For fifteen years I was, being involved with a certain organisation, instrumental in the systematic brainwashing of innocent people. The people most in need of help. I have since pretty much disenfranchised myself from that organisation, although I am a supporter of its fundamental beliefs and of its aims.
Brainwashing is not achieved by sitting people in white rooms and attaching electrodes to their heads, but rather through a variety of methods, mostly psychological, notably using emotions in various ways.
There are many emotions, ranging from the paraphysical, such as hunger and thirst, to the purely psychological, such as love and anger. The brainwasher uses these emotions as appropriate, usually starting with the positive and gradually introducing the negative in small doses - the psyche does not easily absorb negative emotions but readily accepts the positive.
Anyone who has been in the business, for instance The Reverend Moon, or "Big Brother" of 1984, will verify that these techniques are universally applied in order to coax a candidate into acceptance of his "way". What is not so obvious is that these techniques are used in a variety of scenarios - interview of a witness by the police, interrogation of war criminals - it is a long list, and some of them will surprise. People such as soldiers in regiments such as the SAS, who are very likely to have to experience these techniques, are taught counter-techniques.
Experience of the delivery of these techniques brings with it, naturally, the ability to recognise them. It also makes one immune to them.
Let me illustrate the use of a couple of these techniques and show how to reject them:
"Is it right?" - A plea to the general sense of right or wrong. Every individual has a sense of right and wrong. Most people sense that murder, for instance, is wrong. Some don't. Some people would think that speeding is right, if they think they're in control and there's nobody about - some would think that it is wrong because the law says it is. But there is doubt. Doubt causes confusion and, where there is doubt, there is the opportunity to start to use other emotions.
"Will it work?" - Simples? No. the emotion is fear. Fear of it not working. Instil doubt. Fear is a negative emotion albeit, surprisingly, somewhat weak.
"Is it fair?" - Again, you might think that this is a right/wrong option. It isn't. If it is fair, then you are in the clear. If not, there's guilt involved. One of the most powerful negative emotions there is.
After that, all you have to do is to carry on poking and prodding. Tell the victim that you are the sunshine and bunnies, and the opposing view is sneaky and underhand. All that stuff about big hugs versus a fiery pit is so old hat these days.
Once you've got the emotions whirling, you put the boot in. "Join us," you cry. "Fight for what is right!"
In order to reject this sort of thing, one only has to dig a little. Why are we being told this? Is there some underlying reason? Perhaps they are really after our money, time, effort? Perhaps they're trying to seal themselves a future? Could be anything.
But recognise the techniques. Read this, it's a good example.
In case you were wondering which heinous organisation I was involved with, it was the Church of England. No, I wasn't a vicar.