Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
UPDATE June 2019
Russian Collusion déjà vu?
This week in the United States we are experiencing a return, as it were, to the hoped-for-but-failed “scene of the (not) crime of a ‘Trump Russian Collusion'” that was a two-year costly failure of a massive investigation by people who want our president out of office. Even while there IS, many believe, evidence of a collusion. Just not on his watch. And those investigations are just beginning…
The “return” is quite frustrating, however, for most Americans, as there is so much real news of real crises and real threats to our nation that are not being addressed by at least half of Congress while they go back to attempting to further the cause of getting rid of our duly-elected president, whether you like him or his style, or not. He is only one-third of our three-pronged system of governance, each of whom needs to be about their business–the business at (real) hand.
And so millions of us become frustrated again thinking why a second go-around? Would a normal judge say, “I didn’t like the outcome of this trial, so I’m going to begin another one under a slightly different approach to justify it so I can get the (real) outcome I wanted all along?”
Not according to our rule of law.
I have had some views, lately, on this older post, and it occurred to me that it comes up as very relevant, again, as, déjà vu, here “they” go again. Trying to get rid of President Trump, the outcome they really wanted to begin with. Indeed, the cries of “impeachment” once again sound loudly*…
I think, however, it goes beyond not getting one’s way (or one’s political party’s way).
I think this is just another phase of psychological operations not unlike what I described back before it all began.
See what you think.
Mostly, however, I strongly encourage you to resist how you can the frustration which can lead to discouragement which can lead to tuning out, worse, apathy.
We can each do something to resist even the most clever psy ops. And there are many ways to counter them, knowledge coming first.
But above all, vote.
The continued lengthy, costly efforts to persuade Americans that our president is illegal, or incompetent–or whatever accusation surfaces at any given time–would not be so intense and involve so many psy ops as well as frontal political attacks if our power at the ballot box were not so, well, POWERFUL.
Be strengthened and encouraged.
ORIGINAL POST October 2016: “How to Overcome Psychological Operations (Psy Ops) Perpetrated Against US”
Ever wonder why certain politicians will tell the same lie over and over again after it has been proven to be a lie and perhaps even involves criminal activity, yet they can still attract and keep people in their camp–even very intelligent people whom one would assume could more easily employ critical thinking skills?
May I suggest the listeners have been conned, duped, psy-opped by experts in the craft, and this can happen to anyone, no matter the I.Q., socio-economic status, or any other determining factor.
I offer, here, thoughts on just two of the operations I believe are being used to try to control us in the political, social, and economic mess we seem mired in just now in the U.S., but two very potent ones, particularly when they are in operation together.
More importantly, I offer encouragement and steps on how to come out of the deceptions and regain clear thinking.
ON LEARNED HELPLESSNESS
I was recently reminded of the psychological phenomenon called “learned helplessness,” i.e., a condition resulting from a person or people group having been conditioned over time to feel that no matter what their efforts, they are still going to lose whatever the battle is they are engaged in. Therefore, they have “learned” to not protest, worse, to not even try to “escape” the evil.
In this situation, a “what’s the use” attitude festers; anger, then depression and apathy, set in. This phenomenon is a factor in why people stay in abusive relationships, institutions, and/or totalitarian regimes.
Learned helplessness is, of course, powerful psychological ordnance in the tool kit of whatever “enemy” employs it. It makes it much easier to “win” whatever the battle is–usually a battle for control–when many people have lost the will to fight.
I concur with many who likewise believe that this is one of the most potent psychological operations being used to quell if not stifle dissent, just now, specifically by the enemies of the core values and principles of the United States representative form of government and those who still subscribe to it. Indeed, it is one of the psy ops used by enemies of freedom everywhere.
However, because more and more people these days understand the concept and application of learned helplessness, as well as how to overcome it (and knowledge of it is the first step out), the perpetrators need another, I believe, equally as potent psy op to work in concert. One that has not only the “cooperation” of the population but also their buy in, so to speak, making it a true “inside job,” a kind of cognitive Trojan Horse.
Consider the second type of psychological operation I believe is at play.
ON “FACILITATED COGNITIVE DISSONANCE”
I believe there is another equally as potent psy op that helps further explain why some have trouble even identifying–speaking–the name of a given enemy of our freedoms, e.g., “Islamic Terrorism,” “Political Correctness,” “Lawlessness,” and so on, in relation to some of the troubles we now face, of what (and who) we are really warring against. It is what I call facilitated cognitive dissonance.
Interestingly, experts tell us that cognitive dissonance as a mind control mechanism affects the intelligentsia more so than any other group (see below for why), which is why it is perhaps easier to brain wash/control the minds of many, for example, in academia who then have so much influence on the young—and others who are impressed with letters after names and certain job descriptions.
Just like being able to overcome the effects of learned helplessness, however, there are also ways to overcome cognitive dissonance, even the facilitated kind, also covered below, but first, a bit of background.
In my tenure of over thirty years as a high school and college instructor, I teach/have taught critical thinking skills, writing, and speech/communications classes. I have also had occasion to do a close study of psychopathy and religious cults in conjunction with work some years ago for a cult, “exit-counseling” ministry. Based on what I have learned and observed, here is my take on perhaps the most insidious—and effective–psy ops being used and why I call it facilitated cognitive dissonance.
Cognitive dissonance, alone, occurs when a person holds two inconsistent or contrasting thoughts or beliefs in his/her mind at the same time which leads to great mental and psychological discomfort. As a result of the strain, the sufferer tries to reconcile the situation as soon as possible by choosing/justifying one thought/belief over the other. This may be why the individuals noted in the introduction may cling to contrary beliefs, excuses, or even justifications for what they are hearing or seeing that others, not so affected, may correctly identify as lies, deception, fraud, and/or criminal activity.
Now, obviously, some listeners may actually hold the same views as those they listen to and follow. But that’s not who I am talking about, here. I’m talking about those who at first might struggle with the inconsistencies and/or hypocrisies, deceptions, and ironies, but somehow “work it out in their minds” and go along anyway because of some more powerful feeling or belief.
To the rest of us, who may even present them with the facts or evidence against their point of view, they may counter with “I don’t care what he/she/they did or say, I’m still supporting…” and cite several reasons, while we shake our heads, jaws dropped in incredulity, not even knowing what to say or think, but wonder, “How can this be so?!”
I believe it has to do with this second, potent psy op.
Facilitated cognitive dissonance is “the most insidious” psy op in my view because it is developed and executed by the people/listeners, themselves. In other words they cooperate with the very psychological operation used against them, they tighten the reins around, if not stifle altogether, their own critical thinking. It is “facilitated” because the speaker employing deception uses specific techniques to encourage this (mental) behavior.
As for how this phenomenon is facilitated by a speaker, there are several ways. Most notably, for the sake of illustration, consider just one of the most common, persuasive tactics of a practice called Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) where immediately after a lie is told, or some other outrageous comment is made, such as, “I am going to fundamentally transform America,” or, “It was a video tape that caused the murder of those four Americans,” or “Read my lips: no new taxes,” the speaker will pause for a few moments, giving the hearers a moment or two to begin the excuse making for the speaker, if you will. The hearers will engage in the justifying, or the association of what is being said to what they THINK it means, thus, further strengthening their stance in favor of the speaker.
At that point, critical thinking stops for good, or for a while, in the mind of the hearer and he/she is ready to take in the next declaration or claim adding yet another level to his or her own kind of validation for the speaker/politician/leader. She or he has effectively done the work of the enemy, in this sense.
Additionally, most Americans (my focus audience, here, but I think this applies to all people reared in nations that value freedom of the individual) are still quite trusting. We are not accustomed to the modern state of gross depravity to which many in our government and in other power venues have descended, so we still tend to not believe what our ears are hearing and our eyes are seeing.
We may have also been taught that “there is really no such thing as absolute evil, you must always give the benefit of the doubt,” and/or “there are no absolutes, period” and other such ideas that muddy the waters of discernment and make it hard to identify truth–even if it is staring us in the face and identifying itself.
Lastly, the loyal supporter might also think, more like sense, as psy ops depend upon subtler conditioning cues, “Who would TELL such lies?! Surely, with his/her smiles and education and professional demeanor and lovely family and all, there HAS to be some other explanation!”
And we still tend to think that, as always, SOMEBODY we have sent to D.C. to investigate, fix things, turn the sinking boat back around to shore–LISTEN to us–will save the day. A few try, but fewer and fewer as time goes along.
Meanwhile, the corrupt continue their corruption and buy as much time as they can by ginning up–and distracting with—all kinds of trouble and/or peripheral issues.
And, of course, they will continue facilitating the proven mind-numbing and discernment-stopping operation called facilitated cognitive dissonance by playing to what they try to convince their followers to think about them until they get their hands on the power they lust after.
When enough control/takeover is accomplished, however, it’s often “No more Mr. Nice Guy–or Gal.” It is no longer necessary. People then protest to their peril. When the window dressing disappears to reveal the real operation behind the curtain, fear prevents action for most, and the power-mongers win.
Or, think they win, for a while, anyway.
(Students of history understand that it does not usually end well for tyrants, despots, and dictators.)
Psychopaths understand this psychological operation very well, however. They smile big, polish their faces and their rhetoric, and buy off more of the press to perpetuate the ruses–anything to dress the window for as long as possible until they get what they want.
And then, God help us when they open up the doors for real business.
(Of course, if necessary, there are other tactics such as threats and blackmail and back room deals for the harder to convince. And for the truly stubborn resisters, there are always “black ops”).
BUT HOW ARE THE MORE INTELLIGENT AMONG US MORE EASILY INFLUENCED? CONSIDER: THE STORY OF THE TEMPORARY TAKEOVER OF A SMALL OREGON COMMUNITY
How cognitive dissonance tends to work better on the more intelligent listener is that they can more quickly, even more creatively, “rationalize” over to the opposite side of reality.
A good example of this is how, here in my state of Oregon, some years back, when a religious cult took over acreage near a small town, it was well-known that many of its devotees were white-collar professionals—lawyers, doctors, etc.–people one would assume could think critically. But there they were, all dressed in red, bowing low to the con artist, as he frequently paraded slowly past them in one of his many limousines, and handing over to him big sums of money.
Now, there were other cult tactics used once they entered the guru’s (guarded) compound, but the point is, on some level they were needy, the man talked a good game, and he seemed to have the answers for their mental, emotional, spiritual (and sexual) needs, so they were conned in. And by virtue of a more creative intellectual ability, perhaps, each cult member was able to come up with several reasons for going along and justifying his/her obeisance, aka their own “takeover,” which I’m sure the con man knew exactly how to facilitate. He wasn’t new at his game when he arrived here.
Their loved ones as well as concerned citizens tried to talk common sense—and pretty soon, legal realities—to the cult members when they could, but by that time, the guru had won them over—with their own (cognitive) help. And by the time the law did step and put an end to the operation, the cult leader had had enough time to build up quite a little arsenal of weapons beneath the lovely looking grounds, enough to live a very posh, extravagant lifestyle for himself while his devotees slaved to keep it going for him.
Why the hidden arsenal for such a “peaceful religious group”?
The leader understood, from his past experience overseas no doubt, that one by one, some would see the real light, gather with others also coming back to reality, and revolt because, as the saying goes, “you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all the time.”
Ultimately, it took a years-long concerted effort by the local population, Oregon State law enforcement, and the Department of Immigration on the federal level, to oust the cult. But not until the cult leadership had perpetrated a local bio-terror attack when the guru lusted for more land, people, and power. Which reminds me of another saying, “The eye of man is never satisfied.”…
Control- and power-mongering does not stop. It has to be stopped.
When you combine, then, learned helplessness with the mind control techniques that foster cognitive dissonance, you have a great, great deal of power over people.
The first type of control emanates from the outside—not the most desirable form—where the people believe insurmountable odds force them into compliance.
In our nation, insurmountable odds just now include a failing economy that keeps many on the government dole, thus subject to more and more regulations to continue receiving their food, shelter, clothing, and medical care.
For another example, frustration dampens initiative for those, who, despite continuous letters to the editor, and calls and emails to our Congress men and women, even lawful protests, realize at length that nothing seems to ever improve, only seems to get worse.
And then when concerned citizens seem down to the last hope—voting the “deaf”/failed leadership out and new people in–we find out about all the documented voter fraud, gerrymandering, etc.
Any wonder why so many give up? Cave to the abuses–of the law and the people?
But the second control mechanism, the mental Trojan Horse, as it were, comes from within the people themselves—which is far more potent and effective.
So the two work in tandem to become one, two-pronged and nearly-perfect plan, enslaving minds and psyches from both outside and in.
At least, for now.
But knowledge is also power, so perhaps as these techniques are exposed, more people will come out of the cognitive and psychological fog and see what is really happening. Then, with clarity of mind, they will be able to take measures to if not stop the entire nation from complete destruction, to at least preserve themselves and their loved ones as much as they are able.
I just hope and pray there is enough time.
FOUR STEPS TO OVERCOMING PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS
As to counter measures for those just coming to awareness of this—and other–psy ops, the solution is really simple, yet, given the strength of emotions and psychological set-ups, if you will, to keep us in a mental “freeze” it still takes courage and great diligence to counter the manipulation and control. It is what I tell my students to utilize as their most potent “weapons” against mind control tactics: our (God-given) five senses and our rational mind.
Step # 1: Believe what you are seeing and hearing. (Example of effective counter-thinking: “Yes, in spite of the results of the investigation, she/he is STILL repeating the lie.”). Here, I am reminded of the words of Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
Step # 2: Verify what you are seeing and hearing (but from several sources that still publish and report on the facts versus the entertainment and propaganda industries many news venues have become). Here, I am reminded of something my father used to say, “Never get your news from only one source.”
Step # 3: Think critically—analyze—what is being said, preferably away from the crowd so that another critical-thinking-stopper known as the “bandwagon effect” that exploits our (human) nature to “follow the crowd,” does not influence you further into believing the lies you are hearing and observing.
Step # 4: Respond accordingly, which, again, requires diligence and courage.
Note: For those of us who have “become aware,” we need to remember that not all of our loved ones and friends will survive the effects of the psychological operations. At least not right away. So patience and respect should guide us in our conversations and interactions with them so that when the SHTF, they will feel as if they can safely resume the conversation. Truth be told, it’s more than likely that many of us have also, at one time or another, been so conned, duped, psy-opped. We get it–and remember the pain.
But here’s hope as people do awaken.
ON THE POWER OF 10%
It has been said that a kind of reform “tipping point” occurs when 10% of a population comes out of a lie or understands the real nature of what’s going on, at which time their numbers start to grow exponentially.
I believe that is what is currently happening in our nation, as many are now awake to what has been an arguably, and much documented, effort to destroy our culture. As awareness along with the power of the truth as in “There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed” (Luke 8:17)–particularly in this era of access to real-time audios and videos by real journalists and/or by those who still search for unfiltered evidence, aka, the truth–is spreading.
Spiritually, we also have the power of the Holy Spirit manifested in the prophecies as well as His real-time guidance for us from “within,” you might put it.
Although it might take much time to effectively combat whatever evils have been perpetrated against us in this nation for some time, now, the awakened, if you will, can still overcome evil with good. The good of truth, that is.
Momentum and now, numbers, are on our side. If, again, there is still time, what with the potent weaponry the opposition in our nation has amassed, both tangible and intangible, physical and psychological.
Personally, I do not have much hope in being able to turn the tide of evil submerging America just now. But there’s another font of hope, “good news,” if you will, on which we can rely that serves a much larger battlefield and serves a much bigger cause, with a much better, ultimate outcome.
ON THE POWER OF GOD
As a Christian for several decades, now, I have studied the biblical and historical patterns of God’s actions to deliver His people from evil. Yes, there is often great tribulation prior and the historical accounts involve spiritual as well as physical and mental weapons as we fight our real enemies, those unseen “principalities and powers” that often inhabit the seen, but God also guides and comforts those who maintain their purpose and place their trust in Him (see Isaiah 26:3).
And, as a Christian, I also know I CAN trust Him because I have read the end of the book.
On that, much bigger, topic I invite you to consider some of the spiritual perspectives, tactics, and outcomes offered here.
In the meantime, may God bless you and keep you in His peace that still, in spite of everything, helps us to rise above the despair and stay the course of survival.
As Gospel writer Luke, the physician, put it:
When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. (21:28)
The ultimate outcome is all good–no matter the odds and the psychological operations–formed against us.
P.S. Maintaining a hopeful attitude, spiritually and “humanly,” as it were, and resisting the angst also helps fight against another very potent weapon used against us: strife. I liken the perpetual angst that is, I believe, being continually ginned up by this riot or that protest or controversy, or what have you, to a continuous “low-grade fever.” Such a physical condition compromises the immune system, and weakens one, as it were.
Such a comparable psychological condition created by those who continue to try to get us warring against each other, weakens the “population’s immune system,” as it were, by perpetrating a kind of “divide and conquer” tactic. For, if we stop warring against each other and all of us. combined, turn to face the much larger enemy of us ALL, why, we would be quite a force to reckon with, now wouldn’t we? But that’s another topic and another psy op…
*Later this same day (Tuesday, June 11, 2019) after updating this post I find this as even more evidence of the real reason for all the hearings trying to get rid of our duly-elected President: Saturday [June 15th, 2019]: #ImpeachTrump Day of Action takes off, 133 events.