Are you really in control of how and what you think, as well as your perception of the world around you? Or are you being controlled?
Let’s start with a simple trip to the supermarket to illustrate a point. Let’s say you’ve bought your groceries and are returning home. You searched for the products you needed and you’ve ticked off your shopping list. You were in complete control . . . or were you?
Behind that supermarket’s layout are psychologists and advertising professionals who have already pre-planned a way to control such a simple thing as your weekly shop. Ever noticed that the supermarket tiles that click, clack under your shopping trolley’s wheels are sometimes of different sizes? The small tiles give you the impression that you are speeding up past cheaper products, so in turn you feel more rushed and move on. The larger tiles are waiting to slow down the click, clack sound, to make you slow down past the more expensive products. Of course, in the aisles, the most expensive products are also placed at eye level, thus increasing your chances of picking one of those products.
Shopping carts are now bigger than before, as they know that there will be more chance you’ll gain subconscious satisfaction in filling your trolley. The bigger the shopping Â trolley, the more products bought. Ever wondered when shopping as to why they don’t have a smaller trolley option anymore. This is why. What will be next? Trolley and backpack combination? Or even articulated truck type trolleys? It was difficult enough trying to make our way around the aisles when trolleys were smaller, but now it’s almost impossible.
Check out speed. Do they really want you to speed through checkouts? After all if they keep the queue moving at an ordinary pace, they can place the most tempting products nearby, such as sweets and chocolates and know you’ll pick them up sometimes. They know many shoppers will have small children. It’s just another way of controlling your behaviour. Just listen to the screams of “Mum. I want M&Ms!” when you are standing in the queue next.
Triangular balance is also used, with the idea that your eye will always go to the centre of the picture/display, so the most expensive items will usually be at the centre of the product display. Notice when you go shopping next how the smaller, cheaper items make neat, surrounding decorations to highlight the more expensive, taller and bigger items in the centre.
Manipulating your mind through advertising psychology is a big subject. For instance, what about that sizzling steak that makes its way past you whilst you are reading the menu. “I’ve got to have one of those!” you might say, as it’s such a tempting sizzling sound, made from the tender juices of a plump steak. Or is it? The answer is no. Restaurants drop ice cubes on to the hot plate to create this effect. You are in fact listening to an ice cube simmering away. The ice cubes are targeted at expensive steaks of course. You won’t see cheap sausages getting the ice cube treatment. Anyway, let’s move on to other areas of your life.
Many people base their ideals on that of government ideals. In fact, some people will quote: “Well the government said that we should do this or that”, Â as if living their life to government benchmarks justifies their morals and ideals as a natural matter of fact. Many Chinese people smoke like chimneys because the government says they are helping the Chinese economy. In fact, a friend of mine, who is a business man told me that on a recent business trip to visit his Chinese business partners, that they would break open packs of cigarettes to share as a matter of courtesy. He asked them why they smoked so much and they replied proudly that their government would be proud of them for helping the Chinese economy. China is the biggest tobacco producing and consuming country in the world. Some Chinese medical workers even believe that you will get cancer if you stop smoking. Mainly because they have been deliberately misinformed. So here we can see that government ideals can lead people to their death if pitched shrewdly. Around 1 million Chinese people die ‘helping the Chinese economy’ every year.
When mad cow disease broke out in England. The British government, suffering losses because everyone was avoiding British beef, launched a campaign involving one politician, John Gummer, who appeared on TV with his 4 year old daughter, where he proudly gave her a beef hamburger to prove the point that British beef was safe. Not long after, a series of fateful deaths from BSE came about. In fact, it was claimed that this infamous moment was not in fact even real and had been staged, with a civil servant taking a bite out of the burger beforehand.
The American government periodically declares war on drugs. However, the CIA regularly tested people in LSD experiments causing one lady to end her life. This was the infamous MK-ULTRA program, which took place from 1953 to 1964. This involved slipping the drug into people’s drinks and noting down the effects. This was after opting to use prostitutes to lure unwitting ‘voluteers’ to an experiment they didn’t even know was being carried out on them. They even rented an apartment for this special purpose.
Ever been annoyed at a driver who cuts you up, driving aggressively to take that parking space that was rightfully yours? These people who are pushy and hungry for power are the people who end up running governments usually.
Governments do a whole lot of good too. They also create a society and values within that society. All I’m saying is that you should trust the government as you would a guy or woman walking across the street from you whom you don’t properly know. They could be good or bad or a mixture of both, which is usually the case in human nature. There is no point trying to gain a handle on their natural personality by watching them on TV. Most of the lines are written by spin doctors and advisors.
The point is . . . take government ideals with a pinch of salt. They are just people like you and I, only they are power hungry and usually money and vote driven too. Germany under fascist rule had people believing that Jewish people were nothing more than rodent infestations, shaping an entire nation’s mind set and values. Developed countries won’t stop producing the biggest killer drug, tobacco, because it is a money spinner and will lose votes. Look beyond the ideals and values governments are asking you to follow and grasp the real picture. Even if an ideal gets more votes, it doesn’t necessarily make it right.
Britain’s LSD Experiments On British Soldiers Video:
People will follow a religiously held belief based on mass opinion. This even led to around 14,000 deaths in Europe in witch hunts. Where if the witch didn’t drown after being thrown into a river, they were burnt alive at the stake. These poor women were usually people with a disorder or had psychological problems or were even singled out by their enemies, which could even be a resentful neighbour.
Football thugs fight over a sport involving kicking around a ball, through mass opinion and mass hatred. When mobile phones first came out people were given angry stares because mass opinion said that using a mobile phone was ignorant. Mass opinion can lead to prejudice and extreme religious based mass opinion can even lead people to blowing themselves up with ‘the enemy’, who follow other mass opinions.
Mass opinion in pubs/bars in the 1970s held the belief that drink driving actually improved your driving skills.Â There are endless examples of where mass opinion can control people’s thoughts and behaviour. The list is ongoing.
Just look at mass opinion for Justin Beiber, one minute every teenager loves the guy and then everyone hates him. Why would he even deserve people hating him? He is talented, worked to get where he is and can play his own instruments. He even worked his way up from humble beginnings doing YouTube videos. I asked one girl why she hated him and she replied “Because he tries to act cool and grown up”. Is that really a case to hate someone? Again, mass opinion – shaping people.
Notice every wave of mass opinion that is thrust upon you daily and take a good look at what you might be subconsciously and unquestionably following . . .
Mass media can shape people’s opinions with a single headline. Stories are often exaggerated and the newspaper owners usually have fingers in money pies, be it political parties or other areas.
In the Iraq war I remember panicking when the statement was made that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. There was a sense of urgency by the public for the military forces to find them before a nuclear weapon was launched. Fear and insecurity was everywhere. Then, when the war ended there were no weapons of mass destruction . . . although there were plenty of oil wells.
The quickest way to change the mindset of a whole nation is through mass media.
Your Own Memories
That’s right. Your own memories can put you into a straight jacket where you are locked into a particular line of thought. A straight jacket in the form of a neural network of past experiences.
Neurons bind together using chemical receptors creating memories from a past experience. This is fine for learning and development, but it can also bind you into a false sense of reality or false sense of self. Here’s an example:
Let’s say you have your watch stolen and you find out that the person who stole it was the friendly guy you were having a drink with earlier at the bar. You also find out that he comes from Norway. The neurons in your brain will then connect in a way that they send out a signal every time this memory is triggered. When you meet someone else who is friendly, neurons will fire warnings that you must not to trust that person. Should you meet someone from Norway sitting in a bar, well, you probably wouldn’t even talk to him because the neural network of your brain is now set up in a way as to fire warning signals as this past memory is triggered.
You can see this a lot with people who have had a cheating partner and will hear sweeping statements such as “All men are the same” or “Women . . who can trust them?”. Then books appear about how women are from Venus and Men are from Mars and it becomes mass media to boot. At least none of the genders has been put down as coming from Uranus yet.
Your individual neural network setup is unique to you and crucial to learning and survival, but it can blind you into guaging something, such as the Norwegian guy sitting at the bar, in a subjective and distorted light. As in, just because you’ve met a bad guy from Norway in the past doesn’t mean everyone from Norway is bad.
My neural network when it comes to India was quickly rewired after a stop off in Mumbai. I arrived to find impolite officials, who were downright rude, toilets with no running water, mosquitoes buzzing around and the smell of BO permeating the air. There are no signs in the airport for passengers. Instead you are herded around like a dumb animal, when all you needed was a set of signs to find your way around. Instead, a kind of rude tour guide aggressively rounded me up into a group of other shocked passengers, as if we were incapable of finding our own way to the departure gate. Through customs the person searching me said these exact words: “What is in your pocket! Empty it now!” Then, on talking to a friend who actually ventured out of the airport, he told me that there are scam artists working in teams of 2. One person drops human excrement on your shoe and the other person comes and offers to clean it off for a few dollars. This happened to him twice before making it to a taxi.
After this my whole opinion of India was set up within my new neural network connection as a no go zone. If I were to win a holiday there I would give it away. I wouldn’t give it away to a friend however, as that would be cruel.
However, let’s re-examine my thinking of India . . . Is all of India like this? No, I very much doubt it. I’ve had friends from India who were very nice and the food, especially the curries, are out of this world. If I booked a flight to a nice area of India and had someone meet me there to take me to a nice hotel, I would probably have a whole new experience. If I follow my neural network set up of my view of India I would be missing out on many great things from India, including the knock out spices.
Do not underestimate the effects that nurture and your environment have upon you. If you hang around with negative people or people who don’t support you, this will have a negative impact on your thought processes.
The Black Or White Syndrome
Be careful of the branding of subjects as black and white. If mass opinion says that governments are not to be trusted for instance, examine the good things governments do. Is drinking bad for you? No, not in moderation. In fact, if you were to be totally good all of your life, with a perfect diet and no vices, life would be stressful, as well as boring and you’d miss out on a lot of experiences.
Is exercise good for you? Yes, in moderation. Sometimes it is not though, if it is taken to the extreme. Moderation is usually the way to a happy balance. But again, not even that is black and white. Can you imagine a world class athlete saying “This year I’m going to train in moderation.” Nothing is usually black and white. Even black and white is not black and white, but a spectrum of different colours. Or, is it? Even that’s open to debate. And so on, and so on . . .
If a mass opinion stands as either black or white, if you examine the facts, usually things exist in the grey zone.
Take for instance the popular opinion that all lawyers are rip off artists. In some cases this will be true. However, can you imagine if you got caught up in a legal battle with no protection whatsoever? Then we’d be frantically looking for a lawyer and our life would depend on finding a good one.
Beware Of Your Own Opinions
Your opinions are very important and are based on your experiences and of weighing situations up. However, how many of your opinions are based on the effects of your environment, mass media, mass opinion and your own memories. Even your own experiences could be distorted. Your current opinion has been affected and shaped by many factors. Some even maybe misleading or limited in scope.
Culture plays a big role in shaping your opinions now and in the future. Cultures are fascinating but can restrict your open-mindedness with a mould you may never even question breaking free from.
Culture can even shape what you see as beautiful or ugly. This can even warp your sense of what is right or wrong. In fact, right or wrong becomes a grey area when culture starts intervening.
Let me ask you a question . . . if you had a teenage son, and you wanted him to make the transition into manhood. Would it be fair of you to take him to a local farm and order him to jump over cows? Then, as a further oddity, whip him afterwards? Well, the Hamer Tribe of Ethiopia do just that. Is it right or is it wrong? Your culture will shape your answer, the same as the Hamer tribe would think about Western cultured people shovelling burgers into our mouths at every opportunity and rolling around in an obese state on the couch, watching TV.
Living In The Future Or The Past
We live with regrets, painful memories and a whole host of other distractions from the past, clouding our ability to free up our mind and think in the present moment. In fact, none of these things are real. They’ve passed and usually the only remnant of experiences causing pain are the emotional scars that we carry around.
There is no way to change the past. It is as it is, even if we’ve made mistakes.
Try and sit still, clear your mind, and try and just see how your mind tries to pull you into past memories. These connects with the past from your neural network set up takes up a lot of our time. If you want to free up some time to do something constructive, TV is second on the list to turn off, with number one on the list being able to master the art of controlling your past memories’ grip upon you. It is not easy to master your thoughts when your mind is pulling you back into the past. Which has gone by the way and is a waste of time to recollect, unless it brings a perspective on a present situation. It is the single biggest time waster you’ll ever battle with, and battle with it you must, as not many people manage to switch this constant background noise out of the present.
One method I read is to put all your worries and past memories into an imaginary backpack. Take out the backpack once a week and worry about the things in it, then put it back in some imaginary wardrobe for the rest of the week. You won’t worry that you are not worrying because you’ve scheduled a time to worry. The rest of your week will be worry free.
Thinking toward the future can be productive, up to a point. If you make plans, put them down on paper, then take action. This is positive as it keeps you moving forward to reach goals. However, do not even trust your goals as human beings have a natural tendency for self improvement. Self improvement is great on the whole, until you realise that whatever goal you hit, you are then back to unhappiness after only a short time. Human nature has made you that way. If you have a Honda car, you want a BMW, if you have a BMW, you then want a Mercedes, if you have a Mercedes, you crave for a Ferrari etc. etc.
Human nature is like a constrictor snake, you can’t free yourself unless you achieve complete stillness of mind and empty all subconscious thoughts from your mind to boot. But then again you’d just be sitting still in some kind of Lotus position with incense in the background and what’s the fun in that? It’s too strong to escape from and why should you try to escape it anyway, this is who we are, human, and trying to escape that would be lunacy. But we can escape from elements of human nature that make us unhappy by focusing on them and recognising how they control us.
As for future worries . . . 99% of our future worries never even happen. That says it all.
The Present Moment Is All You Have
Yep, that’s right. In conclusion, the present moment is all you will ever have. Everything turns to dust or dies eventually anyway, even the Earth and the Sun will die out eventually and look like the moon you see every night. Cold and still without any motion accept for spinning round and around. This is not a depressing thought as there is undoubtably more to this universe that we can ever fathom. Maybe there is an adventure waiting for us beyond this life. I hope so.
Rather than thinking to the future all of the time. Maybe it would be good to write your goals down in a notebook, review and amend them every once and awhile, but be happy with what you have. In fact, revel in what you have. Not just possession wise but family wise and loved ones you have. Some people never even stop to look around themselves, they are too busy looking upwards at the never ending achievements ladder.
I’ve heard it said that nurture shapes around 90% of our thoughts and behaviour and our natural self takes up just 10% of our thought processes and behaviour. I believe that our nature, which you can feel if you pick a quiet spot, such as overlooking the ocean when no one else is around, is stronger than nurture if you use it in the right way. Our nature has the upperhand if you think about it, as we can weigh up and choose what will affect us nurture wise.
I’ve heard it said many times that our subconscious mind is much stronger than our conscious mind, which is true, broadly speaking that is. However, your conscious mind has a kind of pre-emptive advantage. You can choose your environment and influences to a large extent. “But what about situations where you have no control and are forced into?” – good question, but you also have the advantage of re-evaluating your experiences using other people’s experiences, facts and even science. Some thought processes can’t ever be broken though, and that’s okay, as we are only human after all.
Let me leave you with something a friend said who travelled to South East Asia with me. We were sitting in a restaurant with some friendly locals when I noticed that he looked worried. I asked him what was wrong and he said that he had looked at something bad on the Internet, where he had seen a soldier in Iraq have his head cut off. He then told me that he didn’t trust the look of the local people’s eyes and that maybe they had thoughts of cutting his head off. I then pointed out that we were in fact in South East Asia, not in the Middle East and that not everyone in the Middle East would want to cut off our heads anyhow. Add to that fact that we were not even soldiers and not even in a war zone. The fact is that he watched something that was disturbing and it distorted his thought processes. Be careful of what shapes your thought process. Choose carefully what outside influence will impact on your neural network and subconscious thought processes if you are given a choice.
” Two people can look at the same thing and see it differently.. “
Justin Bieber – epic quote from JustinBieberZone.comÂ Â (***By the way, this is a joke, as I thought a shallow quote Â at the end, rather than from a philosopher would be kind of funny 😉 ***)
Article by Kevin Baker