(adj.; n. brainwashing
Coerced or manipulated by any number of social, intellectual, and psycho-emotional methods, to do or accept things you wouldn't have otherwise. It is often
an extension of common, everyday
persuasion, but goes
beyond it to control
the way a person thinks and responds in general to limit critical
thinking itself, not simply selling a single idea or decision based on presenting information and choice.
The goal of brainwashing
is the internalization of the (unrealized or unrecognized) abusive control
you believe and feel it necessary to enforce someone else's will as your own, unaware of your lack of free will, and usually with an illusion of stronger
beyond Stockholm Syndrome by having
fear or doubt with regards to criticism
about the authority (person, group and/or system of belief). Rationalizations are given to you to explain away
The common use of the term
implies a blind spot where
you cannot see an opposing
point of view because of some control
or conditioning. Contradictory facts cannot be processed (mental scotomization), or are warped to fit into a form that
no longer contradicts (cognitive dissonance).
simple indoctrination into many religions or philosophies, brainwashing goes
beyond education to include reasons and/or phobias why questioning or turning away
from it is wrong and people
who do not agree are deceived, evil, or just wrong. Some religious and other groups cross the line; many do not.
themselves by being closed-minded, but can be brainwashed intentionally or unintentionally in any abusive relationship, such as a totally
dominating partner, parent, or even a company
This is the primary
common use of the word to describe the control
process of a cult
. However, brainwashing takes diverse
forms in terms of tools and degrees
of different kinds of control, so saying
doesn't do brainwashing because of dissimilarities with another group
(dressing all the same, or chanting for hours, for example) is invalid -- and a typical defense
by people in a cult.
In fact, brainwashing can mean closing the mind
when it comes to specific
things and not others. Some cults disguise their
control by encouraging you to believe anything you want, including
staying in your current religion, so long as it does not interfere and you do not question and commit
to the group
The problem is that the word can be meant
or taken as an insult instead of a particular
psychological phenomenon. It may be an excuse to explain why someone cannot see your own point
of view. Therefore, people who are brainwashed are likely to accuse others and even the whole surrounding society of being brainwashed.
Brainwashing is also a term
that cults use to attack religions
in general (many of which may have
cult characteristics in varying degrees
as a natural development tendency of any social group
), or religions
that are different in basic dogma from their
own. Some anti-cult organizations have
mentality themselves and therefore have
made it difficult for other
groups to advocate and educate about
the real psychopathology of brainwashing. In other
words, people fall back on the archaic denotation
of the word "cult" as "religious sect" and associate brainwashing in terms of belief and not manipulation and control, or blur the distinction between brainwashing and educative indoctrination.
In the end things get really sticky, as modern cults have
perfected various techniques
and tactics, the most ironic of which is to play the role of an organization promoting free
will and fighting against what they conveniently
define as brainwashing to not include their
control. A common variation of this
tactic is declaring the term
brainwashing meaningless or even an offensive form of bigotry against religious freedom
-- the ultimate and "politically correct" way to silence critics by putting themselves in the role of victim instead of the society they
are themselves victimizing.
How can you defend him after the way he controls your life
? You must
be pretty brainwashed to take
out a second mortgage to attend those "self-help" courses.
You only talk about the group you belong to and stopped doing the things you love and spending time
with your friends. I know you seem very happy, but we're concerned that you might be brainwashed. Me miss the you that we know.
If you knew you were brainwashed, you wouldn't have
been brainwashed very well, right? Trust
those who care about you that something is wrong.
I'm not brainwashed! You just don't know the group like I do! They are the most loving, sane, spiritual people I will
ever meet and all they want is to save the world! We know things that humanity will
like we do.
You're the ones who are brainwashed, so I'm not allowed
to talk to you anymore because you are interfering
with my life
progress! ... I mean it's MY choice
and it's for my own good since
you wont support me in this. Besides, I have
to get ready
for a mandatory
cool aid party next week when the comet comes
any clean pruning
shears and a band-aid?