Why we are living in a brainwashed society

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Kevin Mangelschots

I would like to start by saying that everyone is brainwashed to some degree in my opinion.

Even the most intelligent and rational of us are still somewhat indoctrinated and irrational. Whether we’re conscious of that uncomfortable fact, or not.

Yet, it’s happening all around us. The government, the media, business owners, and even our peers we consider friends are part of the problem at times. I say sometimes because I’m generalizing, and not everything that the government, the media, and other outlets tell us, is wrong, or poor advice.

It benefits certain people

But the true reason why we’re living in a brainwashed society is because it benefits certain people. And those certain folks I’m talking about are typically in a position of power since they reap the most rewards by trying to control the masses through various means.

Yet, it’s not just exclusive to those with a lot of money, influence, and consequently, power. Even those we consider to be our peers, and good friends, can attempt to brainwash us since it fits their narrative.

Easier to control

It might be because it makes you easier to control, or because they’re jealous of what you possess, and daring enough to do. That’s why they might attempt to deceive you, if just to not feel miserable alone, even though that’s a despicable, and immature thing to do.

Well, then you might ask yourself, what’s the value of trying to socialize anymore? And how are these people able to brainwash us without us noticing?

Image of two kids watching a television with the words “don't think” being shown.

Just because some people intentionally persuade you doesn’t mean that everyone out there is bad, or out to get you. There are wonderful people out there who genuinely want the best for you.

By manipulating your insecurities

The reason they’re capable of brainwashing you without noticing is that they manipulate your insecurities, fears, and biases against you. They feed those negative and vulnerable parts of your personality since they’re easy to influence.

By deluding you

Practically, they accomplish this by straight up deluding you, or more sneakily, by eating away and corroding our values and ethics into a sinful manner of living without critical morals such as respect and empathy for each other.

As a result, you’ll waste your money, time, and energy on insignificant things that you don’t need to be happy or feel fulfilled.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How does society brainwash you?

  1. By thinking for you

    Illustration of a man in a suit with a television as his head with the writing, “let us think for you” written underneath him.

    While groupthink can be advantageous since we don’t have to allocate as many resources as we would be having to think for ourselves, it can be particularly dangerous when following malicious individuals, or those who are straight-up wrong.

    We’re creatures of habit. And if we’re used to following the lead of others, and letting our peers think for us, then it’s likely that we won’t think for ourselves anymore by applying our critical thinking abilities.

    Quite obviously, that makes it even easier to keep in line, since we’re lulled in this false sense of security due to having too much convenience. That’s because we don’t have to think anymore since someone else will do that hard work for us.

    While that’s true in some instances, and even a benefit at times, that also makes us more liable to make mistakes since we’re blindly following the herd. I’m not saying that you need to think that everything is a trap, but you must remain open-minded enough to consider it a possibility, no matter who the person in question is.

  2. By taking your attention away from the truth

    Picture with the word “lie” in the background and the word “truth” in the middle of it.

    One of the many ways society brainwashes you is by taking your attention away from the truth. If you don’t know what the truth is anymore because you can’t separate reality from fantasy, then it’s easy to deceive you.

    That’s why manipulative individuals typically try to take your attention away from the clear truth that’s right in front of you by misdirecting, or simply denying what the audience is saying.

    By taking your thoughts away from what’s essential, and what the big picture is, by trying to get you caught up in insignificant details in an attempt to make you forget the truth.

  3. By intentionally misleading you

    It’s easy to control someone who doesn’t know what’s right, or wrong. That’s exactly why certain despicable people who are looking to control people will intentionally mislead you to make you an easier target to manipulate.

    Sure, they can get caught once in a while. But chances are large that they’ll simply have an excuse ready, such as saying that they weren’t aware that what they were saying wasn’t true, that they were misinformed, or that it was an honest mistake.

    Now I get it, honest, unintentional faults do happen all the time. But you have to lay all the pieces of the puzzle together to figure out whether it was a truthful mistake, or if it was deliberate. Figuring out their hidden motives and what they could gain by making you believe those lies can be of assistance to discern honest errors from malicious intent.

  4. By offering quick, convenient solutions

    Image of a gray computer keyboard with a gray key with the word “convenience” written on it in white letters.

    Quick and convenient solutions aren’t necessarily a bad thing and should be considered great as long as there aren’t any negative, yet concealed detriments to those speedy answers.

    But sometimes, when something seems too good to be true, you should be suspicious of it since that’s typically not the case. It’s regularly correct that fast and easy solutions work well in the short term but rarely remain so in the long term since these fixes don’t address the true cause, or since it involves taking a shortcut.

    The point should always be to resolve the issue, rather than putting a temporary band-aid on the wound that’s not solving anything, yet simply delaying the problem from surfacing. What’s even worse is that concerns tend to become larger over time if left unaddressed.

  5. By influencing your subconscious mind

    Image of Carl Jung with the quote, “until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate” written next to him in white letters on a black background.

    We’re not aware of everything that happens around us, and much of what does come about is taken in involuntarily by our unconscious mind.

    That certainly has its perks such as preventing our brain from getting overloaded by the uncountable decisions it has to make each day and freeing up valuable energy to make the critical choices to optimize our chances for survival.

    But that also entails that the media is employing this psychological fact to manipulate you by showing you attractive advertisements time and time again to influence your thoughts, even though you might not be aware of it. And seeing how much companies tend to spend to advertise their products today, it’s working, or they wouldn’t be doing so.

  6. By misusing religion

    While I have absolutely nothing against religion, it can be used as a tool to control the masses if used incorrectly, or with the wrong intentions.

    Religious folks are typically trying to go through their lives within the rules of their faith because they deem that to be necessary, or because they’re afraid of possible repercussions if they don’t. That’s perfectly fine, but that can be used against believers by those who recognize that it’s a possible means to exploit.

    What you find valuable might give you the strength to keep going in difficult times, but it’s also fragile and easily used against you since you place so much worth on that given thing.

Examples of how society brainwashes you

Illustration of a man standing up with a television as his head influencing the people he's connected to via cable.

  1. “It’s rude to speak your mind”

    One of the many examples of how society brainwashes you is by letting you believe that it’s rude to speak your mind. That’s not to say that you should misuse the situation to try to offend the other party intentionally, or by using offensive language banned by the law.

    But you should be able to tell how you feel about a given situation. I feel like others telling you that it’s rude to speak your mind is an attempt to diminish your rights such as free speech, and the right of expression. It’s trying to take your power away by acting like you’re the bad person for being an honest and stand-up individual.

    Yet, it’s the insecurity, the inability to entertain a different idea from theirs that’s talking. Never let someone control your speech when you’re not breaking the rules, but always remain respectful, regardless of what you’re saying, or what situation you’re in.

  2. “You should care more about others than yourself”

    While I do agree that we should look out for each other, you can’t do so properly if you don’t take the much-needed self-care seriously to feel good yourself. Ask yourself this, how are you going to help others when you don’t have the energy, or optimistic nature to do so?

    Make sure to keep your mental health in check by reducing tension, and by making sure your goals and desires are being met. Otherwise, you’ll just end up vengeful, pessimistic, and angry at the world.

  3. “Life is just about paying the bills and acquiring material wealth”

    It’s certainly true that a sizable part of life is about making enough money consistently to pay the bill. Nevertheless, it’s not the only thing that matters.

    What good is having a lot of money when we don’t have loved ones who watch over and care about us? But that’s regularly what we’re told, and taught to do by our parents. To get a degree, and to get a job so that we can pay off the bills, and that’s what life’s all about.

    We only have one life, so we should live a little while we have the time to do so. And without our mental and physical health, that just isn’t possible. So always make sure to take care of your body and mind.

  4. “Getting a degree means you’ll get a high-paying job”

    Just because you get a degree doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get access to a high-paying job. I would say that it’s probably a good safety net because you’re more likely to get an occupation. That’s because getting an academic degree means that you have at least some degree of discipline and persistence. Something a good employer searches for in their employees.

    Yet, many high-paying jobs do not require a degree or even prior experience. But you’re probably going to be required to do something the majority isn’t willing to do. Be it working hard, or doing the dirty jobs that almost nobody wants to perform.

  5. “Social media is all about socializing and interacting with others”

    Illustration of multiple people who all have a different head of a social media platform such as Facebook and YouTube.

    While social media can be an incredible opportunity to connect with people from all over the world and to keep in touch with our loved ones living far away, it’s rarely used that way anymore.

    Nowadays, it’s more of a tool to garner attention and external validation from others, even those we don’t know personally. It’s about posting the best pictures and garnering the most likes and comments to gain a dopamine rush that makes us feel better.

    Yet, relying that much on other folks to garner our much-desired validation, especially from those we don’t know, is something I don’t consider a viable way of living, nor a healthy one. Only those we care about, and who genuinely want the best for us should have some influence over our mood.

  6. “Politicians serve to protect you”

    How it should be is that those chosen to represent the public should look out for everyone’s best interest. Some do, but most are self-serving, and only looking out for their best interest.

    Sure, they might make it seem like they’re watching out for your sake, and acting on your behalf. Yet, they already have so many excuses ready for when something doesn’t happen, or pan out. But they typically do so to get the least amount of resistance and backlash possible.

    Ultimately, you have just one person that you can always rely on, and that someone is you. That’s why you should learn to apply your critical thinking skills to figure out what’s the best course of action for you instead of relying on someone else.

  7. “You can’t become successful if you’re not born into a wealthy family”

    Illustration of a survey measuring how privileged you are by examining your economic status, and your family.

    I’m sure it helps in certain ways to be born into a wealthy family since money makes more money, which means it’s easier to earn big bucks when you already have the capital needed to invest and earn more.

    Factor in the probable social connections that having a lot of capital typically brings along, and it’s easy to see how advantageous it is to be born into wealth.

    Still, just because you’re born into wealth doesn’t mean that you can’t become successful on your own, even though you might have nothing at the beginning. Plenty of people have done so before you, yet it’s quite a rare ability since it requires hard work, intelligence, luck, discipline, and many other virtuous traits.

  8. “You can only make money online by scamming people”

    Technology is evolving at such a rapid pace that it’s hard to keep up. Yet, our brain doesn’t always adapt that quickly, and we’re stuck with the delusion that making money online isn’t possible unless you scam others.

    But it is possible, if you know what you’re doing that is. Is it easy? No. But is it possible? Most certainly yes, if you put in enough hours and effort.

    But I do agree that it’s not as easy as a lot of influencers on social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram make it out to be. That’s because they have something to gain from feeding you lies and deceits about what you want to hear and believe. Because who wants to hear that they have to put in countless hours of hard work to make that dream a reality?

  9. “Politicians work for you”

    Illustration of a politician smiling with the word “obey” written in black letters above him.

    We might like to believe that the politicians work for us since we’re the ones that elected them, and put them into a position of power and privilege.

    But the reality is different. They work for the government since they’re their employers who pay their salary. As a result, they will typically do what’s best for them by doing what the government wants. Be it attempting to gain more power, money, or influence.

    But not every politician is like that. And some take their job seriously and try to represent their audience as best as they can. Unfortunately, they have to work with the system and the other people in it, or they’re not going to last very long, nor will they get anything done.

  10. “There’s too much competition to start a company”

    There’s indeed more competition these days when you want to start a company from scratch, but the potential to earn money, and the capacity of the buyers has increased a lot as well.

    What you need to do is gain an advantage over your competitors. Either by doing something unique or by doing something better than them by improving on the existing systems.

    Deliver a better service, and you’re likely to be rewarded. It’s that simple. However, going against established brands and names isn’t particularly easy either since you’re at a disadvantage in that area.

Are we brainwashed?

Illustration of a man with a television as his head with the writing, “we are a brainwashed generation” appearing on the screen of the television.

Whether we’re brainwashed or not depends on your definition, but I think that everyone is indoctrinated to some degree.

No matter how rational, intelligent, and conscious you are, everyone falls victim to certain biases at times. We’re only human, after all, and not computers who have the advantage of remaining impartial at all times.

But that also means that other people have a certain amount of control over us. More so than we usually realize. This isn’t always that bad if people are well-meaning and aren’t looking to misuse that power, but some like nothing more.

Manipulative individuals are often keenly aware and adept at manipulating those around them, and will not hesitate to misuse that control to their advantage, even if it hurts you personally. Be it emotionally, physically, or financially wise.

Final note

Image of the word, “conclusions” written on a black backboard with white chalk.

We’re all brainwashed to a certain degree, whether we realize it, or not.

That’s not always terrible if people don’t misuse it to manipulate us. But we’re humans, and not as virtuous as we like to portray ourselves to the public. Some like nothing more than to misuse the control they possess over us for their benefit.

That’s why we need to understand that we’re prone to groupthink and that we must learn to think for ourselves by employing our critical thinking skills to prevent ourselves from falling victim to devious individuals.