In Reply to: brainwashed? posted by bystander (Raymond Shaw) on September 03, 2004 at 02:36:13:
I like the following explanation to define brainwashing. It's taken from a book by a very mainstream, all American, psychologist, Dr. Phil.
Here's an excerpt from the book, Self Matters, Dr Philip McGraw:
"WHAT DISTORTED PERCEPTION IS LIKE
In an experiment some years ago, a group of scientists asked their student volunteers to wear special eyeglasses that inverted the image: the lenses turned everything upside down. For the first few days of the experiment, the students were stumbling around like my Uncle Bob did every time he got knee-walking, commode-hugging, big-white-phone-in-the-sky drunk, at every family reunion I ever had the misfortune of attending. The students were bumping into desks, walking into corners as they changed classes, falling flat on their faces, and generally having a difficult time. Because they knew how things really were, their brains rejected this new, bogus data—at least at first.
Then something odd happened. After just a few days, the students began to accept their fictional, upside-down world as the real one. Their brains became accustomed to the distortion. They weren't even questioning that up was now down and down was now up. By the end of just one week, they were getting around perfectly fine.
'Hmm,' said the researchers. They decided to prolong the experiment for a full month. By the end of that month, the students reported that the eyeglasses no longer posed any problem at all. They said they considered their orientation close to normal. They could read and write almost as easily as they had before the project; they could accurately gauge distances; and they were even able to navigate long flights of stairs as smoothly as their "right-sighted" peers.
What this experiment suggests is that we will quickly adapt to our perceptions, even it we're looking at the world through a lens that completely distorts reality. Given enough time, we soon treat a profoundly faulty perception as normal. Pound people with enough data, enough input, and you can convince almost anybody of almost anything. We have seen dramatic examples of this throughout history: brainwashing in prisoner of war camps, indoctrination into cults, and the absorption of our children into street gangs. People young and old, smart and dumb, sophisticated or not, have had their views, their realities, their values altered by a relentless deluge of distorted data. People who once had a clear view of life, a strong sense of right and wrong, strongly held priorities and values, nonetheless begin to accept distortions as the truth. A perspective that is way wrong starts to look right, often with tragic results."