Category Archives: Common Sense

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. 🙂

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.

Gibbs Rule Number 36?

Rule #36: If you feel like you’re being played, you probably are.

That’s where I’m at now with the house lawsuit. Our lawyer has been waiting for a report from his own hired inspector to detail everything I’ve already gone over in-depth. To a degree, I understand that. As much as I’ve educated myself the last two months, I’m NOT a professional building contractor nor an inspector.

The lawyer has the report now, and is apparently eager to move forward. We got a copy of the report, and TO ME, it looks very weak at best, if not outright torpedoing our case. Worse is that it backpedals on multiple things that I’d discussed with the inspector while he was at the house.

He left out the picture of the extremely shallow foundation slab, and blew off the vertical cracks in the walls, saying that the uneven foundation was just normal settling for a 63 year old house for starters. That’s HUGE, as it’s the biggest expense in repairing the house, and the keystone of the lawsuit.

Only that top grey bit is concrete, that’s a few inches of clay beneath it.

He also said that most of the problems should have been evident during a walkthrough.

Our lawyer is saying that the inspector is talking about a “walkthrough” by the previous inspector. In formal debate and even more so in law however, wording is everything. Buyers do a walkthrough. Inspectors do an inspection. If I’m opposing counsel, I’m going to pounce all over that wording and apply the proper or common meaning. Then I’m going to make it look like the buyers were idiots who didn’t pay the slightest bit of attention and are now crying over their own lack of due diligence.

The reality is, I specifically asked the inspector we first hired about the roof and foundation (among other things), and he LIED his ass off about ALL of it, telling us it was fine. Combine that with the seller having furniture and boxes hiding several issues and it was easier than it should have been to get burned.

That’s getting off track however. The main point is that I’m having a REALLY hard time believing that our lawyer wants to go to court with documentation that makes our case look so weak. I was undefeated in debate in high school and collage and I’d NEVER use that paperwork to support an argument. It plays right into the other side’s hands. My mom, on the other hand says “Trust him, he’s supposed to be working for your benefit”, etc… (and that I always see backstabbers everywhere).

Yeah, well… Guess what? The original inspector was supposed to be working for our benefit, and so was the Realtor that we hired. I think we all know how THAT worked out.

So yes, at this point I am wondering it this lawyer is just setting us up to fail while collecting thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees along the way. Gibb’s Rule #36.

While we’re at it, numbers 3(A), 8, 35, 39 and 40 also seem to apply here. To say nothing of number 13

Available as a mousepad on Etsy… And a coffee cup. Not by me.

OK, yes, it’s just a TV show and Gibbs is just a now retired character from the show. He was a somewhat flawed character also. None the less, many of those rules do indeed make sense. There are occasional nuggets of wisdom in the turd pile that is TV programming philosophizing.

While we’re at it, let’s not forget what Shakespeare had to say about lawyers…

Follow the Evidence! :D

Yes, a Grissom-ism from CSI… Hell, THE Grissom-ism

What am I talking about? The battle with our “new”, should be condemned house.

The last few days have been rough, so I haven’t posted anything much beyond replies. First, we went to a lawyer that had a killer rep for litigation. All we got was excuses for why it was perfectly OK for everyone involved with the transaction to screw us over. Georgia is a “caveat emptor” (buyer beware) state, and the lawyer tried to tell us that excuses blatant fraud and breach of contract. He even looked me straight in the eye and told me that realtors have no fiduciary responsibility to their clients. BIG mistake there. I was a realtor. I know the state and national standards for realtors.

As best I can figure reading their body language, the two lawyers didn’t want a case that wasn’t an easy, no work win, and they actually enjoyed the idea that some out of state people got screwed by a local.

We’ve found lots of other stuff wrong with the house at this point. One of the most severe turned out to be a potential good though however. Half the house has MAJOR foundation issues:

that’s the beam from an auto adjusting laser level. You can judge how much the house is drooping via the width of that picture. 2 1/2 Cinder blocks. Roughly 2 1/2 feet or 3/4 of a meter. If you go the entire width of the house, there’s a 5 to 6 inch drop from back to front. 15 cm for those elsewhere. We had called a foundation repair company to look at the place when we saw cracks in the outer wall:

The company representative, who seemed very knowledgeable, was freaked out by what he saw and rescheduled for next week when he can bring the company’s head structural engineer with him to figure out the best fix.

So WHY on Earth is this GOOD news you ask?

Because, the seller bragged on putting a new door in that wall, as well as new windows all over the house. Here’s where following the evidence comes in. A door and window won’t mount, much less open and close in an opening that’s shifted sideways diagonally. The seller had to extend those openings to allow for the door and windows to fit. Ergo there’s no way he could NOT have known the house had foundation issues and bad walls. Of course, he said exactly the opposite on his Seller’s Disclosure paperwork.

First piece of proof:

Look at how wide and tall that trim work is around the door. I guarandamnedtee you that when I pull that off, there’s going to be a massive gap around the door with uneven measurements around it. THAT so he could make the door fit despite the sinking corner of the foundation.

The window has the same kind of trim:

It ALL explains why he demanded to redo the threshold for the door himself as part of our closing contract. Can you say fraud, misrepresentation and breach of contract, boys and girls? 😈

He also had to have gotten a look at the substandard foundation for the outer wall while putting that door in:

Now you see, that’s about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of concrete with mud underneath that’s been compacted to clay. Thing is, the building standard AND legal code for a concrete slab foundation is a minimum of 4 inches thick IF you’re going to put nothing heavier than a single story wood building on top of it. Thicker is better when you’re dealing with the weight of stone walls.

So all of this LOOKS LIKE gross negligence on the home inspector’s and appraiser’s parts as well.

Follow the evidence to the logical conclusion.

Well, we’ve got an appointment with another lawyer this afternoon. If he says we still have no case, I’ll have to say Georgia is more corrupt than a third world banana republic.

Today’s the first day I’ve felt good in two months.

Too bad (for him) that Bubba was too stupid to think us dumb city folk could understand what it takes to properly frame a door or window.

OK Guys, You REALLY Need to Hang It Up…

I debated writing this days ago when I read that 76 year old Harrison Ford trashed his shoulder during the filming of Indiana Jones 5, and that filming will be delayed for 3 months because of it. He was just rehearsing a fight scene also.

Picture via digitaltrends.com

We also have 59 year old Tom Cruise reprising the role of Maverick in Top Gun 2. Never mind that it’s almost unheard of for anyone older than 45 to be flying fighters for the military. In fact, the world record for oldest fighter pilot is an Isreali F-16 pilot at 60 years old.

67 Year old Bruce Willis is still knocking out action movies at a pace to outdo Steven Seagal’s string of late life B movies as well.

And as it turns out, Arnold (who was born in 1947 and is 74 years old) is also doing more action movies also, including Expendables 4 and a new Conan movie.

*Raises walker over head and snarls* “By the bones of Crom, you kids get off my damned lawn… err sand!!!”

OK, being a little more serious, most of these guys, Stallone included (since he keeps doing Rocky and Expendables movies) are in really good shape for their ages. They still look nowhere like they did in the 80s though, and are really stretching the bounds of suspension of disbelief by continuing to try to relive their movie glory days. Poor Bruce Willis looks particularly haggard anymore.

I LOVED these guys in the 80s and 90s. I thought the idea of the original expendables was awesome also; grizzled veterans showing they’ve still got the moves. After a while though it starts to remind me of Ric Flair (the wrestler). This is the guy as I remember first seeing him when I was a YOUNG kid in the 70s:

Nowadays, 40+ years later, he still trying to make himself relevant within the WWE, and it’s just sad to be honest:

Getting old sucks, I get it. I’m getting there far faster than I’d like to admit, and my spinal issue are only highlighting it. I don’t like to be told I can’t do things, and I’m sure these guys don’t either.

At some point you have to set your pride aside and retire with dignity though. Harrison Ford is a great example here. At the end of Indiana Jones, they had probably the best scene in a otherwise horrible movie when the hat blew off Indy’s head and his son picked it up. Perfect symbolic passing of the torch and Indy could still be back in the role of the wise old master, mentoring his son. NOPE, he has to take the spotlight again though.

The Expendables started to go that way with 3; Barney training the new kids. It didn’t last though as the old guard had to come bail them out. They made it clear they were sticking around at the end also.

The 20 somethings can bad mouth the WW2 generation all they want, at least the actors of that generation knew to pass the torch and move on to more mature roles.

Sito Privato

OK, time for a “Things that Make You Go Hmmm” post…

Now for those who don’t speak Italian or can’t guess based on the phrase’s similarity to English, the title means Private Site. I bring it up because there’s a blog I follow that’s in Italy, and the gal who runs it has a bad habit of locking most of her followers out of some of her posts. Since just about all of her posts are romantic poetry, thoughts and songs, I assume she’s younger. I likewise assume that given the rest of her posts are about romance and sensuality that the private posts are also.

Every time I hit that private site screen, I can’t help but wonder what’s being posted that she feels the need to keep it hidden from most people.

With that in mind, I wanted to offer some advice to the young women out there: NOTHING, and I mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on the internet is private. No matter what you do, there are people with ways around it. Anything from outright hackers to sites that index (and clone) other sites, to “social engineering” and a dozen other possibilities.

Keeping it simple, the aspect of social engineering that we’re talking about here is that whole thing your parents or friends hopefully warned you about with not sharing racy pictures of yourself with somebody you have a crush on. They’ll share with one friend, no matter what they promise, and then it gets passed around more and more until suddenly everybody in the neighborhood, at school and / or at work knows what your bare boobs look like.

My point is this; if your piece of erotica or sensual poetry is that sexual, or you don’t feel comfortable sharing that pic (nude or not), putting it behind a “private” page or site is really NO protection at all. You have two realistic choices here:

DON’T DO IT. Use discretion and common sense levels of caution and don’t post that written material or picture. You’re very likely saving yourself a good deal of drama later on down the road. Won’t happen to you? That’s what EVERY girl that ended up with nude pictures passed around school, or the star of a revenge porn video on the internet said. None of them set out to be publicly humiliated.

The other option is to accept it’s VERY likely going to happen to you also at some point. Webpage passwords are minimal protection. They might be better than just “owning it” and putting it out on display for everybody but the end result is probably going to be the same. That pic, video or story could resurface at the worst possible time too.

Hypocritical, given that I write erotica? Superficially, BUT I’m only warning you of the likely fallout. I’m also careful to disclose minimal personal information and NO pictures of myself. I’d do follow those last two steps regardless. The world has too many weird people in it.

Use wisely your power of choice.