MENTION the phrase mind control and eyes start to glaze over.
The words naturally provoke images of people in white coats using outlandish and cruel methods to get inside our heads – the sort of thing you might see in a film, but rarely believe to be real.
Yet mind control, albeit in much subtler forms, is a major factor in all our lives in 21st century Britain as well as everywhere else.
I’m sure at some point you’ve tried to quieten your mind – perhaps to try a spot of meditation?
It isn’t easy, that’s for sure. For the vacuum, which we normally fill one way or another with noise or images, is constantly interrupted by unhelpful thoughts passing through your mind.
You might be thinking about what you would normally be doing at this time of the day or the thoughts may appear more random.
In either case, you are getting closer to the very natural programming of your mind.
It’s your human computer replaying over and over again how you think – and it often makes for uncomfortable listening.
We all recognise, I’m sure, those nagging doubts and annoyingly negative thoughts that come to the fore when we are in a job interview or meeting someone important, for example.
But how did those thoughts get there in the first place?
They are all a result of our experience of life over the years – what we have seen, heard, read and been told.
All too often it leads us to believe that we are fairly insignificant people, consigned to a life of work and toil with a few hours off every now and again for enjoyment, destined to grow older and older, frailer and frailer and then die!
Not great when you consider it. And I would argue almost totally untrue.
I was speaking in the street to a highly intelligent and pleasant Jehovah’s Witness the other day who told me people he meets often describe him as ‘brain washed’. His reply is ‘yes, but it’s wonderful to have a clean brain’. He is right!
We are all ‘brain washed’ in one way or another and it makes far more sense for us to be pro-active and ensure our brains are programmed positively.
Elite sportsmen and women are great examples. They use very simple but effective techniques to perform at their best under huge pressure.
The way they use and ignore crowds is particularly interesting.
Britain’s number one women’s tennis player Johanna Konta, who thrilled millions with her run to the semi finals of Wimbledon, provides an outstanding example.
By her own admission, a few years ago she was a rabbit in the headlights when facing a crunch point in her matches.
Thinking then about just how many people are watching and living your every shot is probably not a very good idea.
So instead she was learned the art of ‘focus’, a method you often see when athletes line up before a big race. Instead of embracing the crowd, they appear to be in a world of their own, consciously editing out the noise and mayhem around them and concentrating solely on the ‘process’ ahead.
Konta was conspicuously able to produce her fastest, most accurate services at moments of crisis. It was no co-incidence. She would have gone through a thought process in her mind to recall performing the perfect serve. Exactly the same actions as on a practice court with nobody watching. And, boom, more often than not she got the desired result.
At other times, sports players will consciously absorb the positive energy of a home crowd. You’ll see Andy Murray and others signalling for people to make more noise, so they can reinvigorate themselves and increase pressure on their opponent.
This is positive brain and mind programming – consciously changing the way we view a situation to give us a better chance of a happy outcome.
And it works!
You and I will all know someone who is pretty delusional.
They appear to have a hugely inflated opinion of themselves. We look at them and think they’re nothing special but, in their minds, they are wonderful.
The annoying thing is that they often attract the good things into their lives that they crave whilst we miss out.
Why? Because the opinion that counts more than any other in your life is your own. If you are totally convinced you will achieve something, then you will – on the vast majority of occasions at least.
All this is a form of mind control.
Where the subject gets more murky is when others are seeking to influence us for their own ends.
The world of PR and advertising works on the basis that we are very weak minded.
During the recent General Election there was endless coverage of both the major parties debating a wide range of issues.
Unless you were emotionally involved, I guarantee that 99 per cent of what was said has now been forgotten.
But the phrases still going through our heads are ‘strong and stable’ and ‘for the many and not the few’ which were the mantras of the Tories and Labour respectively.
I guarantee that Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn were told to use those phrases as often as humanly possible – and not worry whether they were boring us to death.
The point is that if you hear something often enough, you really will remember it – and there’s a realistic chance you will believe it.
That, too, is a form of mind control aimed at creating a perception of a political leader.
We have other mantras in this country that are very effective.
Think about Britain and the words ‘democratic’ and ‘free’ invariably spring to our mind. Consider the United States of America and the phrase is ‘the land of the free’.
Rarely, if ever, do we ponder whether these phrases are accurate or even what they mean in detail. But they form a very significant part of the perception of many, many people.
Music is a powerful tool too.
Listen to just a few bars of the national anthem and people will stand to attention and often sing words that don’t correspond at all to their personal beliefs.
Shops only have to turn on the Christmas music and people will start spending money they have – and money they don’t.
In both cases, we have become accustomed through sheer repetition to react in a certain, programmed way.
And you still think mind control doesn’t exist?