posted on Mar, 9 2009 @ 10:36 AM
A lot of this extends from the study of psychology. We are (in a way) hard wired to form these groups (in/out, cool/uncool) from a very young age. I
can see why it would be called brainwashing. We (as society) want to perform. When we examine the differences between individualistic and collective
societies light is shed on this subject.
A prominent, yet unrepeatable, experiment pertaining to this: Milgram's experiment on Obedience (1963). After WWII, Milgram was baffeled by the way
that Germans had gotten behind Hitler, and he began research into what causes this type of obedience. He set out to test the compliance of 40
volunteers who were instructed to administer "shocks" to the "learner". The "teacher" (subject) watched as the "learner" (control) was
strapped into a chair and hooked up to electrodes. Then the "teacher" was brought into a seperate room where the (fake) "shock generator" was
located, and as the "learner" made mistakes the "teacher" was instructed to administer increasing degrees of electric shock. Many subjects
displayed signifigant stress, but 65% administered the maximum shocks requested by the experimenter, (if it had been real, people would have been
injured). The findings of the experiment: there is little varriance in compliance between gender, there is higher rates of compliance when subjects
are "gradually" exposed to the demands, if there is an authority figure ultimately responsible, compliance is much higher. Basically, the whole
thing boils down to the fact that the situation you are in determins more about your reaction than the kind of person you are. But why?
We want to trust authority that says they are doing the right thing. We want to believe that someone knows what the hell is going on, and that they
are taking care of it, because we know that we are not. You might assume that there is a correlation between compliance and collective societies as
opposed to indiviualistic societies. Collective societies care more about the greater good, they expect to comply but not to hurt eachother, (hurting
you is hurting me.) Indiviualistic societies: hurting you is hurting you.
While it is true that a prominent characteristc of cults is the loss of "self", this type of obidence is a form of escapism. "We" are not
responsible once we "turn over" our individuality. This is a theme of organized religion (other cults?) as well.
To assert that America is a giant, brain-washed cult, is to say that all hope is lost, that our situation of obidence cannot be altered, and in a way,
submit to those ideas. However, "we" possess a resiliancy and strong idenity. We break from your social norms and fight cult-like thinking. We may
not know what will happen next, but I for one take comfort in the fact that I see my choice to participate in the best way for me. I can see that you
do too. (HOPE is not an illusion).