Author Archives: Silk Cords

The Formula for Brainwashing and Manipulation

Picture via UCreative.com

Yes, after so many posts complaining about how people are manipulated, I’m going to give the actual process that’s being used… by damned near everyone. The basic formula has been used by cult leaders, the Nazis, etc… all the way down to the modern media and political parties on ALL sides. Once I explain the pattern for you, if you truly look with an open mind, you’ll see it used everywhere.

It’s been a while since I mentioned it, so just to establish my “credentials” here, (as it were), I’ve had a decades long interest in the fields of human behavior, hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, etc… While I’m not a professional, I am very well read on the subjects.

The Actual Four Step Formula:

First, let me say this is a fairly basic formula. There’s ways to add to it via things like body language, faked evidence, quoting (or misquoting) experts or otherwise respected people, hypnotic language and other “slight of mouth” tricks, etc…

  1. Allow Your Voice to Go Up and Down; Modulate Your Tonality and Volume.

Seem silly? Anyone who has attended a single public speaking class will tell you that a speaker’s voice is what leads an audience down a path. In clinical hypnotherapy, a calm monotone will lull a person into a relaxed state and make them more susceptible to the hypnotist’s words. In this case, it’s a similar goal with opposite means. The speaker wants to captivate the audience and play on their emotions. The more the audience is led through emotional highs and lows, the more wrapped up they’ll become. The more they’ll shut down their logical thinking too.

Note that this can be as subtle as the nuanced changes in tonality seen with newscasters and YouTube pundits, to as dramatic as a stereotypical Southern preacher’s sermon.

2. Tell a Happy or Sad Story to Knock Emotional Consciousness Off Balance

The classic political examples here are the hometown hero, or the poor victim of a natural disaster, poverty, etc… There’s a million ways to do this however, especially if the storyteller is crafty. The idea remains the same however; use the combination of verbal tonality and tone of the story to capture the target’s imagination and get them thinking on an emotional level.

3. Induce feelings of Guilt, Fear and/or Anger

Here’s where the real manipulation begins. The story leads down a path that creates negative emotions in the audience. There’s a problem; suffering of some sort, another group trying to harm the audience, etc…

Ever seen an ASPCA commercial? They are MASTERS at this part of the manipulation game:

Not only is there a bad problem, you’re clearly made to feel like a horrible human being who is allowing it to continue if you don’t give them money. Nevermind that the ASPCA is horrible at supporting local SPCA organizations and spends it’s money on other projects. That’s another post however.

That video is Textbook manipulation though. While this is the most blatant example you’ll likely see, other examples exist everywhere you look. Those liberals are out to steal everything you own and destroy your way of life. Those conservatives want you kept in chains and to starve to death in the gutter. That other race is the cause of all your problems and they’re ALL alike.

Yes, the VAST majority of it all nowadays is divide and conquer. If you’re focused on the evil of that other group, you’re not paying attention to the game in front of you. Even worse, as we frequently see in politics, the same evil the other side is doing is excused when it’s “our” group. It wasn’t the same situation, or it was a frame up, etc…

So, now that you’ve got the group all whipped into a frenzy and feeling bad about something, what do you do?

4. Offer Them a Way Out

Here’s where control gets locked in, and you create an action or desired result. Now you simply give the group a solution that will lead them to a better life. Lots of examples here; Drink the Kool-Aid and the aliens will take your spirit to a better world ala Jonestown cult. Yes, younglings, that’s where the phrase “drinking the kool-aid” came from.

On the more extreme end of things, there’s the frenzy that numerous dictators have whipped populations into. Everything from Hitler’s speeches capitalizing on the German peoples’ misery to communist leaders like Lenin and Mao, on down to banana republic dictators.

Make no mistake though, it’s everywhere. Newscasts that subtly imply that something happened because of this group or that… Hell, it’s not even subtle in the case of COVID (for example). Depending upon who you listen to, the entire planet is going to die or suffer forever, OR we’re all going to end up in chains because we’re asked to wear a mask. It’s even the basic pattern for commercials. Their basic message is always the same; you’re currently somehow less than ideal, BUT the solution is OUR product. It will make you a success at work, popular, the dream of every member of the opposite sex, etc…

And there you have it. That is the basic, bare bones outline of how everyone from cult leaders to advertisers and the news media manipulates people. As I mentioned before, there are numerous ways to add onto the basic framework. With emotional or physical torture, for example, giving in to what the torturer wants and accepting their words that somebody else is responsible for the torture (ie your allies that abandoned you) is the offered way out. What Palpatine put Anakin through in the Star Wars prequels is a perfect example of this kind of emotional torture scenario.

One LAST Twist However:

A quick addenda here that deserves mention. There’s a PARTIAL truth passed around the psychological and hypnosis communities. That being that you can’t get a person to do something that’s against their will or inherent nature. I say it’s a partial truth because the truly scary elements of both those communities figured out a way around it a long time ago. NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) calls it reframing. 20 years ago political pundits called it spinning.

Simply put, all you have to do to get a good person to do something incredibly evil is convince them it’s actually a good thing. Let’s take something along the lines of an old movie plot where a husband is hypnotized into killing his wife. Not possible according to some. However, if the husband were hypnotized to believe she’s really a burglar breaking into the house with intent to kill him (instead of his wife)… then he very well might kill her.

That’s an extreme example simply to provide clarity on what reframing is. You’re far more likely to encounter reframing in the form of something being presented as a necessary evil for the greater good, the ends justifying the means, or something balancing out another wrong of some sort. Reframing is everywhere nowadays also, and is a frequent part of this whole manipulation pattern. Everything from politics to a guy at a club trying to reframe a girl’s initial negative reaction to him.

How to See Past It All:

image via salesman.org Ironically part of an article on how great salesmen persuade, not manipulate… ignoring that persuasion is indeed manipulation.

There’s a ton of books out there on seeing through and overcoming manipulation. Let me give you a few basic tips however.

FIRST: is probably the most cynical, yet valuable piece of advice I ever got. My old High School sociology teacher told the class to always assume somebody is lying, and then ask ourselves what they get out of that lie. The reasons here can be as numerous as there are people. Breaking up a couple to take a partner away, selling a product, gaining personal or political power, etc… That last part includes network ratings AND YouTube followers by the way.

Again, this IS a fairly cynical approach to life. My personal twist on that advice is to ask “COULD they be lying and what might they gain?”. That applies mostly to strangers, but even with friends, etc… you should ask yourself if they got bad information or are otherwise being misled.

SECOND: Actively look for the emotional manipulation. Is what you’re being told making you feel a certain way that you weren’t before? Is it playing on existing feelings? Is it being implied or outright stated that those feelings are the fault of someone or something else?

If you’re looking for it and are aware of it, you’ll see it for what it is and be FAR less likely to be controlled by it. Fear and loathing are POWERFUL motivators. They’re also widely used tools nowadays.

THIRD: Apply logic and look for supporting evidence. This is where the YouTube crowd fails even harder than the mainstream media (who is BAD anymore). Show me proof of something; actual PHYSICAL EVIDENCE that amounts to more than hearsay quoting of somebody who knows somebody who saw something. “Everybody knows” is not proof either, it’s manipulation.

Basic logic (sadly) seems to be tricky for most people nowadays. I don’t have enough blog space to try to teach common sense either. If you follow the second piece of advice however, it’s FAR easier to apply critical thinking to a situation.

Let me also say this much; beware of quantum leaps in logic. For example, just because politicians are corrupt and power hungry does NOT mean they’re all also lizard people from outer space. Take the time to rationally digest what you’re being told and analyze it. That above example is a great example of escalation of control.

FOURTH: Set ego aside when assessing things. That includes group identity think also. Just because somebody wants you to wear a mask doesn’t mean they’re trying to enslave you. just because somebody is NOT wearing a mask doesn’t mean they’re trying to kill you. Both of those examples are unsubstantiated jumps in reasoning based on fear and ego. Or, as they used to say in the old lawyer TV shows; “assumes facts not in evidence”.

Long story short: You’re not perfect, neither is any group you identify with. Likewise any group you disagree with is NOT all evil either. Every group has good and bad elements within it. That’s just human nature.

I hope that helps and enlightens those who actually read through the article. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you found it at all moving, feel free to repost with credit given to me. This is one of those things that I’d REALLY like to see become widespread knowledge.

What Did We Get Ourselves Into?!?

Oy vey… It’s been one of those days, and a LONG one to boot. Why? We brought THIS home:

Do NOT be fooled by it’s appearance!!! Tis a dread, snarling beast with a foul temper and long sharp teeth!

I should have known when the other people at the adoption agency were all like:

LOL, If she could read, she MIGHT have a complex by now.

Seriously though, this little tornado was all over the house from one end to other for almost 5 hours straight!

You name it, she attacked and chased it. The poor octopus toy there never stood a chance. ๐Ÿ˜€ She was up and down both cat trees, frequently jumping from the top of the one that’s inside the house proper (the other is in the sun room).

She tried to jump on top of that book case also, LOL.

At 1:30am she finally settled down. It’s now 2:30 and she’s running about again.

She’s a cutie, but we’re going to have our hands full with little Trinity the Tortie here. She’s batted water out of her bowl all over the hardwood floors, and goes from “Pet me, NOW!” to “Now I’m going to bite and claw your hand or foot” in .0005 nanoseconds too.

Kidding aside, it’s apparent her foster home didn’t have the kind of accommodations (and toys) that’s she’ now enjoying. We’ll have to see how she gets along with our other cat Machi.

So far, it’s been interesting. When Trinity was first taken out of her carrier (at the adoption center) she ran into Machi’s and hid curled up next to her. Then when we took them both out, Trinity growled and tried to swipe at Machi (who is twice her size). Once we got them home, Machi hissed at Trinity, who was still in her own carrier. Since then, they’ve avoided each other. More like Machi has avoided her.

So yeah, the next few days will be interesting. Both in terms of seeing if this 14 week old wild child ever powers down, and if the two cats can get along.

Writing??? Blogging??? Maybe Tomorrow…

Image via NoFilmSchool.com

Ever feel like that picture above? I’m sure most of us have. If you haven’t, you’re likely new to writing, or not analyzing your work and growing as a writer.

Needless to say, normally we’re talking about writer’s block here. Maybe that actually IS what I’m dealing with, in a warped sort of way. I know what I want to write, that’s the irony here. I’ve had numerous posts all worked out in my head. I just can’t get to the point of putting them “to paper”.

I’ve been staring at the screen for this post for a few days now actually. I wanted to figure out the “why”, and have something more to write than complaining. Long story short; I feel like I’m chasing my tail here AND that I’ve got other obligations.

Chasing My Tail:

This is much akin to previous posts I’ve made discussing my frustration with blogging. It’s been a TON of work, and the “ROI” (return on investment) has been pretty minimal. On anything but a very short post (ie Book of Boba Fett – Chapter 2), I spend about an hour working on the post. Hunting pictures, researching and fact checking to various degrees, proof reading and editing, etc…

I’m subscribed to numerous other blogs, which I actually DO read also. That can take another couple hours out of my day. What do I get back? A dozen likes out of 777 followers, with 2/3 of the “likes” being from people that never read the post. They’re just trying to trade fake “likes” as if this was Facebook or Twitter.

My original goal with creating this blog was to build an audience for books I’d write and sell. I’m sure not accomplishing that here. Somehow I have to get that whole goal back on track.

As much as I’d like to make it all about the fake likes and followers who don’t follow, there IS the other side of the coin to look at. Put out a better product and people will want it. I’ve spent the last few days pondering how to improve the blog.

WordPress supposedly just released a vast new array of customization options. Exploring those tools and trying to make heads or tails of them is on the agenda. How successful will I be? Who knows. Every new “improvement” to WordPress seems to just turn it into a bigger mess. I actually miss the “good old days” of LiveJournal.com… sort of. LOL. My current template has a few things I don’t like though, especially the fact it puts the reply button at the TOP of a post instead of the bottom. The biggest variable will probably be what features / tools are paid (isn’t everything on WP anymore?).

The actual writing itself… I realize I’ve been writing just to write (filler essentially), and I’ve been overly concerned about self-censoring to keep an audience. I have to write for ME first, otherwise there’s no authenticity. Readers can tell when that’s the case.

I’m still going to make every effort to be polite, etc… What will change is that I’m not going to avoid doing topics like martial arts because I think nobody is interested. There’s more to life than recipes and nature pictures. Those will still be here however. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m going to experiment a little with social issue posts and calling out the media as well. I want to do it in a calmer, more productive way than previously however. Focusing on where and what the manipulations are, for starters.

I don’t know if I’ll actually change anyone’s mind. I hope to at least make people think however. There’s just so much BS out there anymore. Most of it is just pointless ego aggrandizement also. For example, I saw an article online today that talked about how psychologists are coming to appreciate all the contradictions in Buddhism. Trouble is, there aren’t any. Some stuff, such as “If you see the Buddha on the path, kill him”, has a deeper meaning and is meant to provoke thought. More often the apparent contradictions are simply warnings against both extremes.

Somebody needed to feel intellectually superior by attempting to discuss Buddhism and psychology together though.

So, bottom line is that I intend to do quite a bit of experimenting and try to find what feels right (write? lol) for my blog.

Better Things To Do:

OK, so the video doesn’t have much to do with the topic, beyond the name… Well, and I suppose the major argument I had with my almost-ex spouse over the state of our lives. Suffice it to say somebody is far too comfortable in their comfort zone and is FAR too poor at communication and working together. Spending time trying to meet my own ends of the change I insisted upon IS part of what I’ve been occupied with though.

There’s our whole housing situation as well, which is still hanging in limbo.

My recent spider bite situation let me know just how deteriorated my overall health is also. The antibiotics had me sleeping for almost 2 days straight. I was wiped out for a good week afterwards too. I need to finally get back out into the real world and get a job to help out. I need to get my health back to the point I can actually work a full day though.

That’s a hard realization for somebody who used to train 3 hours a day at two different martial art studios back in the 90s. The ex and I were pretty fit back in the day.

So yes, priorities are readjusting. At the same time however, there’s no reason I wouldn’t have enough time to do my blogging too. I just need to be a little better organized than I have been previously. ๐Ÿ™‚

And congratulations if you actually made it all the way through this rant. ๐Ÿ˜€

Book of Boba Fett, Ep 1 – MINOR Spoilers

I’ll discuss the episode in general but not get into any specific plot points. That should allow any readers to fully enjoy the episode.

Is it just me, or does Fett’s wrist rocket look like Rhodey’s “The Ex Wife” missile from Iron Man 2? LOL

Fans with enough time to stay caught up with Star Wars on Disney+ likely already knows that Boba Fett made his return appearance in The Mandolorian Season 2. Also that at the end of that season, Fett returned to Jabba’s former palace, killed Bibb Fortuna (Jabba’s former Major Domo who took over his operations after Return of the Jedi), then took his place as the head of what used to be Jabba’s criminal empire.

THAT is the background or set up for “The Book of Boba Fett”. The story (thus far) is a combination of Fett trying to assume true control over Jabba’s empire, and flashbacks of what happened to him between “Return of the Jedi” and “Mandolorian”.

The whole news / gossip media is in a tizzy over the “finally” revealed way Boba Fett survived his trip into the Sarlaac’s maw. It’s been a HUGE plot hole, blah blah blah…

Long terms fans know it was revealed decades ago that Fett simply burned and blasted his way out. It was in the Extended Universe books AGES ago. Well, at any rate, one of the first flashbacks we see is Fett waking up in the Sarlaac and then blasting his way out. The closest thing to a revelation in that scene was something I long suspected but never saw officially declared; Stormtrooper armor has an internal cooling system.

Why there was a Stormtrooper in the Sarlaac’s stomach is another question altogether, as there were none at Jabba’s little party in ROTJ.

Boba got his armor stolen by Jawas after escaping (thus confirming what was revealed in Mandolorian), and then spent some time with Tusken Raiders. How that came about I’ll let readers see for themselves.

The non-flashback scenes consist of Boba Fett and his assistant trying to establish their claim to Jabba’s empire. Without giving away any real plot, Boba’s main difficulty thus far is that he insists on thinking like a Mandolorian instead of a Crime Boss. He sees marching into Mos Espa on his own two feet as a show of strength, for example. He’s a Mando and doesn’t need to be pampered like a Hutt carried on a litter by slaves.

Those in the underworld see walking in on foot as not commanding enough fear and respect to have underlings carry you however. Perhaps also as having a weak power base, although that’s never outright said.

Needless to say, that’s already led to a couple of challenges to Boba’s authority. How he deals with them in the long term, we’ll have to wait and see in future episodes.

All in all, if you’re a Star Wars fan, it’s worth a look.

Side Note:

One thing I did appreciate about the episode is that it expanded upon the culture of the Sand People / Tusken Raiders. “A New Hope” really did nothing there, nor did Anakin’s prequel encounter with them. Suffice it to say that there is a tribal culture there; something akin to a Conan-esque barbarian culture. Having seen a very similar portrayal in Star Wars: The Old Republic, I was happy to see that kept as canon for the Star Wars Universe. They even kept the SWTOR idea that Sand People have pets. In the game they were called “Rill” and were basically reptilian “pet dogs”.

In “Book of Boba Fett”, the Rill were replaced with the same critters we saw briefly in Madolorian:

Same role, etc… just a different name and better appearance.

Santa Raided the Vault!

That’s right; the Vader’s Vault!

Yay for Black Friday sales, but truth be told I do feel a bit guilty about it given the financial issues we’re dealing with. I have faith the lawyer will get us out of them though. ๐Ÿ™‚

What did Santa bring? A copper trim finish Protector Elite saber:

Polishing cloth and thumb drive with extra sound fonts included

The Vader’s Vault store page for the Protector Elite.

This has all the bells and whistles of my Custom Battle Wrap Havoc lightsaber, and a few extras as well. That little window at the front is a LED screen that will display which “sound font” (lightsaber sound and color settings) you’re using, the battery life, a digital “kyber crystal” and a few other goodies, and even play about 6 different games such as Pong (the world’s first video game BTW). Like the Havoc, there’s also a juke box that plays The Imperial March or the Cantina Theme.

That’s the Havoc behind the Protector. If it’s not obvious, the Havoc is made of aircraft grade aluminum while the Protector is chrome steel, AND an inch or so longer. That gives the Protector a fair amount more weight than the Havoc. Both are comparatively light, but you feel it in the wrist more if you use the Protector for an extended period of time. Continued practice will get you in shape though, lol.

Slightly surprisingly, the grip on the hilt is quite comfortable. The squared off sides give it an effectively oval shaped grip which fits in the hand quite nicely. I really shouldn’t be surprised though. When we got to tour Vader’s Vault, the owner said he won’t make a saber unless it’s built well, comfortable, and FUN to use. ๐Ÿ™‚

As with the Havoc, this saber came with the option to have multiple blade colors. You CAN buy a saber with a single blade color at Vader’s Vault, and that’s a cheaper option, but why do it when you can customize to your heart’s content?

No, you’re not seeing things in those last two pics. The blade CAN display and cycle through multiple colors at the same time. The Havoc can do it also, but didn’t come pre-loaded with some of the ‘sound fonts’ that this one did.

The fifth picture is supposed to be with a Yellow blade, but the blades are so bright that Yellow got white washed out by the camera.

Unlike the Protector v1 in the video above, this v2 model will let the “seismic charge” and power button light up in whatever color you have the blade set to display, even if it’s a multi-color like in the last two pictures.

As a trade-off, I did give my Mace Windu Hasbro Black Series saber to my cousin-in-law’s son as a Christmas present. I have to admit, I’ll miss it strictly for the potential collector’s value, but it was worth it to see his face light up. We played the whole thing off like in A Christmas Story also. Enough so that for a minute I’m sure he thought he was getting a Red Ryder BB gun, lol.

The better construction and grip on the Vader’s Vault sabers just make it hard to appreciate the Hasbro ones on the same level though. Some day, down the road, I MAY have Vader’s Vault whip me up a custom Mace Windu saber to replace the Hasbro one, but for now I still have Dooku’s saber.

And for those asking WHY Santa would be handing out weapons… Because some people (and Sith) make the naughty list:

Yet Another Quick Personal Update

Yes, I’ve been away yet again, but I’m back. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s been a hectic last week plus here. Initially, it was last minute holiday preparations and cooking two different holiday dinners (the things we do for family). The previously mentioned spider bite slowed me down just a little as well. More on the meals in a separate food post. ๐Ÿ™‚

During the prep for the bigger, second dinner, my Microplane box grater decided to take a chunk out of my thumb instead of leaving it at the smoked gouda cheese

If you’ve never used this goodie, or the more well known Microplane graters:

I highly recommend them. They work amazingly well on anything from lemon skin (for zest) to coconut to thumbs. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿคจ Dark humor aside, they’re FAR superior to the typical grater.

After the dinners, presents and festivities, it’s been a combination of clean up and (mostly) what I can only assume is a reaction to the antibiotics for the spider bite; I’ve been dead on my feet for days. Worst case of fatigue I can ever remember. Yesterday, I was only awake for 7 hours or so and I was dead on my feet the entire time.

I’d almost attribute it to the Onmicron variant (which is supposed to cause severe fatigue), but I’ve felt fine otherwise. Even the spider bite is healing nicely. So with no other suspects or symptoms, the now finished off antibiotics seem the most logical suspect.

Despite it all, I’ve managed to keep the new positive outlook. Can’t say I’ve been perfect. Last minute grocery shopping certainly worked my last good nerve, lol. I’m sure hoping that I’m done with the fatigue now as well. I’m managing to keep an overall positive attitude about everything though. ๐Ÿ™‚

Presents and meals you ask? Next Time. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here’s a hint though:

Christmas Music: Last Round

A complete mash up here of stuff that didn’t fit elsewhere or got left out. After honeymooning in Hawaii, I **HAVE** to start with:

Mele Kalikimaka – Bing Crosby

And living down South now, there’s this:

Christmas in Dixie – Alabama

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Pentatonix

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams

Frosty the Snowman – The Beach Boys

There’s enough good Christmas music out there that I could do this all day, BUT we’ve all got food, family and gifts to deal with, so that will have to do. ๐Ÿ™‚

Christmas Music: Classics

If we’re doing classics, nobody can touch Bing Crosby’s version of White Christmas:

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of snow, but I love the song. ๐Ÿ™‚

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.

I think Gene Autry did the original version. Trivia: Rudolph was created by a copywriter for Montgomery Wards department store as a promotional gimmick. Some sources report the store chain offered / was trying to sell a toy.

Nat King Cole – The Christmas Song

The old guard does a fabulous job with some songs. Penatonix is a world class group too though:

I could probably do quite a few more here, BUT I try to keep my posts manageable for followers. Ergo, we’ll leave it at that.

Christmas Music: Rocking It

We will pick things up a little to start out our Christmas Day music list. Something to wake you up and get you going so that big dinner is actually ready on time, or you’re out the door to go to that big family dinner on time.

Lincoln Brewster: The Little Drummer Boy

This was, I believe, the 2015 Christmas Eve service at Bayside Church in Granite Bay. On top of Lincoln’s musical career, he’s a music director and pastor there.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Eve / Sarajevo (Timeless Version)

A piece if music that speaks for itself. I’ve been to 4 or 5 TSO Christmas concerts and they never disappoint.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Carol of the Bells 2018

This was actually the last TSO concert series I attended, back in Sacramento. Fabulous show.

Lincoln Brewster – Hark the Herald Angels Sing:

AND… *IF* you’re feeling brave… I give you Twisted Sister’s version of Oh Come All Ye Faithful. You won’t be hearing things either… “We’re Not Gonna Take It” uses an up tempo melody line from “Come All Ye Faithful”

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…