Huxley refers to Pavlov’s experiments on animals, in which even the strongest ones display a nervous breakdown after the repeated stress of Pavlov’s cruel experiments (59).
He notes also how soldiers experiencing catastrophic or repeated terrorizing events show the same disabling symptoms such as “lethargy”, “agitation” and “strange reversals” of behavior patterns (60).
Huxley claims that the only ones “who can hold up indefinitely under the stress of modern war are psychotics” (60).
He discusses the uses of torture, such as getting unwilling witnesses to speak, to punish the unorthodox, to change their opinions, or to “extract confessions” of disloyalty.
Huxley makes the distinction that “complete cerebral breakdown can be induced by methods which, though hatefully inhuman, fall short of physical torture” (61). And this kind of misleading distinction is used by Western governments and media today as a rationalization for inhuman treatment.
He believes that the Communists used Pavlov’s research on political prisoners. They applied stress for long enough and caused a break down of their central nervous systems (61).
The prisoner will end up in a “state of neurosis or hysteria” and will confess anything (62). But Huxley explains that they also wanted to make the prisoner into a dedicated convert. It follows that we should ask questions about these brainwashing and conversion functions when we consider present-day prison camps such as Guantanamo.
He notes that Pavlov observed the dogs becoming more and more suggestible. New “ineradicable” “behavior patterns” can be “installed” when the dog is at the limit of its mental endurance (62).
It’s funny how we are used to the word “installed” today, decades later, in the context of installing, upgrading and updating computer software programs.
I think a lot of the terror events we see, such as 9/11, are likely intended to create an intense emotions and a suggestible state in the minds of the public. This is done so that new “programming” (propaganda) can be “installed” into our minds, so that we accept even more totalitarian poking and prodding, and so that we end up even more like submissive cattle.
The 9/11 event was repeated over and over by the media in the same way that the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion was repeated endlessly in front of attentive schoolchildren and the public. I don’t know if the repetition of the shuttle event was intentional but the media coverage was studied carefully.
Pavlov induced stress in his dogs by using “unusually strong” stimuli, prolonging the interval so that the animal is in a “state of suspense”, and creating unexpected stimuli (62).
The “deliberate induction of fear, rage or anxiety” noticeably increases the dog’s suggestibility (62).
The brain goes “on strike” if the intensity of these emotions is maintained for long enough, and “new behavior patterns are installed” easily (62).
So much for “science”.
Stresses for prisoners can include “fatigue, wounds, and sickness” (62).
Speaking of fatigue, Huxley explains that Hitler’s mass meetings “at night were more effective than mass meetings in the daytime”. At that time, the people “succumb more easily to the dominating force of a stronger will” (62).
Huxley explains that this is why, “among other reasons”, “commercial sponsors of television programs prefer the evening hours and are ready to back their preference with hard cash” (62).
He makes an interesting prediction that hospitals will be wired for mental conditioning and prominent patients will receive visits from “mind-changers”.
He refers to Battle for the Mind by William Sargant, who gives the example of the preacher John Wesley targeting the central nervous system of his listeners with an intense description of hell combined with terror and guilt, thus creating a state of heightened suggestibility. At this point he offered his audience salvation and comfort, and then they were “reintegrated” with new implanted behaviors (64).
Huxley describes the Communists subjecting political prisoners to poor diet, extreme discomfort, lack of sleep, suspense, uncertainty and fatigue (p. 64). After a month, the prisoner caves in, and he is offered hope through conversion.
To intensify their guilt, prisoners–American POWs in Korea in this example–were forced to write long confessions, and then to snitch on their friends. The goal was to turn everyone into a spy and informant against each other. The suggestible and malnourished prisoners were heavily indoctrinated with communist literature.
Note, by the way, how wars are a great “opportunity” for “science”.
Just as with political systems, in line with Huxley’s religious example and my own experience, I think it’s probable that some cults have been used in the same way, as testing grounds for various techniques that induce fatigue, isolation from external relationships, and strong emotions such as anxiety, guilt and fear.
It’s not just prisoners. Huxley quotes R. L. Walker, author of China under Communism, who describes the intense indoctrination of Communist organizers and missionaries (65), turning them into fanatics (66). They were given intensive work, never left by themselves, always kept in groups, expected to spy on each other, write accusations against themselves, and live in fear of being informed against.
Those who survive suicide and serious mental illness emerge with new and fixed behavior (66).
Huxley says that tens of thousands of these disciplined fanatics were sent into action (67), and it’s interesting to wonder how far their influence spread.
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