial element of social control is the distraction strategy that consists of diverting the public's attention from major problems and the changes decided by political and economic elites, through flooding of continuous distractions and insignificant information. Distraction strategy is also essential to prevent the public from becoming interested in essential knowledge in the area of science, economics, psychology, neurobiology and cybernetics. Keeping the audience's attention deviated from real social problems, imprisoned by themes without real importance.
Keeping the public busy, busy, busy, with no time to think, back to the farm like other animals (quoted in the text ′′ Silent weapons for quiet wars ′′).

2-Creating problems and then offering the solutions.
This method is also called the ′′ problem-reaction-solution ". It creates a problem, a ′′ situation ′′ planned to cause a certain reaction from the public, with the aim that this is the mandate
of the measures they want to accept. For example: letting urban violence intensify or intensify, or organize bloody attacks, with the aim of the public being those requiring security laws and policies to the detriment of freedom. Also: create an economic crisis to make social rights demotion and dismantle public services accept as a necessary evil.

3-The Strategy of Graduation.
To make an unacceptable measure accepted, you only need to apply it gradually, to dropper, for consecutive years. This is how radically new socioeconomic conditions (neoliberism) were imposed during the decades of the 80 s and 90 s: minimum state, privatization, precariousness, flexibility, mass unemployment, wages that no longer guarantee dignified incomes , so many changes that would have brought about a revolution if they were implemented at once.

4-The Strategy of Deferring.
Another way to get an unpopular decision to accept is to present it as ′′ painful and necessary ", gaining public acceptance, in the moment, for future application. It is easier to accept a future sacrifice than an immediate sacrifice. First, because effort isn't that taken immediately. Second, because the public, the mass, always tends to naively hope that ′′ everything will be better tomorrow ′′ and that the required sacrifice could be avoided. This gives the audience more time to get used to the idea of change and accept it resigned when the time comes.

5-Reach to the public like children.
Most publicity advertising uses speeches, topics, characters and a particularly childish intonation, many times close to weakness, as if the viewer was a few years old creature or a mental moron. When you try to deceive the viewer the more you tend to use a childish tone. Why? Why? ′′ If someone addresses a person as if they are 12 or under, then based on suggestionability, they will probably tend to a response or reaction even without a critical sense like that of a 12 person. years or less ′′ (see ′′ Silent Weapons for quiet wars ′′).

6-Using emotional aspect much more than reflection.
Take advantage of emotion it's a classic technique to provoke a short circuit on a rational analysis and, finally, the critical sense of the individual. Additionally, the use of emotional register allows the unconscious access door to implant or inject ideas, desires, fears and fears, compulsions, or induce behaviors.

7-Keeping the public in ignorance and mediocrity.
Making the public incapable of understanding the technologies and methods used for their control and slavery. ′′ The quality of education given to lower social classes must be as poor and mediocre as possible, so that the distance of ignorance that plans between lower classes and upper classes is and remains impossible to fill from the lower classes ".

8-Stimulating the public to be complacent with mediocrity.
Pushing the audience to think it's fashionable to be stupid, vulgar and ignorant...

9-Strengthening self-guilt.
Making the individual believe that he is only the culprit of his disgrace, because of his insufficient intelligence, skills or efforts. So, instead of rebelling against the economic system, the individual devalues himself and blames himself, which in turn creates a depressive state, one of whose effects is the inhibition of his action. And without action there is no revolution!

10-Knowing individuals better than they know themselves.
Over the past 50 years, science's rapid progress has generated a growing gap between public knowledge and those possessed and used by dominant elites. Thanks to biology, neurobiology, and applied psychology, the ′′ system ′′ has enjoyed advanced knowledge of the human being, both in its physical and psychological form. The system has managed to learn better about the common individual than he knows himself. This means that, in most cases, the system exercises greater control and greater power over individuals, greater than that which the same individual exercises over himself.

David, thanks for this. I'm not sure if critical thinking can be successfully taught as it does require the thinker to separate themselves from the herd and ask such pesky questions as "why" or "how do you know". I have found from experience that people often don't like such comments. After all, it is much easier to be a "yes man" than an independent thinker.

David Trammel's picture

I have the same worry, that to successfully teach critical thinking requires you get them young, put them in a monastery and don't let them out til they are adults, lol.

Though right now we have a great resource of examples. Social media gets a lot of blame for being absolutely the worst place to have an intelligent discussion BUT it also is a great place to offer up examples of all that's wrong with the state of critical thinking. I'm particularly poor at the spoken word when it comes to having a discussion. I'm always figuring out what I wanted to say, 15 minutes after I needed to say it.

With written media I'm much better. Give me some time to mull over what you said, and what I want to say back, and I can do pretty well. I find that having two monitors helps immensely. Sometimes I get a feeling that the other person is using one of the methods of manipulation, like the above list, but don't remember what it is, or the correct counter. Having a spread pallet to research, I can go to the sources I have on arguments and manipulation, look at their examples, find out which one I'm facing and then formulate my reply.

Maybe if I do that enough, I'll remember the lessons. Its hard though, social media is distracting and just when you think you're making progress in a subject critically, social media throws cute kitten pictures.

Hiya, here’s a few more:
11) Mindless repetition
I believe it is mentioned in Hitler’s Mein Kampf, that if you repeat a lie often enough, people begin to believe it is true. Commercials on TV do this all the time, as do politicians, police, criminals, and anyone who wishes to conceal the truth. It seems to enhance the effect by saying the lies loudly if you are Upper Class and softly if you are Lower Class.
12) Picture Shock
Include graphic violent pictures, titillating ones, or, (best of all!) both combined, to stir up primal urges that have absolutely no relevance to the issue under consideration. This drains off psychic energy and divides the mind while also providing distraction. Flashing lights and nanosecond-fast cuts of image-montage are also used for this purpose: to overload the awareness and induce a hypnotic state.
13) Snob Snot
Ridicule all other points of view while simultaneously elevating oneself as a Sophisticated Expert who is too super smart to be led astray by the antique superstitious nonsense that ignorant dirt people believe in.
14) Straw Man
Attiribute some completely irrelevant and nonsensical position to your opponents and then demolish the Straw Man you set up with a smug smile of triumph as if you have done something clever.

Teaching this stuff can be done by debate coaching, so reviving that as a competition outside of school might be a usable strategy.

Spelling and grammar corrections, if wanted:
countering ITS (Possessive pronoun, no apostrophe) EFFECT on you (not affect)
IT’S hard though (WITH an apostrophe!! Contraction for IT IS)

David Trammel's picture

The technique of putting forth an example, either in general or specifically as something YOU said (which you didn't) and then tearing that example down and not addressing your real beliefs is a particularly popular technique now on social media. Since you aren't there to interrupt the other person and correct them, they can develop their attack unimpeded. You then have to go back and address their misdirection, and by then the conversation has often gone on past your original point.

David Trammel's picture

Good or Bad, these are phrases that send up a warning flag to me when I hear them, that the other person is trying to restrict you to a narrow position you may not want or believe.

1) "You Said...": Tries to fit you into a narrow range of options, or sets you up for a "straw man" counter

2) "I Would Never Do That..."

3) "Don't Throw Away What You Have Now ...": Implies you shouldn't make change because you've spent energy for what you previously gained.

4) "What A Good Person Would Do...": Implies your choice is not what a "good" person would do. Pigeon holes you.

5) "This Is How We Do Things ...": Implies that change is bad or that your proposed ideas won't work. Plays on your desire to fit in.

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