Mind control or brainwashing, also called Coercive Persuasion, is the systematic effort to persuade non believers to accept a certain allegiance, command, or doctrine (Encyclopaedia Britannica). Mind control is used all throughout 1984 as a recurring theme to show how little power the people of Oceana actually have. Just like in the novel 1984, mind control is becoming increasingly apparent in the modern day world. In today’s society mind control is a bigger problem than many people may realize, it is hidden in the media, religion, and in politics.
Just as there are many different outlets for mind control here are also many different ways to control a person’s mind, and the scary part is that mind control has become a part of everyday life. The totalitarian government in 1984 only wanted their people to know what made the Party sound the best, so they took matters into their own hands and manipulated the people of Oceana until that was all they knew. Commercials and propaganda are a major outlet for mass-manipulation.
With so many people watching television, or looking at advertisements in magazines, it is becoming easier to get a message across to hundreds of people without even having to peak to them directly. Therefore, one target of mind control through commercials, and even television, is body image. Companies believe that in order to sell more of their product, or have more views on their shows, they should have a more visually pleasing person on the screen. This idea is not wrong, but it makes men and women think they would be better off if they resembled the people that are shown on television.
According to Sara Myles, “The media has always dictated what we should perceive as beautiful, handsome and attractive, leading to a society where we feel pressured to aspire to that. That pressure can lead to (or exacerbate) self-esteem issues, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and a host of other mental health issues. ” (Body Image: It’s All Commercial Brainwashing.. ). This is a form of mind control because it persuades everyday men and women to go out and try to make themselves look like the man who demonstrates the P-90X workout machine, or the Victoria’s Secret model they see walking down the runway.
The kinds of people shown on television, are not even real people. They are photoshopped to appear different than they actually are. There could be major consequences to this because when eople are not able to achieve such impossible appearances shown on their television screens, it can lead them to thinking they are not good enough. This could potentially lead to adverse health issues. Today’s media is brainwashing the public into thinking that in order to be perceived as attractive they must look like the people that are shown on the television.
Furthermore, as soon as a person turns on their television, goes to the movie theater, or sees commercials, they are immediately bombarded with items to buy. These types of advertisements are set up to make a person think they have to have the product hat is advertised. By using repetition, people begin to believe they must have the advertised item whether they really do or not. Companies are manipulating the public’s mind in order to obtain more profit off simple products that people do not even need.
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines subliminal as, “existing or functioning below the threshold of consciousness,” and subliminal messages are hidden all throughout commercials in order to trick the public into believing it is necessary to have a certain product. In the late fifties, James Vicary inserted the words “Drink Coke” and “Eat Popcorn” into a ingle frame during movies at the theaters. Sales in Coca-Cola and popcorn soared after the simple flashing of the words. Theater goers were influenced subconsciously to get up and go buy the products (Love).
This type of advertising is hidden within advertisements to which we are exposed to on a daily basis. The normal eye just does not realize it. Propaganda is a form of persuasion that, throughout time, has been used to change people’s beliefs, behaviors, and the way that they act. Even though propaganda is most evident during wartime, it can also be found everywhere one looks during the time leading up to a tate, or national, election. During the 2016 election, propaganda could be found everywhere from t-shirts to billboards lining the highway.
Whether people were “With Her” or ready to “Make America Great Again” by showing support through their shirts, bumper stickers, or signs in the front yard, these people were participating in a modern form of propaganda. Orwell shows propaganda by describing the posters for Big Brother, At one end of it a colored poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a meter wide: the face of a an of about forty-five, with a heavy black mustache and ruggedly handsome features…
On each landing, opposite the lift shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran. (Orwell 1-2). Even though Orwell’s form of propaganda is quite different from the propaganda prevalent in the United States, many other countries use propaganda as a fear tactic instead of just a sign of support. Dictatorships employ propaganda as a form of mind ontrol that is used to make the people of that country worship their ruler.
Places such as Nazi Germany and North Korea have propaganda that only show support of one ruler, or party, instead of showing support for many different people, or political parties within the government. This is because within a dictatorship, which is shown in 1984, the dictator wants the people to believe that the only way to survive is to follow him. In most cases, propaganda is used for mind control of the masses instead of just showing support of popular beliefs. Sadly enough, religion can be used as a form of mind control hat goes unnoticed for the most part.
In 1978, the Reverend Jim Jones, leader of the Peoples Temple, enacted a psychological- based massacre of many of his devout followers. Jones’ congregation became known as a cult whose members were unable to leave and cut off from the rest of society that did not have the same beliefs as them. Jones moved his congregation to Guyana and called it Jonestown, where he eventually persuaded his followers to drink a mixture of Kool-Aid and cyanide that would kill them (The Psychological Massacre: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple: An Investigation).
Jones tried to appeal to his followers, which made them believe that everything he said was exactly how life was supposed to be. Orwell depicted this technique in 1984, because Orwell’s characters believe everything that was told to them by the Party was the truth. Little did they know The Ministry of Truth was responsible for changing the truth in order to make Oceana sound perfect. Even though in 1984 religion was not used to accomplish the goal of total mind control, religion can be used to persuade a person’s beliefs, because when information is presented with a religious indset, people are more likely to be influenced by it.
The Jonestown massacre is only one example of the many ways people can be brainwashed by religion, however other types of thought control may not be as evident as the mass murder of a congregation. Nor might they be as harsh such as dressing a certain way, living without technology, or even whether or not a person believes if music should be incorporated within the church. The beliefs people are taught, throughout their lives, will ultimately control their way of thinking and living to a point that thinking of it as mind control would be an abstract thought.
Communist countries thrive on brainwashing the public into believing everything the government does is good for them, when in actuality it probably is not. Countries such as North Korea manipulate their people into thinking the entire world lives exactly as they do, when in reality, that is not the case. Kim Jong Un begins the process of total mind manipulation at such an early age, that it is never noticed by the people of North Korea. Nineteen-year-old Lee Hyun-ji states, “In gym class, there was a wooden target of a human figure with pale skin and a huge nose, with “cunning American wolf” written on it.
Lee and her young schoolmates would practice their throwing with a wooden “grenade. ” (North Korea Begins Brainwashing Children). The citizens of communist countries are trained at such an early age to hate anyone who does not share their beliefs, and the people they are usually trained to hate the most are Americans. The leaders of such countries know the freedoms held in the United States, and they do not want their people to know they exist, because it could cause a revolution, so they are trained to hate Americans, and to believe the freedoms enjoyed are a lie.
In 1984, The Ministry of Truth was responsible for changing the past so that the people of Oceana do not realize what is actually going on around them. Orwell writes, “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past” (Orwell 248). Kim Jong Un practices this in some ways by sheltering the people of North Korea so much, they do not really know what is going on in the world around them. North Korea is not the only country to ever brainwash their people. Mind control was also very apparent in Nazi Germany, during the rule of Adolf Hitler.
Big Brother is very similar to Hitler in how he controlled the totalitarian government in 1984. Hitler, like Big Brother, had a party that helped him to take control of the German government. Hitler used propaganda to seize power in Germany. He would go out into the public and interact with the people, but behind the scenes, he killed anyone who did not agree with him or did not look the way he wanted them to look. He completely tricked his followers into believing he would be able to make their country great. Hitler employed very strict rules in order to manipulate his people.
He required all itizens to join the Nazi party, and to follow him. Eventually, the German people began to believe there was no other way. Orwell writes, “WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH” (Orwell 26). This is one of the mottos used in 1984, and could easily be used to describe Nazi Germany. The concentration camps, run by the Nazis, were very similar to the prison where Winston was kept during Book 3. Hitler used these camps to exterminate his prisoners of war who did not agree with him, or who were not of a race he deemed acceptable.
In 1984, the prison, where Winston was ld, was used to interrogate, convert, and evidently kill traitors. Orwell carried out some of the same techniques used in concentration camps to show how brutal his totalitarian government actually was. Mind control was very obvious while reading 1984, but the people of Oceana had no idea what was happening to them. Just like in North Korea or Nazi Germany, Big Brother controlled his people to a point where they did not know any better. Mind control is something that has been practiced all throughout history, and will continue to be used to subjugate citizens.
Everywhere one turns mind control is apparent from watching television, to practicing their religion, and all the way around the world mind control can not be stopped. Mind control is something that can be good and bad at the same time. It can mean having a grounded set of moral beliefs, or it could mean being completely brainwashed to the point there is no coming back. Orwell used what was shown all throughout time in his novel to create a sense of helplessness for the people of Oceana. Mind control will always have a hold on people. The only way to fight it is to learn how it takes form and how to recognize it.