How Media Manipulates You through Language – Part 1
If you don’t understand how language affects you, and if you don’t know how other’s people use of language has a profound effect over your decisions and beliefs pay attention now!
“Individual thinking is bad. We all need to think the same. Individualism is bad. Individual thinking equals a bad ego. Critical thinking is something to fear and fight.”
The occasion I am referring to was one of the network news-talk shows, and the target was individual critical thinking of the generation from the 60’s and 70’s and even 80’s. These people were wrong – they believed that if they work hard and have a positive mental attitude and the right focus they can achieve their goals.
You may have heard all these before. You may even believe it to be true. In your mind you may equate individual thinking to the too big to fail greedy corporations and banks who have contributed to the bad economic crises we all experience. This is how language has affected your belief system. Individual thinking does NOT presuppose egocentrism and selfishness. It presupposes choice and creativity.
What I just exemplified is a language pattern we teach in the NLP Practitioner Training. It is called Complex Equivalence. It simply means that two parts of a statement have an equal (=) sign between them. This is achieved by the use of the words “it means”. As in “Mary did not cook dinner tonight and this means she does not care about me.”
Now, it may not mean that at all. Mary may have been busy, tired or caught up with other duties. A simple word can create a drama or… nothing special, depending of your interpretation.
So now, back to the generation from the 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s who believed they can achieve what they wanted if they worked hard and had a positive mental attitude means they are deluded. See how easy it is?
From the NLP point of view, this is how language is used by the media to change your Internal Representations of reality. Dumb shows, sound bites, flash pictures only long enough to make an impression and … exquisite use of language patterns. This is how it is done. Reality shows, news that resembles more entertainment than real news, and even feature movies use the same techniques. Sometimes it scares us out of our shoes, sometimes we feel really hopeless and helpless on our own as a result of what we see. In these instances we watch more hoping for something positive and IF that bit of positive news comes about it is usually something we absolutely cannot do on our own but have to rely on others, (be it organizations, institutions, what have you) to help us out. The message here is clear: we are powerless and helpless. The solution lies always outside ourselves. This is a very disempowering game because it tells us there is nothing we can do on our own.
Is It All Bad?
Find out in Part 2
Until then be well