Mind manipulation is deeply ingrained in our societies around the world as a result of thousands of years of deliberate effort and policy. It’s one of the essential ingredients in the current anti-social system of enslavement that we live in, where children are being exposed to mind manipulation (‘education’) starting at a very early age. It’s so pervasive that you’ll even find it in seemingly innocent places if you know what to look for.
In our daily interactions with one another we’re constantly exposed to mind manipulation, and indeed, we may even be guilty of it ourselves without realizing it. For instance, many people don’t yet realize that ‘persuasion,’ ‘influencing’ and ‘selling’ all amount to mind manipulation. And this is mainly because they lack a fundamental sense and understanding of morality and where it comes from.
All organisms in the universe are granted the right to life. This fundamental right is granted by the universe itself to the organism, and no organism can lay a claim on another’s right to life. Everything else in the universe follows from this fundamental right to life, including a universal sense of morality:
In the final analysis, a good and natural sense of morality is based on the following statement: Respect each other’s right to life.
It’s really that simple. Good intentions, decisions, and actions (virtue) are those that respect everyone’s right to life. Bad or evil intentions, decisions, and actions (vice) are those that interfere in any possible way with the right to life of an individual or a group of individuals.
When people talk about equality between individuals in society, the only true equality that can ever exist is when it comes to their right to life — everyone has an equal right to life, granted by the universe.
Having the right to life would have no meaning if an individual couldn’t also have the opportunity and freedom to actually live their life. In our physical reality, the individual is given the opportunity by the universe to live their life through their body and consciousness. In other words, in our reality an individual’s right to life is expressed and represented by their body and consciousness. Because nobody can lay a claim on an individual’s right to life, by extension, nobody can lay a claim on the individual’s body and consciousness either.
This means that every individual has the sole claim to their right to life, and by extension to their body and consciousness, and is the sole authority over them. Their body and consciousness are their own.
Now, since every individual owns their mind and body, getting into a person’s mind and trying to change it is a violation of their right to life. It would be the same as getting into their body and changing an organ, or getting into their house and redecorating it as you see fit.
This is exactly what happens when you try to ‘persuade,’ ‘influence’ or ‘sell’ something to someone else. In doing so you’re trying to change their mind in such a way for them to be ‘persuaded,’ ‘convinced’ or ‘sold’ on whatever you want them to think or do. This is especially immoral when you first study their thinking and try to devise ways to exploit or work around it in order to ‘convince’ them. It’s comparable to hacking into someone’s computer and placing files, programs and other information in there that you feel that they should have there.
We have no business trying to change other people; when we do it’s a severe violation of their right to self-determination, which follows from their fundamental right to life. Moreover, hacking into people’s minds in order to place certain beliefs in there — which is what ‘persuading,’ ‘influencing’ and ‘selling’ amount to — never guarantees that the individual knows and understands why they think that way, and why they hold those beliefs. It can give you quick short-term results but isn’t sustainable. Like I mentioned before in my post “Convincing C programmers to switch to C++; A look at human thinking behavior”:
People who only have their own short-term agendas in mind will choose to identify and work around the problem frames in a person’s mind in order to persuade them and quickly get the results they want. But those who also have the person’s best interests in mind, using true love as their starting point, will instead choose to be honest and upfront, and will present the facts and the truth as objectively as possible without trying to manipulate the person’s mind.
The best approach for an individual to change, is for them to change their own mind. As the rightful owner they’re the only ones who should go into their mind and make changes. All anyone else can do is objectively present them with truthful information — and you have to be clinically objective when you do this — and hope that they go think about it and ultimately convince themselves. And when they’ve done it this way, you can be certain that they’ve learned from it and understand exactly why they made the decision to change. That’s why, apart from being morally right, this is also a more sustainable approach for creating positive change for the long term.
In trying to ‘persuade,’ ‘influence’ or ‘sell,’ people often use tactics such as ‘watering down,’ ‘sugar coating,’ ‘ass-kissing’ and ‘telling people what they want to hear.’ Many socially accepted and encouraged behaviors and practices involve a lot of mind manipulation. Take courtship and dating for example; like I explained in my post “Why courtship and dating are a waste of time”:
A woman should be able to make up her own mind without me having to influence her in any way. Only when she’s able to do that, can I be sure that she truly desires me and made a conscious, independent decision to spend time with me. I’m not going to massage her mind with words that I know she wants to hear. I’m not going to spend unnatural amounts of time on her just to prove to her how much I care. I’m not going to spend (lots of) money on her just to impress her and win her over. All of those things essentially amount to manipulation, even if they are sincere efforts (and very often and with most men they’re not). And if there’s one thing that I hate in life, it’s manipulation. Most men will not readily want to admit this, but employing all these tactics to win a woman over essentially boils down to mind manipulation.
Quite often people may even consciously or unconsciously use a number of psychological tricks in order to manipulate people into doing what they want. While doing so may sometimes seem innocent and even beneficial to those involved, it’s always immoral. Like I mentioned above, it’s especially immoral when you first study people’s thinking and try to devise ways to exploit or work around it in order to get the results you want.
For example, in a recent article by Alvin Hsia, a product designer at Airbnb, titled “The Irrational User,” he describes how cognitive biases such as anthropomorphism, negativity bias, loss aversion, reciprocity, peak-end effect, cognitive dissonance, goal gradient effect and social proof can be used to make a product more appealing to people. The first comment below that article immediately hit the nail on its head.
Unfortunately, these ‘tools’ can never be used for good because they are inherently immoral — inherently evil — because they immediately violate the right to life of the individual, regardless of your goal and intention. It’s like stealing money from someone and donating it to charity; the fact that you did something positive with the money doesn’t make stealing morally right. Manipulating people into using and liking your product is immoral, even if your product truly benefits them later. And if you understand this, you’ll also realize that a lot of advertising and ‘marketing’ — ‘selling’ — is mind manipulation. Marketers have proven to us without a shadow of a doubt that ‘needs’ can be programmed into people’s minds, very often without them even realizing it.
More extreme examples of these tactics in action can be seen today everywhere around the Internet. For example, the misleading banner ads featuring images of buttons that trick people into clicking on them, or the many websites that use manipulative headlines (click-bait) “exploiting the ‘curiosity gap,’ providing just enough information to make readers curious” and tricking them into clicking through.
And there are even worse examples. Current and former employees at Facebook recently disclosed to the New York Times that Facebook built a censorship tool into their product:
The social network has quietly developed software to suppress posts from appearing in people’s news feeds in specific geographic areas, according to three current and former Facebook employees, who asked for anonymity because the tool is confidential.
[…] it would offer the software to enable a third party — in this case, most likely a partner Chinese company — to monitor popular stories and topics that bubble up as users share them across the social network, the people said. Facebook’s partner would then have full control to decide whether those posts should show up in users’ feeds.
These kinds of ‘tools’ are typically used to control and manipulate thought and behavior, to stifle dissent and to manufacture consent.
In another case Bill Sourour describes in a recent article titled “The code I’m still ashamed of,” how he built a quiz on a client’s website that tricked young girls into buying their drug. No matter which answers were selected, the quiz always recommended the client’s drug as the best possible treatment:
I wish I could tell you that when I first saw those requirements they bothered me. I wish I could tell you that it felt wrong to code something that was basically designed to trick young girls. But the truth is, I didn’t think much of it at the time. I had a job to do, and I did it.
Nothing that we were doing was illegal. As the youngest developer on my team, I was making good money for my age. And in the end, I understood that the real purpose of the site was to push a particular drug.
This is a good example showing that we shouldn’t base our decisions on what’s ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’ but on what’s morally right or wrong based on respecting everyone’s universal right to life. The terms ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ have nothing to do with morality; what’s considered ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’ is decided by the criminals running the governments around the world. Basing your sense of morality on what these criminals dictate is a sure recipe for disaster.
In fact, the elite who’re behind the governments worldwide make heavy use of all sorts of mind manipulation tactics. Some very extreme examples are discussed in the documentary “State of Mind: The Psychology of Control” (2013) which I highly recommend watching (look for it on YouTube). It does a very good job of showing how ‘persuasion,’ ‘influencing,’ ‘selling’ and other forms of mind manipulation ultimately lead to a very toxic and dangerous society where everyone is being controlled, exploited and indeed enslaved, by forces most of them aren’t even aware of. It will remind you of George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and the movie “They Live” (1988).
Knowing all of the above, every individual in society has to decide where they want to stand; do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution?
Several of Facebook’s engineers who were involved in the development of the above mentioned censorship tool quit their jobs because they didn’t want to be part of the problem. And consider how Bill Sourour concluded his article:
As developers, we are often one of the last lines of defense against potentially dangerous and unethical practices.
We’re approaching a time where software will drive the vehicle that transports your family to soccer practice. There are already AI programs that help doctors diagnose disease. It’s not hard to imagine them recommending prescription drugs soon, too.
The more software continues to take over every aspect of our lives, the more important it will be for us to take a stand and ensure that our ethics are ever-present in our code.
Since that day, I always try to think twice about the effects of my code before I write it. I hope that you will too.
Of course this is not just about software, but everything we build and practically all our daily social interactions, even the smallest and seemingly innocent ones.
Like I mentioned at the very beginning, mind manipulation has seeped into practically every aspect of our lives, and the time has come for us to reverse this. If we fail to take this seriously, then humanity will surely be a lot worse off in the future.