Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Work of Deception

   We live in a world of lies. Many we recognize, others delude us.  Some apparel chains were found to be lowering the posted waist sizes of jeans, to make shoppers think they fit into smaller clothes; a postitve reinforcement to keep us buying their brand! Political ads, memes, infomercials, tabloids, and websites all inundate us with innuendo, half-truths, and outright falsehood. Today Dr. Oz warns you not to eat this food, which causes all kinds of maladies; next week he advises you to eat that same food everyday as it is a miracle cure for all your woes!
   King Solomon observed, "The simple man believeth every word, but the prudent man looketh well to his going" in Proverbs 14:15, and in 14:7 counsels us, "Go from the presence of a foolish man when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge". In other words, stay away from people who don't know what they're talking about.  Some people lie intentionally, others merely regurgitate lies they've been fed and believed.
   I might have titled this piece The Art of Deception but for the fact that deception doesn't require any special skill. Often just affirming something like you believe it yourself is enough to convince some people! It's almost as if we're hardwired to be deceived; it is far easier to get someone to believe a lie than it is to convince him of the truth. P.T. Barnum is credited with the axiom there's a sucker born every minute. The birth rate is probably much higher!
   My friends, deception, delusion, brainwashing, and hypnotizing are far easier than you imagine. Advertisers, record and movie producers, the press,  and the politicians all know how your mind works, and they know how to keep it from working.  I began years ago, studying the major cults and learning of their recruitment and indoctrination techniques. Later I realized others such as political parties, columnists, advertisers...anyone in the field of persuasion-- used the same kinds of methods.
   Do you know why sponsors pay $5 million for a one-minute ad during the Super Bowl? "'Cuz millions of viewers are watching."  YES: millions of viewers who are emotionally charged cheering for their team, stuffing their faces with comfort food safe in the company of family and friends! We're in the ideal state of mind to be deceived.
    Here's how it works. They shut off the frontal lobe of your brain where reason and judgement dwell, and turn on the limbic system where your feelings and passions rule. How? They stimulate you with sex; humor; music; or shock.  Any one of these stops you thinkin' and gets you feelin'.  So they can slip past your logic filters and get right into your heart. Images, emotions, music, and symbols all can have this affect.
   As I pointed out last time, another way to get you to believe in lies is to cause you to mistrust someone else.  If they can get you to accept everyone else has lied to you, you will be more open to their message. Again I say to you, think critically. Don't watch TV passively. They are preaching you a sermon through dramas, comedies, news, and entertainment. Even kids' cartoons are preaching lies.
   Don't be fooled.