We all know what brainwashing is. Right?
It’s one of those dismissive terms that “everybody” knows about. They couldn’t tell you what it involves or exactly how it’s supposedly done, but they know it’s there because good old Mr. “Everybody” says so.
Well, worry no more dear reader. I have come up with the definitive guide to so-called “brainwashing.”
How to wash a brain:
Though washing brains is not recommended for individuals prior to their actual demise (when the brain will no longer be in use), the procedure for washing brains is simple and can be a rewarding way to pass an otherwise dull evening.
Apologies for the snark, but can we just think about this for a second?
If someone had actually developed an effective technique that would command complete obedience from anyone, that person would, by default, rule the entire world by now. But nobody has and nobody does. Human beings are just too diverse and too ornery to allow anyone to pull it off. There is nothing one human being can invent that another human being cannot screw up.
If someone had actually developed an effective technique that would command complete obedience from anyone, that person would, by default, rule the entire world by now.
I remember once coming upon a room of people whose attention was riveted on a man, their leader, who was scribbling magic symbols. He had them all convinced that they were surrounded by giant, invisible holes that could gobble them up. These same people believe that the earth we live on doesn’t really exist and that the ground we walk on is only different kinds of empty space and that there is no such thing as time. I thought for sure I had stumbled across a “cult” and that everyone there was brainwashed into believing these outlandish things.
It turned out to be a physics class.
These days people sling the term “brainwashing” around like a Frisbee at a park or more aptly, like the fists, rocks, bricks and bullets which fly when some attempt at a rational discussion devolves into selfishness, hatred and bigotry—when those who are too lazy to think and observe for themselves simply seek to destroy anyone who does not agree with them. It’s so much easier to dismiss a difference in opinion by painting the other guy with the term “brainwashed” than it is to even consider that the other guy’s opinion might have any merit and they themselves might have something to learn.
I thought for sure I had stumbled across a “cult” and that everyone there was brainwashed. It turned out to be a physics class.
Thus, the term “brainwashing” can be safely swept into the same pile of other vagaries as casting spells, lucky charms, signs and omens. Other than to dehumanize the person it is attached to and cast them as disposable and unimportant, the worst thing about using the term “brainwashed” is that it resolves nothing. It involves no personal inspection, communication or responsibility. It brings about no increase in knowledge and understanding and helps no one.
Use of the term is meant to imply that someone is incapable of thinking on their own—incapable of doing their own comparisons and analyses and reliant on someone else to do these for them. If that sounds like your average couch potato gobbling up the nightly news, I’m sure it’s just a coincidence. Yet the easy, lazy employment of that term “brainwashed” belies the same inability (or unwillingness) to think, compare and analyze. It’s something to keep in mind the next time you hear some bigot absolve his egregious behavior by using the term “brainwashed,” or the next time you, yourself might be tempted to forward his cause.