If there are traditional and fairly well-known forms of massive manipulation of consciousness – of which Bernays, Le Bon and Lippmann represent the most authoritative exponents – there are also more discreet, less striking but no less important forms.
We could divide them into a tripartite classification where we find:
1) the "strategic moves" through which the masters of steam have carried out the far-reaching and long-range project of European unification. Thanks to them, a purpose was achieved that, in the 1950s, might have seemed impossible: to lead, step by step, the public opinions of countries very different from each other and with centuries-old traditions of independence, to voluntarily abdicate their respective sovereignties. . This is in order to gradually attribute, without provoking resistance, the political, economic and monetary power of the state to third parties, which tend to be unquestionable, extraterritorial and supranational;
2) The "cognitive-behavioral viruses". We can identify them in the most frequently used phrases, in the mantras repeated by the most widespread media, even in the neologisms coined by newspapers and TV in recent years. We could add that, through them, the European peoples have been subjected to a sort of "civic re-education" passed through their preventive and preparatory "psychological re-education";
3) The "dialectical viruses" that are played out on the level of interpersonal relationships, and are represented by those rhetorical arguments and stratagems capable of short-circuiting our rationality and pushing us to accept a concept, an assumption, an idea, a I project as if they were obviously true even if they are, in truth, patently false.
Without prejudice to the above tripartition, linked to the function of the techniques used, the classification adopted in the text is based, instead, on their origin.
A first "class" is that attributable to Chinese thought: in particular, to a masterpiece of military strategy such as the 36 Stratagems9 or to the well-known military strategy treatise on the art of war
Knowledge of these tricks allows us to unmask their use. As far as it matters here, they certainly served to bring to completion the juridical-institutional architecture of the EU which is now consolidated in its reference bodies (Commission, Councils, Parliament, etc.) and in the plethora of officials who, behind the scenes, strengthen the structure. A structure that governs us through a deluge of regulations, directives, decisions, resolutions, opinions, acts that have literally suffocated the traditional and specific decision-making process of every single nation and every European democracy.
In the second part of the text, then, we wanted to uncover some of the persuasive techniques studied, cataloged and deepened by neurolinguistic programming and used, in the process of European unification, for the purposes of hidden persuasion of the masses.
NLP has various fields of application ranging from the possibility of quickly defeating personal phobias to the opportunity to obtain high-level performance by modeling the behavior of successful people, to the ability to influence others by convincing them of their reasons. The latter aspect has to do with the art of persuasion.
The package of techniques developed by NLP is very large. Many of them have been used, and are still used on a large scale, both commercially and politically. We have isolated its applications in the process of European unification trying to answer a precise question: how, when and in what way these “tricks” are applied to convince public opinion of the intrinsic goodness and essential inevitability of this process.
It is possible to grasp – in the most frequently used phrases, in the nursery rhymes repeated by the most widespread media, even in the neologisms coined by newspapers and TV in recent years – a product of a typical Piennellistic matrix. We could add that, with respect to the first part of the book (which deals with long-term strategies aimed at the genesis and fulfillment of the legal-administrative machine of the EU), the second is concerned with how, then, the European peoples have been subjected to a sort of "civic re-education" which had as a prerequisite their preventive and preparatory "psychological re-education".
The use of NLP techniques served to convince citizens of how much preferable the new way was over the old one, the new pan-European institutional set-up, monolithic and marked by a rigid and inflexible scan of objectives (and economic parameters), compared to the old and disjointed democratic state system.
Finally, the last part of the book deals with the so-called "fallacies". The fallacies fully belong to the history of Western thought. Aristotle already dealt with them, with an ad hoc treatise, and subsequently they were a constant object of study in the schools of rhetoric and dialectic of the Greco-Roman tradition. The fallacy is, in essence, a reasoning that is such only in appearance. Or, if you prefer, an argument that seems logical, but is not at all. And yet it is very effective because it is useful in convincing the unwary or poorly prepared interlocutor.
In the case of the European Union, the fallacies have been used above all in the practice of the syncopated and superficial debate typical of talk shows to then enter the daily discourse, or from the bar. Thus, they have been cleared as irrefutable proofs, on a logical and dialectical level, not only of the necessity, but even of the irreversibility of the European unification process.
These conditions have been propagated in the same way as quick-catching mental viruses that have quickly taken over people's lexical and common sense heritage: the one through which the man in the street usually orientates himself in the world in order to make his own choices, even policies.
We have chosen, not by chance, the word "virus".
The term "virus" – even more so after the Covid-19 affair – is very fashionable today. And yet, virus is no longer just the contaminant that can decimate huge numbers of wretches, such as the Spanish flu in 1918.
It is also a malware, that is a computer pathogen, capable of sabotaging, “impalling”, even destroying a (micro or macro) digital system. A nightmare of our times, in fact, is precisely the technological virus as well as the biological one.
But there is a third meaning with which it is necessary to start confronting and that is, in fact, that of "cognitive-behavioral" viruses and "dialectical" viruses. These are small pills of thought, psychological mini-formats, clichés of private discourse disclosed above all through the mass media, with a further and more articulated function than the forms of classical or large-scale manipulation.
The choice of the adjective "cognitive-behavioral" has a double motivation. First of all, it is due to the fact that they are also flour in the sack of the main currents of "cognitive-behavioral" psychology of the twentieth century (in particular, of neuro-linguistic programming). Secondly, these are rapid release and viral spreading techniques, capable of contaminating any debate. Hence, they are literally "cognitive-behavioral" because they influence the consciousness and behavior of the target subjects. At the same time, they are viruses because they lend themselves to use and diffusion that go beyond the precise moment of their "release" into the ether ("ether" is the right word, since propalation is mainly entrusted to the wavelength of radio-television programs of maximum listening).
In summary: the classic format of mental conditioning – the one that inspired, so to speak, the campaigns of Bernays and the theories of the latter and his colleagues – is a "nuclear" weapon of distraction and mass conditioning. On the other hand, cognitive-behavioral and dialectical viruses do not shoot in the pile, but are targeted at the single subject.
They continue to re-produce their lethal effects from a distance, even after activation. And they do it in an extraordinarily calibrated way with respect to the psyche of those who are influenced and use them. In fact, each subject receives, digests and then personally conveys, with the creative contribution of his own unrepeatable personality, the specific "virus" that has been injected. It does so by infecting every interlocutor with whom it comes into contact to deal with that specific issue (euro and united Europe, in our case); therefore, in the most varied and unexpected occasions, even long after having "contracted the infection".
To understand, a phrase such as “where would the Italietta della Lira go in the arena of global competition” (or other similar statements of identical content) constitutes, in effect, a cognitive-behavioral virus.
It, in its simplicity, indeed because of its sunny simplicity, is able to quickly influence the "world map" of the listener and, above all, to become a classic evergreen, evergreen commonplace, good for all occasions. In the field of psychology there is a precise term to define a certain type of cognitive-behavioral strategies: that of “heuristics”, that is to say “shortcuts of thought”. A cognitive-behavioral or dialectical virus is, in some ways, a mental shortcut that prevents us – inhibits us from employing and cultivating critical thinking.
Which is perfectly functional with two of the most felt needs of the contemporary world: that of optimizing time and that of maximizing information. We have less and less time to deal with all the enormous amount of tasks that the System burdens us and to store all the amount of news from which we are almost suffocated.
Walter Lippmann focused on this aspect, focusing on the so-called "social stereotype". According to Lippmann, the social stereotype is a cognitive tool capable of directing our behavior, indeed of simplifying our decisions. It consists of a combination of images, thoughts, emotions, synthesized in small clips capable of “saving” us a lot of hassle. But also, we add, to avoid a lot of doubts, questions, problems; that is to say, the essential seeds of so-called critical thinking, the mortal enemy of any manipulation of consent.
Cognitive-behavioral and dialectical viruses, precisely because they are fast-setting, keep us away from the annoyance of having to think. They “purify” our approach to the world, to things, to history, to news from the excess of confusion and dispense us – thanks to the pill format to be swallowed in an amen – a series of concepts with a very high density of simplification.
Too bad that simplification is a double-edged sword. It is useful where it allows us to survive in hyper-complex environments: those like ours, where there are too many chores to do, too many articles to read, too many concepts to understand in a very short space of time. At the same time, simplification is very dangerous, like a white weapon, if and to the extent that we are not the ones who hold it, we are not the ones who hold this knife "on the side of the handle".
The question that arises at this point is: is it really possible that some puppeteers, behind the scenes, know and have wanted to use these techniques to manipulate us? And the answer is obviously yes. These strategies are known to anyone with a minimum of smattering in the field of communication and consent engineering. And often it is the same people who take care of "political marketing". As Bernays said, there is no substantial difference between selling a product and selling an idea.
Thus Anna Oliviero Ferraris, expert in the field, explained the concept: «Occult persuaders, manipulators by profession, study collective psychology to keep it under control and exploit it, conditioning the behavior of the masses. In the era of global communication, they have a very vast body of socio-psychological knowledge and sophisticated and insightful technologies. The interventions of these experts on individuals, groups, communities and the masses are scientific and systematic. To convince and conquer they do not need to resort to the authoritarian methods of the past, to threats or violence, their weapons are seduction, persuasion and suggestion ».
Francesco Carraro, www.francescocarraro.com , was born in Padua in 1970. Graduated in Law and in Educational Sciences, writer and lawyer, he is the owner of a law firm. Communication expert, he teaches courses in negotiation strategies, time management, public speaking and personal development.
He writes for the newspaper LA VERITA ', is a columnist for the economics and politics site SCENARIECONOMICI.IT and editor of his own blog on ILFATTOQUOTIDIANO.IT. He is a television commentator of the news program of Canale Italia NEWS TODAY. He has published numerous non-fiction and fiction books.
In 2015 he published the book-interview, with the journalist Vito Monaco, Krisiko – are you a player or a pawn? The way out in the great game of the crisis (with a preface by Magdi Cristiano Allam). In 2017 the book Post scriptum – All the truth about post truth was released (with a preface by Diego Fusaro). In 2018, with Chiarelettere editore, together with Massimo Quezel, he published the book HEALTH Spa – Health sold out to insurance , a wide-ranging and documented investigation into the privatistic drift of the public health system and the decline of the once inviolable right to health .
The article Cognitive-behavioral viruses in the process of European unification comes from ScenariEconomici.it .
This is a machine translation of a post published on Scenari Economici at the URL https://scenarieconomici.it/i-virus-cognitivo-comportamentali-nel-processo-di-unificazione-europea/ on Mon, 28 Sep 2020 06:09:34 +0000.