The Hypnotic Power of Language to Manipulate Consciousness – Part 1
Perusing the web the other day, I stumbled across this article “Control the Language and You Control the Mind By Cognitive Dissonance”
And since our name is Neuro Linguistic Programming and so much of what we do has to do with language and its intelligent and deliberate use, my interest perked immediately. I said to myself: “Here we go again. Language!” However not long into the article I encountered the following statement:
“In essence the question was this; how do you think outside the box when your language and belief system have you trapped within?”
…and instantly I knew I had to share this for our readers.
This is what we do in NLP – first discover the box of our own thinking which is based on…. language. Our beliefs are expressed with words, our values are labeled with words, our decisions are made out of words, the boundaries of our inner “Parts” (as in parts integration) are defined by language, and this is just to give you a brief summary of how many topics included in the NLP Practitioner not to speak of the Master Practitioner deal with language and the use of words in a particular way.
And if you don’t care very much about all NLP topics that contain language and its usage at least you must realize one thing: language can be used for manipulation of consciousness.
When you read a magazine, or watch television, when you read a website or even a Facebook posting something happens inside your mind. You create pictures, Internal Representations of a reality presented to you by that which you just read. From Time Line Therapy® as well as from NLP we know that your Unconscious Mind does not know if what you envision is real or a false environment. Which means that at unconscious level, that is to say the level below that of your conscious awareness, your Unconscious Mind does not know the difference between “real” and constructed pictures. It takes them all the same. This is why, if you care about your unconscious behaviors, reactions, emotional state and the like, which rules your day-to-day life, you should question everything you see, read and participate in.
The author makes a case for differentiation knowledge which in his view can be acquired only experientially VS information which can be acquired from an outside source. Notice that I said “in his view” – which he correctly defines. He correctly recognizes what in NLP we call “Complex Equivalence” or CEq. The explanation of this piece of jargon is relatively simple: CEq occurs when two statements are considered to mean the same thing. He also recognizes that the meaning of each word he uses may have a different meaning for other people. This is important – keep it in mind because it is the central point of this article.
The author is very precise with his words and this is one thing I liked about the article. However this was not the reason why I decided to comment on and make you aware of other things. He talks about “knowledge” being experiential – you have knowledge of something only after you go through the experience. All the rest is information, which usually comes to us from others in the form of ‘facts’ and ‘truth’. Consequently this leads to a confusion between what we know and what we think we know based on what others tell us. This is why in the US legal system information deemed hearsay is not admissible as ‘evidence’ because its veracity is questionable and not of speakers own personal knowing.
So far so good. Nevertheless, he continues,
“[…] we never consider applying these same rules of evidence to our own personal lives to screen what we believe we know or what we are told or taught.”
This explains a lot.
Time and time again, over the years, we witnessed the presence of “new” things to fear and panic about. Permanently there is something about to get us. We hear of them and although we have no experience of “it” happening the way it was described to us, we rush to the conclusion that it is “true” and respond accordingly. We forget that information is viewed through the lens of another person and therefore could be twisted, tweaked, inaccurate or even false. We forget that what we see on television and moreover than not on YouTube could be photo-shopped, cut and sliced in sound-bites and we forget that entertainment is not necessarily knowledge.
But here is where everything seems to get erratic. We respond to this “information” as if it was “real knowledge”, and we get confused between what we know experientially and this “information”. As a result we buy into perpetual fear and worry. Panic, anxiety, worry, fear, what have you, affect people daily.
When you respond with what I am fond of calling a “knee jerk reflex”, unthinkingly, unjudging and automatically (read unconsciously) to “information” which is not “knowledge”, your behavior is being controlled by something or someone outside of you. And even worse, if you don’t understand how your mind works, you don’t know why you respond the way you do. It is almost like somebody presses a button and elicits a certain reaction from you. Logic, reason and personal experience not being present to evaluate critically the input from the button, you are left with a reaction over which you seem to have no control.
Here is an example: you talk to your neighbor and he tells you that at his son’s school one of the kids got bitten by a stray dog. You got hearsay information, but you just react, you come home already in a state of panic, call over your kids and instruct them to look for stray dogs, you fix the fence at your house so no dogs can jump over, and depending on how big your panic is you may even feel compelled to call the school principal and make a big case out if it.
Now, is there anything wrong with instructing your kids not to interact with stray dogs? No. is there anything wrong to fixing your fence? No. But what is wrong is that your reaction is not based on anything real. You heard a neighbor talk about a story he heard from his some who heard it from a bunch of kids at his school. Three levels separated from you. You don’t even know if that was a real story or some kids wanting to be interesting. But you acted on it as if it were real.
The same scenario happens for the television news. Did you notice how for most people the television news is met with nearly universal faith? “Yes, they must know what they are talking about. It must be what’s happening.”
Who said so?
I took my first serious lesson in television news years ago – before I started studying NLP – when I stopped watching television for several months.
But I will tell you more about that in Part 2 of this blog.