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I have written elsewhere about how a fairly conscientious person is able to work to train herself into good habits and out of bad ones. I have written of the value of regularity of routines for helping in this habit self-training.

The fact of this ability in humans to some extent ‘program’ themselves reveals that we all as a species are susceptible to impressions and especially to repeated patterns of impression imposed on us by ourselves or else by others.

So much of our day to day life represents what might be termed ‘second-nature’, learnt auto-responses, so that this claim of mine to human ‘programmability’ is I am sure undoubtedly the case.  Waking, retiring, mealtimes, bathroom, bus ride to/from work, hunger times, freedom times, many of us complain of a ‘Monday morning feeling’ which is an auto-response learned from repeated returns to a workplce from weekend breaks.

Our habits of language likewise show these auto-responses. As one gets older one notices how it is that more and more one is using (to one’s kids?) those same chidings and expressions and commendations which one’s one parents used on oneself. This experience is very commonly had.

Certain things, especially repeated things, go deep into our psyches and lodge there and so are called up by us on autopilot to create in us pre-programmed responses as our retorts to the set piece situations we experience in our lives.

Now I would think any psychologist knows about this that I am trying to outline here – reinforced routine behaviours; and psychologists know they are created in persons by a creation in those persons of presumed expectations.

What this means in actuality is that sayings like ‘if a person says something loud enough and repeats it enough times, they get listened to’ which means that that matter which a person has aired vociferously sinks in, and is likely to become part of a common agenda of a group of sympathisers or acolytes. This indeed is the very Modus Operandi of pressure groups and lobbyists. Say it, say it and say it again; keep the message simple, uncluttered, and well-directed; and you will see a growing consciousness amongst persons in general concerning your issues.

Obama got himself elected President of The USA by repeated use of one word: ‘Change’.  The Tory government here and the Brexiteer politicians again and again in cabal make it general policy for their press sound bites and campaigns on the issues they espouse, to ‘all sing from’ a very simply worded, strongly worded, few crucial arguments  being ‘the same hymn sheet’.  They know that given that they get the chance to repeat these ‘mantra’ type routines to their electorates enough times with enough people listening, that these routines will sink down deep and stay with the voters. The Tories and The Brexiteers know they need only a few well-baited ‘hooks’ to hook in enough ‘fish’ – as they would call it – democratically – provided that  these ‘hooks’ are baited with items of most delicious and most desirable self-interest to an electorate. Regardless of any truth value or any desirability in general.

This is the (open) secret of success of political campaign manager persons like Linton Crosby; there’ s no rocket science to it; rather instead sheer effrontery of assuming an electorate (sadly rightly sometimes) susceptible to seductions like this and open to repetitive plain and simple promises of sweeties. Throw in the same technique used by the same persons in denigrating their opposition parties and their opposition personalities; a few repeated and simple denigrations, not beyond the bounds of libel or slander or defamation; but close to the cusp nonetheless; and hey presto! – there you have it – a likely winning political campaign.

These short few simple messages repeated in this fashion are setting up in their hearers, as their eventual aficionados, a clutch of automatically-acquired and automatically triggered expectations which comprise a clutch of similarly conditioned presumed-to-be-truths.

Psychologists have a therapy for certain depressive persons; and which can be very efficacious when worked with religiously and regularly by their patients; it is called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT works because of and is based on the methods of these same psychological phenomena I have outlined. CBT uses the same techniques of approach – i.e. resetting, creating, asserting repeatedly, changed and definitively presumed expectations in patients (and in electorates). I have outlined above here these psychologists’ techniques which have been observed by themselves clinically and empirically to be effective in altering people’s thoughts and fears and grievances; and so in patients lifting certain depressions.

Now none of what I have written so far I believe would be questioned or felt questionable by psychologists and by those who use or know of such psychological techniques. None of this is in dispute amongst them

What ordinary people don’t like to hear, because of a vanity in many by which they tell themselves that indeed:

“I am the Captain of my Soul

I am the Master of my Fate”

(One of the most pernicious couplets of poetry ever to be written and to have gained an assenting audience)

There are jokes which illustrate what I am aiming to convey; take these two:

“I don’t listen to advertising; I just drink Guinness because it’s good for me”

“Warning: MacDonald’s fast food is a severe health hazard” – (warning issued by Burger King)

The first of the two jokes illustrates the self-deception involved in persons who claim for themselves Captaincy of the Souls and Mastership of their Fates; the utter folly of self-belief in such an audacious presumptuous impregnability.

The second joke shows in blatant humorous fashion how these advertisers work; in rubbishing the competition and in bigging up themselves without any regard to the fact of either matter. All in the game – providing it gets past the regulator – no-holds barred – anything goes.

One has to remember always when one is watching TV ads, or hearing radio ads, or when reading ads, that the primary premise all advertising is based upon – “will it sell us and our goods and services?” All else, everything else, is subsumed to and subordinated to this simple need of the advertisers – no matter how feelgood or how astonishing the claims made; no matter how good the credit terms or the finance; the bottom line is to sell, sell, sell and make profits, profits, profits.  Nothing but nothing comes before or between this aim.

The Ancient world had a saying: “Never trust Greeks bearing gifts” because the Greeks, of whom Odysseus was a prominent hero and model, the guy who duped the Trojans with The Wooden Horse – the Greeks were renowned for their craftiness and for their self-interested propensity to treachery to those who stood in their way.

Such an attitude of caution against political, commercial, and other ‘gifts’ is well used when reserved by one for dealing with them.

Indeed ‘always look a gift horse in the mouth!”.

We are all fooled sometimes by the propaganda machines of politicians, of advertisers; of many other smart-alec would-be top-of-the-tree highfliers who love to use subterfuges and wiles upon us to get their ways. Abe Lincoln holds good here about fooling people when he says ‘you can fool all of the people some of the time’.

Now we might think we are wised up about advertisers and/or politicians; but don’t you think the same thing happens with news and newspapers, and TV and radio and books and magazines and videos and movies and all over; that there is always an agenda to preach with kid gloves on and off blatant as well as obvious; subtle and sly also; nothing is utterly innocent – neutral – objective – but I make one exception – Jesus Christ.

I saw on TV a Channel 4 slogan which said: “Chanel 4 documentaries – changing perceptions” Now why ‘perceptions’?   To have something alter one’s perceptions it has to be that logically prior to one’s perceptions are one’s opinions, outlook, beliefs, that these have to be altered before perceptions will alter; in other words, our minds have to be altered.

Had the Channel 4 slogan read instead: “Channel 4 documentaries – changing minds” I suggest it would have been less effective on its audiences. This is because I suggest it would have given rise to unease and to a cautious emotional distancing made by those audiences from the sentiment.  Our minds are much more our own possessions and we like to believe we are and out to be tamper-proofed; no tampering with our minds especially by TV companies. Such is viewed by us with great suspicion. Objections of propaganda, of subterfuge, even of brainwashing taking place raise themselves like haunting ghosts in us when we feel so threatened by such a mind-changing plan and claim.

The actual slogan – in using the word ‘perceptions’ instead of a more direct and even logically appropriate word like ‘minds’ is a deliberate act by Channel 4 and made so as to soften any suggestion of it tampering inside people’s heads.  ‘Perceptions’ occur outside our heads, at least in part.

Once again, the slogan is a sop to our vanities, to that our delusion that we are Captains and Masters of Fate and Soul; yet at the same time a side swipe at us – because yes indeed – changing our perceptions is indeed changing our minds and logically it has to be so. Thus this Channel 4 slogan is indeed a truth and I believe it is an occluded threat to us, being couched to us as presenting (hyping itself as) ‘cutting edge’ documentary TV.

Whist we have this propensity to vanity; whilst we want to be Captains of our Souls and Masters of our Fates we shall never learn; we shall never be able to accept, to admit that we are the radio buttons on which the news and newspapers, the politicians, the TV, Radio, magazines, and all press and media depress so to play us all against their pet agenda tunes. Tunes which resonate within us to those created presumed expectations that these same media and politicians and other nefarious disingenuous groups would program into us for us to auto-respond to.

Such a declaration as this is sounds extreme – and maybe sounds off the rails to you?  Yet you have probably agreed with all that I have said up to the time I made this ‘outrageous’ statement to you?  And yet it follows logically and indubitably from what went before it. Only your sense of the importance, the capability, the sharpness, of your own self is in the way of you seeing what I have claimed here for what it is: the truth.

“I take no notice of advertising:

I drink Guinness because it’s good for me”

Should you like to read a little more from me about this topic, I am soon to write a ‘sister’ article to it which applies what I have claimed here practically to software client/developer human relationships and which aims to show how typically these relationships proceed in the course of a ‘normal’ development project typically being created for a client.  Go to: http://blog.anomalistdesign.com/  to read on.

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You can also find this article at our steemit blog: https://steemit.com/psychology/@matthew.raymer/press-radio-buttons

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