14th September 2007, 02:42 PM
Patron with Honors
Defence against subliminal persuasion
I was recommended to take a look at a self-development message board www.selfdevelopmentforum.com and the posters there seem to be heavily into subliminal software etc.
Although the question was raised on the board about self-defence against unwanted use of subliminal messages, subliminal advertising, NLP-type persuasion techniques etc. no one who answered the thread really came up with a substantive response and I thought it might be interesting to raise the question here to get a more scientological point of view.
20th September 2007, 01:37 AM
There have been a number of very interesting books on this subject publiched recently. THe most influential one is "The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation" by Drew Westen; but there is also "The Culture Code" by Clotaire Rapaille, and "Words that Work" by Frank Luntz.
The former one is written from the (U.S.) Democratic point of view, the latter two from the Republican.
Essentially they make the point that people makde decisions based on gut feel - indeed our current President famously said that's how he decides things - and that such feelings are prompted by subliminal messages. By subliminal is meant "below concious awareness" - and can consist of simple associations with particular words or images.
A couple of examples from recent US history.
The "Swift Boat" campaign against John Kerry by the Bush campaign in 2004 was in fact aimed at precisely two people - John Kerry and his advisor, Bob Schram. It purported to say that Kerry was not the war hero he was made out to be, didn't suffer form wounds and so forth. The substance, it was subsequently shown, was utterly false, but so what, no-one believed that kind of bullshit anyway.
Well, it wasn't aimed at the public directly. Bob Schram ran focus groups that told him that people *thought* that being confrontational was a turn off, so he told Kerry not to respond. Kerry wanted (I suppose) to run an ad blasting Bush as a cowardly draft-dodging wimp who wouldn't even fight his own fights, and who had to rely on Daddy to pull strings to keep him out of the war - all of which of course was totally true. But he didn't.
As a result, he lost the South. In the South, honor is everything to white men. If someone insults you you better come out swinging, or you are not a man. So every white male (and female) in the South got the feeling that Kerry was a wimp. And who wants a wimp for president?
It was a wonderful bit of psychology on the part of Carl Rove - he *knew* how Schram would respond, and gambled that Kerry would listen to him.
In this case, it was the absence of reaction from Kerry that was the subliminal message.
Another one is the famous nuclear bomb ad that Johnson put on against Goldwater in 1964. This showed a pretty little blond girl pulling petals off a flower, counting down, and her voice changes from little girl to NASA countdown, and at zero there's a picture of a mushroom cloud. The overt message was "Goldwater is going to cause a nuclear war, he's crazy".
Actually, the real message was utterly different, and this is why it was successful. For Americans of that generation, their emotional reaction to a nuclear explosion was fixed by Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Conciously, it was "Oh how awful". Emotionally it was "Thank God, now I won't be killed". Or for younger Americans, "Thank God, now daddy won't be killed". Either way, it was a warm and fuzzy, hope and freedom message - uplifting. As of course was the pretty little girl - hope for the future, avuncular pleasure in young life, all that happy stuff. The real message was "Johnson is a warm and fuzzy, uplifting guy, full of hope for the future" - which was a very American idea in those days.
In either case, the message comes from the emotional reaction.
Needless to say, conciously manipulating people in this fashion is a serious overt, IMO. And it's done all the time.
Here's another one, while I'm on this rant:
Psychological studies have shown (and confirmed) that merely talking about death related subjects will predispose people to prefer an authoritarian alternative. In the U.S., that means voting Republican. Hence the Republicans talk about Terrorism, 9-11, abortion, the"Death" tax, and so on. That's why they called it the "Death" tax, BTW, not the bullshit that Lutz admits to. (It refers to an effort to repeal the estate tax in the U.S., something that will benefit only the inheritors of Sam Wlaton and such (Walmart)). This also is why Hilary Clinton is currently positioning herself as the more authoritarian candidate - she's riding the Republican coat-tails in the primary season. You only need to swing 5% of the voters in this way to win!
Last edited by Roland ami; 20th September 2007 at 01:40 AM.
Reason: Spelling stupidities