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What is common between Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg?

What is common between Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg? Both are two sides of the same coin. Both are involved in the brainwashing and manipulation of the minds of the people.

The recent incidents at the Capitol Hill when hooligans took over the so called ‘shrine of democracy’ shocked the world. Images of the mayhem at the seat of democracy flashed over the televisions globally signalling a totally different view of the democracy in the United States. Thankfully the so called “coup” lasted only for a brief time, it has brought home the fact that how people can be manipulated to behave in a certain manner by brainwashing them.

Reacting to the antics of Donald Trump most of the social media have banned him from their channels, some for life. In his Facebook post Mark Zuckerberg wrote that Trump will be blocked from the Facebook and Instagram platforms “until the peaceful transition of power is complete”. “We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our services during this period are simply too great”.

Twitter has indicated that the handle @realDonaldTrump would be “permanently suspended”.

But aren’t Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg the famous Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum? Because both are involved in the act of brainwashing.

Brainwashing or the mind control has been method used by many cult leaders to persuade their followers to confirm to the wishes of the cult. The methods used could be ethical, unethical, or seemingly appear ethical.

A satirical depiction of brainwashing by Cesarleal Own work CC BY-SA 3.0

What is brainwashing?

The history is replete with examples of mass hysteria driven by leaders – whether for a good cause or a bad one, where the people believe in everything the leader says and are willing to ignore facts which are apparent and obvious. Brainwashing is synonymous to indoctrinate, inculcate, propaganda, influence, etc. It is a form of manipulation of your brain using persuasive techniques. The persuasive techniques used could be either by dialogue or by threat or actual violence.

Brainwashing (also known as mind control, menticide, coercive persuasion, thought control, thought reform, and re-education) is the concept that the human mind can be altered or controlled by certain psychological techniques. Brainwashing is said to reduce its subjects' ability to think critically or independently, to allow the introduction of new, unwanted thoughts and ideas into their minds, as well as to change their attitudes, values and beliefs”

Though the word ‘brainwashing’ is not accepted by widely as a scientific term, nevertheless it is a fact that is well documented. The term was first introduced by an American journalist Edward Hunter in 1950 to describe the Chinese attempt to persuade the people to cooperate with them. Though not accepted by the psychologists, social scientists have been studying this phenomenon since ages.

Signs of religious brainwashing:

As discussed, earlier brainwashing is not necessarily a negative aspect. It also has positive effects as proved in virtually all religions. All the religious preachers without any exception were experts in all the techniques of brainwashing – including demanding of absolute obedience and humility, unquestioned faith in the teachings of the religion. There was threat of physical and psychological punishments for noncompliance including social ostracism. And the inducement or prize for compliance included material benefits and ultimate promise of salvation. Every major religion has all these elements of persuasion to ensure that the flock remain with the denomination.

What are the Techniques of brainwashing

While salvation is a debatable question what is certain is the signs of religious brainwashing which have been extensively studied in psychology. Neurotheology is the branch of science which deals with neuroscience of theological beliefs. Religion and belief in its tenets is a soothing balm during the tumultuous phases in our lives. It produces the hope and the will to live for a tomorrow when one feels everything is lost. Research has proven that meditating practices increased the activity in the frontal lobes of our brains which are linked to attention and focus. Mass prayers and chanting produce a calming effect on the brains as well as the temperament of the persons. It is also true that religious beliefs also produce the ‘delusion’ effect.

Writing an introduction to the book, The Brainwashing Controversy: An anthology of Essential Documents, Dr J Gordon Melton talks about the effect of brainwashing theory in the United States which towards the end of 1970s witnessed several religious movements, including the hippie movement. Societies were flooded with new movements, most of them Asian origin, which converted many people to the new beliefs.

Brainwashing today:

Brainwashing today has taken a different dimension. In the last century infamous leaders like Hitler, Pol Pot, succeeded in convincing their citizens to commit crimes against the humanity. With the increase in the communication channels and technology, it is no possible to create the mass hysteria which the old leaders managed to. Though China is still an exception in this regard. There are stories of the systematic brainwashing of Uighurs in the western Xinjiang region. Hundreds of thousand of Uighurs, who are mainly Muslims, have been recruited for “re-education” and teaching of Chinese culture.

The advertising industry has always been following brainwashing of a subtle and subliminal way of persuasion. Whether its repetition of the words, use of images and colors or appealing to the emotions, copywriters have been successful in influencing our buying behaviour. Before the advent of the social media brainwashing was through billboards, newspaper, and television commercials.

Though the first social media, was introduced in 1997, it was in 2004 that Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook which registered over million users in the same year. Facebook truly launched the social media revolution resulting in today’s multitude platforms.

Social Media and brainwashing

When the documentary “The Social Dilemma” was released in 2020, a lot of people were shocked to discover that they have been the “product” which the IT companies like Facebook, Google, etc have been selling. “If you are not paying for the product you are the product”. The discovery that there is no free lunch made a lot of people nervous. When we listened to see the expose of some of the executives who worked for the big IT companies like Google and Facebook, we panicked and deleted many of the apps or looked around the settings to protect our privacy.

Instead of paying to use Facebook and the other products and services we offer, by using the Facebook Products covered by these Terms, you agree that we can show you ads that businesses and organizations pay us to promote on and off the Facebook Company Products. We use your personal data, such as information about your activity and interests, to show you ads that are more relevant to you” – Facebook Terms of Service, updated October 22, 2020.

Unfortunately, none of us spend enough time to read or understand the Terms of Service of these social media companies. They are too long and encased in such legal jargon, that we find it easier to click on “I Agree” and move on. Like the recent WhatsApp change of terms, you are left with no choice – it is either you agree to their terms or do not get to use their product. After all it is a free product.

The social media apps and IT giants like Google, Microsoft, Apple are all involved in surveillance of our lives and tracking our likes, dislikes, the places we have visited, our friends our hobbies and our darkest secrets. Your smartphone knows more about you than even you would know. Every web page you have clicked, every post you liked, every word you typed in a chat, are all recorded and used to target advertisements, influence your behaviour and persuade you to their way of thinking.

Brainwashing in a subtle manner?

Donald Trump has been a master of brainwashing in an overt and aggressive manner. He has been caught lying, bullying, and behaving in a snobbish manner. He keeps repeating a point of view continuously echoing Goebbels dictum of “making a lie true”. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of propaganda

Instead of accepting the election results he continued his chant of the elections being rigged and how the media has been distorting the news. And this continued chant ‘convinced’ his troopers to storm the Capitol to create the mayhem.

Trump has been so successful in his nefarious designs that resulted in one of the Trump supporters, John McGraw punched a peaceful protestor Rakeen Jones. John McGraw proudly declared that, “the next time we see him, we might have to kill him”. Trump went on to defend McGraw saying, “this man had enough, because I will tell you what, people in this country are very angry’.

He has also been very vociferous against antifa and even going to the extent of threatening to designate it as a terrorist organization. What is antifa? Antifa is a term that designates group of individuals with far-left orientation. It means anti-fascist.

Trump has been using social media, especially Twitter to spread his philosophy and beliefs to people. He tweeted over 34,000 tweets during his Presidency. His average tweets per day was 34 during second half of 2020.

He effectively used the social media to cause the deep division of the society, especially in the United States.

This is aptly demonstrated in the documentary “The Brainwashing of My Dad”, by Jen Senko. The film looks at the rise of the right-wing media through the lens of her father, whose immersion in its daily propaganda radicalizes him. “His new fanaticism rocked the very foundation of their family” “this phenomenon was occurring with alarming frequency in living rooms across America. The film reveals the consequences that this radicalised media is having on people, families America and the world.”

Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg are two sides of the same coin

Both are involved in brainwashing us – one in a brazen and aggressive manner and the other in a subtle and passive manner.

The choice is with us, though it is a limited choice. The same social media which influences us to buy a product also has enough information which we can sieve and make a choice according to our free will.

Changing over to Signal or Telegram because WhatsApp has changed its terms of service is like jumping from the pan to the fire. It will be a matter of time when Telegram or Signal will change its Terms of Policies.

Only time can tell, meanwhile we still have the freedom to exercise our choice.

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