Writing in the 1950s, Aldous Huxley writes, “Today the art of mind-control is in the process of becoming a science” (39).
The scientists in this field, he claims, are guided by theories that are firmly established on “a massive foundation of experimental evidence”. Because of “new techniques” and insights, the ultimate totalitarian system may “soon be completely realizable” (39).
Huxley described Hitler’s use of knowledge about “human nature” and “human weaknesses in ruling over believers” (40). Hitler, he claims, saw the masses as driven by “feelings and unconscious drives” rather than “knowledge and reason” (40). He seeks the key that opens “the door of their hearts”.
Hitler assembled the crowds in vast stadiums where individuals lose their identity and become truly “subhuman”. In a crowd, individuals lose their ability to reason and make moral choices (41). They become suggestible and excitable, and lose all sense of responsibility.
Huxley labels the intoxicating effect of losing your mind in the crowd as “herd-poisoning” (41).
He refers to the orator’s power to manipulate the “hidden forces” that motivate our actions (42).
Huxley mentions “Motivational Research“, developed by Madison Avenue (42).
He refers to how this manipulation targets the common people. Huxley claims that intellectuals are “shocked” by the “logical inconsistencies and fallacies” of propaganda (43), but I think it’s more likely that quite a few intellectuals are involved in creating propaganda.
Huxley quotes Hitler as saying that effective propaganda must be reduced to a “few stereotyped formulas” that are “constantly repeated” (43).
One of Hitler’s methods was marching, and as Huxley explains, “Marching kills thought” and “makes an end of individuality” (46).
He says that propaganda is the opposite of philosophy, because philosophy will even teach us to doubt things that seem obvious, but propaganda teaches us to accept things we should express doubt about as self-evident (43).
A propagandist must be “dogmatic”. All of his statements are “without qualification”, with “no grays”, only black and white (43). Hitler said the propagandist should have a “systematically one-sided” attitude.
“Mindlessness” is a symptom of “herd-poisoning” (44) and is not characteristic of a human being.
Huxley illustrates this topic by using the scriptures. He makes the point that “salvation and enlightenment are for individuals”, and the “kingdom of heaven is within the mind of a person” (44). Christ promised to be present “where two or three are gathered together” (44) and not in a crowd.
Huxley asks, “how can we preserve the integrity and reassert the value of the human individual?”
“A generation from now it may be too late to find an answer and perhaps impossible . . . even to ask the question” (46).
If we take Huxley seriously, we should be careful about going along with the system in terms of what we put in our bodies, and that’s why we should pay attention to legitimate concerns about vaccines and genetically altered food, for example. And we should not dismiss the warnings of others before looking at the facts, just because the establishment media ignores dissenters. We should all be learning to think about what it means to have inherent natural rights. And we should immediately begin the habit of collecting information and thinking for ourselves. We have everything to lose.
Huxley discusses the “motivation analyst”, whose business is to study “human weaknesses” and “unconscious desires and fears” (48). He explained that we live under “consumerism”, which requires “expert salesmen versed in all the arts . . . of persuasion” (48).
So I think the better way is to stick to providing useful and honest information about what we sell.
He refers to The Hidden Persuaders by Mr. Vance Packard (48).
Advertisers “build a bridge of verbal or pictorial symbols” which carry the customer from fact to the illusion that the product will make their dreams come true (51).
Oranges become “vitality”. Toothpaste becomes sex. Wishes and fears are exploited.
There is a “line of symbols carefully laid out” in order to “bypass rationality and obscure the real issue” (52).
The symbols are sometimes impressive and fascinating, like the rites of religion (52), but they have nothing to do with what’s being discussed.
Beauty and elaborate spectacles are used to sell tyranny. Artists have been used to promote tyranny (52).
Musical melodies embed themselves in our memories. If words are set to a catchy tune, they become “words of power” (53).
When the melody is heard or remembered, the words “automatically” repeat themselves. So there is a “conditioned reflex” (54).
Music can turn nonsense words into a pleasurable experience.
Huxley quotes Clyde Miller on how children are conditioned from a young age to grow up to buy the products they see on television (55). In the same way, dictators implant children with trigger words.
Huxley explains that “it is the servants who give orders and the people, far off at the base of the great pyramid, who must obey” (55). The pyramid symbol represents the power structure.
Value for value. If you appreciate this post, please donate a small amount to encourage more research and commentary.